While recalling my months in China, my memories of the several missions and their representative stations, out-stations, schools, hospitals and other mediums for contacting the people for Christ, are often broken by an interlude of following one type of work from south to north and into the interior. Consideration of Southern Baptists’ eight hospitals in China claims just such an emphasis.
It was in North China, the third mission to be organized in China that Southern Baptist medical missions began thirty-six years ago. Now here in all the world did Southern Baptists have a hospital until Dr. T. W. Ayers went to Hwanghsien, Shantung, China, in 1901 to begin the establishment of medical missions.
Today in North China there are three· hospitals, at Hwanghsien, Pingtu, and Laichow-fu. Central China’s one hospital is at Yangchow. The Foreign Mission Board, assisted by the Chinese Medical Board, has built their second largest and most adequate hospital building here. But one must add that the bigness of the structure reveals all the more in contrast the need for other necessary equipment before the hospital can be called an adequate hospital.
In the large city of Wuchow, by the river between the mountains of Kwangsi Province, Southern Baptists have a large five-story stone hospital building that matches any similar sized hospital in America in beauty and efficiency of arrangement.
Further into the interior of this same province is another Southern Baptist hospital located at Kweilin.
Many Southern Baptists think that the Leung Kwong Baptist Hospital in Canton is a product o1 Southern Baptists’ investments, but in truth it is an example of the excellent autonomy and unselfish Christian living· of the Chinese themselves. The only claim that Southern Baptists can make upon the splendid service being rendered by this hospital, is Dr. C. A. Hayes, Southern Baptist medical missionary serving m this Chinese owned and operated hospital in Canton.
Completing the eight hospitals in China are the two in the Interior Mission located in Honan Province. Both of these hospitals, one at Chengchow, and the other at Pochow, are housed in the most inadequate buildings.
Dr. Mary King, the only doctor at Pochow, is carrying on in the native Chinese houses flanking a Chinese courtyard of the olden days.
Dr. S. Emmett Ayers and his Chinese assistants in Chengchow, waste untold energy walking the half mile from the woman’s building (a residence converted into a hospital) to the clinic, dispensary and operating rooms, and another quarter of a mile to the men’s building on the opposite side of the compound. Alongside these buildings is a beautiful shady site owned by the Foreign Mission Board and an ideal location for a new building to take the place of the present three.
Facing Government Standardization
All eight of the Southern Baptist hospitals in China are facing an early enforcement of the new regulations and requirements of the government. Along with the republic’s plans for rural reconstruction, tariff autonomy and customs administration, internal revenue administration, budgetary control, industrial control, expansion and improvement of education, development and control oi sanitation, has come the government’s aim for better hospitalization for the nation.
One of the first steps toward the huge task would naturally be a standardizing and registration of the present hospitals. After this the government will know better where and how to proceed with an enlargement program for offering adequate hospitalization to her millions.
The lack of electric lights, waterworks, elevators, X-ray machines, up-to-date sterilization equipment and other absolute necessities brings Southern Baptist hospitals face-to- face with a very embarrassing situation. Inevitably something must be done and eventually these hospitals of Southern Baptists falling short of the standard set by the Chinese for their government and private hospitals, shall be forced to close their doors. Surely this strategic situation will be met before it is too late.
Worthy of Commendation
When visiting these eight hospitals of China one is immediately impressed by the professional efficiency, the extensive influence and commendation of Christianity and the steady spiritual ministry.
It takes three weeks to go up the river from Wuchow to Kweilin. From hundreds of li beyond Kweilin come hundreds for healing. For the first time they hear that there is the one and only God of love, even Jehovah.
On tables by the entrance of the hospital and the two-day clinics of Stout Memorial Hospital in Wuchow, are tracts and Scriptures. Mrs. R. E. Beddoe has placed them there. Those who can read often see upon these pages the way of salvation for the first time, even as they stand in line waiting their turn. Missionary, Bible women and evangelists are quietly, reverently working with these guests at the house of healing all the while. These contacts and these seeds sown are further developed through the follow-up work of other evangelists, pastors and Bible women in their respective communities. There is a new work of co-operative soul-winning between the hospitals of China and the other workers in the fields. And added to this are the extension clinics covering a diameter of one hundred miles, directed by the far-sighted Doctor Beddoe and conducted by members of the hospital corps and Mrs. Beddoe.
No patient can come and tarry in the hospitals without hearing and witnessing God’s love. Wistfully one smiles and praises God as she listens to the natural and easy way in which Dr. C. A. Hayes talks of his Friend, Jesus, while he tests eyes, gives ear or nose or throat treatments.
To follow Dr. N. A. Bryan from bed to bed, room to room, ward to ward at Hwanghsien and to see him blend so naturally his physical and spiritual ministry makes one wonder if there is any missionary work in the world so gripping as medical missions. Abiding in him as a branch, the doctor not only checks charts, gives the attending nurse instructions, prescriptions and orders, but he also pauses here to tell again the way of faith, and there to pray a brief prayer of comfort and faith, and yonder to answer heart-questions and soul-wondering. The blending of these two ministries makes one recall that it was also Jesus who went about all Galilee teaching and healing.
Alongside this ministry one sees these great Christian souls of China paralleling their service and their unselfish ministry with that of the missionaries. The Board has never been able to pay the Chinese physicians and nurses on an equal basis with the salaries that they would receive for similar services in non-mission hospitals. Dr. Jeanebe Beall’s two assistants, the doctor and head nurse, are living examples of two young people turning away from positions offering salaries twice as large as our hospital can pay them and staying loyally by the missionary and the mission hospital. “The door is open for winning souls here,” he said. “And just think what Doctor Beall and the missionaries have meant to me in bringing Christ into our lives and our homes.”
And when one thinks of professional efficiency and cleanliness, memories of the immaculate, orderly hospital at Pingtu comes immediately to one’s mind. If missionaries, nurses Florence Jones and Blanche Bradley, were in America they would not have any higher standards for orderliness, neatness and cleanliness. Dr. and Mrs. A. W. Yocum and their corps of missionary and native doctors are carrying forward a program that will match in intelligent application, thorough consecration, and efficient service any similar unit in America.
Of Jesus, Matthew says: “When he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” Over and over this verse pounded one’s brain as she watched the vast multitudes outside of the Pochow Hospital gate, seeking to come in. Some had waited days for their turn, spending the nights on the ground rolled up in their rags. The gate keeper had to close the gate at noon long enough for the one frail little veteran doctor of sixty-seven years to get a bit of food for refreshment. Forty-six years ago she went to China and always she has worked in, pioneer fields among the thronging masses and suffering multitudes. Now as the twilight of life approaches, she yearns for an Elisha on whom to drop her mantle, received from God in her own girlhood, and worn so worthily through the years.
Another most encouraging challenge of medical missions is seen especially at Chengchow, the crossroads to the north and south, east and west of China. Officials and national leaders may not of their own choice deliberately come to church or seek counsel with the missionaries, but when sickness befalls them, they do turn unto the best doctors and hospitals. Dr. S. Emmett Ayers, that second.:. generation medical missionary of China, says that officials constituted forty per cent of the patients registering during the weeks following the reopening of the Chengchow hospital last May 5 (1936). Reared in China, Doctor Ayers knows “his Chinese.” They call him “one of us”-the highest of compliments. Daily this young man contacts and witnesses to the people of China whose lives and activities will mould the destiny of the nation. Hospitals are one of the widest of open doors to the evangelization of all the people of China.
Combining the hospital and clinical services with a library, Dr. R. E. L. Mewshaw, superintendent of the Yangchow hospital, is demonstrating another most far reaching and fruit-bearing service of a hospital. Yangchow is an aristocratic old city of royal prestige. Scores of the men, old and young, living off investments have leisure beyond an occidental’s imagination. Eagerly they come in large numbers to read and to browse and to visit in the hospital library.
Space suffices neither for setting forth the varied services of Southern Baptist hospitals in China, nor for proclaiming the dire needs of all of them. Unless something is done shortly to enable these eight hospitals to reach the government’s standards, they must close their doors. Immediately one is conscious that the government is right to set a standard. Can Southern Baptists’ standard be lower than the Chinese? Surely not! Then something must be done quickly to save this phase of missionary endeavor that God has blessed so gloriously!