August 11, 1822.  Helen Maria Griggs was baptized and joined a Baptist church in Brookline, MA.  She offered herself to go to Burma, unmarried and alone, but the board had never sent a single lady to the mission field alone.  After examination, the board appointed her in 1829.  Before she sailed, however, she met and married Francis Mason, a student at Newton Theological Institution.  Their journey to Calcutta took 122 days; they then went on to Burma. Helen became proficient in the Burmese and Sgau Karen languages and was able to teach and write in both.  On a furlough to the States, she left her children in the care of family while she went back to Burma.  Although many children and even adults did not survive the conditions in the mission field, Helen was criticized for leaving her children.  Her decision was defended by the editors of Christian periodicals and attitudes quickly changed although the pain of leaving children did not.  Helen wrote:  “We have heard of the tortures of the Inquisition; but I do not know that they could exceed this self-sacrifice.”  ABHS has the record of many missionaries which show the illnesses, deaths, and sacrifices they endured.


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