On this day in 1934, Louisa Lee  became the very first missionary assigned under the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions.

For over two decades, Lee had already been faithfully serving in India under the national Presbyterian board.  And the work she was involved with in India was seeing great fruit as a result!  But after such a long and fruitful ministry, Lee completely forsook the national board and severed all ties with it.

What would cause anyone to do such a rash thing?  For Lee, the only thing powerful enough to do that was the word of God!  For years,  Lee and other missionaries watched with apparent  concern as modernism crept into their beloved mission board.  But for Lee, the final straw came when one of her field supervisors publicly doubted the infallibility of the scriptures and stated that the board no longer took a stand that great doctrine.  In Lee’s opinion, “it was a necessary qualification for every Gospel preacher, teacher and missionary to believe in the inspiration of the scripture.”  Further, she would not be able to work alongside of anyone who denied it.

Along with other missionaries who supported her opinion, Lee left the board and formed an independent one.  Her only request was that she be allowed to  remain in India, because as she put it, “my home is in India; my heart is there; and I love the people.”  For the next 39 years, Lee continued her work among the massively growing multitudes of India.  At one point, she tried to retire and go back to the states.  But when no younger missionaries came forward to continue the work, she gave up the easy life of retirement and returned to India, where she died.

On the day of her commissioning by the new board, Lee said:

Truly there is no greater joy so satisfying as the joy of telling the story of redeeming love to lost sinners who are interested in hearing it, and many of them are. One Hindu in a far village said in astonishment, ‘Why! Are these things anywhere in print?’ and took a gospel tract as a hungry man takes food.

I thank God for the priceless opportunities he has granted me. I expect … to serve under the auspices of the Independent Board, and pray that God’s precious Word may have free course through me and run and be glorified.

People like Lee willingly gave up everything familiar and safe for the sake of the word of God.  When this precious book was questioned, they went into combat mode to defend it.  Most times, we rarely read It.  May God’s word become the solid rock upon which our lives and ministries are always built.


A Fine Missionary and a Keen Soul-winner

Louisa Lee

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