Ellen Ranyard and Her Team of Bible Women

By Simonetta Carr - Posted at Place for Truth:

In 1826, 16-year-old Ellen Henrietta White and her family attended a Bible meeting about 14 miles east of her London home. There, she met a girl her age, Elizabeth Saunders, who seemed disconsolate at the departure of her best friend. Deeply concerned, Ellen’s mother volunteered to take Elizabeth to their home for a few days. The change of scenery might do her good, she thought.

Naturally, Ellen and Elizabeth began talking about their interests.

“Have you ever thought what you will do with your life?” Elizabeth asked.

Ellen had never given it much thought. She liked to draw and read. “I hope I shall go on cultivating my mind and my faculties,” she replied.

“Yes, but have you thought that this cultivation is to enable you the better to live for others, not for yourself, and that you must live to do something in God's service?”

Again, Ellen had not thought about it. If Elizabeth was talking about Sunday School, Ellen’s mother had already told her she was not fit to teach. According to her family’s standards, she was not yet converted because she loved “worldly reading, such as the Literary Gazette, and Lord Byron's poetry.” If conversion meant leaving all that behind, Ellen said, “I wish to see more of the world before I leave it, especially of its books.”

She had, of course, read the Bible. In fact, she had read it all the way through three times, and loved it, “but one cannot always be reading one's Bible.”

Elizabeth asked her if she would like to meet some people who lived near and home and didn’t have a Bible to read. Ellen agreed, and Ellen’s mother gave her permission, with some hesitation.

“So we set forth,” Ellen wrote, “she with a Bible in her hand and a prayer in her heart, and in her pocket a pencil and a little book.” They walked to an area where impoverished people struggled to survived. Thirty-five of those families told the girls they never seen a Bible. For a sheltered teenager like Ellen, it was an unforgettable experience.


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