Baxter was born on December 16, 1837 in Evesham, Worcestirshire, England
to Thomas and Edith Foster. Her parents were Quaker and they attended
Friends meetings. Her aunt Sarah was an evangelist with the Baptists and
regularly rescued girls off the streets. Baxter began her search for God
early in her life. She struggled with understanding God and could not
believe her goodness could decide her salvation. When Foster was eighteen
her Father died causing her intense grief. She eventually traveled to
visit family and when she was 21 met a schoolmate who gave her a clear
presentation of the gospel. She was converted and when she returned home
became evangelistic. She held women's meetings and went to the poorhouse.
He mother didn't understand her singular life and tried to get her to
moderate her schedule of meetings and holiness lifestyle.
When Foster was
22 the matron of the workhouse asked her to speak to a woman who had been
having severe epileptic fits. She led her to Christ. While doing so she
had a sudden impression that they should also ask that she be healed from
the fits. They prayed together and she was healed from that time forward.
Others were also healed after that. She eventually opened a small warehouse
building where the gospel was preached. During the Cholera epidemic she
rallied people to feed the poor. Many were dying of hunger because they
could not get out and others would not come in. They began a hospital
work in Mildmay, North London and Baxter was a deaconess for two years.
While at Mildmay
Foster met Michael Paget Baxter, a scholarly gentleman whose heart was
that Christ would redeem all. He was a Deacon in the Church of England
and had been in Canada for a short time as well, possibly with the Methodists.
They were married in August 28, 1868 on the Isle of Man. You will often
see Elizabeth referred to as Mrs. Michael Paget Baxter or Elizabeth M.
P. Baxter in writings. On their honeymoon they held open-air evangelistic
meetings. The first fourteen years of their marriage they had a traveling
ministry. Michael Baxter lectured on the soon and coming Christ with an
apocalyptic focus, and would follow his talks with a presentation of the
gospel. They had a baby girl named Rachel in 1869, but sadly she died
within four months. In 1870 the couple had a son, who they also named
Michael Paget Baxter.
The couple was
profoundly touched when D.L. Moody and Ira Sankey came to England and
did evangelistic meetings. They helped in the meetings and began to write
up testimonies in a little paper called "Signs of Our Times".
They had a son named Paget and Elizabeth went to Switzerland with Paget
for some rest and relaxation. She immediately began holding evangelistic
meetings and brought people to Christ. Elizabeth went to Germany for a
season and had the unusual experience of being able to preach in German
enough to be understood, even though she knew just a few words of German
normally. They became involved in the "Higher Christian Life"
movement, promoted by William E. Boardman and
spread by the Keswick Convention. Their paper had expanded to become "The
Christian Herald" and she was a regular contributor.
While in Switzerland
and Germany Elizabeth had met Pastor Otto Stockmayer
and became good friends with the family. She met Samuel
Zeller, and read about Dorothea Trudel
and Johann Blumhardt. A new season in the
Baxter's life began when William Boardman came into contact with Charles
Cullis of Boston. Cullis shared with him his experiences in healing.
From that point on Boardman began to teach on healing as part of the Higher
Christian Life. Following Cullis's example Boardman committed to open
a Faith Healing Home in London. He asked the Baxters to help with the
founding of the institution. They named it Bethshan and opened it in 1880,
and Elizabeth was the guiding hand behind the home. It had a major influence
for the next 10 years in London, and in Europe. Many were healed there,
including Andrew Murray. The home was sustained
on faith in the tradition of George Muller and Charles Cullis.
In 1886 the Baxters
felt the call to expand their work to missions. They opened a training
home next to the healing home. Over the years they had hundreds of students
raised up to become missionaries. They established the Kurku and Central
Hills and the Ceylon and India General Missions in India. In the 1890's
Elizabeth traveled through Canada and the United States speaking about
the call of Christ. These trips included Pastor Otto Stockmayer. In 1894
she also met and became good friends with Carrie
Judd (later Montgomery) who had opened her own healing home in
New York. She also traveled to the missions in India to encourage her
students. Her true and loving husband died in 1910. Elizabeth retired
to move near her son and his family. She had been a loving wife and mother,
led thousands to Christ, seen hundreds of healings, trained hundreds of
missionaries, and touched three continents. She died December 24, 1926.
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