Monday, November 22, 2010

"To Die is Gain: The Triumph of John and Betty Stam"

I love biographies of missionaries. It is exciting to see the way God moves in various places all around the world. When we read of missionaries, we see God using regular people to do amazing things through His grace for His kingdom.

I just finished reading another inspiring book about missionaries. To Die is Gain: The Triumph of John and Betty Stam is a gripping tale of a young couple who gave their lives in martyrdom for Christ.

While in their late 20's, the Stams moved to rural China - with China Inland Mission - to share the gospel with the millions of lost there. Despite the dangers of both bandits and communists, they went where it wasn't safe to go. The Stams were willing to do this even though they had an infant girl (Helen).

In God's grand plan, communist revolutionaries suddenly took over the town where they were living in 1934. After a couple of days in captivity, the Stams were marched to a hillside and beheaded.

In God's amazing providence, Helen was spared. Some brave Chinese Christians found Helen and smuggled her over 100 miles to safety.

I encourage you to read this book because it reminds us of what God will do with people completely given over to Him. Both John and Betty abandoned the cares of the world to follow Christ wherever He would lead them.

One of the fascinating aspects of this little book (about 130 pages) is that it contains copies of much original correspondence from both John and Betty to their families and friends. We get to know them both through these original writings.

This book has been through over 30 editions since 1935. In light of that, it seems that it would be easy to find. Unfortunately, I think I purchased one of the last reasonably priced copies from

It's worth the search. I encourage you to look for it and buy it. Another option is to check your local library. With so many editions, there is a good chance the library has it.

To read about the Stams without getting this book, click here.


Aussie John said...


I cannot remember how long ago it was when I read this book; probably 35-40 years ago.

It deeply affected me, especially in regard to facing difficult situations without the "why me" syndrome.

Whether it was recorded in the book, or I received the information from another source, I cannot recall, and I cannot give logical reason, but John's bound hands, as he, his wife and baby were paraded through the town, impressed me as illustrative of the way in which many of our brethren are in bondage to the traditions of men

Eric said...


These two sweet people are certainly ones to emulate. I was even more impressed with their lives than their deaths. They really did give it all for Christ.