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GOD & TEXAS: Melinda Rankin - Texas Missionary!

“Now is the time for action. The future may be too late.” These are the words of American missionary to Texas Melinda Rankin, as written in the preface of her book, “TEXAS – 1850.”

Her friends knew that Ms. Rankin fervently lived every day under the Biblical Great Commission of Matthew 18:19 (KJV), “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

Born in New Hampshire in 1811, Rankin accepted the call of God on her life at an early age. From then until her death in 1888, Melinda was consumed with a holy desire to see souls won to Christ. In 1840, she followed her heart for ministry to the Mississippi Valley. While immersed in evangelism, she heard sorrowful accounts from soldiers returning from the Mexican-American War.

Determined to make a difference, Melinda felt a burden for the demoralized settlers in Texas, and the impoverished Mexican laborers. In 1848, she moved to Huntsville, Texas, to help establish and teach at the Huntsville Female Academy. In her first book, “TEXAS – 1850,” Rankin wrote that there is a “great need of evangelical laborers in Texas, not only on its own account, but on account of its prospective influence over Mexico.”

Eventually, Melinda settled in Brownsville, and founded a school for girls. Hearing the sad stories of the destitute Mexicans following the many wars, she started ministering to them by smuggling Bibles and medical supplies across the border.

When the American Civil War erupted, she moved to Matamoros, Mexico. For the next 20 years, Melinda traveled throughout northern Mexico, and started the first Protestant mission in Monterey. Though the work was difficult, she was often quoted as saying, “The word discouragement is not in the dictionary of the Kingdom of Heaven.”

In her later years, Melinda became too ill to continue her work. She was quoted as saying, “I had entertained the hope that I might continue to labor and die in the field…indeed, it had been the long cherished desire of my heart that I might make my last resting place with the Mexican people, and with them rise in the morning of Resurrection, as a testimony that I had desired their salvation.”

Returning to the United States, Melinda Rankin died in Bloomington, Indiana, and was buried in Evergreen Memorial Cemetery. The inscription on her tombstone reads: “Pioneer Protestant Missionary in Mexico—a Remarkable example of Faith, Courage, and Consecration. She rests in peace. Her works do follow her.”

Revelation 14:13 NLT states, “Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from their hard work; for their good deeds follow them!”

Melinda Rankin left behind an awesome testimony of Faith, and many souls that have been won to the Lord. This is our inspiration and challenge. What good deeds follow you?

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