Embracing the Unreached Unengaged – Part 3 (The Unwasted Life)

Martha Myers laid it all on the line for King Jesus and the people of Yemen. She served them for 24 years as a doctor, and over her 24 years there the hospital ministered to nearly 1 million people. She sacrificed personally for many of her patients, including giving away her savings account to pay for someone’s kidney transplant.


She knew it was dangerous there, after all she had already been kidnapped before, but not being there was more dangerous for her. One time when she was faced with the possibility of not going back she said it would kill her not to go back to Yemen.


On December 30th of 2002 three workers at the Baptist hospital in Yemen were shot and killed, including Martha who was 57. She had treated the killer’s wife for infertility. When the gunner was asked why he killed these workers he said that after the way Martha had been so kind to his wife he knew she had to be stopped because if she wasn’t she would bring all of Yemen to Jesus!


Martha was buried among the people she had served for over two decades. She didn’t want her body to go back to America. She wanted to be buried in Yemen, and during her funeral, hundreds of Yemeni people stood outside the fence, beside the graveyard, to honor her.


One man approached an SBC worker and said, “Our government doesn’t care about us, and our religion doesn’t care about us, but you Baptists have always cared about us!”


One of those killed was the hospital administrator Bill Koehn. After his death, his wife said, “They’ve seen us live Christ. Now, they’ve seen us die in Christ. The Church must grow!” And, it has!


Almost 6 years after the shooting in 2008, a local believer, who had prayed to receive Jesus with Martha, decided to start travelling the trails where she had worked. He wanted to talk to the people she had touched and cared for. He wanted to see if there were more like him, people she had led to Christ. He wanted to see if there were some who would be open to hearing the gospel.


In the last few years, many people have come to Christ, and some of them remember Martha. The harvest is beginning! Her life was cut short in 2002 but her ministry and impact were not. It lives on. She, being dead, still speaks. Her life is counting for eternity. Almost a decade after her death, she is still impacting Yemeni people for Jesus!


For the task of the Great Commission to be completed we need churches and Christians who will lay it on the line like Martha Myers. We need people who won’t waste their lives on the fleeting comforts of this age. We need a generation of people like Martha who recognize life is short, eternity is long, and Jesus is the difference.


Will we join the movement? Will we choose to not waste our lives? Will we count the glorification of Christ’s Name as more precious than our lives? Martha and the multitude of Yemeni believers who will surround the King’s throne in eternity would say to you and me, “The un-wasted life is worth it!”



To read more about Martha and other SBC missionary martyrs please read the Book Lives Given Not Taken by Erich Bridges & Jerry Rankin.

Here is a special video presentation from this year’s SBC telling some of this story and reminding us to take the cross to the peoples of the world.

During the IMB report at this year’s SBC all SBC churches were challenged to embrace one of the 3800 unreached unengaged peoples of the world. You can watch the IMB report. Click on Wednesday Afternoon and scroll down to International Mission Board Report.

You can get more information about how your church can embrace one of these people groups here.


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Published by

Jon Akin

is the Pastor of Fairview Church in Lebanon, TN. Jonathan has a BA from Boyce College, where he has taught part time. He has received an MDiv from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and is currently working on a Phd in OT at Southern. Jonathan is married to Ashley, and they have two beautiful girls. Maddy was born on July 28, 2006, and Emma Grace was just born on April 20th, 2009.

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