During their students years at Chicago’s Moody Bible Institute in the early 1930s, Americans John Stam and Betty Scott individually sensed God’s call to serve as missionaries in China, a land enslaved by idol worship and torn apart by a violent Communist uprising. After leading them separately to China, the Lord brought their lives together in marriage and shared ministry. But just three months after the birth of their daughter, Helen Priscilla, John and Betty were captured by Communist rebels and condemned to death. Helen’s remarkable deliverance led to her being dubbed “The Miracle Baby.” The Stams’ powerful Christian testimony was carried around the globe by hundreds of secular newspapers that featured front-page stories about the young couple’s faith, dedication and martyrdom. As a result of their deaths, many unbelievers turned to Christ and numerous Christians were moved by the Stams’ ultimate sacrifice to become missionaries themselves. Like the Lord they served, John and Betty Stam reached more people through their death than in their short, faithful course of ministry. (Adapted from Barbour Publishing)
“It is not only theological works, or Christian living works, that can drive us to pray, but also biographies. One biography that caused me to put it down to pray was Vance Christie’s work on John and Betty Stam. The Stams were such normal, relatable people who had such great love for the lost, that when they faced the ultimate cost of their faith, I just had to ask God to give me that confidence and that fervor.”
Tim Challies, Christian blogger, Pastor of Grace Fellowship Church, Toronto, Ontario
“Ten years ago I was apart of a traveling choir that performed a drama on the life and ministry of John and Betty Stam. I played the Communist soldier who had the missionaries killed. After the play was finished the pastor of the church closed us in a word of prayer… Thanks for the fantastic book!
Stephen M. Wilcox, Pastor
Vance’s Story Behind the Book:
When Barbour Publishing invited me to write a second book for its Heroes of the Faith series, a biography on John and Betty Stam, I had to admit that I was unfamiliar with them. But as I began researching the Stams’ compelling story I quickly realized theirs was a powerful testimony that I would be highly privileged to share with the current generation. That led to the publication of John and Betty Stam, Missionary Martyrs in 2000. Christian Focus Publications issued an attractive new edition of the book under the same title in 2008 as part of its History Makers series.
Part of my initial research for this book was done at the Archives of the Billy Graham Center, Wheaton, Illinois, which houses a collection of original resource documents on the Stams. I well remember a hallowed sense that crept over me as I held one of the actual diaries that John had written on the mission field, especially as I reflected on his consecrated life and his sacrificial death in serving the Lord.
The title for this book, by the way, was determined by the publisher rather than by me. Here’s a humorous, true story involving that title: A friend of mine named Rose (not her real name) was trying to break a curious habit she had of first reading the last chapter of a book to see how it ended before going back to read through the book from the beginning. An acquaintance of Rose spotted a copy of this book on her coffee table and remarked, “Oh, John and Betty Stam. Aren’t they that couple who were martyred in China?”
“Oh no,” Rose exclaimed, “now you gave away the ending. And I was so careful not to read that first.”
“But, Rose,” her friend responded good-naturedly, “look at the title, ‘John and Betty Stam: Missionary Martyrs’!”
Publisher: Christian Focus Publications
Publication Date: 2008
Page Count: 208
Available Formats: Paperback
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