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Martha Myers sculpture dedicated

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP)–A life-size bronze statue of the late medical missionary Martha Myers has been unveiled at the library of Samford University in Birmingham, Ala.

Myers, a 1967 Samford alumna who served the people of Yemen for more than two decades, was shot and killed at Jibla Baptist Hospital by a Muslim extremist in late 2002.

The statue shows the Alabama native dressed as she might have been on a typical day at the hospital: covered from head to toe, as is the custom for women in Yemen.

Samford’s president emeritus, Thomas E. Corts, recalled the career missionary’s legacy during a dedication service May 11, noting that Myers’ calling to medical missions led her to medical school and appointment to the mission field, where the Yemeni hospital treated nearly a million people over a 24-year span.

Giving her weekends to care for people in remote areas, Myers became a local legend, Corts said. “Wherever she stopped on the road, people flocked to see ‘Dr. Martha.’ She loved the people of Yemen, for whom Christ died as much as the people of Alabama. And the people of Yemen loved her.”

Corts said he hopes that students who casually pass by her likeness may be stirred by her story and inspired to surrender their hopes of ease and prosperity in favor of treasures eternal. Appropriately, the sculpture by Georgia artist Glynn Acree is housed in the library’s Marla Haas Corts Missionary Biography Collection.

The late missionary’s father, Ira Myers of Montgomery, commented that his daughter believed in preparing for what God had called her to do.

“She had a genuine enthusiasm for learning to do what she was called to do, and how to deliver it,” especially skilled care and specialized surgical procedures for women, Myers said.

“By her martyrdom, she may have influenced more people than she would have by her continued service,” said Myers, who is also a Samford graduate.

Samford President Andrew Westmoreland and Ira Myers unveiled the sculpture, which Acree designed from extensive research and photos supplied by the family.

The missionary is dressed in a short-sleeved white medical jacket over a long-sleeved top, a below-the-knee skirt over slacks that reach the ankles, and sandals. “So that no skin would show, she always wore socks, not hose,” Acree noted.

In her hands, she carries a roll of bandages and a prescription pad.

Because his subject was fluent in the Arabic language, Acree used both English and Arabic to inscribe the memorial with her name, birth and death dates, and the words, “She Loves God.” The phrase also appears on the stone monument at her gravesite on the grounds of the hospital compound in Yemen.

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