In the summer of 1880 a family was enjoying a picnic lunch on the beach of Long Island Sound in New York. They heard the cries of a boy, flailing in the water, in danger of drowning. The father left his wife and four-year-old daughter on the beach and plunged into the waves to save the boy. But the boy, panicked, and pulled his would-be rescuer under, drowning both of them. The wife, Louisa Stead, was devastated. In ill health already she was suddenly a single mother with a young daughter and means of financial support.
Louisa Stead was born in 1850 in Dover, England. She became a Christian when was nine-years-old. When she was 21 she moved to the United States. She attended a camp meeting near her home in Cincinnati, OH and felt a call into missions work. She longed to go to China, but poor health prevented her. She married in 1875 and had a daughter, Lily, in 1876.
Two years after the death of her husband Louisa was still struggling financially. She had no money and there was no food in the house. She went out the front door and found a basket of groceries and money sitting on the porch. That day she wrote the words to what would become the song “Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus.”
Eventually she was well enough to pursue her call to the mission field and Louisa and Lily went to South Africa where she served for over 10 years. While there she remarried. Her health became an issue again and she returned to the United States in 1895. She was able to return to Africa in 1990, this time settling in Zimbabwe, then known as Southern Rhodesia.
Louisa retired in 1911, but remained in Africa, where she died in 1917. Her daughter continued to serve in Zimbabwe for many years.
Here’s Casting Crowns with their version of “Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus.”
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