Mary would attribute her faithfulness to the enabling of God who sustained her throughout her 90 years of life and ministry. She passed peacefully into His presence just after Christmas.
Mary loved to tell stories of her early days in Morocco, where she served after language study in Paris. She went out as a single woman in 1948, initially to minister among Europeans. Following Arabic study, Mary returned to fulfil what God had laid on her heart: serving the needs of North African women and children.
For several years Mary worked alongside older workers in a Christian-run dispensary – a ministry, as she put it, to ‘the soul and body’. Mary and a nursing colleague also provided practical classes in sewing, knitting and handicrafts for local children.
In 1956 she married the Manchester man who led her to Christ as a teenager, and together they served in Morocco. They poured themselves into summer camps ministry, Bible correspondence with students, pastoral support and language tutoring for the growing team of workers. Their willingness to provide hospitality meant their home was a hive of activity. The couple returned to the UK in 1964 due to Bert’s ill health.
While in Manchester, the Hollinsheads ran the monthly NAM* prayer meeting and promoted the ministry in the north of England. Following their move to the Midlands, Mary was also asked by the then National Director, Ronald Waine, to edit the NAM magazine, Frontline. In her first editorial she described herself as an amateur who was taking the job on for a trial period of one year. In fact, she continued very capably from July 1977 for ten years. She also became a member of the UK Council, the first woman to serve in that capacity.
Mary had a tremendous sense of humour and was a wonderful storyteller. Colleagues remember her infectious laugh, her resilience, and immense courage in the face of difficulty. She was a woman of prayer, always supportive of younger workers, fellow retirees and the national office. We thank God for Mary’s life and ministry, and extend our warmest sympathy to her family and large circle of friends.
*NAM stands for North Africa Mission, the previous name of Arab World Ministries.
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