Saturday, June 01, 2024

Helen Cadbury

All photos courtesy of Unsplash

Many associate the name Cadbury with chocolate confectionery, but one of the family members was Helen Cadbury, who founded a business far different from the business of making chocolate confectionery.

At the age of twelve, she came to know the joy of having the Lord Jesus Christ as her Lord and Saviour. Having repented of her sin and put her faith in Christ, she wanted to tell her school friends that they, too, could have Him as their Lord and Saviour. She did this by placing a Bible on her school desk. A Christian group grew from this, but they found that heavy Bibles were difficult to cope with in the playground. So the girls had pockets sewn into their dresses so that they could carry a small New Testament. Within a few years, the group had sixty members under the name of the Pocket Testament League. Members promised to read part of their New Testaments each day and tell others how to be saved by repentance and faith in Christ.

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

In 1904, an American evangelist, R.A. Torrey, came to Britain to conduct evangelistic campaigns. Helen and her mother volunteered to help. Torrey had brought with him a song leader, Charles Alexander, whom Helen fell in love with and married. Charles wanted to use the scriptures more effectively, and Helen told him of the Pocket Testament League in her schooldays. Together, they revived the League, which grew both in Britain and North America. 

The First World War saw hundreds of thousands of soldiers offered testaments, and as a result of reading them, many came to know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Sadly, Charles died suddenly in 1920, which added to the tragedy of the loss of her only child in 1911, who only lived a few hours. She remarried in 1924, only to be widowed again eighteen months later. She threw herself into the work of the League as it grew through the twenties and thirties.

Testaments were distributed to Allied soldiers during the Second World War, and upon Japan's surrender, some ten million Bibles were sent there.

Helen Cadbury continued her work into old age, seeing the work extended to Africa, Eastern Europe and Russia. In 1969 she died aged 92 years. The work she began as a 12-year-old schoolgirl grew so wonderfully that over 130 million portions of the scriptures, the Word of God, have to date been distributed across many countries. 

Why has a work started by a schoolgirl had such an impact on the lives of so many people and on the opportunities for the scriptures to be distributed so widely? 

Firstly, this is the word of God, and it is His divine purpose that the scriptures should be read by all men because, in it, He is telling us who He is and how He wants all humankind to live. On this basis, God tells us that we are born in sin, and the consequences of sin are devastating. Wonderfully, that is not all, for the scriptures also tell us how the sin that engulfs our lives can be put away forever. God sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, into the world to die on the cross to bear the punishment for your sin and mine. If you repent of your sin and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, you will be free from your sin and have eternal life, just like Helen Cadbury and her school friends entered into the assurance of eternal salvation over 125 years ago.


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