[The following transcripts of the diary by Sarah Alice (Troyer) Young were made by Mrs. Carol Whiting in the 1990s. The original, which was often very faded and difficult to read. A very few minor revisions were made by the archives staff, including Laurie Ellison, a Wheaton College graduate student working under the supervision of the BGC Archives staff.]
[Young several times in her letters refers to her "diary" which she is regularly sending back to be circulated among her siblings and perhaps to other interested parties. Apparently this was not a typical diary but a summary of daily events kept for her family and friends, rather than herself. The Archives has the segments for the time period between September 9, 1896 and May 20, 1897. By the evidence of her letters, there were other segments as well. The texts of letters are also included in the diary. Apparently Sarah Alice copied them into her diary because they would also be of interest. The diary is a record of her ministry and the spiritual progress of Chinese converts. It is especially valuable because it gives day-to-day information about Chinese converts and workers only briefly mentioned in Young's letters.]
[Comments in brackets were added by an archivist, except those in italics, which are by Mrs. Whiting. No attempt has been made to maintain the layout or page numbering of Young's letters or to indicate page breaks, except to have paragraph breaks at the same points as they occur in the correspondence. Misspelling in the diary have been left as is, as has punctuation and capitalization. Entries appear in order that they appear in the oroginal "diary,' which is sometime out of chronilogical order.]
[Preface by Carol (Mizer) Whiting, a relative of Sarah Alice Troyer Young and the transcriber of the letters and diary:
Sarah Alice Troyer was born in 1871, one of 11 children of John D. and Catharine (Egly) Troyer. She was my
Grandmother's sister. These are letters she wrote to her sisters and brothers before she became a Missionary and while in training
and when she was in China as a Missionary. Her siblings were Daniel, Marietta, Anna (my grandmother), Lydia, Joseph, Emanline,
David, Ellen, Martha, and John. ]
TABLE OF CONTENTS
September 9 '96
Praise the Lord for full salvation provided for the Chinese as well as the Americans!
In my July diary I spoke of Mrs Chang's unbiding her feet one Sunday morning after Service.
Today she has gone to her home to ris it of it's false Gods and all things dishonouring to the God
she now serves. She is a widow and her only child is in Mr. Smith's "Boy's School". There is no
one in her home but she is not satisfied to leave it occupied by these false gods. Mrs Gates and
Mrs. Smith have gone with her to witness the burning.
I began to read with my new teacher this morning. His pronunciation is different from that of Mr.
Han and it will doubtedly hinder me for a time. Mr Han was numbered amoung the enquirers for
a time and seemed to be coming out bright but for some time past we have seen falseness in him
and last week had to dismiss him. He seemed really to know something of the Saviour and we
hoped for full conversion but Satan and the wickedness of the human heart have the victory so
far as we can tell. The Lord is able to save him still if we only believe.
Dear Mrs Chang is suffering severe percution. An angry Brother-in-law prevented the idols
being burned yesterday and she remained until this morning hoping for an opportunity to burn
them. Mrs Smith and Miss Gates returned with her son. This morning she came back with the
most dreadful story. She had been beaten by brother-in-law and nephew (I find I am wrong about
the brother-in-law beating her) and the whole village had come out to mock at her unbound feet.
They have threatened to sell her for a wife and will not allow her to stay with Mrs Smith (whom
she has been serving) any longer. She has stood bravely and alone in all her village. Mrs Smith
returned with her to her home. Later,- Mrs Chang has succeded in burning her idols but as a
result was cast off by all her people. She is again with Mrs Smith. When Mr Smith went to her
village to try to make peace one old man, at the head of the house, said,"If you take a big knife
and cut my throat for it I will not live at peace with that woman while her feet are unbound".
However the Lord will not allow His little ones to suffer more than necessary-A written
agreement of peace has been signed by the people of the village.
The women are not coming in to us much now because so busy in their harvest field, but
we go to them. Miss Gates with her woman goes out in the morning and in the afternoon for two
hours I go out with her (Miss Gates). The people in the street not visited much still seem afraid of
us. It is very sad to see how little they care for the Gospel. Now and again the Lord gives
encouragement by giving an interested listener. Yesterday for the morning services we had a
number of women in who listened well to Elder Liu as he gave
them very faithfully the Gospel. Our woman who has been with us only about six weeks is very
much interested and seems really to have a great deal of joy in what little she has learned.
Yesterday she said as Miss Gates was talking with her "If my Mother had only known this. She
was a good woman and tried all her life to find the right way. She knew there is only one God
and prayed to Him but she didn't know Jesus-she didn't know that He is the Saviour." I take her
for half hour or an hour a day in reading and find her very quick indeed. May the Lord do this
own work in her heart. The man who heard the Gospel on the street at the time of the great fair
and returned the following Sunday to hear more seems to be coming out clear and bright. He has
been in several times and I believe stays all at Mrs. Smiths to hear, even sometimes doing with
out his food. After having several talks with him Elder Lui spoke to him about his idols, "O said
the man, I tore them down the following day after hearing the true doctrine on the street". He
says his wife to is becoming interested. There is a little encouragement in the children's work,
too. The Mother of some little ones who live just opposite says every night before they go to bed
they pray the little prayer they learned here "Kiu chu kiu o" and I notice some of them trying to
sing "Jesus Loves Me " the chorus of which they have learned. In many homes we find the
children able to repeat the few words of Gospel which are written on the back of the cards I give
them on Sunday afternoon. Sometime, there are so many in that I find it difficult to manage them
all. Recently I have not been troubled this way but the poor little ones must care for their baby
brothers and sisters and as they are to young to put down they are hindered a great deal by the
Today we went to one of our neighbors who has been a good listener ever since we came.
She is from Pekin and has big feet. Dear woman she seemed to drink in the message so different
from most of these women, but Satan hinders. She does not come in as at first to hear the Gospel
every day but perhaps it is because she is so busy. Then we went to our Land Lady's house and
found her ready as always to hear. Oh that these people who see the truth might take a stand for
it. My teacher gave me a little encouragement this morning. We were reading the Crucifiscion
and resurrection of Jesus. We had a few words of conversation about it and he said his heart is
enlightened and he understands it all and it is good. He said sometime ago to our boy that one
word of our Bible is worth more than all the books of Confucius. He also brought some paper
idols here to burn and tried to do it privately too. Won't you pray with us for his soul?
Oct. 13, '96
I enjoyed Sunday morning in trying to do a little by bringing in the women from the
street. I succeded in bringing in a few in. In the afternoon I had a number of little ones in spite of
the rain. I try to teach them a short text with the character. But it is difficult to do much because
they do not come regularly. Today we got into a home in a new neighborhood and are invited to
stop when ever we go that way and the three women said they would come and sit in our home,
and follow us. It seems very much from the conversation that they expect to get money from our
God just as we do. We are constantly asked where we get our money and sometime we are told if
we will have our God give them money as He does us they will follow this doctrine. Money
seems the root of evil in China as much as at home. We also passed through a Mohammedan
street. The people are a much better class, apparently, than those we meet as a rule in other
streets, and are particularly clean and neat. It seems very sad to leave them without the Gospel
though they are few compared with the other class of Chinese. The Mandrarins seem very
friendly to us. Last week there was some trouble at the R. Catholic premises created by the
scholars who were at the examinations, where upon there came a proclamation from the Mandrin
to be put up in the Chapel at the North St. saying that the foreigners must be protected and
warning any who might wish to harm. Mr and Mrs Smith have gained access to nearly all or all
the Yamens in the city and some of the Lsiens.__ Many shall yet come from the land of Sinim.
Praise God! He is "able to do exceeding abundantly above all that ask or think".
Miss Gates visited a Mohammedan Home today. She was invited into the house and had a
little company of men and women who listened well. This is a beginning of answer to prayer."He
is not willing that any should perish" and it does seem that these people are so left alone, yet
what can we do? We cannot enforce them to listen and they care so little to hear. Occasionly we
also find a Roman Catholic family. They as a rule listen well thinking we are the same in faith.
The women are coming in more again but many are still in their harvest fields or busy on the
thrashing floor. Mrs Chang who has suffered so much persecution in unbinding her feet and
destroying her Gods is growing very much. The Lord has to punish His children sometimes. It is
so good to remember that He lets nothing come to His little ones but what is for their good. His
children were even sent into the land of the Chaldeans for their good. Sent into captivity for their
own good. (Jer. 24:5) God glorified Jesus through His Crucifiation by those who sought to
destroy Him (Acts 3:13-15)
Yesterday three of the Mohammedan women from the house we visited last week came in
and listened a long time. One of them was really wanting to hear more and said she came to hear
and when there was a pause in the preaching she would say "go on, go on, I like to hear". She
said,"I would like to follow this doctrine but I can't come here to live". Of course she was told
that isn't necessary. Oh, these people do so misunderstand! There are at present many evil stories
rife about us. The Devil seems stirred up very much. But we are to be thankful in all things, and
must remember that our God is an Alimity God I went to see a little sick girl yesterday who a
month ago was quite a well looking child, but now poor little one! she is so poor and miserable.
We found her on a pile of straw in the corner of a dirty, untidy room, a straw mat under her, a
brick for a pillow and a few rags over her poor swollen little limbs.--Oh! such a picture of misery
I have never before seen.
Miss Gates and I take turns in going out now she in the morning and I in the afternoon.
Yesterday afternoon I had such a good time several little companies of women listened so
attentivetly and some of them asked many questions which showed their interest. What I did not
understand or they not understand the woman with me made clear to us and I though I was really
beginning work in earnest. But,O, when shall I be able to give them the Gospel fully and freely.
The earnest listeners make me long to be able to give fully and freely the Glorious Gospel of the
Crucified Lord. But the best of all is that He can make the bread sufficient for the multitude even
though it is so little.
The lord is having prayer for these Mohammedans we entered another home and had a
crowd of women and children with a few men in the background. One white haired old man
replied when told that Jesus is the Saviour "you are very much mistaken". Oh, how sad to see
men and women tottering on the edge of the grave still rejecting the only name given under
Heaven where by we must be saved. Yesterday morning we went to Mrs Li's village.(our women)
Many came in and a few listened well to the Gospel. We were glad to find that Mrs. Li herself
has not been forgetting what she learned here but has learned to repeat a number of hymns in the
week she has been at home. She went home to prepare her husband's clothing that he might go to
the North Street to break off opium, and almost the first thing she told us was that he had gone
the night before. Her face just beamed with joy as she spoke.
Mr. Smith left today for the coast to take Algie to school at Chefoo. We took dinner there
and saw them off afterward.
We had a good time at our teachers home today. The brother's wife who before cared
nothing about the Gospel today listened with much interest and the old father came in and Miss
gates, I am sure, had a specially good time in giving him the true way, for her voice and words
were very earnest and powerful. One of the women has asked to be taught. We do pray that this
"house may be saved".
Today there was a fair in the city and we had many women in, some listened well others
cared nothing about the Gospel. When shall this people wake? Not until the tribulation comes
upon them? So many, many pass away into eternity without a ray of light. That we who are here
in this dark land may be kept in a position before Him that He may use us as He would that He
may make us rivers in the disert!
Just returned from a visit to In-ching and Wang-fang, the former a mining town up in the
hills. The later place we visited the wife of one of the native workers who has for some time
shown a desire to come out for the Lord. We found her hesitating because of fear of her relatives.
We believe the visit has not been in vain. This morning we left her very sad. At prayers she
prayed earnestly that the Lord forgive her for the past and give her strenth for the future.
Yesterday she took us to a relatives home in In-ching where we had crowds all day. It was such a
joy to be able to give the Gospel to these dear people who had, many of them, never heard it
before. Though my vocabulary is very limited it is good to think that He is able to "make the
bread sufficient" for the multitude though it is so little.
Went out with Miss. Gates this afternoon instead of going with the woman as usual. We
had such a good time at our teachers house. The Lord surely is working here. Won"t you join us
in prayer for this house, two brothers with their families and the old father and mother, also a
widow womam who lives in the same "uesutsi" is deepely interested and has asked to be taught
Today we went to a village twenty li out where there is a little company of Christians. We
had real fellowship with the dear women, had a meeting in the school room which was well
attended by the women, Christians and those who are interested, then took our dinner with one of
the Christians and returned home. It is so good to go out among the people and to live as they
live just for a time and to get near them.
Yesterday morning we went to a village about thirty Li away to see Mrs Li, the eldest
member of the church. She is a widow living with her daughter-in-law. We found her much in
want of Spiritual food as she has no one to teach her and to our joy she consented to come back
with us today. Though she is sixty four years of age she apparently stood the cart ride over the
rocky, hilly road as well as either of us. We do pray that she may be helped on in the heavenly
way. Her daughter-in-law is holding out aganist unbinding her feet. She told us this morning that
is what is keeping her back. Pray that the Lord Himself may work with Li-ta-soo that she may
fear no one but Him. The people of this village ar particularly hardened aganist us and the
Gospel, so we had very few people in, compared with other places we have visited.
Went to a village a few miles out this afternoon. Had not many people but those to whom
we went were very friendly. They live in the courtyard where our woman, Mrs Li has her rooms.
She went with us.
S. Alice Troyer
Lugan Tu Shansi Prov.
December 28, '96
Dear Mr Bagnall:
The Lord is working among us these days. Praise His name! we have been crying to Him
for His mighty working among His own children in the station and He has begun, only begun to
work- only "begun to show His servants His greatness and His mighty hand". We have felt that
some of these dear people settle down in a satisfied state short of the "life more abundant" for
which Christ came that we might have. He is graciously arousing many of them now and making
them long for that higher life through preaching of Ps l1 by Mr. Smith. Some of them are dying
hardly but we trust soon the 'God of hope will fill them with all joy and peace in believing" in his
power who is "alive forevermore" for us and is able to save us to the uttermost.
I took my first Bible class among out siders. Miss. Gates not being well I went to the
village where we have a company of Christians in her stead. The Lord gave me some liberty in
speaking on "Sin in the believer". There was only time for one meeting with the women before
we had to return.
Went with the school mistress to Mrs king's village. You will remember Mrs King is the woman Miss. Gates and I went to see some time ago and found her very fearful of her relatives and also found the ancestral tablet still in the house. Praise God it has since been destroyed by the husband who was taught by the word that it was wrong to keep it in his home. This time we found her very bold ready to take her place before any one as a disciple of Jesus. Mr King asked us to pray for his daughter who would soon be married to a heathen husband. The engagement was made before he, Mr King, became a Christian and his only hope now is that they both become converted. They, the husband's people, promised not to have burning of incense at the wedding and for this purpose we went up, to see that none of the idol worship should come into the ceremony of the formal engagement which took place Dec 14. We prayed much that the Lord should undertake for us, and He did. There was none whatever of the idol worship, and even the red cloth in which the bride is always wrapped was not used. Instead of the heathen book which is always presented to the Husband's people Mrs. King chose the new Testement to present to them. It has however since been returned to Mrs King and the wedding which was not to take place until next year took place a day or two ago because the Husband's people were afraid the bride's feet would next be unbound if they do not make haste to get her into their own power. We trust the Lord will yet work in spite of the people.
On Saturday Dec 12 we went to visit the school mistress' aunt in a village a few miles away and found her fearful of her friends. Oh, these dear people! If they could only see the danger they are in.
On Sunday we had a few women in to our little morning meeting and afterward went to
the street where we had a great crowd to whom we preached. The men soon became loud and
said things not good to hear, as the Chinese put it but one dear woman clung to my hands bravely
defending what I said and asking to hear more. Indeed the women were all attentive and kind.
Tuesday Dec 15 we hired a cart and returned home
Dec 17 Miss Gates went away leaving me for a few days to make use of my words.
Prayers with the servants twice a day and giving them the necessary orders gave me opportunity
enough to use what I had acquired of the language. It was a great help. Not many women and
children come in now. It has been so cold that they seem not to leave their homes. However one
woman, a near neighbor, spends a greater part of her time sitting by our fire. We have had no
reason to hope for a change in her life very soon, however, she seems more interested than at first
and last Sunday for the first time she came without her work to the afternoon meeting. Her name
is Chang and we call her the hat-woman because she always works on hats. Won't you pray for
her? I was away when last post went out so did not write with my examination papers. Miss
Gates kindly sent them for me. Yours Faithfully
S. Alice Troyer
Lugan Tu, Shansi Prov.
Jan 23, '97
The past month has been spent by us all rather in sitting at Jesus feet and hearing what He has to say to us than in work among the people. Tho' there has been some encouraging work done and certainly the Lord is working among His own people as ever before. He is purging out the old leaven that He may purify the lump. Though it is done in a way which we would not have thought, Elder Liu has recently been excummunicated for wife beating. One of the women has been found living in sin- and so the Lord brings out the sin which is in the heart, that it may be put away. Though it is very hard for us that these things should be seen among us it is better that the sin should be brought out that it may be put away from us. The man Liu was converted eight years ago and for a year or more was much percuted, often beaten by his relatives and finally deserted by all. He has been Mr. Smith's stand by in the work and it is very, very hard for him. The Lord is letting us have some encouragement amid the trial. Two of the young men employed by Mr. Smith have recently asked to go to their own homes that they may preach the Gospel to their own people for "The coming of the Lord draw the nigh". One of these is a young fellow of simple faith in the Lord. He has cast out devils in the name of the Lord. When asked how he did it he said. We alternately read the Lord and pray until the person possessed by the evil spirit is better. The other one is also one of the brightest Christians in the church. May the Lord bless their testimony to the conversion of many souls in their own villages. We hope others will soon go to their own homes.
Saturday Jan 16 Two families destroyed their idols in the presence of Mr. Smith. The hat Woman or Mrs Chang of whom I spoke in the last letter has changed some and says now that she believes, when I asked her what she believes she replied "That Jesus is the true Spirit" but she knows she isn't ready to meet the Lord when he comes. Once she said she will repent after New Year. Our woman Mrs Li says she believes for salvation from sin and she does seem to be earnest, often preaching to the women who come in as much as she knows, and especially does she like to tell the women that worshipping their idols is very wrong and that they cannot help or hurt.
S. Alice Troyer
Lugan Tu, Shansi
Jan 27, '97
Today we visited two homes, one that of an opium smoker who once "broke off" her opium at the "North Street" but once again took to it. She is also a witch but in many ways a very dear woman. The other a nice old lady who often askes us in as we go by. She and her daughter who is a very intelligent woman both listened well and asked intelligent questions.
Liu sien sing confessed in the testimony meeting on Saturday evening but judging from his conduct since it was not real confession. On Tuesday Mr. Smith had a talk with him which, after an hour and a half of venting his anger on Mr. Smith, in the end proved satisfactory. The man finally broke down and cried to the Lord for deliverance from his sin which has hindered more than one, doubtless, from being blessed. His temper has led him to sin grievously many times. While waiting upon our God for a few days was working and in just the way in which we were led to pray that this man would of his own accord go away and so the matter is finally concluded. Please pray for Liu sien sing who has been elder in the church and has thus grevously fallen.
Jan 30 '97
A year ago today I for the first time set foot upon the shores of dark China. The most blessed year of my life has been the year in China. He that hath promised is faithful indeed. The message He gave me just before landing was "He will not fail thee nor forsake thee until thou hast finished all the work of the service of the house of the Lord", and as I thought, but this isn't for me it was spoken to Solomon He turned my eyes to Mal 3:6 "I am the Lord, I change not" so the promise was for me too.
We were at a dinner today given in honor of a month old baby. There was not much chance of giving the Gospel to any who had not heard it over and over again so we didn't remain long. The mother and J'o Ju have both been employed by the missionaries in the station and know the Gospel well but do not come out for the Lord though they have gone as far as to put away all their idols. It will be harder for these people in the day of judgement than most of the unsaved Chinese for their light is so much greater.
Our little testimony meeting of Saturday evening are sometimes very helpful. Tonight our cook , a young Christian, spoke of how the Lord had been speaking to him of his not showing by his face that he is rejoicing in the Lord, that he should be thankful in all things and alway rejoicing.
This P.M. we went to a village about five Li out to the home of our woman, Mrs Li. Had a good many people in her home and afterward were invited to another home. Our man, in the mean time was selling calendars outside.
Spent the day at Chang lu tsuen with the Christians. Also had a very sad affair to see to-that of telling Mrs Li, one who has been very bright for the Lord, that her name no longer stands among the names of God's people in this church. She denied her sin but calling up witnesses we soon proved it beyond doubt though she continued to deny and at last burst out into a raging fit of anger. Poor people!
This P.M. we went to the home of an enquirer eight Li out of the city to see his wife. She has been possessed with the devil but is better now and seems very anxious to learn. She is a very dear woman. May the Lord show forth His own almighty power in bringing her to the light. We hope to go often to the village trusting that the Lord of the Harvest will open many doors for us. Our teachers wife had been very ill. He came one morning looking so frightened and said he had prayed with her three times and each time she was better but is worse again. We sent him home and in the afternoon of the same day he went to ask Mr Smith and Mr. Glover to go to pray with her for she says nothing but prayer does her any good. So many of these dear people know perfectly that our God is the only true God but they fear to come out from their people. May the Lord soon show forth His power in bringing some of them out!
Spent the day in a village eight or ten Li out in the home of the cook at the North Street. His wife has spent sometime there learning the "doctrine" and seemed much interested but today she seemed very indefferent but invited us to come again. Had many people in all day but few who really wanted to hear the Gospel.
Our teacher is burying his wife today she died last week. He said he would have no heathen rites whatever at the burial. He believes his wife was really saved, "for", he said, "she always asked me to pray when she was conscious and she did believe in Jesus". We had noticed that she was very attentive to the Gospel when she was well. We are praying that this may be the means of bringing him out. Won't you pray too?
In His Service
We had a very interesting women in today. She is ill and otherwise a sufferer. Her tears flowed freely as she told something of her story and asked if she might send her cart and remain until evening. She seemed very ready to recieve the story of the cross and said she would come again, also invited us to her home. We were much interested to see how our woman, Mrs Li, earnestly preached to her. She especially interests herself in telling all whom she has an opportunity of speaking to how worthless their idols are and how wrong it is to worship them. She has herself been an earnest worshiper of them and says they would be wealthy now if they had not spent as much on their idols. You will remember I told you of her when she first came to us.
Just now we are interested in a photographer who came to the city last autumn and has been hearing much of the Gospel at the street Chapel, and now asks for baptism. His testimony is that, on the twenty first of last month while reading his Bible he was lead to read some of the miracles of Jesus and he said to himself, "If Jesus could raise the dead He can surely save me from my sins." Then he asked the Lord to save him and he would trust Him henceforth and break the opium which he had twice done before with medicine but could not stand. It is now some days since he took this step and he says he has no desire for it.
The Hat woman, Mrs Chang, we believe is coming on slowly. She now keeps the Lords day and when she can walk so far goes with the women to the services at the "North Street". She says the people laugh at her and call her "iang Kui tsi" then she just tells them what she thinks of them. "But", said Miss Gates, "Jesus' disciples should be willing to be laughed at and to be persecuted for His sake" and she answered next time they laugh she would only smile at them.
Our women, Mrs Li, is very bright and seems to be really acquainted with Jesus from the testimony given by her to those who come in, but she is not ready yet to go all the way. Yesterday we heard her say to some women who were enquiring of her about unbinding feet that she hasn't unbound hers nor is she going to do so. Won't you pray for these mentioned above, that they may come out fully for the Lord.
Yesterday "the hat woman" opened her heart to us and we saw that there is more of a change than we had hoped for. She wept bitterly as she told of her evil life and of her present trouble she has had two husbands. The first one sold her only son and she, in her rage, told him for this he should die a public death, and so he did, and she said she was the cause because of these words. She said she had not worshiped her idols or ancestral tablet since last year soon after we came here. This was indeed news to us; but today our hearts are still more rejoiced because of her. She has indeed "repented", as she says, but she hasn't Jesus yet- her heart is not at peace. I was surprised to find such a change in the woman as she told me tonight that use to gamble though she has not done so this year. She says in her home she is constantly talking to Jesus asking Him to save her, though the people who live with her "Ma" (curse) her and say all sorts of things to her because she is "following the foreigners". We are very glad that she is not a woman to do such a thing, follow us. We are perfectly satisfied that the Lord is doing the perfect work in her heart which will cause her to follow Him, not us.
Mrs Chang "the hat woman" Came in yesterday telling us that her neighbors are perseuting her, because she comes her so much. One man was about to strike her but was hindered by the by standing women. But what hurt her most was their words which truly were "puh hao ting" (not good to listen to ) especialyy what they said about us. They threatened to come at us with sharpened knives and spears but she said no matter how many came she will stand up for us, and our God is stronger than fifty men and would protect us.
Two of the christians at Chang lu tsiun who are farmers have sent another of their brethen out on a preaching tour. He has no land and not being busy they thus shared in the Lord's work.
There was a misunderstanding about the photographer's breaking off opium suddenly.- He is doing it gradually but the rest of the story seems true. He shows many signs of a new life and his face is quite changed. His boy who at first laughed at his master now comes regurarly to the meetings and says he is a disciple of Jesus. They both seem very real. May the Lord do His work. Pray for us.
S. Alice Troyer
March 26 '97
Yesterday Mrs Li the member of whom I wrote last month who had her name taken off the Book came and we are rejoiced to see that she still knows the Lord though her name is not in our Book here. She told us how Romans 5 had been blessed to her especially the phrase "rejoicing in hope". We trust she will soon restore to full fellowship in the Lord. Her husband who a year or two ago stole Mr. Smith's horse and had to leave the country came home some time ago and will be a great hinderance to her. He too was once numbered with the Lord's people. Will you not pray for these two?
Ex-Elder Liu's wife who has for months been most miserable because holding out aganist God today opened out her feet--at last taken the step at which alone she has hesitated. She looked much more happy and we trust she will be lead on now. Mr. Liu too is praising the Lord with a loud voice. This is the man who some weeks ago struck his wife because she did not repent. His life for sometime has been changed. That outbreak of sin seems to have shown him what he really is. He seems now to know the Lord better than ever before and certanily is more humble. He often prays that his life before his wife may no longer be a hinderance but a help. Three weeks ago after a time of prayer for his wife he told Mr. Smith he has the assurance that his wife will be saved and so we believed our prayers for her salvation had reached the heart of God and was even then, answered. So much prayer has been made for her by both natives and us.
We rejoice too that Mrs King has opened her feet, and is willing to stand alone in her village and testify for her Lord. You will remember her as the one of whom I wrote in my Dec. letter to whose house I went with the school mistress at the time of the engagement of her daughter.
We have had our first wedding in the chapel the school mistress and Dong sien seng who is teacher of the boy's school in Tuen liu. It was a happy time -not much like the heathen marriages. The wedding was at ten o'clock, the feast at eleven and at twelve the happy bridegroom started with his young wife to their new home forty or fifty li away. We are soon to have the second wedding. This time the parties are Mrs. Smith's nurse and one of the young men servants.
Mrs Chang,"the hat woman," seems to have been drawn back into Satans Power again. Yesterday in her anger aganist her persecutors she said "Jesus is afraid of men, he counts for nothing or he would aveng her of this wrong." She says it is now that the Lord should show Himself strong in her behalf anf punish her persecutors.
Mrs Chang is more quite today and says she wants the peace which the Lord promises to him who will come to Him. She made a long prayer but was sobbing so that she could not be understood.
More good news today, Mrs Liu's mother is making her shoes to unbind her feet. She has been with her daughter the past few days and we were very much surprised that she didn't try to hinder Mrs. Liu in unbinding her feet now we see the Lord has been working with her too. Last night she could not sleep. The Lord was speaking to her. At last when everybody else was asleep she, alone with the Lord, promised Him to follow Him and this is the first outward step. These two women have heard the Gospel for eight or nine years and are now the first women inside the walls of this city to come out for the Lord. The Lord is able to give much more than this. He has been giving us some very precious promises and sometimes the same text to different members of our little company--such as, "Thou hast began to show thy servant thy greatness and thy mighty hand-- The breaker has gone up before them- I will do a new thing, behold now it shall spring forth-- The Glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the first."
More good news today. The mother of one of the young men employed by Mr. Smith has today decided for the Lord and says she will open her feet. Her shoes are being made now. When we asked Mrs. Liu's old mother why she unboud her feet she replied without the slightest hesitancy "Because I have believed in the Lord". She seems very bright indeed and understands so well too. May the Lord do His own work in her life that the few remaining days of her life may be spent in real service for the Lord.
Spent the greater part of the day in a village some ten li out where there is a three or four day's fair being held. I stayed at the home of the woman who is making her shoes so that she may unbind her feet. She seems to want to know and follow the Lord and laments that her "heart is so stupid" that she cannot remember the things her son tells her. There were a number of the Christians there to tell the Gospel and the crowds of people who came to sell and to buy. Yesterday a number of the women went to this village. Among them were Mrs. Liu and her mother Mrs. Liu at first said she would not go because she was ashamed of her big feet but the Lord got the victory and she seemed very happy in going.
Yesterday Mrs. Chang spent the day at the "North Street" again. Last Lord's day she didn't go because her persecutors threatened to break her leg if she went once more and she feared them but Miss Gates told her how our God is and that He would not let them hurt those who trust in Him and evidently she believed for yesterday she seemed most bright in going. On Saturday night she having done some work for us, was to take her food here when she refused to eat the food which our people had because it was the first of their month- she would eat nothing. Knowing it to be because of some superstitious idea the boy who is a Christian talked to her about it asking her if she didn't believe in Jesus. She replied, yes ,so he told her that nothing would hurt her if she trusted Him. Miss Gates spoke a few words to her as we were passing thro' the courtyard and when we next looked out she was eating her food with the rest. She seems much more peaceful and happy now and never mentions her persecutors. Pray for her please.
April 8th, and 10th
We had a series of meetings at which nearly all the Christians of the district were present. The subject were "Holiness","Unity", and "Tilling of the Spirit". Mr Smith planned to have a subject each day but when the third day was ended the last subject was still not completed so all were asked to remain over the Lord's Day. It was a time of blessing to all. Four of the natives helpers assisted Mr. Smith in the speaking and two of them spoke with much power on all three subjects. One of these is the young man of whom I wrote Jan 23rd who asked to go to his own home to preach and live the Gospel there and the other one is a very earnest little man upon whom the truth that the Bible is God's word has taken a deep hold. Both of these men are very quiet in manner and plain and simple in words but there is a secret power which draws the attention of all. I understood nearly all of the young mans address and felt the power-it was so refreshing and helpful. Mrs Chang, the hat woman, came in yesterday, the first time after a few day's illness and seemed to be under the impression that the illness had been a punishment from the Lord. I said it may have been punishment because you would't listen to His words or it may have (paper torn at the corner) --teach you more about Himself. She added (corner off) I didn't obey, what I heard at the meeting Unity, and Spirits Power, The Lord evident (corner off)
Had a great many women in today. There was a fair in the city and many of the women from the villages were in and stopped to see the foreigners. Only three or four of them cared to listen to the Word of Life. Oh, that some of these dear people may soon arise from the dead.
Went with Miss. Gates to the South Huan (South suburb) this afternoon where we had a company to speak to in the street. Miss. Gates gave the Gospel to them and I also talked with a few women who sat off by themselves.
Spent Sunday in Chang lu tsuen. Arriving at about six o'clock Saturday evening we all had our suppers and then gathered in the little schoolroom for the weekly testimony meeting. There was a goodly company of men, Christians, and others, assembled the women on, one side of the room and the men, on the other. Sunday morning we had, as is their custom, two meetings lead by two of the Christians and in the afternoon I sent the men out to preach and took the women for a long meeting, in the evening again we all assembled and three of the men spoke, all on the line of holy living a part of which was very helpful. This morning I started home early arriving at about nine o'clock. Our boy, whose home is there was with me. I have planned (D.V.) to spend every second Sunday there with the Christians. There are also a number of women who regularly come to the meetings and say they believe.
Walked to Uang ki fah's home ten li out this afternoon. After a talk of an hour with the mother who decided some time ago to follow the Lord two women who are interested came in amd after a short talk with them I had to come away. The work in this village is opening nicely thro' the efforts of Uang ki fa who spends every Lord's day in his home, with some of the other Christians holding a meeting at his own home in the morning and in the evening at the home of another interested family. Mrs. Uang told me today with a bright face that they now have four families, one in each side of the town who believe in Jesus. May the Lord do His own work in their hearts!
Spent the day with the Christians in Chang lu tsuen. Had a class with the women and a few men who asked if they might come all are Christians and enquirers.
Our dear Mrs Chang "the hat woman" has suddenly passed away, we believe,to be with the Lord. Sunday, May 9th, she went to both services at "The North Street" which is not a little distance, took dinner there but when time for afternnon meeting came she had gone home because she felt unwell. We saw no more of her that day and Tuesday she did not come in so we thought she must be ill and Miss. Gates went in to see and found her unconscious. They said she had not spoken that day. Just after dinner one of the women in her garden came to ask us to pray with her. We could not ask for her recovery of the Lord but asked that the Lord would let her speak again. It made the people quite indignant that we did not ask our God to raise her up. Tuesday morning our boy went over early to see how she was and he found that no one had been near her all night tho' she had called to them. When she heard our boy's voice she asked what he had come for and when told it was to see her she said "hao" (good) Miss Gates went soon and found her able to converse a little. She repeated some scripture verses which she had learned and repeated every word Miss.Gates prayed then began to pray but Miss. Gates told her to pray in her heart because she was to weak to pray much. At ten o'clock we went over hoping to arrange her bed a little better for the women (there are only women in this garden) were so afraid that they wouldn't even go into the room except when we went. But when we spoke to her she did not move and we saw that her face had changed and her hands were cold though her body was still very warm. We waited to see wheather there would be a change, and --yes. There was a change which left no room for doubt, she was soon cold and with sad hearts we went out to talk a few words to the women who had come about the door but feared to touch the body. We longed to see this woman whom we had learned to love so much again and do something for her but remembering what these people say of us forigners--that we take the heart and eyes of the dead for medicines-- we refrained. We miss her very, very much. It seems that one belonging to us has gone. The place by the window in the women's room where she always sat when here is vacant, the stone at her door where she so often sat when we passed is vacant and no one greets us now as we pass. We are very much comforted by the words of the women in her garden. They told us she use to have a very, very bad temper but for a month past she had not"Cursed" anyone until Friday evening our woman's husband who had a room there provoked her very much and she lost her temper. On Sunday as she was relating it she said "I sinned about it " and the tears came freely, tho' she did not tell us what her sin was she repeatedly said she had sinned. We believe it was this and that the Lord washed it all away. It seems the Lord answered her own prayer in taking her so suddenly. About a month ago she remained for the evening prayers and the first time in our presence asked the Lord to wash away her sins and at the end of her prayer asked the Lord when He wants her soul to take it quickly and not let her lie long on the "K'ang". She was then quite well and we thought it strange that she should pray thus.
Our Lord doeth all things well and we know this is done well tho' we cannot understand why He did not leave her for a witness in this South Street. But several times the text "He is able to give the much more than this" has been given us and we believe.
Spent the afternoon in the home of one of the new converts in Kuan ts'uen, ten li out. They seem hungry for more knowledge of the truth both father and son sitting in the room listening attentively while I taught the dear little woman who now and then exclaimed, "O, it is precious" and her face showed that she had experienced it in her heart. They are very poor now tho' they have seen better days. Mrs. Shao said "I used to be so sad from morning to night but now I am happy all the time wheather we have anything to eat or not."
We are again having some trial in the church. The parents of our cook who is an earnest Christian, have been trying to force him to marry a heathen girl which he refused to do and finally came to us about it Mr. Smith went yesterday to see the parents and it is not to be so-- they have promised Mr. Smith.
Mrs Wang, Liu sien seng's mother in law rebound her feet. She could not stand the persecution from her own family. Mrs. Liu seems very bright for her.
Spent the afternoon in Kuant ts'uin at the home of two enquires. The one is a blind woman. At her home we had a good opportunity to give the Gospel. A number of women came in and listened most attentively to the Gospel. The poor blind woman is very bright, at the other home I found Mother and Daughter ready to listen and the mother is ready to unbind her feet. The daughter is engaged to a man who is not a Christian and they are trying to free her from him and marry her to a Christian. Please pray for these dear people that they may go on and not lack in any particular.
Your in the Master's service
S. Alice Troyer
Lugan Tu Shansi Prov. China
Postal address Tientsin, China C/O C.I.M.