In November 1897, the first BIC missionaries—five in total—set sail from the United States to carry the Gospel message to Southern Rhodesia (present-day Zimbabwe). Among those five pioneers was H. Frances Davidson (pictured right).
Davidson would later describe her call to missionary service in vivid language: “The Lord came to me . . . in the midst of other plans for the future. . . . He showed me Christ lifted up for a lost world. He filled me with an unutterable love for every soul who had not heard of Him, and with a passionate longing to go to the worst part of the earth . . . and spend the rest of my life in telling the story of the Cross.”
After nine years of service, Davidson felt God’s call once again. So she and another woman missionary, Adda Engle, trekked 485 miles through unfamiliar territory into Northern Rhodesia (present-day Zambia), where they established another BIC mission station.
At a time when women held few public ministry roles, Davidson was revered for her indomitable desire to serve wherever God might lead. As she declared in one of her final diary entries: “My Lord, I want to do Thy will in my life. . . . Live out Thy precious life through me and through me touch other lives.”