John and Betty Stam (d. 1934)

Mark Fackler

READ : Deuteronomy 30:11-14

The word is very near. (v. 14)

Betty Stam graduated from the Moody Bible Institute in 1931, her husband John a year later. They accepted a call to serve God with the China Inland Mission, going to China despite a vicious civil war raging there. Assigned to a mission station in the interior, Betty wrote in her journal:

When we consecrate ourselves to God, we think we are making a great sacrifice . . . when really we are only letting go some little, bitsie trinkets we have been grabbing. When our hands are empty, He fills them with His treasures.

When Mao’s troops arrived, the warning came too late. John was taken first, then soldiers returned for Betty and their baby Helen. Two days later, John and Betty were led to their executions. A local Christian doctor approached the soldiers to plead for the missionaries, to no avail. John was ordered to his knees and with a flash of a sword his life ended. Betty fell on her husband’s body and was killed.

The night before, Betty had wrapped their baby daughter in a sleeping bag with a change of clothes and money pinned to her diaper. Helen was rescued by a local Christian and taken to her grandparents, also missionaries in China.

On news of the Stams’ deaths, several hundred young American Christians volunteered to take their places.


Lord, keep me faithful, no matter what.