Born JANUARY 10 1877
The heiress to a family of chocolate manufacturers would normally devote her life to promoting the confection. Helen Cadbury chose a different cause.
When she was 12, Helen attended a Sunday evening church service with her father. At the end of the service, she responded to the altar call, surrendering her life to Jesus. She started carrying a Bible to school, reading portions of it to her female classmates. They too became Christians. They decided on a unique way to carry their Bibles.
They sewed pockets into their dresses to hold the small Testaments. That earned them the nickname “The Pocket Testament League.” Helen’s experience as (by then) a 13-year-old set the course for her adult life.
MARRIAGE AND MINISTRY PARTNER
In her 20’s, after receiving a university education, Helen met Charles M. Alexander. Charles traveled as a gospel singer with evangelist R. A. Torrey. Charles and Helen realized they shared a zeal to get God’s word into people’s hearts. They married in 1904.
Handing out Bibles was a common practice in the meetings in which Charles ministered. He challenged those attending the services to carry a New Testament in their pocket and to read at least one chapter per day. Helen recalled her school days and the title “The Pocket Testament League.” They chose that name for their Bible distribution plan.
The league became officially organized in 1908, the year the Alexanders began a worldwide evangelistic tour with Wilbur J. Chapman. They created a pledge card for those willing to carry a Testament and read it every day. People in nations around the world have signed the cards.
Through the decades, The Pocket Testament League has touched millions of lives. In WWI, military chaplains used the pocket-sized Testaments. During the Great Depression, the Testaments showed up in YMCAs and at CCC camps.
More recently, the league has distributed Bibles at numerous Olympics, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and offered special editions for various other occasions.
The most celebrated testimony is that of Mitsuo Fuchida, the Japanese pilot who led the attack on Pearl Harbor. In 1950 he received a gospel tract at a Pocket Testament League service in Tokyo, which eventually led to his salvation.
Helen died in 1969. The idea God gave her and Charles continues reaching around the world. So far, The Pocket Testament League has distributed over 110 million Testaments. The organization’s short statement of purpose says their desire is for believers to “read, carry and share” God’s word.
LET ME KNOW: How has Helen’s story informed, encouraged, or otherwise helped you? I welcome your comments.
- January 10 birthdays- Christianity.com http://www.christianity.com/churchhistory.
- “60 Gospels of John- The Pocket Testament League.” Youtube video, 8:04, August 2, 2010. Posted by FootWashingSinner. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFXekHFOyLo
Learn more about Helen Cadbury and the results of her inspiration from the following resources———————————————————————————————-
- James, Leslie. The Quaker Girl and the League. Exeter, Devon: pasternoster Press, 1986.
- Fox, Simon. Helen Cadbury and Charles M. Alexander. London: Marshall Morgan and Scott Publications Ltd, 1989.
- Additional videos labeled “The Pocket Testament League.”
—Images: courtesy of The Pocket Testament League—