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John and Betty Stam: Martyred Together

[Mondays are for Missionaries and Martyrs]

Geraldine Taylor, the daughter-in-law of Hudson Taylor, published the following story of John and Betty Stams’ martyrdom two years after their death:

Never was that little one more precious than when they looked their last on her baby sweetness, as they were roughly summoned the next morning and led out to die. . . . Painfully bound with ropes, their hands behind them, stripped of their outer garments, and John barefooted (he had given Betty his socks to wear), they passed down the street where he was known to many, while the Reds shouted their ridicule and called the people to come and see the execution.

Like their Master, they were led up a little hill outside the town. There, in a clump of pine trees, the Communists harangued the unwilling onlookers, too terror-stricken to utter protest—But no, one broke the ranks! The doctor of the place and a Christian, he expressed the feelings of many when he fell on his knees and pleaded for the life of his friends. Angrily repulsed by the Reds, he still persisted, until he was dragged away as a prisoner, to suffer death when it appeared that he too was a follower of Christ.

John had turned to the leader of the band, asking mercy for this man. When he was sharply ordered to kneel—and the look of joy on his face, afterwards, told of the unseen Presence with them as his spirit was released—Betty was seen to quiver, but only for a moment. Bound as she was, she fell on her knees beside him. A quick command, the flash of a sword which mercifully she did not see—and they were reunited.

(Mrs. Howard Taylor, The Triumph of John and Betty Stam).

The Stams left behind a three month old daughter, who they had hidden with ten dollars tucked in her blanket.

As Taylor explained, John and Betty Stam were reunited after death. Their reunion was not as husband and wife but rather as fellow heirs of Christ, beholding His glory forevermore with the assembly of the righteous. Theirs is the epitome of an unwasted life. To live is Christ; to die is gain (Philippians 1:21).