There is more than one reason October 31 is significant to people. Some celebrate Halloween, and others may remember Reformation Day.
This date is also significant to World Missions because it was on October 31, 1906--110 years ago!--that one of our first missionaries left American soil for her mission field in India.
Amelia Bueker: her name may be unfamiliar to some, but her legacy of faith and courage still challenges today.
Amelia Bueker, circa 1906
At the age of 28, Miss Bueker left her home in Missouri and traveled to New York City. She used her last few cents to catch a taxi to the post office. In the mail, she found enough money to pay for her passage on a ship to India. And thus began her journey, stepping out in faith that God would provide if only she would be faithful.
After six years in India, Miss Bueker returned home on furlough, and while in the States wrote a book about her experiences. "We, too, feel the martyr spirit burning within us," she wrote. "I believe we still hear the greatest and last command of our Lord Jesus, 'Go ye,' and the sweet, everlasting promise, 'Lo! I am with you, even unto the end of the world.'"
Mary (Kiplinger) Kimbrough worked with Amelia Bueker in India for about three years.
Much of Miss Bueker’s work was among the mountain tribes, where she nursed the people, taught them the gospel, and endeared herself to all who knew her. For many years, she was the only missionary in a radius of 100 miles, residing in Serohi State.
In 1952, Miss Bueker, along with the Missionary Board of the Church of God (Holiness), which had formed since Miss Bueker had first left for India, decided that, due to poor health, Miss Bueker should return to the States. However, while waiting for the ship to sail from Mumbai (then Bombay), Miss Bueker became very ill. In just a few days, her wish to die among the people she loved so much was fulfilled. The one whom she had served so lovingly and so faithfully took her on to her eternal reward on February 6, 1952. She was buried in Bombay.
In her book, Miss Bueker summarized the joy she found in her first six years of ministry, and one can imagine she felt the same at her death: "I could not have chosen a work that would have satisfied me more than that which God has chosen for me."