On this day in 1846, Maria Dyer, one of the earliest missionary heroines in China, died.

Maria was the eldest daughter of Joseph Tarn, the director of the London Missionary Society.  So she grew up hearing about the work of brave missionaries all over the World.  She met Samuel Dyer, who was headed to China as a missionary and the two were married.  They arrived in China in 1827 and immediately set to work.  Maria took an active role in reaching out to the Chinese woman, who were often shunned and rarely educated.  She started a school for them, where they learned the Bible and other helpful life skills.  Her school, the oldest girl’s school in China, still exists to this day.

Even when her husband died in 1843, Maria faithfully continued to work.  She later remarried another missionary, but died a year later.  On her tombstone was written:

Devoted her distinguished Talents during the last 19 hears of her life to the extension of Christ’s kingdom among the Chinese females in the Straits

The legacy of this faithful woman lived on when her daughter, also named Maria, married Hudson Taylor and became a symbol for the work being done for women with the China Inland Mission.

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