Amanda McFarland was the first woman missionary to Alaska. She was later named "Alaska's Courageous Missionary". Once when two girls were about to be taken away by the Natives to be tortured because they were accused of witchcraft, Amanda tried to free them. She was told not to go, "They are having a devil dance and will kill you." But Amanda went anyway. When she found the girls they were half dead. She pleaded with the Indians to release them. They did and the girls were taken back to the settlement.
Amanda's first calling to be a missionary was at her home Church in Portland Oregon. A missionary had come to her church to speak. He pleaded with the congregation to go to Alaska. She heard of the hardships she would face if she offered to go so at that time she didn't go. Instead she married Reverend McFarland and she and her husband became missionaries in Illinois. But when her husband died she decided to go to Alaska as a missionary.
In 1877 Amanda went to Alaska with Dr. Sheldon Jackson. Many natives embraced her and what she represented as shown in a letter she wrote shortly after her arrival she wrote the following:
|"When I first arrived, the natives came out in their canoes to greet me, the steamer having anchored out in the bay."|
|"The home is a large and plain but substantial building with a double porch to the front, looking out over the lovely harbor and its green islands, locked in by the snow-capped mountains which almost crowd the little town into the water. The twenty-eight happy girls were grouped on the upper porch and made a sweet picture in the light of the setting sun."|
© Copyright 1997 Elizabeth Beckett and Sarah Teel
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