Women Who Impacted the World for Christ – Mary Borden

Bill Borden

In his book entitled Serious Times: Making Your Life Matter in an Urgent Day, James Emery White writes about an impactful event in his own life:

“I once ran across an old book that has become a prized part of my library. It was a biography simply titled Borden of Yale. It told of a man named William Borden who went to Yale University as an undergraduate and afterward became a missionary candidate to China. Heir to the Borden Dairy estate, he was a millionaire by the time he graduated high school. As a gift on the event of his graduation, Borden was sent on a trip around the world. Traveling throughout Asia, the Middle East and Europe, he experienced a growing concern for the lost of the world. He wrote home to say, ‘I’m going to give my life to prepare for the mission field.’ After making this decision, he wrote two words in the back of his Bible: ‘No Reserves.’

“From there Borden went on to Yale University with purpose and determination. During his first semester he began a campus-wide student movement to meet regularly, read the Bible and pray. By the end of his first year, 150 fellow freshmen were meeting for weekly Bible studies. By the time he was a senior, 1,000 out of Yale’s 1,300 students were joining together in these groups. Beyond the campus, Borden founded the Yale Hope Mission to reach out to those on the streets of New Haven, Connecticut. All of this was set in the context of his call to missionary service, which soon focused on Muslims in China. After graduation, Borden was offered numerous high-paying jobs, but all were declined in order to pursue the mission field. At this point, he wrote down two more words in the back of his Bible: ‘No Retreats.’

“Borden next went to graduate school at Princeton Seminary, where he was ordained to the ministry. After he finished his studies, he set sail for China through the China Inland Mission, stopping first in Egypt to study Arabic. While there, he contracted cerebrospinal meningitis. In less than a month, William Borden was dead. He was twenty-six years old. But before his death, knowing that the steps of his life would take him no further, he had written two more words in his Bible; beneath ‘No Reserves’ and ‘No Retreats’ he had written No Regrets.'” (adapted from Mrs. Howard Taylor, Borden of Yale ’09)

Now, let me tell you about the woman behind this great man! Listen to her words on the eve of her son’s departure for Egypt where he was to go to learn Arabic and learn how to share the gospel with Muslims.

“In the quiet of my room that night, worn and weary and sad, I feel asleep asking myself again and again, ‘Is it, after all, worthwhile?’  And in the morning, as I awoke to consciousness, a still small voice was speaking in my heart, answering the question with these words:

‘God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son…’”  The thought strengthened her for that day – the last day she would see him alive.

She wrote later:

“Each day, from his childhood, William and I had prayed that the will of God might be done in his life.  And, as we parted on the Mauretania, we prayed again.  I wonder if it occurred to him later, as it did to me, that we had prayed that he might be taken to China and made a blessing among its millions of Muslims – but only ‘if it be Thy will.’”

From childhood, Mary Borden had consecrated her William to the Lord. Have you done the same with your children?

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