Lovell Ingalls was serving as a missionary in Burma when his wife died, leaving him with a small family. After he returned to America on furlough, the Lord provided another helpmeet in Marilla, and the couple returned to Burma. Shortly after their arrival, the Baptists of the North and South split over the subject of slavery and the Ingalls’ support fell to nearly nothing. But the couple struggled on. Then on a voyage between Calcutta and Rangoon, Brother. Ingalls died. His widow refused to forsake their earlier ministry, and continued raising their children and teaching the gospel to the ladies of the small jungle village of Thongze. For the next fifty years this missionary widow remained faithful to her responsibilities, and slowly the Lord began to bless, as husbands of the women to whom she ministered were brought to their knees before the cross. Historian F.P. Haggard reported that at the turn of the Twentieth Century “over one hundred Buddhist priests, the most difficult class in Burma to reach, have as a result of [Marilla’s] service become humble followers of the once despised ‘Jesus religion.’”
Marilla Ingalls was buried on this day in 1902. She left behind hundreds of Christian wives and families from which came pastors, evangelists, teachers and churches.