Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Triumph of John and Betty Stam

75 years ago today John and Betty Stam, missionaries to the Chinese, were killed by Communist soldiers in a public execution, along with the town doctor, who had pleaded for their lives. The Stams were captured while trying to leave the town of Tsingteh with their 3 month old daughter, Helen. Mrs. Stam managed to hide her baby, who was later found by Christians and returned to America. John and Betty showed the courage of those who know who holds their future. In the words of Mrs. Howard Taylor:

Those who witnessed the tragedy marveled, as they testify, at the calmness with which both John and Betty faced the worst their misguided enemies could do. Theirs was the moral, spiritual triumph in that hour when the very forces of hell seemed to be let loose. Painfully bound with ropes , their hands behind them, stripped of their outer garments and John barefooted (he had given Betty his socks to wear), they passed down the street where he was known to many, while the Reds shouted their ridicule and called the people to come and see the execution.

Like their Master, they were led up a little hill outside the town. There, in a clump of pine trees, the communists harangued the unwilling onlookers, too terror-stricken to utter protest. But one man broke the ranks! The doctor of the place and a Christian expressed the feelings of many when he fell on his knees and pleaded for the life of his friends. Angrily repulsed by the Reds, he still persisted, until he was dragged away as prisoner, to suffer death when it appeared that he too was a follower of Christ.

John had turned to the leader of the band, asking mercy for that man, when he was sharply ordered to kneel - and the look of joy on his face afterward told of the unseen Presence with them as his spirit was released. Betty was seen to quiver, but only for a moment. Bound as she was, she fell on her knees beside him. A quick command, the flash of a sword, which mercifully she did not see - and they were reunited.
--Mrs. Howard Taylor. John and Betty Stam: A Story of Triumph (Chicago: Moody Press, 1982) pp. 119-120

Though they had only a short ministry, John and Betty Stam's faith in Christ encouraged many nationals to continue giving the Gospel and inspired many others to become missionaries. God made the wrath of man to praise Him. He didn't forget or forsake His suffering servants; He honored them.

Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy.
--Hebrews 11:36-38
See also-
Vance Christie. John and Betty Stam: Missionary Martyrs (Christian Focus Publications, 2008)