Over a hundred years ago, two young girls lived in a small village in the jungles of Congo, Africa. Instead of a house, they slept in a small grass hut. Instead of worshipping God, they believed in all kinds of nature spirits and witchcraft. When they weren’t helping their mothers with baking bread and preparing meals, they often stood on the shore of the big river and watched the men come and go in their dugout canoes.
But one day something terrible happened. Warriors from an unfriendly tribe raided their village and captured the two girls. They brought them back to their own village and sold them as slaves to their chief. The two frightened girls had to work very hard. If they didn’t please the chief, they were beaten. Nobody seemed to care about them anymore.
But God cared. He soon sent a young man to rescue them. His name was George Grenfell, and he had come all the way from England to tell the people in Congo about Jesus, the Savior. He traveled up and down the river — which was also called Congo — on a small steamboat named “Peace.” As he passed the different tribes and villages, God led him to the natives who needed His love and were ready to hear about Jesus.
One day, God brought him to the village where the two girls were held captive. When the chief showed him his unhappy young slaves, Grenfell felt sorry for them. Though he didn’t want slaves himself, he paid the price for freeing them from their unkind owner.
The girls were both excited and a little scared. They didn’t know why Grenfell had paid their ransom. But they climbed into his boat, and started the trip upriver.
Before long, they faced another danger. Grenfell spotted a group of warriors carrying their swords along the river bank. Some of them jumped into their dugout canoes and paddled toward the steamer. When the big boat was close enough, the warriors began to throw their spears at the boat. Grenfell knew their lives were in danger, so he prayed to God for wisdom and protection.
Suddenly one of the girls began to shout and wave her hands.
What is it?” asked Grenfell.
“That’s my brother!” she cried. “This is my village!”
By now, both girls were waving and shouting. So were the warriors. They were too noisy to hear anyone else.
Then God gave Grenfell a great idea. He told the pilot to blow the ship’s whistle. The loud, piercing sound frightened the men. They had never heard anything so shrill and strange. Suddenly all was quiet.
“Call your brother again,” whispered Grenfell. She did, and this time he heard. He paddled up to the boat and recognized his sister. She told him how the man in “the canoe that smoked” had saved her from her slave master.
When the warriors saw that their “enemies” were actually their friends, they put away their weapons and invited Grenfell and the pilot into their village. There they listened quietly as Grenfell told them about the real Savior, Jesus Christ, who died on a cross to pay the ransom for all people held captive by sin and by satan.
By trusting in Jesus and following His way, they, too, could be part of His family. God would free from all the frightening things in their lives. He would watch over them in this life, then bring them home to heaven for all eternity.
The two young girls had suffered terribly, but God turned the tragedy into triumph.
TRUE MISSIONARY STORIES