Mellowed Memories of South China: Part 2

 |  May 16, 1937

When the Chinese do come to know personally and intimately the Holy Spirit of the one true living God, they have a matchless zest for service. To witness to loved ones, friends and others, is the natural passion. Many, like the President of China, Chiang Kai Shek, go back to the old ancestral home as soon as they are con­verted, and there witness to aged parents and relatives, even as General Chiang in 1930 went directly from hi.s baptism in Shanghai to Fenghwa for a three weeks’ so­journ with his own people.

This missionary zeal, also, is indigenous and a by-prod­uct of the Chinese philosophy of the ages. The Orient has always been missionary with its religions. This ac­counts for the thousands of sects of Buddhism. It has been deemed meritorious for one to carry the teachings of Buddha to some untouched area and there to teach and woo and win followers to establish a temple there and to perpetrate the honor and glory of Buddha in the hearts of mankind.

This background combined with the holy, God-given zeal for the lost produces many warm-hearted zealous dis­ciples of Christ in the Orient.

The first wife of the founder of the Republic of China, Sun Yat Sen, disregards her place of national honor, re­fuses the automobile and chauffeur offered by her son, and chooses to ride in her ricksha, to do her own marketing and to walk among the common people that she may tell them of Christ, her Saviour, and may invite them to come to her home to hear more. She is seventy-three, and with tears of regret laments the fact that she has so few more years in which to witness to the women and children who have not yet had a chance to hear of God.

She is a faithful member of the Macao’s Todd Memo­rial Baptist Church, the descendant of the seed sown by the young pioneer missionaries, J. Lewis and Henrietta Ha:ll Shuck. The story of service of this church and its young pastor, as he works with Rev. and Mrs. J. L. Gallo­way, Southern Baptist veterans in Macao, is illustrative of Chinese Christians’ zest for service. A partial survey re­corded: Preaching and personal work in the National Penitentiary ; services in the Gospel Boat every night for the thousands of boat-people; daily witnessing and services in the thirteen towns that can be counted in the distance from the peak-point of the observatory mountain of the city; a kindergarten; early morning prayer meeting every day in the week for the members; full graded organizations throughout the church with an average financial expression of stewardship of $80.00 per individual last year. And lack of space forbids the telling of the personal work of that earnest, Spirit-filled young pastor.

One recalls the week-end extension river journey ‘with Mrs. Robert E. Beddoe and her hospital clinic group of workers from Stout Memorial Hospital at Wuchow and remembers the well-dressed, young Chinese scholar from a far away province into which the gospel has never yet been carried. By mere accident, providential, he chanced to make conversation with the members of the Christian group as they waited in a sam pan for the freight-boat to come around the bend in the river. There in the early dawn he heard for the first time of Jehovah, God and his Son. His serious, silent concentrated listening was inter­rupted first by his enthusiastic exclamation in Chinese: “If this is the Truth and if I can come to believe, just think! I can go back and tell all the five hundred boys in the Senior Middle School where I teach, that they may have opportunity to believe also.” This earnestness and expression of his zeal for witnessing and for sharing his potential salvation with others can not be forgotten.

The one unselfish emphasis in every discussion of Missionaries Lora Clement, Lenora Scarlett and Nelle Putney about their work in Kong Moon, W aichow, Hoyuen and environs, was the sacrificial faithfulness and zest for service of the young pastors and evangelists in their fields.

Throughtout the South China Mission one finds repeated evidences of this encouraging verity. Through this first century for Christ in South China, the missionaries have labored loyally, but without the undergirding of the native Christians, the kingdom achievements of today could never have been recorded. Observant, young sec­ond- generation missionaries, like Rev. H. H. Snuggs, sec­retary of the South China Mission, testify always to this fact. His fair appraisal and appreciation of all people has made him beloved. The Chinese call him one-of-them. He loves them and is aware of their innate abilities.

As early as December 1, 1883, a group of Chinese Christians opened a small chapel, “WaYan Suen To Tong” in Canton. The splendid Pooi Ching. School for boys in Canton was born in the hearts of six Chinese. The Old Folks’ Home in Canton is the result of the prayer-born vision of a Baptist deacon.

Today Hongkong has seven churches and receives no assistance from the Foreign :Mission Board for the large missionary program promoted and executed by the mother church, the First Baptist Church.

In 1935 the Leung Kwong Baptist Association was fifty years old. Composed of co-operating Chinese and mis­sionaries, this association was the first distinctly Chris­tian organization of its kind to originate in China. It has been the medium for unlimited training and growth and progress.

Today nearly all of the Cantonese program of evangel­ism is under its direction. The Graves Theological Sem­inary, practically all of the Baptist schools of Kwong Tung Province, the Leung Kwong Hospital, the Baptist Orphanage, the Old Folks’ Home and several other pro­gressive projects are under the direct supervision of the indigenous organization of South China Baptists.

Not only have the Chinese co-operated together in groups, churches, and even in this splendid association to serve with zeal and zest, but individually there is a roster of Chinese friends of God whose stories are thrilling ro­mance of the coming of the Kingdom of God in China. The early days were sustained by them and the mission­aries upheld by them. And there are scores, even more, today who quietly, unassumingly, with zealous patience, are making invaluable contributions to the Master’s work in China.

During the depression day of manifold problems, many changes took place in Dr. Rosewell Graves’ old favorite town of Shiu Hing. Beholding a closed school building and Southern Baptists’ one lone missionary, Margie Shu­mate, taxed beyond her strength with the Shiu Ring out­station work and the frontier adventure that showed her stakes in Sun Hing, too, Miss Pauline Sin, the beloved and faithful Deacon Sin’s daughter, charming, well-trained, cultured, stepped forward and offered her life, her all for service. Alone she directs the Bible school for girls, counsels the work of the church and advances a vast pro­gram of country and village work as she takes her students out into the fields to work, to glean, to harvest. This effi­cient faithfulness allows the warm-hearted pioneer, Margie Shumate, freedom to concentrate with her Bible women and evangelists upon the hundred counties around and bout that tropical mountain city of Sun Ring, where no missionaries have ever camped before.

The youth of China likewise are daily proving their lov­ing loyalty to Christ and their heroic daring to follow Christ anywhere in sacrificial service. Missionary Lydia Green, that magic of a little woman with hundreds of chil­dren to guide, to mould directly and through her under- studies in more than a half dozen kindergartens through­out South China, spoke . softly as she told of the victory of one of her kindergarten majors, who graduated from the training school two years ago. To choose between an attractive job in the comfortable city of Canton and the starting of a kindergarten in an anti-Christian interior city where there would be no Christian comrades, no friends, is not an easy matter for a young woman, Amer­ican or Chinese. But Miss Wang P’ooi Lun did not hes­itate. and even when the opposition and persecution were strongest, she wrote her Christian mother, “I am where God wants me and I am happy. I could not be happy in Canton, when God wants me here.” God rewarded her faithfulness in an odd way. One day a fire swept the streets of the houses on both sides of her little rented kindergarten house that still was empty of children, but her little home remained untouched by the raving flames. And the people came miles to see the-house-that-the-fire­would- not-burn. Her opportunities for witnessing for her Lord were limitless, and her kindergarten is crowded now and running a double session daily. The youth of China have a zest for service.

The one item in Mr. and Mrs. M. W. Rankin’s occa­sional reports is the scores whom Mr. Rankin is baptizing. ‘With enthusiastic fairness, he does not fail to confirm that these have been won and trained by his fine workers of the East River field. Tracing his finger over the map. of that vast territory, he names them one by one, pausing to praise and to point out their merits. To visit the kin­dergarten and primary school, the men and the women’s Bible schools, the church and its work, is to witness the efficient and loyal leadership of the seasoned Christians of Shiu Chow.

Even the little children have a zeal for telling the story of Jesus’ love. In Lydia Green’s Tung Shan Kindergar­ten, eleven official families are represented. And these families have been touched vitally for Christ through the repeated stories and prayers of these little children.

This alertness to witness on the part of both mission­aries and natives is a binding bond that welds them to­gether as one-in-Christ in a fellowship and workmanship that is woven of love and appreciation and prayer.

One recalls the beauty of harmony prevailing among the large corps of doctors, nurses, evangelists and Bible women at Stout Memorial Hospital, Waichow. Passing the two clinics full and overflowing with patients waiting their turn, the Chinese host smiled, ”The murmur of the voices of those in there telling the story is like the music of a little brook’s fresh water to a mother whose child is dying of thirst.”

Near the noon hour he paused under the gateway lead­ing to the vine-covered cottage of Doctor Beddoe’s simple but restfully beautiful home, “Listen! That is the Dafu (doctor) playing hymns on his piano. It is his lunch hour, but he prefers to make music rather than to eat. He is like that-always casting from his soul some melody to fill the air with gentleness and sweetness. Perhaps he doesn’t know how much we who live and work here count on the music of his life for our own strength.” And there was a wistful, misty prayer reflected in his kind, dark eyes.

A Zenith of Gratitude

The Orientals are a superlative people. To portray them even as they are, sounds exaggerated to the practical minded, prosaic Occidental, not accustomed to the patience and mysticism of the East. By their taking time to ponder, they claim more poise and poetry in activity; through their centuries of culture and courtesy, they find it very natural to take time for ceremony and for the charming niceties of life; and somehow through having been soul­starved so long they seem to know how to be more humble, more grateful, more appreciative than any other people in the world.

To the Chinese it is bold ingratitude not to preface every prayerful petition to God by a humble please, or please be so kind and gracious, oh Lord, as to…Chinese prayers are fraught with. praise. They love the Psalms. The phrases of praise capture their feelings and voice their own emotions. They sing nearly all of the Psalms. Adapting them to old Chinese melodies, they sing them over and over fervently, earnestly, especially in Shantung.

Paralleled praise and gratitude likewise are poured out to Southern Baptists for sending messengers of the gospel to them and for every evidence of helping them in their quest for China’s evangelization.

Tears of love and gratitude flowed down the cheeks of the members of the Hongkong W.M.S. as they stood rev­erently by the grave of Henrietta Hall Shuck in Happy Valley Cemetery and listened to Dr. George W. Truett sketch the brief life of this girl of Virginia. “She did not live long but she lived much,” and men’s eyes were dimmed, also, by the consciousness of what that much had meant to them and to unnumbered others.

Even those who not yet have understood sufficiently to believe beam their gratitude. One recalls one of the hotel keepers in Waichow. Through Mr. and Mrs. A. R. Galli­more’s leadership the congregation of the Waichow Church had only a little while ago presented to four of the hotels a Chinese Bible for every room. These Christians made much of this opportunity to preach the gospel to the managers and their attendants who came to receive these gift Bibles. When one of these managers who were impressed, grateful, moved, met “the guest from America,” his first thought was of the gifts and his heart and face overflowed with gratitude.

The echoing notes of the youths’ banquet, of Leung Kwong W.M.S. Associational meeting, and of the Train­ing School’s special hour in Canton, were all keyed to the one melodious refrain of gratitude. Dr. Frank H. Wood­ward’s Men’s Brotherhood in Waichow met for the one sole purpose of voicing their thanks to Southern Baptists for having sent missionaries to them and for having builded schools and hospitals for them. Pastors, evan­gelists, Bible women and teachers, came from afar; little old women hobbled over many miles upon their once­bound feet to send their gratitude back to America by the guests, and groups of school children and kindergartens sang their gratitude over and over.

Repeatedly congregations clasped hands with their guests and sang “Blest Be the Tie That Binds Our Hearts in Christian Love,” and “Praise God from Whom All Bless­ings Flow,” and then extending their hands in an imaginary reach across the Pacific, bade the Southern Baptist guests to take back to America their love, their gratitude, their abiding fellowship and prayers, and the message of their eagerness to clasp hands even more firmly as they stand – upon the threshold of this Second Century for Christ in South China. “Please pray for us,” was always the final token of their heart throbs to be delivered for them to Southern Baptists – Please pray for us !”

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