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Mary Slessor, Missionary to Africa. 

Mary Slessor was born in Aberdeen in 1848. Her mother went to Church regularly and she was very interested in the work that Missionaries were doing in Africa. She often talked to Mary and her older brother, Robert about the Missionaries and the work that they were doing.  Robert said he wanted to be a Missionary when he grew up. At that time girls could not become missionaries and Mary felt very sad about this. Robert said he would take her with him as a helper.

One day the family went to Church and found that someone special had come to speak to them. He was called William Anderson. He was a missionary in Africa and told them that the African people needed more help.  Mother Slessor prayed, that her son Robert would feel that God wanted him to go there. But things did not work out that way. Robert became a missionary and he went to New Zealand but he died a few years later. Mary did manage to become a missionary. Mary had another brother called John and a sister called Susan. Both of them were younger than she was.

         Picture of a pub.


  Mary's father was a shoemaker. At first he earned enough money to buy food and other things the family needed but then he started to drink too much. Now most people can drink a little wine or beer and things are all right because they do not drink too much. A few people start by drinking a little and then they start drinking a little more. Then they keep on wanting more and more to drink. They find that they cannot stop.

                                             Picture of a Minister


This is what Mary's father did. He often got so drunk that he could not do his job properly and so he got the sack.

The whole family moved to Dundee and Mary's father got a job working in the mills. Another sister called Janie was born. All the children were sent to Church and to Sunday School.

Sometimes they found the sermon long and boring so each of them was give a peppermint to suck. Mary believed in Jesus and in God so she said her prayers often and she learned how much God loved her.

 When she was a bit older Mary went from the Sunday School to the Bible class. They read the Bible and talked about what it meant. Many of the others in the class really liked Mary and thought that she was a kind and good person.Mary's father went on drinking and spent a lot of money on drink. The family did not have enought money to buy food so Mary and her mother had to go to work in a mill. Mary was only 11 years old. At that time many children did go to work in mills and if you read the story of David Livingstone you will know that he did this too.

Mary spent half of the time working in the mill and the other half going to a special school that taught her about weaving. Later she went full time and went to school at night. She began to work with her mother and became an expert weaver who was paid quite a lot of money.

Mary's father was kind when he was not drunk but the trouble was he could not stop himself from drinking. Whenever he could find some money he went out and spent it on drink. Sometimes when he got drunk he became very bad tempered. He became angry with everyone in the house and they all felt miserable. Mary prayed to God and she felt that He was with them when things were bad.

Sometimes Mary's mother did not have enough money in the house to pay bills. She would find something of value and wrap it up in a parcel. She sent Mary with it to the pawn shop.

 Many people thought that it was disgraceful to be so poor that you had to go to a pawn shop so Mary tried not to let her friends see her go there. If she saw somone she knew she would turn and go along another street so they would not see her with her parcel.

If you want to find out what a pawn shop is click the link  pawn shop

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