Cloud of Witnesses

Cloud of Witnesses

Elizabeth Barrows Ussher – Caring for All During the Armenian Resistance In 1915, the buildings belonging to the missionaries in Van, Turkey, turned into fortresses, refugee centers, and hospitals. “Reports come to us of the burning of village after village, with outrages upon the women and...
Diet Eman – Holding on to God’s Promises For Dutch Christians like Diet (pronounced Deet) Eman and her family, the German invasion of the Netherlands generated new, urgent questions. Queen Wilhelmina had left for England, taking her whole government with her. What were the Dutch supposed to do?...
Johann Heermann and the Comfort of the Cross In the spring of 1630, while the Thirty-Year War raged around Europe, pastor and poet Johann Heermann wrote a hymn to inspire his congregation to meditate on Christ’s suffering. Ah, holy Jesus, how hast thou offended, that we to judge thee have in hate...
John Donne – Poet of Grace and Comfort In 1623, when a sudden illness brought the poet and preacher John Donne close to death, he expressed his lament with words that may sound relevant during our coronavirus pandemic: “Variable and therefore miserable condition of man! This minute I was well, and...
Paul Gerhardt and His Songs of Confident Hope In 1943, the German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote from his lonely prison cell, “I’ve lately learnt for the first time to appreciate the hymn, ‘Beside thy cradle here I stand.’ Up to now I hadn't made much of it; I suppose one has to be alone for a...
Patrick and His Mission Every year, we read articles about the “real” Saint Patrick – the one who didn’t drive out snakes and didn’t use a shamrock to explain the Trinity. His own account of his life, expressed in his Confessions , has become better known, but is still not commonly read. Yet, it...
Jeanette Li and Her Faith in God’s Promises Jeanette’s birth, in 1899, was a disappointment to her family. As most Chinese parents at that time, You Zhong and his wife Taai So wanted a son to carry on the family name. Since they already had a daughter, a relative suggested the new baby should be...
Betsey Stockton and Her Love for God’s Image-Bearers Whatever Betsey had imagined her foreign mission to be, it was not this. The group of Hawaiian men who came rowing toward her ship in their canoes was frightening: “Their appearance was that of half man and half beast—naked—except a narrow strip...
Phillis Wheatley (c. 1753-1784) and her Sovereign God Whatever moved the Wheatleys to buy the little slave that had just arrived from Africa, it was not her physical strength. Frightened and skinny, with two missing teeth, she looked sickly and frail. Susanna Wheatley’s decision of picking this...
Anne Steele and Her Weighty Questions Anne Steele is remembered as one of the first British women hymn-writers, and one of the best appreciated during her time and the following century. The introspective, searching notes of her hymns, uttered with uncommon honesty, made them particularly cherished...