by Mrs Seaton

Dear Boys and Girls,

Many years ago there lived in the town of Derby a girl called Joan Waste. She was blind, and very poor as well. In order to make some money to buy food and clothes she knitted strong woolen socks which she sold on the Market Days. Joan's mother was dead, and she lived with her father who was a rope-maker. Although she could not see, she still managed to help her daddy with his work but when he died, also, she then went to live with her brother.

Joan began to go to church and there she heard the Bible, God's own Word, being read. How thrilled she was with all she heard and she began to look forward all week to Sunday when she would once more hear about the most wonderful person who had now come into her life, Jesus Christ the Son of God.

As Joan sat hour after hour knitting her never-ending pile of socks the needles seemed to be "click-clicking" even faster than usual, for she had begun to think of a very exciting plan. "Why should I not buy a copy of the Good News Book myself?" she thought; "I can't read it for myself, but surely I could find someone who could read it for me, and as they read it, they too will come to know about the Lord Jesus." And so, each week, more and more pairs of socks were taken to the Market and sold, and each week, some of the money was taken and was put aside in a little box.

At last, the day came when Joan had enough to buy her very own Bible. How happy she was as she carried her precious book under her arm; but what next? She had her Bible, but who was going to read it for her? "The best man of all to read it to me," thought Joan, "would be Master John Pemerton, the parish clerk, but poor Mr. Pemerton is in jail for not paying his debts." However, she was not discouraged, because her brother told her that even people in jail could still have visitors to come and see them, and so, on two days of every week, two strange visitors would visit Master Pemerton in Jail. One of the visitors was the poor blind girl, Joan Waste, and the other was some other girl or boy who could be persuaded to lead her along the dark narrow streets to the jail.

As Joan sat in that cold, damp prison listening to the Bible being read, she would pay very great heed to all that was said. Little by little she came to know whole chapters of the gospel by heart and she would say them over and over to herself as she sat knitting away at her socks. How happy she was to talk about the Lord Jesus Christ and to carry his Word - the Bible – wherever she went; but all that was soon going to change. You see, boys and girls, in the days when Joan bought her Bible there was a very godly young King ruling on the Throne of England; his name was Edward. But this young King died and a new ruler came to the throne whose name was Mary. Queen Mary refused to allow ordinary people like Joan to have a Bible of their own and one day Joan was arrested and put into the prison. She was told that she must give up the Bible and all that she had learnt from it, but she said, "I believe all that I have learnt in God's own Book, the Holy Scriptures, and I will not give up my Bible, or my love for Christ; I would rather give up my life."

Queen Mary was a cruel Queen, boys and girls, who hated the true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, and Joan Waste was taken and had to give up her life for Christ. She was burnt to death. She wanted to remain faithful to Jesus, no matter what it cost her, even her life.

I trust that each one of you boys and girls will think as highly of God's Word as Joan did, even though you may never be asked to do what Joan did, and suffer in that way for it. But, I trust that you will learn to love all the wonderful truths found in the Bible, and especially, that you will learn to love the Lord Jesus Christ with all your heart.

   Mrs Seaton.

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The Wicket Gate Magazine "A Continuing Witness".
Internet Edition number 79 – placed on line July 2009
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