Dr. T.W. and Minnie Ayers

At 42, T.W. Ayers was already a successful businessman and doctor, a prolific journalist, and father of seven. He was involved in his church and state convention, but he couldn’t forget his call to foreign missions at 24.

Dr. T.W. Ayers sank to the floor. His office door shut behind him. Resolved to make a decision once and for all, he begged the Lord for direction.

At that moment, in T.W.’s home state of Georgia, the executive leader of the Foreign Mission Board was in a prayer meeting, asking God for a doctor to serve in China.

To the doctor kneeling in his office, “Go,” was the answer.

So he went. T.W., his wife Minnie, and their children moved to Hwanghsien, China, in the throes of the Boxer Rebellion. Through the tumult and an epidemic, T.W. treated patients regardless of their socio-economic status. He sought to serve and to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with every patient.

A friend wrote that T.W.’s primary legacy was not his pioneering influence in Southern Baptist medical missions. It was not the establishment of the first Southern Baptist hospital outside of the United States, the awards from Chinese presidents, or the founding of the Red Cross in Hwanghsien. T.W. was a man who loved and followed Jesus, and who desired that others know the Great Physician. His legacy was a life poured out at Jesus’s feet.

Even on his deathbed, Ayers was still inquiring, “How’s my church?”

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