Missionaries You Should Know: Betsey Stockton

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Betsey Stockton, the first single woman missionary in the modern mission era, was born in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1798. At an early age, she was given to the wife of Reverend Ashbel Green as a domestic slave. At that time, Dr. Green served as the president of the College of New Jersey, now known as Princeton University.

Betsey was given permission to attend evening classes at the college, and in the winter of 1815, her life took a radical turn when a revival broke out on campus. As a result of this spiritual awakening, she became a Christian and was baptized at Princeton’s First Presbyterian Church.

Shortly after her conversion, Betsey was granted freedom by the Greens, who supported the abolitionist movement. However, a law requiring gradual emancipation didn’t go into effect until 1825. For this reason, she remained in the Greens’ household as a paid domestic servant. The Greens treated her as a member of their family and allowed her to continue her education.

Despite her life conditions, “Betsey believed with all her heart that it is the sacred duty of Christians to offer themselves in humble obedience to God’s call to carry out his plan of salvation through Jesus Christ for the world” (Profiles of African-American Missionaries, p. 65). She felt God’s conviction and calling to take the gospel to those who had not heard. This growing conviction shaped her prayers and eventually the rest of her life. …Read More.