BIOGRAPHIES by Rozalia Makai
Istvan Varga & Rozalia Makai website

The Life of Missionary Elisabeth Seiler
(1889 - 1974)

by Rozalia Makai
On the basis of the biography

Elisabeth Seiler was born in the Southern part of Germany on the last day of 1889. When she was 9 years old, she already had a burning, persistent desire for mission work. Once she told her nice, believer, old teacher, from whom she heard about Africa and the missionaries:
"When I grow up, and if the Lord Jesus also wants, I will go to the pagans."
Her classmates called her names like:
"Here comes the reli-i-i-igion!"

She arrived very close to the Saviour before her 7 years younger sister died, who told her:: "I am going to meet the Lord Jesus soon. If I could stay here, I would go to mission. Go in place of me!" She conscientiously gave her life to the Lord beside her sister's coffin. She was 19 years old then. A bit later, her mother also died.

She did not want to leave her dear father alone, so she prayed the Lord for that He filled the place of her mother again, so she could go to mission. Jesus listened to her prayer, and on Sunday in the church He showed her her second mother. She clearly heard: "Look! There comes your mother!" She asked the Lord that if this was His voice, this lady should come to her. Later on she got to know that this lady was in that church for the first time, and she went to Elisabeth, and shaked hands with her. God gave her. She became her second mother, and she could go to mission. She experienced God's rectifying work, lots of mercy and passion, while He prepared her for the mission service.

Her father let her go saying: they cannot buy clothes, shoes; if she can trust God, then she can go. Those days she was reading the biography of George Müller, the father of Bristol orphanages. After this, on its influence she told the Lord all her needs. With God's help, she successfully passed the tropical-aptitude examination. She got Kinin so as to see if her body can stand it. If she gets spots, she is not suitable. At night she woke up feeling very hungry. Then she noticed she had spots. She cried to God in her heart, who answered her by Luke 17:14:
"Go, show yourselves to the priests. And as they went, they were cleansed." She thanked the Lord, and when she arrived to the professor, he saw her clean and suitable for the tropical climate.
"Glory to the Lord! Hallelujah!"

On 26 October 1916 she entered the Liebenzell mission house. She wanted to learn to live in a complete dependence from the Lord. She promised she would never tell anyone about her needs, but she would only turn to Jesus. She kept this. If she needed a stamp, after her prayer in the evening she found the stamp on her bed.
Her heavenly phone worked. A bit later she needed 2,50 Marks. She told the Lord. And asked Him to tell it to the pastor's wife. 2 - 3 days later she received the asked and desired amount of money. Gratitude, glory and exaltation to the Lord, who managed everything wonderfully.

"Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever."
(Psalm 106:1)
Once, when she became ill, the Lord told her: "Elisabeth, ask for an egg!" During the time of war, there was not enough food. So she did not ask from home. She asked the Lord: "My dear Saviour, if you want to give me an egg, please, give one." Sortly after this when she entered her room, she saw an egg on her bed. Who put this here? - asked from the sister standing in the room. "A person does not ask such if she receives something from Jesus" - she answered. Immediately she thanked Jesus for it with all her heart. She always obeyed the Lord immediately. One day the Lord told her: "Go down to the English teacher!" She went down but she did not have enough courage to knock on her door. Suddenly the teacher came out and said:

"I asked the Saviour to send you to me. Today I received 2 cups of milk, would you please help me and drink one? You need it because you are so weak." From this time on, she could go down to drink one cup of milk every day and she soon got stronger.

In the mission house book-selling room you could buy the book of Billy Bray entitled "Joyful christianity". One day Jesus told Elisabeth: "Buy this little book!" She did not have money for it. The Lord taughed her a particular thing. One day the wife of pastor Coerper offered that the person who catches a mouse gets 50 pfenning, because in the house mice were eating the wheat. She could catch five mice on five nights, because the Lord listened to her prayer. She bought the book with this money. Then another problem occured: when can she read it? She prayed: "My Lord, please, help me!" Then suddenly she had fever and the pastor's wife sent her to bed. As soon as she was in bed, the fever was gone. So she already could read in this way, and when she received a visitor, she had fever again, that went away with the visitor too. She learnt a lot from the book.
"First of all it became clear that the Lord Jesus needs joyful people and not sad willows, otherwise nobody believes that it is good to be with the Lord. Since we would like to exalt God by all our life and to serve for His mercy's glory here on the Earth." As soon as she finished reading the book, she got cured. She experienced that her prayers were listened wonderfully, and she received wonderful guidance.

After the first Workd War, during the revolution, she was spending her holidays in a village. One day 200 soldiers with guns interlocked the village, even if there was peace. The village inhabitants consigned too little, so this is why they wanted to search over all the houses. One day when they were about to eat the soup, the Lord clearly called on her: "Elisabeth, stand up and go down soon, and preach God's Word to the soldiers!" The grandmother of the host family had a huge shed in the neighbourhood. Then a real miracle happened in front of their eyes. The soldiers started to congregate on the square in front of the shed. They had to start to go further from there. They invited the soldiers to enter the shed. They gave some song-books and new testament to the soldiers quickly. They started to sing:
"God is Love, He saved me; God is Love, He loves me!"
The Lord placed on her heart to talk about this word:
"I am thirsty." (John 19:28b)

When Jesus shouted on the cross, He did not only think of His body's thirst, but He expressed His inexpressible desire for your and my saving. She shouted in the shed again and again: "He had thirst for you, He had desire for you! Come and give yourself to Him!" Suddenly a soldier stood up. He put His Bible to his heart, looked up and gave his life to Jesus. "Jesus was sensibly present." The saved soldier turned to her with emotion: "Because of me you had to come here, so that I can find Jesus and be saved." It was a big teaching, that in order to save one man, God moves Heaven and Earth.

"My food, said Jesus, is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work." (John 4:34)

She was holding evangelization in a village beside Liebenzell. Here an eight year old girl gave her heart to Jesus. Her friend did not want to accept Jesus. Elisabeth encouraged the girl to pray for her. She did it on the following church prayer occasion. The little friend started to cry and shouted: "Have pity on me, my dear Saviour! Help me, I want to follow You, too!"
"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." (Mark 10:14b)

After finishing Liebenzell Bible school, she was on a test service in Heidelberg. The Lord blessed her work among children, so that from 66 the number of children grew 86. On the children's prayer occasion more children became saved, kneeled down, cried, and confessed their sins. They gave themselves to the Lord Jesus Christ, and thanked Him for His rescue.

"My Lord, your acts are wonderful, we praise and exalt You!"

Once she was called to visit a dying catholic woman, who had pulmonary disease, because she could not die. She asked if there was some misunderstanding, since Elisabeth was evangelical. No, there was not, because the woman asked for her personally to come and visit her. The catholic priest put on her a big spiritual charge saying she has to do penance for herself, her family, her parents, and many other things. "I confessed all my sins, but I am not able to do anything more. However, I will never go to Heaven in this way, if I do not manage to come out of penance." - said the woman. To comfort her, Elisabeth guided her attention to Jesus's sacrifying death, and told her this beautiful song:

"There is one spring-water,
from which dear sin-cancelling Blood is coming.
This Blood gave wonderful calm,
here sadness and troubles end.
This source is also springing for me too,
and I profess this with joy;
Jesus sacrified for the sin,
and the cross is also mine."

The woman understood that Jesus did penance instead of her, and she only needs to thank Him.
"He took away all my sins. I exalt, praise, and bless Him".
It was wonderful how the Lord opened the heart of this woman to understand all the things that were done at the Golgota's cross. She gave her a Bible verse:
"and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."
(1John 1:7b)
She put this little card onto her bed so that when the priest comes the next time can see it. "When the priest came, she said, started to talk about penance again. I showed him the card, and said: I do not have to do penance. The Lord Jesus did penace instead of me. There is written. When he read the card, he did not say a word any more." The woman was happy and grateful to be able to go home to the Lord Jesus as His saved child. She called her to herself even when her death was near. Elisabeth suffered from strong influenza then, but the Lord answered her earnest prayer, and gave her strength, so that she can serve her Lord. She was very happy to show the way to Jesus, who Saved her, forgave her sins, rescued her, and made her happy.
"My Lord, all your acts are wonderful. I praise your goodness and love. Your mercy is big towards the sons of men. The glory is yours, and we give thanks forever. Amen."

She was 32 years old when from Liebenzell a message arrived that she is ordered to go to China on 11 September. Should she ask the Lord? All night she spent at the Lord's presence, and she got certainly that she is going to China, but she has to wait. The committee decided to send missionaries you are not over 30 years old. "Pastor, in this case there is no other way: I am going to count backwards, and in 2 years time I will be 30." She started to pray the Lord Jesus: "My Lord, please, send pagans from ourside to Germany until I can go to them myself." Next Sunday at the church a Japanese person came in and set next to her. She was holding her song book and Bible for this person. At the end the Japanese man bended, and introduced himself: Ohassama, Japanese professor, and he asked her to read for him from the Bible twice a week. She got the permission for this from the leading brother. She did not accept money, but at the end she received a very expensive Bible with leather cover, written in English, and in it 1 million Marks. (There was inflation that time!) In this way she became a millionaire first time in her life. A bit later the Japanese emperor's cousin came to visit to Heidelberg. All Japanese professors, one mission pastor and Elisabeth sister were invited to his ceremonial reception. Here she had to sit between the emperor's cousin and his wife, and she had to do interpretation. Later on she got to know that Ohassama professor is a leader at teaching buddhism, and in his book that he gave to Elisabeth as a present he mixed Christianity with the buddhist teaching. Then Elisabeth prostrated, with broken heart she told the Lord all her complains.
"He, the Mighty and Understanding saw and knew the sadness of my heart." Suddenly as a thundering she heard from above:
"Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah"
(Rev 5:5)
Now she understood this verse of the Holy Scripture:
"God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." (Rev 7:17b)

Later on she wrote to the professor, who answered her very gladly wroting the followings among other things:

"My children visit the christian Sunday school, and can decide freely about their faith." Oh, what a grace! Elisabeth became younger and younger. Pastor Coerper came to Heidelbergben, and said that on 1 December she can travel to China, because they received a bigger donation to cover her travel's expenses. "Hallelujah! Such a joy!"

She received a list that named all the necessary things that she needed to bring with her. The Lord was with her and she received everything from Him and by Him.

"Before they call I will answer, while they are still speaking I will hear."
(Isaiah 65:24)

With her father she travelled to Möttlingen on holiday. Meanwhile the Lord decided something else. He sent her to Switzerland, Zürich to a faith-deepening conference, the travel expenses of which she received from a Christian sister. She got her passport, in a wonderful way, within 2 hours. At the conference she got 10 minutes to tell her testimony. She was the first woman in the Evangelical Brothers' and Sisters' Association to whom they allowed this. For two more weeks she could travel with pastor Coerper and she kept mission occasions or could tell her testimony.
"Holy and Mighty Saviour, you are so good. I adore you!"

In 1923 she could go to China. After their arrival to China, first they learnt Chinese language in Jangcsou. God comforted her and helped her learn. After the examination together with brother Becker and his wife, she was travelling to Sanghajba by boat for six weeks. From there she was travelling 6 more weeks to Jüancsou, in Hunan province. Her travel then leaded between robbers in heavy raining at the end. This way was a frothing mountain stream in reality, the water of which was up to their knees. On her feet the new pair of shoes had mouldered by the time they arrived to the mission station. In the packages many pieces of clothes and books went to ruin because of the water. They praised the Lord that He preserved all of them on the long travel.

"He knows everything, He can do everything and He loves us with His endless Golgota's love. His Holy Name be blessed forever!"

His Chinese service started in Jüancsou at a big orphanage, that was led by missionary Becker. 260 boys of different ages lived here. The older ones learnt craftmanship and passed the professional exam. The children brought up in the orphanage were well- educated and qualified, and they were loved everywhere. Elisabeth worked in the girls' school as a helper. There were approximately 50 students. Beside the work at the orphanage, there were a lot of things to do at the mission station too. Every day new visitors came, to whom they could talk about Jesus. Later on, when she got to know Chinese language and customs, she realised that people listen to her earlier if she has a conversation with them before. The key word everywhere was:
"Mán-mán-di!" (Slowly!)
"Walk slowly so that you would not fall! Drink slowly so that you would not suffocate!"

At time of war and famine it happened that a a refugee married couple arrived to the straw hut next to the orphanage. One day a nice little boy was born in the hut. The mother was faint and ill after giving birth, and the famine caused her distress. The boys from the orphanage saved some rice from there own food every day in order to be able to give some to the mother. Even if there own food was already decreased from 4 to 1 per day.
"Every day they went to the hut and were carrying the little brother in their arms. We were very glad with them, because this willingness to sacrifice was awakened in the children's heart by Jesus's love".

The famine still lasted. The orphan girls would have wanted to eat some meat but there was not. They started to pray God for some meat. "One day you could hear some joyful shoutings from the girls' school. We got to know that God sent some meat from heaven. How? Here it is sitting! A frightened thin chicken was huddling up on the ground. A hawk brought it in its pounce and put it here in the school yard." They fed the little chicken and continued to pray. Some weeks later the Lord sent one more chicken. They fed them a bit more, and everyone got a bite from the two chickens that came from heaven when they prepared them.

"God has thousands of ways and tools to help us."

Because of the great famine 50 boys were about having to be sent away from the orphanage. Elisabeth asked from God as a birthday present (31 December) that these 50 boys do not have to be sent away.
"My dear Saviour, I cannot be happy for anything else but if you give me these 50 boys as a present."

She asked for this by heart, she even opened the window in case the help would arrive from there. Then they received a telegramme saying they got a big amount of money transferred from Switzerland from the Evangelical sisters' and Brothers' Association.
"Glory and exaltation for Him forever!"

There was an approximately 17 year old boy in the institute who loved the Lord very much. Once he became ill suddenly, and his death was coming close. He asked Elisabeth that the children come and visit him because he wanted to say them good bye. The dying boy asked:
"Sing me once more the beautiful song we learnt: The door of heaven is open."
We satisfied his desire with tears in our eyes. The boy's eyes were lightened up, he stretched his arms and shouted: "They are coming! They are coming! Their clothes are white, there is palm bench in their hands - and they are sitting on white horse. They are calling me too. They are coming closer. They are weaving. I am going home! He closed his eyes and went away from us with glorious face."

After seven years of Chinese service she travelled home on holiday. On the way home she was suffering a lot because of her swollen legs. She asked the Lord many times to commiserate her and give her new legs so that she can continue her service in China. At the last Bible lesson in Liebenzell the preacher shouted in the room:
"And you are going to get new legs!"
By the next day the Lord defalted the swelling, and He gave her new legs as a gift. With these she could walk in China 14 more years.

She had just arrived in Jüancsou, when a serious cholera epidemy broke out. She slept in the helper's bed there, without knowing that this person had died shortly before in cholera. Her Bible women worried for her very much. They were kneeing around her bed and cried with bitterly and tussled for her life. They all examined themselves if they have any unsettled things in their life that could obstacle God's intervening.

They confessed everything, they were praying for pardon and then again for sister Elisabeth's life. With His endless love the Lord listened to their prayer and cured her. The help was so wonderful that within some days she could continue her work. God not only preserved her in the troubles but He gave her the necessary strenght for the lot of work every day. Jesus is the Winner in China too!
"Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you."
(Isaiah 12:5-6)

From America somebody sent some money to set up a woman group. She got 12 Bible woman from the Lord, with whom they roamed the villages together. The time of the first mission travel came. The lord led them to a robber village called Uesuwan. During 12 months the village got 12 attacks. The Lord opened the doors. The women visited the families in pairs. The good news reached every house. They spent twenty weeks there. 45 people wanted to get baptised. There was a 70 years old saved woman with them. She stayed in the prayer house in the village. If anyone was standing at the entrance, she invited him or her for a cup of tea. And she asked meantime: Have you also looked into Heaven? Me? Not. Then with luminous face she read the last two chapters of the Bible. The most important was Jesus Christ, God's Lamb and His Glory.

In their neighbourhood there was a 15 years old boy having serious pulmonary disease who every day went to the aeroport to sell small rice-cakes fried in oil. All his family lived from this. Unfortunately he could not always sell them so in the evening the poor parents ate the cakes dried by the sun. Once Elisabeth invited this boy to her and told him about the Lord Jesus. They prayed asking that he can sell the small cakes. The Lord listened to them, and after that every day he sold the goods quickly and they could buy some rice. Later on, he asked:

"Lady Missionary! Jesus listened to us so wonderfully about the cakes. Could not He do that my coughing stop and I be cured?" Yes, Jesus can do also this, if this is His Holy will. They brought this request together to the Lord and soon the boy got cured. In this way they saw the Lord's glory. One day, with one of her Bible woman, they arrived to a robber's house. The wife of the host was blind. As a consequence of a serious eye disease she lost her sight suddenly, and could not be helped. She spent a lot of money asking help from the idols, but this was useless.

They spoke about Jesus to the woman, they told His great miracles He did and that He even made the blind see. They gave testimony on that Jesus is the same also today and He does miracles today too, and they saw these with their own eyes many times. The woman was glad hearing the good news. And she accepted Jesus as her personal Redeemer and Saviour.
One day she asked: "Could not the Lord Jesus cure my eyes too?"

Elisabeth asked the Lord very much to tell her exactly when He wants to cure her so that she pray above the woman with her hands on her.
One morning the woman told her surprisedly:

The Lord Jesus stood beside my bed in beautiful white clothes and asked me kindly, with love: "Do you want to see?"

Elisabeth understood that the Lord wants to act. One more confidential conversation held with the woman so that nothing more could obstacle God's work.

"So, do you believe that the Lord Jesus wants to cure you?" - she asked her.
Yes, He will completely cure me, she answered. "Now I am praying for you with laying my hands on you, and I take away the scarf, and you look at me."

She prayed with her, and after calling the name of Jesus for help, she took away the scarf. The woman opened her eyes, and two beautiful big eyes were looking surprisedly, and she said with happy laugh:
I see! They thanked for the Mighty Saviour's wonderful help. At the arrival of the husband, the sisters and brothers stood around the bed because they wanted to see the effect. The husband stepped at the bed, gave the pear that he brought, and he asked about the state of his wife with great love. "Imagine, I can see again." Then she opened her beautiful eyes, that was really sparkling. The man was so dread that he collapsed at the bed and shouted:
"I don't want to continue to be a robber any more! I want to believe in the God you believe in. I ask for His help for me to become another man. Your God is the real God. He is the living God. I want to believe in Him from now on."

We thanked, and exalted the Glorious God's, Jesus Christ's Blood. His Holy Name is blessed!"

In 1941 they were preparing for travelling home. On their way they had to do big roundabouts. China was in war with Japan, and at many places inner enemy was also destroying. After a long and hard travel, finally they arrived to Sanghaj. There the German colleagues of CIM (China Interior Mission) received them. They went to Harbin by ship, where she could conversate with a nun about Jesus, who received light in this way. The nun used to talk to Jesus through Mary. Elisabeth told her that she directly conversates with Jesus about her things and receives answer. The same is the situation with the Heavenly Father. The nun wanted to be a saint. The essential thing is to be saints in the eyes of God, and not the people canonize us saints. She got to know from the Lord that she had to go to Harbin only because of the Catholic nun.

That time Germany entered into war with Russia, and so they had to travel back to Sanghaj. They served in Chingtao until the end of the war. She heard that in Chingtao there is only one missionary woman. She could live at this nice widow for a while. White, black, brown and yellow came and looked for this widow to complain her of their troubles. She also visited prisons. She received a lot of donations, and she distributed these. When Elisabeth asked, Jesus told her the secret of that house: "In this house nobody says anything bad about anyone. Here people do not talk about others."
The Lutheran Mission set up a centre for the soldiers on holiday who arrived here. Many of them fought in Okinawa island. So, beside the regular mission service, they had the chance to talk to American soldiers about Jesus.
"Thanks to God, more people who arrived without personal Saviour, could return home from the war with their personal Saviour. Oh, if I had ten lives, I would give all the ten to the Lord Jesus, so that I could lead people to Him! He is worthy for our exaltation and for that we burn in His service."
She distributed English Bibles and tractates too, and spoke to people at evangelizations.
"I can go and be anywhere, anywhere the Lord wants to use me, I am a missionary everywhere. And He has got a prepared road."

Four years passed in Chingtao and soon they received the permission to go home to Germany. After one year holiday, they did not receive permission to return. The doors of China were closed. So she became a travelling sister in Germany, in her own country. She held children occasions, and silent weeks spent with reading the Bible, teaching and prayer, home Bible studies, mission occasions, bible lessons with big joy. She visited ill people, she prayed with them, and comforted them. She also brought the good news on untrodden paths. She fulfilled her mission, and her Lord called her home. Her life and example can encourage to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, to have devoted life, and service.

"Lord Jesus, teach me to listen to your voice better and to obey in the first moment, like I already vowed You.... My true, dear Saviour, I bless You and I praise You for your wonderful grace that I can be Yours, and You can use me.

"It is not easy to say goodbye;
however, we are pilgrims.
The Father's house is above.
It is true what the songwriter says:
My heart already desires for its home,
here it is only an errant,
walking in dolour and trouble;
Down on the Earth I am a stranger,
but above in Heaven my home is shining."

LORD Jesus, You are the Winner,
You are the Resurrected.
Your Holy Name be blessed for ever and ever!

Elisabeth Seiler

"The true people's memory is blessed!"


Jesus is my life, strength, peace.
Jesus is my companion, my joy.
I trust in You. You are the Lord.
I do not have any fears any more because You live in me.
I do not have any fears any more because You live in me.

Jesus lives!

Translated by Eva Varga

BIOGRAPHIES by Rozalia Makai

Compiled by Rozalia Makai

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