Sunday, January 31
The Lord’s Day
|Share with a friend|
Minute for Mission:
Department of History: saying yes to God
Donaldina Cameron is one of the most well-known Presbyterian missionaries of the early 20th century. She led the Presbyterian Mission Home in San Francisco for more than three decades, working with police and the courts to save Chinese girls from the slave trade while fostering strong community support for the Home and the social services it provided. The renamed Donaldina Cameron House continues today, helping Chinese American individuals and families to fully participate in and contribute to a healthy society.
Donaldina was born in New Zealand in 1869 to a Christian family from Scotland. The Camerons migrated again when Donaldina was two, this time to California, where Donaldina’s father became part of the southern California ranching community. Donaldina started training to become a schoolteacher but found herself back home after her father’s death. There, at a pivotal point in Donaldina’s life, Mary Browne asked for her help, and Donaldina said yes.
Mary was the mother of one of Donaldina’s childhood friends. She was also head of the Woman’s Occidental Board of Missions, a group she had organized in 1873 with four other Presbyterian women concerned about the treatment of Chinese slave girls in San Francisco. While visiting the Camerons in 1895, Mary asked Donaldina to move to San Francisco to assist the current director of the Mission Home for one year. Donaldina said yes. After her first year of service, Donaldina decided to continue her work with Chinese women and girls. Buoyed by an institutional network built by Presbyterian women, Donaldina Cameron said “yes” multiple times and in multiple ways to the opportunities God presented in her life.
In 1934 after her official retirement, Donaldina Cameron wrote to the Board of National Missions, “It is my very earnest wish and prayer that with God’s help I may be able to accomplish some valuable service in His Name that will gladden all our hearts.” Her legacy established, Donaldina Cameron continued to look for ways to say yes to God’s call in her life.
Beth Shalom Hessel, M. Div, Ph.D., Executive Director, Presbyterian Historical Society
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Triune God, you created us in your image to serve you. You call us to follow Jesus Christ, who gave the eternal “yes.” Empower us through the Holy Spirit to say yes to your invitations to serve in ways that gladden all our hearts. Amen.