Lilias Trotter

Christian history is full of stories of women who have been called by God and who have stepped out in faith to serve the Master.  One such woman was Isabella Lilias Trotter (1853-1928).  

Lilias was born into a large and wealthy family in London.  Her childhood spiritual sensitivity blossomed in her early twenties when she sat under the teaching of the Keswick Movement, which helped to clarify her desire to follow God’s will in her life.

Her faith was further stretched when she volunteered to work for the fledgling YWCA in a hostel for working girls, including those of a “questionable occupation.”  Her passion to share Christ with the downtrodden deepened.

She was also a talented artist.  One of the leading art critics at the time, John Ruskin, thought that she could become “the greatest living painter and do things that could be immortal”--if she gave herself wholly to art.  Lilias chose serving the Savior instead.  She offered herself to missionary service in Algeria, but was rejected because of health concerns.  She went, anyway, along with two other single women, despite not knowing Arabic.

For the next 40 years, she worked in Algeria, and with 30 others, established what was known as the Algiers Missions Band, which eventually became Arab World Missions.

Together, this group established 15 missions stations as the gospel was brought to the north coast of Algeria and south to the Sahara Desert. She and her co-workers pioneered many outreach techniques that are still being used today.

Throughout her time in Algeria, she continued to paint and write, capturing the beauty of her beloved adopted home. 

You can find out more about her in the recently released video Many Beautiful Things; A Passion for the Impossible, a biography by Miriam Huffman Rockness, and an informative website: