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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Granny Brand

Evelyn Brand felt called by God to go to India. For a single woman in 1909, a calling like that required a truckload of faith. She married a young man named Jesse and together they began a ministry to the people in rural India, bringing education and medical supplies, and building roads to reduce the isolation of the poor. For seven years they went without making a single convert to Christianity. But then a priest in a local tribal region developed a fever and grew deathly ill. No one would go near him, but Evelyn and Jesse nursed him as he was dying. He said, "This God, Jesus, must be the true God because only Jesse and Evelyn will care for me in my dying." The priest gave his children to them to care for after he died - and that became a spiritual turning point in that part of the world. People began to examine the life and teachings of Jesus, and in increasing numbers began to follow Him. Evelyn and Jesse had thirteen years of productive service, then Jesse died.  By this time, Evelyn was fifty years old, and everyone expected her to return to her home in England. But she wouldn't do it. She was known and loved for miles around as "Granny Brand", and she stayed another twenty years under the mission board she had served so faithfully. Her son, Paul, came over to see her when she was seventy years old, and this is what he said about his mum: "This is how to grow old. Allow everything else to fall away until those around you see only love" (see 1 Corinthians 13:1-2).

At age seventy she received word from her home mission office that they weren't going to give her another five-year term. But she had Caleb's "we can certainly do it" attitude. A party was held to celebrate her time in India, and everyone there cheered her on. "Have a good trip back home", they all said.  "I'll tell you a little secret," she announced, "I'm not going  back home. I'm staying in India." Evelyn had a little shack built with some resources that she had smuggled in. Then she bought a pony to get around the mountains, and this septuagenarian would ride from village to village on horseback to tell people about Jesus. She did that for five years on her own. One day, at seventy-five years old, she fell and broke her hip. Her son, Paul Brand, the eminent doctor, said to her, "Mum, you had a great run. God's used you. It's time to turn it over now. You can go back home." She replied, "I am not going back home." She spent another eighteen years traveling from one village to another on horseback. Falls, concussions, sicknesses, and aging could not stop her. Finally, when she hit ninety-three years old, she could not ride horseback any more. So the men in these villages - because they loved Granny Brand so much - put her on a stretcher and carried her from one village to another. She lived two more years and gave those years as a gift, carried on a stretcher, to help the poorest of the poor.  She died, but she never retired. She just graduated. 

Do it with all your might - Ecc. 9:10 NIV

We can certainly do it - Numbers 13:30 NIV

(from my Daily Devotional - A word for you today)

This story made me seriously sob. The grit of this lady. The unwavering commitment of her life. The fruit from her steadfastness.....oh, how I want that to be said of my life. 


Denise said...

Thank you for sharing this. Truly inspiring...