From Jute to Jungle – instalment 1

‘We’ll do for you if you don’t leave us alone!’

I’ll not give up on you.  You can do what you like to me.’  The feisty Mary Slessor had an answer for the dark-haired, wiry street lad from Dundee who was taunting her.

She stood her ground as out of her pocket he produced a lump of lead tied to a length of string and swung it round and round her head.  Mary had seen this kind of weapon before but this was the first time she had been threatened with it.

‘I’ll strike a deal with you.  If you swing that lead as near me as you can and I don’t flinch, you must promise to come to the mission with me and then when there you must behave.’

The urchin smirked.  He knew she would soon flinch; she was only a girl anyway.

The bullying lad gradually swung the lead nearer and nearer, the draught of the weight disturbing her ginger ringlets and at one point slightly grazing her forehead.  She couldn’t check if it was bleeding as she never moved though she was definitely quaking inside.  Eventually he gave up, he knew when he was beaten.

‘We can’t force her boys, she’s game.’

‘I’ve not backed down,’ she said ‘Now you can’t back down on me.  Come into the mission.’

Every week the street lads had  seen Mary walking purposefully into Wishart Church hall in one of the poorer parts of Dundee.  They knew she was attending some sort of ‘Christian’ meeting and they thought they could frighten her away but they hadn’t reckoned on her grit and determination.  Now Mary had turned the tables on them.  There was no choice but to reluctantly follow her into the hall.

Years later Mary had on display in her African hut a photo of this lad, his wife and family.  That day in Dundee was a turning point in his life. He started to abandon his wild ways and eventually learned to love the Lord.  The photo was one of the few possessions that Mary still had in hut when she died.

more to follow………..