This teacher’s copy of the Famous Christians – Mary Jones lesson plan is printer-friendly.
Look up the Welsh village of Llanfihangel-y-Pennant, North Wales on Google Maps.
To see her journey see: Mary Jones’ walk to Bala and back opens in a new tab.
Optional: Internet to look up your local Christian bookshop.
Also, look at the Eden bookshop online, in the children’s section, which opens in a new tab.
Optional: Could show the ‘The British and Foreign Bible Society’ which is now called the Bible Society, see their website opens in a new tab.
Optional: Could show the Mary Jones monument opens in a new tab.
Q. What would you do to get something you really wanted?
- Mow the lawn every week for the next year?
- Wash the pots and tidy the kitchen for the next year?
- How far would you be willing to walk to get something: 2 miles? 5 miles?
We are going to look at the determination of a young girl who really, really wanted something and this story expresses her Christian faith.
Mary Jones was born in 1784 in the Welsh village of Llanfihangel-y-Pennant.(Optional: Show on Google Maps.)
Her father died when she was only four years old.
Her school was about an hour’s walk, so that meant two hours of walking a day!
One day when she was about eight years old, Mary and her mother were walking home from a Christian meeting, and she remembered a Bible verse that the preacher had said.
The Bible verse was:
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”Psalm 119:105 ESV
She knew that ‘God’s Word’ was the Bible, but she didn’t have one and they were just too poor to do anything about it.
But a neighbour, Mrs Evans, had a Bible and every Saturday afternoon Mary went to read it for several hours.
Mrs Evans’s house was filled with many beautiful things, but Mary did not allow herself to be distracted by these, she just kept reading more and more of the Bible.
One day Mary was washing clothes in the river as she normally did, and she had the idea that she could earn some money by washing other people’s clothes so that she could buy a Bible of her own.
Soon she was doing other jobs as well, like looking after children, weeding gardens, and knitting socks.
Mrs Evans also gave Mary some little chicks so she could sell the eggs.
It took six years of careful saving to get enough money, but the closest place to buy a Bible was from the Reverend Charles at Bala, which was over twenty-five miles away, and there were no buses or trains.
(Optional: You could look up where the nearest Christian Bookshop is to the school on Google Maps.)
Q. What would you have done if you had been Mary Jones?
She was now nearly sixteen years old and she set off alone to walk the fifty-mile round trip.
(Teachers note: Could show her route on Google Maps).
She was concerned that she would wear her shoes out, so she took them off and carried them!
When she finally got to Bala, she met the Rev. Charles, but he had some bad news to tell her.
He didn’t have any Bibles to sell to her!
He only had one left and that was reserved for someone else.
Mary couldn’t help but cry!
The Rev. Charles listened to Mary saying how she had worked for six years to buy a Bible, and then she had just walked the twenty-five miles only to find there wasn’t any.
Q. How important was this Bible to Mary Jones?
The Rev. Charles decided that the other person could wait a little longer for the new Bible so he sold her the reserved one.
He was very moved by all of Mary’s efforts and he thought that it was wrong that Bibles were so difficult to find in Wales, especially as so many people were becoming Christians at that time.
In 1802 the Rev. Charles was in London and he told a couple of religious organisations (The Religious Tract Society and the S.P.C.K.) about the desperate need for Bibles in the Welsh language, and he told them about Mary Jones.
They appreciated the problem, but they didn’t have the funds to help, so they suggested that he should form a society that would provide Bibles for Wales, and not stop at that, but distribute them to the whole world!
Because of this, fifteen months later a society was formed, which was called ‘The British and Foreign Bible Society’.
By 1907, this society had distributed almost 204 million Bibles, New Testaments and portions of Scripture throughout the world!
(Teachers note: Could see the Bible Society website.)
Mary died at the age of 82.
In her town a monument was built with these words on it:
To the remembrance of Mary Jones, who in 1800 at the age of 16,
walked from here to Bala, in order to buy a Bible from Rev. Charles in the Welsh language.
This event was the cause of the foundation of the British and Foreign Bible Society’
(Teacher’s note: Could show a photo of the Mary Jones monument).
There are thousands of other true Christian stories, some can be found in ordinary book shops, but most will be in Christian bookshops and websites.
Q. Who knows where the nearest Christian Bookshop is?
(Teachers note: The pupils could find the nearest Christian Bookshop by using the Internet. Or look at the Eden bookshop online).
Q. Have you ever read any Christian books?
A couple of examples are:
- ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’
- ‘Maximus Mouse’.
The Christian faith is also expressed in poems, and in plays, and in dances.