In Her Own Words

Betty Mitchell recounts harrowing stories of abduction, grief, and loss—and God’s presence through it all.


In her 96 years on earth, Betty Mitchell saw her share of heartache: losing two siblings when a Japanese balloon bomb exploded on the Oregon coast in 1945; watching her husband being dragged away from a leprosarium in Vietnam in 1962—never to be heard from again; and enduring her own capture and captivity in 1975, during which she was separated from her family and suffered a life-threatening illness. Yet God never abandoned her, and she never abandoned her trust in Him and her commitment to His plans and purposes.

The following are her accounts of these traumatic events.

On the Tragic Loss of Her Brother and Sister in 1945

Through this tragedy, God confirmed to me that I was to “go” and take my sister’s place as a missionary. I said “yes” to the Lord and applied to The Christian and Missionary Alliance for overseas service.

When I stood before that Missions Committee, they asked if I planned to become a missionary as a single person. I said I did, but within a few months I started going with Archie Mitchell, the pastor who had lost his wife in that bomb explosion.

We were married in June 1947 and were assigned in December of that same year to set sail for French Indo-China (now Vietnam). It was so exciting with so many new things for new missionaries to learn. We learned that when God puts forth His sheep, He goes before them.

06:50 Video

On the Abduction of Her Husband, Archie, and Two Others in 1962

Left to right: Betty, Geri, Glenn, Becki, Loretta, and Archie.

I was busy putting Geri, my youngest daughter, to bed while Archie was having devotions with the other children.

We heard noises outside, and before we knew it, men were slashing our screen and making their way into our house.

They immediately grabbed Archie, took him outside, and tied him up. He was being led away when we were brought out of the house. All we could do was call out to him, “We’ll be praying for you, Daddy dear.”

I begged them to let me get Geri, who was sleeping, but I was not allowed. Instead they led me and my other children over to another part of the leprosarium and told us to sit down and wait. This was the most trying time of my life, seeing my husband tied and led off like that, not knowing when we would see him again and not knowing what might happen to Geri alone in the house. As the other three children huddled around me, we started singing, “God knows the way through the wilderness, all we have to do is follow.”

08:09 Video

On Her Own Capture and Captivity in 1975

Nathan Bailey, then-U.S. Alliance president, talks to Betty Mitchell and her daughter Geri after Betty was released from captivity in Vietnam.

It was Wednesday noon when [the Communist forces] found us. We were told to come out with our hands up and only one item. I had a stuffed bag on my shoulder, but in my hands I had my Bible. As I looked at the row of soldiers with their guns pointed at us, there was no fear. God, with all praise to Him, had taught me 13 years before about fear and love to prepare me for this time.

As we sat waiting for the soldiers to decide what to do with us, I opened my Bible. God directed me to Philippians 2:15: “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” Yes, Lord, this is what You want me to be: a light to these who are in darkness.

During my eight months of imprisonment I was taken from place to place. God provided time to share His love with some of the Communist leaders—praise Him!

Betty received her final reward when she passed into her King’s arms on June 28, 2017. Read her obituary here.

08:22 Video

10 responses to In Her Own Words

  1. So blessed to hear the real voice of this wonderful woman, Betty Mitchell… I was studying the lesson for the adult Sunday School in our church which touches her life testimony – “PERSEVERING THROUGH TRAGEDY”..
    I am truly blessed and had this prayer in my heart after listening to her testimony, “Lord, give me such faith and courage like this woman possessed.. I know, Your grace alone can let me persevere through tragedy… Help me finish the task You have entrusted to me.”🙏

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful story… God bless us all🙏

  2. Sad to see this today…

    Betty led me to the Lord on August 8,1980 at Dalat school in Penang (I was an Australian expat neighbor living across the street from Dalat) & she was such a mother in the Lord to me along with Lois Chandler both living & laying the important foundations of following Jesus.

    Such faithful women of God…whom inspired me to live a life in Jesus giving glory to the Father, no matter the trials that we faced.

    Bette’s favorite sayings at the time, I remember, were “we shall meet here, there or in the air!” &
    “Praise the Lord anyhow!”

    What glory she beholds now!

  3. What an incredible blessing Aunt Betty was to all who had the opportunity to spend some time with her! She lived the life of Jesus better than anyone I have ever known. I’m thankful that she’s finally in the Lord’s presence and reunited with Uncle Archie and family that went before her, as well as all those she was privileged to lead to Jesus. What a legacy!

  4. I met Betty in 1986 when she stayed in our home during missions conference. She was such a wonderful role model and one of my heroines.

  5. Betty stayed in our home in the late 70s and had a profound effect on our family. A saint who lived as one.

  6. I had the joy of meeting Betty Mitchell a little over five years ago when I was on tour at the church she attended in North Carolina. I told her how my Dad, as pastor of an Alliance church, prayed publicly for her husband after his capture, every Sunday morning when I was a child. She was a real hero to me and it was a privilege to talk with her. How many lives were influenced by her life and faithfulness to the Lord. And now she is with the Lord she loved, trusted, and honored.

  7. I had the privilege to pray for Betty and her family in 1963 as a child in a CMA pastor’s home. As a teenager, I prayed for her and all those missionaries lost in the Tet Offensive of 1968. As a young adult in 1975 I prayed for her as a captive with my former youth pastor Norm Johnson and his wife Patricia. In 1979 I arrived at Dalat School and had the privilege of working with her at Dalat School. There she challenged and demanded me to join her in ministering to those in the Vietnamese refugee camps and on death row in Malaysian prisons during our “off hours.” What a privilege. In 1989 I moved to Greensboro, NC, and started attending Westside Chapel with Betty. What a blessed life I have had to have intersected so many times with Betty. I was a public high school principal in Greensboro from 1989 to 1996. Everyone in the school system knew Betty Mitchell “as the lady to contact” if you needed help with Vietnamese/Dega refugee families. She never retired from her calling!!! She was an inspiration throughout my entire life. When I have been discouraged and thought life and my calling in life wasn’t fair or too difficult I only had to think of Betty Mitchell to be humbled and inspired. As I know for sure she would want me to say. TO GOD BE THE GLORY for a life WELL LIVED! You want to talk about “real” heroes? Start the conversation here.

  8. Ms Betty is amazing!! I wish I could have known her.

    I know many of her family have the same devotion to our Lord as she.

    Very inspiring!!

  9. I have never in my 85 years ever met such a Christian, I believe she would rank higher then Billy Graham,,,I don;t think you will find very few now days as brave as your mother. I am so glad to know her wonderful daughter…

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