Chapter- 5: Testimony of Betsy Samuel

Hazards in the life of a missionary


Betsy Samuel (1-1-1947 to 29-1-1999) was the wife of Rev.Devasahayam Samuel, the last and the only son of Gnanamani Ammal. She was born in Nazareth, Thiruneveli District, Tamil Nadu, India in a devout Christian family. She was the first daughter in the family with three younger sisters. She stood first in her studies. After undergoing the teachers training course, she worked as a schoolteacher. She was married to Samuel who was also working as a teacher on 26-5-1972. She was saved during a revival meeting held in a town called Megnapuram in 1973. Since then, both of them dedicated themselves to a full-time Gods ministry.

After the birth of a daughter on 27-3-1973, both of them joined an outstanding evangelical organization in India, Friends Missionary Prayer Band (FMPB). They were sent to a mission field, called Periamalai, situated in a hill station, at an altitude of 2500 feet above sea level, which was not accessible to transport and communication. This place was inhabited by some tribal people. On this hill lived dacoits and wild elements like elephants. The villages in this mission field are so scattered that one has to cover a distance of 4 KMs to 15 KMs on foot. For buying provisions and vegetables, one has to walk over a distance of 9 KMs to a nearby market. There were no hospital facilities.

Both of them reached the mission field with their 3-month-old daughter. The FMPB paid a monthly allowance of Rs.260/- (say $5) during 1973. They lived a very simple life with this meager allowance. Betsy paid one-tenth as tithe to God i.e. Rs.30/-. She gave Rs.50/- to her mother-in-law G.Ammal for her maintenance, and kept apart a sum of Rs.50/- towards the marriage expense of her sister-in-law. The missionary couple lived on the remaining amount of Rs.130/- only. Both of them ate the food, which was normally consumed by the tribal. She never murmured. Nor did she let her parents know about her needs. She was content with God gave her.

Samuel used to go out for ministry amongst the surrounding villages and remained on such long tours ranging from 10 to 20 days, leaving behind his wife with the young child at home. On one occasion, he returned from his 22 days tour. To his shock, he saw his wife immobilized and confined to her bed and the child was playing near her. Had he returned after 2 days, he would not have found both the mother and the child alive. Since there was no medical facility, she was to be rushed to a far off place for medical treatment. Samuel hired some laborers for carrying her from the hilltop to the plain country. As soon as they reached the plain country, she was transported in a bullock cart to a hospital in Krishnagariri. She remained in the hospital for 40 days and regained her health.

After their mission work in Periamalai mission field, they were sent to Gujarat, a North Indian state which was known for its hostile attitude towards Christian missionaries. Two more children, boys, were born to them after their transfer to the new mission field i.e. Vyara, Surat District, Gujarat. Betsy brought up all the children in His ways and helped her husband in the ministry.

For taking medical treatment for the deteriorating eyesight of Samuel, the family had gone to Aligarh, and stayed there for some days. On return to their home, to their shock, they found the entire house ransacked by some thieves. The valuable earthly possessions were stolen. Their neighbors gathered there and wailed on seeing their pitiable condition. They thought the missionary couple would also wail. To their great surprise, the missionary couple prayed to God, "Lord, You have distributed our goods amongst the needy. We praise You for this".

In 1980, Samuel went to a Bible College in Karnataka State for theological studies. During the period of his study, they were not getting the monthly allowance from the evangelical organization. A dear servant of God, Emil Jebasingh, came forward to help them. He gave them Rs.450/- ever month. Though this meager amount was not sufficient for the missionary couple to make both the ends meet, they survived even after paying tithes to God. God strengthened their faith and comforted them through the following Bible verses:

'We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body'

Betsy was not only a good wife to Samuel but also advised him in spiritual matters and strengthened him in his spiritual life. She worked hard with her own hands.

On 8-5-1995, she was operated upon her abdomen for suspected infection. However, it was diagnosed as cancer. The doctors predicted that she would live only for a month. But the Lord prolonged her life. In 1997, she underwent another surgery and regained her health to some extent. Again, in Dec.1998, her health further deteriorated. Knowing her imminent home-call, she wanted the marriage of her daughter to be held. The marriage was subsequently held. On her deathbed, she gave her golden bangles to her husband and requested him to gift the same to the daughter of a servant of God. However, her husband insisted on bestowing the bangles upon their daughter. However, he acceded to the request of Betsy. On 29-1-1999, Besy passed into glory.