by Nancy Tichy, Author for KidZ at Heart International
The daughter of emancipated slaves, Eliza grew up in a small Texas town. She celebrated her hundredth birthday in spite of a life of unimaginable hardship and sacrificial service. When just a young woman, she and her husband followed God’s leading to a remote corner of Liberia, West Africa. Though she never gave birth to a child of her own, she was ‘mother’ to hundreds of Liberian children.
She was a ‘spiritual grandmother’ to a young American couple in 1956, intent on beginning a life together as missionaries to Nigeria. Once we did meet her in person briefly, and I gladly claim a relationship with this remarkable woman. You see, Frank and I were that couple, and Eliza Davis George’s most prominent son, Gus, was one of two Liberians studying in the United States who changed the geographic direction of our lives.
Because of Gus Marwieh’s influence, we pursued a teaching career for Frank in Monrovia. It was the beginning of a lifelong relationship with Gus whose smile was contagious and whose delighted chuckles as he read weighty theological treatises brought smiles to admiring observers. He had started out as a naked, barefoot boy, rescued by Mother George from an ignoble life of poverty to become one of Liberia’s leading pastors. Our friendship lasted a lifetime though God took us on different paths to serve our Savior, in our case through twenty one years of student ministry.
The story of Mother George has been captured in a well written volume entitled When God Says Go: The Amazing Journey of a Slave’s Daughter by Lorry Lutz. It’s available online and would be a great read-aloud book for family gatherings.
I think you’ll agree that this remarkable woman deserves a place in church history. Her story which starts in our country’s post-civil war days spans decades of indigenous church planting in Liberia’s hinterland up to the beginnings of that land’s devastating civil wars. And her influence reaches far beyond her beloved adopted country.
A young housewife caught wind of Mother George’s story and was inspired by the fact that this indomitable woman kept on keeping on even when supporters in Texas failed to keep their promise of financial support. Energized to set aside her frustrations with her own issues, Michelle Rickett set out to do something about the plight of so many women and girls around the world.
Shortly after Eliza Davis George had breathed her last, God raised up an organization with Michelle at the helm that makes a difference in women’s and girls’ lives. It’s called SIS, which stands for She Is Safe. This cryptic statement describes its mission and vision. Check out Paper Dolls and Prayer if you still have little girls growing up in your family network.
As the annual observance to honor mothers fast approaches, why not challenge your children to discover more about godly women who make a difference. Don’t forget those single women whose mothering instincts still do so much good. How many do you know who are members of the Proverbs 31 League or who answer to the Hebrews Eleven roll call?
Praise God for women who, like Mother Eliza Davis George, follow God to find lives of influence and blessing in his Kingdom. Pray that our Father will help us to shape young girls still in our homes to become brave women of faith whose exploits in quiet corners of our sad world will be heralded some day in Heaven’s courts.
“ …only together with us would they be made perfect.”
Hebrews 11:39- 40
KidZ at Heart values the church’s part in enabling children to fulfill their role in God’s plan