[The following transcripts of letters by Sarah Alice (Troyer) Young (along with a few letters by others) were made by Mrs. Carol Whiting in the 1990s from the originals, which in many cases were very faded and difficult to read. The originals are often on very thin or poor quality paper. 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.]
[Comments in brackets were added by an archivist, except those in italics, which are by Mrs. Whiting. The full text of Bible verses mentioned in the letters were also provided 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 correspondence have been left as is, as has punctuation and capitalization.]
[Many letter start on one day and then have a new section added on, headed by the date of addtion. In this transcription, a row of five asterisks "*****" separate indicate the start of a new letter.]
[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. ]
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[Postcard, postmarked January 3 and sent from "Spokane & Portland"]
Jan.3 '95 [This postcard is incorrectly dated. It was written in 1896]
On the train
We have been three night on our way from St. Paul to Tacoma and will not reach there until two this a.m. We go on board the steamer Victoria tonight sailing early in the morning. We had some good meetings in St. Paul and Minneapolis and I am sure the people thought it not such a dreadful thing after all to give up home and friends for Jesus sake when they saw and heard us, for our words and faces must have shown some of the joy that was in our hearts. We were passing thro the R. Mts. all day yesterday and are just now passing into the Cascades, we did not pass over any very high mountains but saw some in the light of the setting sun last night. How beautiful, last night the big moon struggling thru the little trees on the distant mountain was a lovely sight.
With much love Alice
Direct Shanghai China
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S.S. Victoria, Tacoma, Washington
My Dear sister:-
Mr McCarthy just brought me the things you sent to Milford for me. They forwarded them to me here as I stopped in St. Paul from Saturday to Tuesday p.m. I do thank you so much for them. They come in so nicely. And are made so neat too. I brought my wrapper that you gave me to use for a dressing gown when I found out that I could use it, but this will be so much nicer because it is warm and loose. We expected to sail at four this morning but the vessel could not be got ready. They now hope to sail tomorrow morning at four. I have written you several postals to Clarion and would have sent this there, carelessly if I had not noticed your note to Mattie in the cover of your box. When my box came Miss Culley said" now you see why we did not sail this morning, all things work together for good to those that love the Lord" (Rom.8:28) ["And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28, KJV]. We came on board last night and have already slept in our little bunks. I slept good too for I was so tired, had been in the train the three nights before although we had berths and rested quite good we were tired riding. I will probably be a good climber by the time we reach China for I have the upper berth. We are so well pleased with our rooms. They are so clean, neat, and comfortable just as good in every way as we would have in the average hotel. Our food, too, is very good. We are all in the saloon now writing letters, and I for one feel quite at home. We have Chinese servants. The dear people! How I would like to talk to them. They cannot talk much English. We have with us as mother a young woman from Scotland who has been in China ten years. Mr. Mc Carthy came with us to Tacoma but will go no farther. We are all very happy but sometimes when letters come from home we all cry together not for sorrow but because it touches a tender spot that can't be resisted. Nobody doubts but it is a joy to give up home and friends for Jesus sake after they see and hear us for they cannot help seeing that we are all real happy no sham about it. The Lord has given us to taste of real joy in serving Him, in making a sacrifice for him.
But I want to tell you about our trip from St. Paul I met the party in St. Paul on Saturday morning, at about ten o'clock a friend came from Minneapolis for three of us to hold meetings on Sunday there. We had four meetings on Sunday, going direct from one to the other only stopping long enough for lunch at a restaurant got home at about eleven o'clock, slept until seven next morning, had a few hours to our selves Monday forenoon but hurried through with dinner for the afternoon meeting at the Y.M.C.A. in Minneapolis where the five missionaries and Mr. McCarthy were to be present, hastened from the meeting to St. Paul only stopping at a restaurant long enough for lunch to the church where we had a glorious meeting. You see we didn't have much time for play or to fool away. St. Paul and Minneapolis are only ten miles apart from centre to centre, town all the way. We went on the street cars. It seems I have almost been living in cars for the past month and a half. I am quite tired of it. The ship will be a little change but I will probably get more tired of that than I am of the cars. But "all for Jesus". If we were never tired we would not grow in grace very much. Well we took the train at St. Paul on Tues. afternoon, four o'clock and rode and rode until two o'clock Friday. There was not much change in the country until we reached western Dakota. Then we got into what I think is called the Bad Lands. There hills one against the other just the shape and color of haystacks, all sizes from a small haystack to a small mountain, and different colors too, some were a rusty red. There wasn't a sprig of vegetation on some, just the bare soil and rocks. Then for some distance plains again until we reached the Rockies. All day Thursday we were passing through these and Friday forenoon through the Cascade range. The latter were the most interesting I think. They must of been higher too for there was so snow on them while on the Rockies there wasn't enough to cover the ground. There was no thrifty vegetation on the Rockies but the Cascades were covered with a thick growth of evergreen timber. That with the snow four to seven feet deep made it look very much like Mich. Then as we came to this side and the ground began to show I saw so many things that looked like Mich. wintergreen, ferns and vines. It all seemed so beautiful to me after living in Nebr. so long.
Tacoma is quite a large city but I can't tell you much about it as it so rainy that we have not been able to form a very good opinion of it. They tell us it is rainy for about eight months in the year. I don't like to think about my failing to see you and I don't allow myself to do so either for it surely must be for the best or it should not have been so. Dear Little Clifford it will be a long time now before I will see him again and Joe too how I did want to see him. Poor boy. Mr McCarthy is waiting for my letter so I must close.
Good by, write to me to Shanghai, China in care of China Inland Mission. and do write often please. I think I will get mail about every two weeks I think and you know it will do me good, so much good to hear from you all often although I may not be able to write often it costs five cents to send a letter to China.
Good By, Tomorrow morning we say good by to our native land but we are happy. This is not our home and soon will be caught up together to meet Him, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Mr. Mc Carthy is coming back after tea so I have time to write a little more. Mary, poor Mary, she is just able to get around the house. Elva and Lesta and Abe do the work with Mary oversight. They butchered while I was there and I helped with the cooking. It seemed queer to be cooking, but I enjoyed it. They were looking for a girl from Mich. to work for her board and room and go to school. I want to tell you what good food we have here and that we can have it five times a day. Coffee and sandwich in the morning early, breakfast at nine, lunch at one, toast and tea at five, dinner at seven. We had twelve or thirteen courses this dinner and nine or ten for breakfast. Everything is comfortable and homelike. Another missionary came on board today, that makes three beside our party. Two for India and one for China.
With much love
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We are Nearing Yokahama Japan
I'll write to you and Lydia together for I can not write much the boat shakes so, We left Tacoma on Sunday morning at four o'clock reached Victoria about noon and had to remain there until Monday morning because of a fog hanging off Cape Flattery which is a dangerous point to sound. Oh! but we enjoyed the scene that morning: the snow capped mountains in the distance, the sailing vessels and the gulls, but as soon as we entered the ocean the boat began to roll and we began to feel queer so that by one or two o'clock we all had to leave deck for our bunks where we remained for a few days, that is all but Miss Huston, she was not sick at all. I was one of the slow to recover, not going to the table again until Saturday noon, and have been sick again the past few days, more or less, it has been so stormy. However this afternoon it is better and I am better too. The voyage has been fair for this time of year so they tell us although we think it has been very bad, not being able to be on deck much. The first four or five days were real stormy. We hope to land in Yokahama in the morning (D.V.)[God willing] How glad we will be to be able to take a nice walk on land again. I cannot realize that I am so far from home. It will be a week or more before we reach Shanghai there we stay in the mission Home for a few days, buy our Chinese costumes and then go up to Yang-Chan another three days journey up the river. This letter will probably not reach you for a month or more, but please write to me often as you can, both of you. I'll try to write you each once in a while, but I can't every month for it would take so much time and money too. We'll have to work hard on the language for six or eight months then go to our stations inland. Please pray much for me, it has been such a help to us while on board to remember that prayer has been ascending from many hearts for us every day, and the Lord has been with us here as well as on land. It seems as tho I had never had such direct messages from Him before as I had when I was sick. Now I'll leave space for a few lines in the morning. Good night.
9 o'clock, Wednesday morning. Yokahama at last. We praise God for bringing us safe. We have been on deck for a few hours watching vessels of all kinds hundreds of them and the Japs in their boats swarmed around us to carry passengers on shore-their peculiar dress etc. is all quite interesting to us: "Breakfast!
Read 1 Cor.3: 4 last verses ["And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God." 1 Corinthians 3:20-23, KJV]
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Jan. 25, 96
My Dear Brother and Sister:-
Two days and a half spent in Japan an my eyes have seen until they are tired. We left Yokahama at noon today and it is now four o'clock past. We have just returned from deck where we were watching a volcanic island a few miles distant. It is not a large one and the crater is so low down that we can see right into it and the smoke pouring out. There was quite an earth quake a few nights ago, so that the water in the bay was a good deal disturbed and our vessel tossed about a good deal. We have also been having a good view of Mt. Fujiyama more than sixty miles distant. Oh, it is beautiful! yesterday morning early we had a full view of it and it really seemed but a few miles distant all covered with snow. The first day here we spent in looking about the streets of Yokahama and took a ride into the country thro the rice fields in "Jinrikisha", nice little carriages wheeled by the natives who make their living in this way. They go trotting along for hours without seeming to get tired. In this trip we took in an idol temple some distance from the city situated on a bluff which we climbed by a long flight of stone steeps. On either side of these steps is the natural growth of vines, shrubs and trees peculiar to a tropical climate, such as I have never before seen. Some of them had beautiful glossy leaves with bright beautiful flowers so high up that we could not reach many of them. On one side is a tiny stream of water falling down over a rock about eight or ten feet high. This temple is not large nor very beautiful but the surroundings are beautiful, and the temple is odd. There are about 12,000 Americans and Europeans in the city I am told Their part of is much like an American city only more beautiful. The real Jap streets are very narrow, all lined with little shops of every description. The streets are all paved or graveled and remarkably clean. Everything is on such a small scale. Occasionally we see a horse and small cart belonging to a native but instead of driving they lead them. We saw a number of fine carriages and horses in the English streets with finely dressed foreigners in them. The weather both days on shore was delightfully spring like. Yesterday-oh where shall I begin- there is so much to tell. Well, the night before when we came aboard the stewardess told us that a Missionary, Mr. Austen, had been here for us and left his number, so the first thing yesterday morning we called on him, told him of our plans to go to Tokio for the day, were urged to return there for the night, and by this time had just time to catch the train (11:30 o'clock) for Tokio twenty miles distant. We had to take Jinrikishas for the station because we didn't know the way and hadn't time to walk either, got our tickets for ten cts. a piece and soon in quite a good little car on our way to the capital of Japan. We saw a good deal of the country in our's ride some very picturesque and all very different from anything we had ever seen before. Many little villages with their straw or grass roofed houses very neat and nice, little rice patches separated by ridges of sod, gardens beautifully clean and neat, looking so thrifty; onion patches which made my mouth water; little groves of pine trees on the hill sides; beautiful houses and grounds on the hills; a few vineyards; beautiful hedges of different kinds of shrubbery, one of palms and, oh, what not. All these things were on a small scale, so fields containing more than an acre or two and most of them not more than 8 or 10 sq. rds. This is because all the work is done by hand I presume. Finally we reached the depot in Tokio which would do justice to many of our American depots. It is large, all paved around with gray stone, stone floors, in fact is built altogether on European or American style as are all their late public buildings. As it was past noon we decided to have something to eat before taking our jinrikishas for the temple so we crossed the open space to the street beyond where we saw the sign "European Restaurant". Here we got a nice dinner of soup, potato, steak, radishes, celery and Japanese oranges for 25 cents which is only half that in our own money. Just outside we found a group of men with their little carriages. We showed them on our map of the city where we wanted to go and quite readily made them understand and they in turn told us their charges. We got in and away we went down the crowed streets of Tokio. One thing is very noticeable in the streets of Japan that is, the good order and little noise made by the children who live in the streets. There isn't the confusion that there would be in an American street so full of people. There is no crowding and pushing. But to return to our journey. After a ride of perhaps three or four miles we reached the narrow crowed little street which leads to the Asakasa Temple. Here we had to leave our boys and walk the rest of the way At the end of a short street are the grounds, very beautiful, which contain two large buildings and many small ones each containing some idol or idols. The first one through which we entered the grounds contained two large, hideous idols, one on either side. In front of each is a place into which money is thrown by the worshipers as they approach, clap their hand to attract the attention of the god and chant their prayers. Through this temple of stone floors we pass into a graveled walk leading to the larger temple behind. On one side of this walk is a stand where food is brought for the sacred doves which flock around. This stand is surrounded by children and adults, all anxious to feed these sacred birds. Now we pass on, enter the temple by a broad flight of stone steps. This contains one large god, which seems to be worshiped more than the others; a small one of wood which is the only on that can be touched by the worshipers and is much worn by rubbing with the hands which are then applied to the affected parts of the person. Children hold up their baby brothers and sisters that they may touch this idol, old men and women totter up to it that may rub it with the hand then rub the weak part of their own bodies thinking this will heal. Poor creatures they don't know the Great Physician. It also contains many small ones on shelves along the side of one room and a large mirror in one side which we are told is used to show the defects of the people as our Bible is used to tell us ours. The temple is all decorated with large and small Japanese lanterns and framed pictured of every description on which the doves rest. There are three entrances, large ones to this temple, in front and on either side, no doors to them. As our time is limited we do not go thro the grounds but back thro the narrow street and look at the articles in the little shops along the side. These are all under one brick shed about twenty rds. long, eight or ten ft. high and a little deeper divided into rooms eight to twelve ft. wide which are occupied by whole families. Their furniture looks to us like dolls furniture, in fact the whole house looks like a play house. At the end of this street we again take our jinrikishas and a way we go down the street as fast as Billy use to take us at his best. In half of three quarters of an hour we enter the drive which leads to the empress palace. Oh it is beautiful all graveled with stone walls on either side. There are many European buildings before we came to the palace. We could not go very near the palace, there were soldiers stationed at the entrance to prevent any one's entering. There is a beautiful moat thro the grounds, all walled up with stone more than fifty ft. high. On either side of the entrance is a beautiful cluster of electric lights. The public buildings, rather government buildings of which there are many are all of European style and the officers are in European dress. We get off our jinrikishas here and walk a little distance along the mote then make our way back to the depot to catch the four o'clock train for Yokahama where we arrived for six o'clock dinner at our friends Mr. Austen, of the Seaman's Mission. This ends our second day in Japan and we are all tired and ready for the good dinner and comfortable bed which our friend gives us. The Lord has been very, very good to us and we praise Him together in song when we return to the parlor. All our travelling has cost us only a dollar a piece in American money, twice that in Japanese money.
Jan. 27, Arrived at Kobi two o'clock yesterday (Sund.) from here transferred to the French mail steamer late in the evening by a pretty street (foreign). We enjoyed the walk very much. The officers of the Victoria were very kind in bring us over and seemed real sorry to see us leave. We are having an amusing time in getting what we want to eat as the waiters are all French and the bill of fare is all French. However , Miss. Jewell knows enough to manage some how to get us something and we have not fared badly. This vessel is much small than the Victoria. It is now about 3 p.m. and we are passing thro the island sea among little, high barren islands, some of them have little dwarf evergreen trees on them. It rained when we left the harbor this morning but is beautifully clear and pleasant this afternoon. We are so grateful for this. If we do not stop too long at the next port we'll arrive in Shanghai on Wednesday D.V.[God willing] I write with a pencil so that I may duplicate thus saving work. I know you will be glad to get even this. Good by
Jan. 29, Today has been rather a bad day for me. It is a little rough and I find I am not a good sailor, but praise the Lord! we are to reach the Yang tsi in the morning where we leave the ocean steamer for a river launch for Shanghai where we arrive a few hours later. We had a rough voyage between Kobi and Nagasaki which made us a half day late in reaching the latter place. We did not go ashore there but had a good view of the town. It is not large, has quite a foreign settlement and a fair population in boats. At each of these Japanese towns there are dozens of boats which are the homes of the people in them. They are not much larger than the largest row boat on the Grass river. One thing is remarkable about Nagasaki- the gardening on the mountain sides back of the town. They are terraced and on this they have their gardens, so neat and thrifty looking. This town is noted for its tortoise shell works. Some beautiful specimens were brot on board. The ocean has been a different color today from any we have seen before. It is yellow and dark green in spots.- Tinted from the yellow sea we are told.
Thursday, Jan 30 four o'clock p.m. We arrived at the Shanghai wharf about 3:30 p.m. and were met shortly by a member of the C.I.M. How glad we were to have Miss. Gibson with us.
The natives just swarmed around us to get our luggage and it wasn't an easy matter to get rid of them without being able to speak. We took jinrikishas and were soon at the C.I.M. premises(beautiful buildings and grounds) and now we feel quite at home. There are number of friends here who greeted us kindly and already we love them all. However we missed Mr. and Mrs. Hudson Pailor who we hoped so much to see they have gone to India and may go to England. Mr. Frost (American director) has not gone home yet and we hope to see him. Mrs. Frost has been sent for so they will remain in China for some time.
We are not home sick and have been praying that you might have as much joy at home in thinking about our being in China as we have in being here.
Direct my letters C/o China Inland Mission Shanghai and please send this to Dans and then to the girls up north as I cannot possibly write to each tonight and it will be a long time before this next one goes I think. please write me often all of you, and don't forget to pray too. will send diary soon.
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Yang-tri River. S.S. Chazig-an, (Long peace)
Tuesday morn. Feb.4 1896
My Dear Sister:
The Lord is indeed good to His little ones. Everything is so much better than we expected to find, in China. Our Missionary life has really begun, we are on a native boat, among natives , and indeed are trying to be like them as much as we can. Last evening before starting on our journey we put on Chinese dress and have for the first time taken a Chinese meal with chop sticks, however we took breakfast that we had with us first. At ten o'clock our Chinese breakfast of rice, cabbage, fish, pork, arrowroot, and a dish of beans with something else which Mr. Drysdale refused to name until we have learned to like it as brot to us. The food did not taste or look much like our own, and was served in dishes with individual bowls and chop sticks. Mr. Drysdale gave us a lesson in using the sticks and said we got along nicely. Some of the food was really good and I am sure we need not starve even though we would have to eat native food which we do not often. After taking this we had an orange each to take any taste out of our mouths that we didn't like. Oranges are cheap and the mandarin orange which is quite small, is very, very good. In my other letter I called it Japanese orange. Miss Box an experienced worker is accompanying us to Yang Chau. Mr. Drysdale of the Alliance Mission goes with us as far as Chin-kiang on his way to the alIiance Home in Woo Hoo. At Chinkiang we change for a canal boat for a days journey. I do enjoy to see Mr. D talk with the natives. His face just beams and he speaks the language as readily as the natives do. He has just returned to China with our last party of gentlemen. He was a member of the C.I.M. but broke one of the rules in marrying a woman who was not a missionary and has had to leave our mission consequently, although he is still much in sympathy with the mission and the mission esteem him highly. The only trouble is that he has broken a rule and can no longer be a member. They are very strict. Oh how I wish you could see some of these dear people. I never met any one who had an influence for good over me as our mr. Cooper, the deputy director. He has a very quite, gentle way,- and his face! it just shines with a holy light, such as I would think our Lords had when he was here. Last night the last thing before going to the vessel we were summoned to his room to see him and his wife, as they were both unwell, and he offered up such a beautiful, simple prayer for us. Then there are the dear sisters who have charge of the home. What an interest they took in fitting us in our Chinese costumes for tea last night. They all tell me it is quite an improvement in my appearance Miss Jewell says it adds wonderfully to my dignity. It was rather embarrassing to go into the dinning room and have the eyes of fifty or more men and women on us, with courteous and smiles from ,any but we soon felt quite at home in them except when we are at table and hang our sleeves into the plates and dishes. And I had to work a good while to get my tablet in a position near enough to me so I could write because I have so many clothes on and they are so thick that I feel as big as mrs. Harper. First I have on a flannel and a cotton suit of under wear then a padded jacket (Luquaitsi) and divided, flannel skirt, over these a skirt and upper garment (quartsi). And you Know they are so loose that they take up so much room around me.
We, Miss. Culley, Miss. Huston, and I, are perched up on our bunks while writing and it is not so easy a position. You may wonder what kind of accommodations we have. Well the vessel is larger than any I ever saw on the lakes in Mich., we have separate cabins, that is two between the five ladies and we brot our own bedding and food so we are very comfortable. This morning when we awoke we could not see land except now and then and we had been going since two o'clock in the morning. It is about noon now and we can see both shores distinctly. We reach Ching Kiang about eight o'clock tonight where we will see Mr. Frost our North American Director, who is here for his health.
As I look out on the shore it looks very much like the marshes of Grass River, with many small, scattered houses, and trees also small and scattered. Nearly all deciduous.
Wednesday, 1 o'clock, p.m. We arrived at about nine o'clock last night and as Dr. Anderson hadn't received word of our coming in time Misses Culley, Huston and myself were left in the boat to take care of the luggage while Misses Leffingwell and Box started for the Home to send someone. We had to sit on our things to keep the coolies from carrying them away to their barrows. They are so anxious to make a few cash. There we waited for about ten minutes when Miss Box and Miss L. returned with Dr. Anderson and his servants whom they met coming down. We wondered what you dear ones at home would think if you knew. But we felt perfectly safe and happy, too. However Miss Culley and Miss H. said we could never do it except for Jesus sake. Now our experience really begins- Dr. Anderson stayed to look after things while Miss Box, who knows the city, led us up through a narrow, muddy, dark street. to the Home at the end of it. Every few steps Miss. Huston's and my rubbers would pull off in the mud, and the odor that greeted our nostrils was just 'fearful'. We have begun missionary life in earnest and are happy and glad. Our joy increases as we go on. Praise His name! There is a young girl here from England just three months who has just recovered from small pox. This morning she said, in spite of that, they have been the happiest months of her life. Those at home who think they are burying their loved ones when they go to some far away land for Jesus sake are very, very much mistaken. Those who refuse to come to the heathen don't know what happiness they are turning away from.
This is a home for the missionaries who need rest or are ill. Dr. and Mrs. Anderson are now in charge. There are only the young lady and Mr. Frost here now. It is a large, two story house, in foreign style with a high wall around. There are an number of foreign houses, I see, some of them consulates. We went to the American consult this morning to register and get our new names mine is Tak ata. The Chinese character of it is . Each party has the first name the same, ours is an-tong-(peace in the East). The sun is very bright today but still it is cold in our rooms (they are not heated). We had to use our umbrellas because in China the sun beats down with a peculiar force which is liable to cause sun strokes especially to those who are not accustomed to it. I can't tell you much about the city for I haven't seen much of it. Our South and West, I think it is, are high hills, the sides of which are covered with little mounds with a white object against the side. I could not make out what they were for some time then it dawned upon me- they are graves. It is a relief to see hills. Shanghai and the country along the river are so very level that it grew monotonous. The street are so noisy. One can hear all sorts of noise tin pans, whistles, children crying, but above all this the noise the people make when carrying loads to keep time. It is so queer--the different noises, different ones make. The narrow street which passes here is lined with people all the time. In fact they live in the streets.
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Yang-cheo Feb. 18,'96
My Dear Sister:
It is raining today so instead of taking my usual walk between study hours I'll write you. You see a part of this letter is dated more than a week ago on the way to Yang-choo. I couldn't get it ready to go before the two weeks of Chinese New Year set in and the post stopped, so here it is yet. The workers have been holding special meetings during these holidays and have had much blessing, especially so yesterday when the native Christians came out so bright and clear in their testimonies. They have had days of special prayer for a revival in the city and the answer they are sure is coming. The work has not been very encouraging to the laborers now we hope many souls will be brought in. On Sunday too there was special answer to prayer. The house below was so full of people that there were not enough people to speak to them. In one room some of the sisters had the children, in another Miss. Gibson, who came with us, had the women. Then there was a crowd of men to whom there was no one to speak because our two gentlemen missionaries were in another part of the city holding a meeting. But this was an unusual crowd and all seemed anxious to hear the Gospel. There are now twenty eight girls here studying. Many then will go to stations soon as the house is full and others expected soon. These now have a start in the language so that by the help of their fellow missionaries and a native teacher they may get along nicely. Some of them have only been here only three or four months. This seems like a good many workers but, oh, there so many people in China. Mrs. Night who has just returned from a long journey through the province of Ho-nan with her husband, told us something about it a few evenings ago. In different places the native Christian women begged her to remain with them, but she could not. The sisters who had worked there had to leave for some reason and there are only young men missionaries and to these the women cannot go, so they are left with out any one to teach them. Two of the women in one of these places had been doing what she could for the sisters by having meetings in their homes. But they were not learned in Bible truths themselves needed some one to teach them and there is no one to send. There are many similar cases where the people would be glad for some one to teach them. Why do not more of God's children at home come to these dear women! They, Mr. and Mrs. Night took a young lady to her station up their. Mrs. might told us how glad the dear women received her. The first Sunday they all wanted to be introduced and one after another fifty or sixty of them passed by shaking their hands and bowing to her. After the first meeting one of the women insisted in taking her into her special care saying that each of the sisters who had been there longer had come to befriend them but now she her self was going to take care of the new one. All this time she was standing by her caressing her hand lovingly.
On New Years day (last Wednesday) the house was thrown open for the Christians after the meetings both morning and afternoon. They did seem to enjoy looking at our things so much. One young girl sat down on the bed and asked me to sit beside her. As I did she took my hand up into her own and smelled of it, than sat caressing it. They like me because I look so much like their own people. They don't like light hair and eyes. I used to wish for a light complexion, curling hair and blue eyes but now I am so glad the Lord gave just what he did. The Chinese think those who have curly hair do not comb it properly. Theirs is dressed so perfectly smooth. The women have theirs combed straight back, put in a roll on the back while the girls have theirs parted a little and rolled on the side. You may see in the picture I'll send what the head dress is like. They wear a great many ornaments in the hair--large artificial flowers of the brightest color. We see also many beautiful silken garments in the streets worn by the "gentlemen". The "ladies" do not go on the streets. The other day when out walking we were attacked by two beggar women who detained us for sometime by hanging on to our sleeves until one of the girls gave one a gold hair pin then the other one wanted one and handled Miss. Culley's hair pretty roughly until a Chinese gentlemen came to our relief. We did not use any force only called on him who said LO I am with you always. Direct C/O China Inland Mission, Shanghai.
[On back of last page] They forward only to us by putting Chinese address on.
( 2 Chron.14:11) ["And Asa cried unto the Lord his God, and said, Lord, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many,or with them that have no power: help us, O Lord our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go aganist this multitude. O Lord thou art our God; let not man prevail aganist thee." 2 Chronicles 14:11, KJV] latter part with (15:7) ["Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded." 2 Chronicles 15:7 KJV] have been a blessing to me the past few days.
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Poa-Ting Fu, Chihli
April 1, 1896
My Dear Sisters:
It has been a long time since I have written to either of you but one is inclined to wait for an answer to the letters written and if we do that in China we do not get many letters written in a year. I have heard from none of you but Ella and Anna each once, and I cannot now for several weeks more at least. We left Yang-Chi two weeks ago Mond. for Shanghai where we arrived on Tues. evening and left for Tuntsin, a Northern part of China, Thursday afternoon arriving there Monday afternoon following, just a week after leaving Yang chio. At Tuntsin we remained at the C.I.M. home laying in stores, etc. until Wednesday afternoon when we left in two native boats on the Tientsin River for Poa-Ting Tu where we arrived the following Tuesday, or, yesterday. From here we go in mule carts and litters. This little outline of the journey will give you a little idea of what travelling in China is as regards the time. There are still two weeks of the hardest part of the journey before us. There has been nothing hard about it so far. Now I'll describe to you briefly our manner of travel in China.
Mr. and Mrs Lutley who have been down to the coast to marry are accompanying us. Coming from Tientsin they had a boat and we three girls had one. Their boy did the cooking for us all on our boat. Our compartments consisted of three rooms; sitting-room, bed-room and dressing-room. The sitting room was large enough for our food baskets, satchels, a little table , two stools and a bench fastened to one side and to allow us four in it if each took her little corner, two ate at the table and two on the bench. The bed room floor was all bed and it was rather interesting for four to be dressing in this and the little dressing room for neither was high enough to allow us to stand nor was the dressing room large enough for more than one at a time. We enjoyed all this as much as we would if it were at home picnicking. We hoped to get through to Poa-Ting-Fu by Sat. evening but had an unfavorable wind. On Sunday we were anchored at the head of a pretty lake in a quite place a few li from a village (3 li= a mile). About noon the people began to come and soon there was a great crowd on the shore eager to see the foreigners. We kept as much out of sight as possible and after Mr. Lutley had preached to them on the shore awhile they went away having heard the Gospel for the first time. You will find a fuller description of all this in my diary which will reach you later through Dan. I have heard a good many stories about the litters in which we are to travel during the next two weeks but have not yet seen one Miss. Huston and I who go much farther than the other two sisters we will have litters while these two English girls will have carts. I have seen plenty of those. They are two wheeled carts with little covered tops on them--they look much like the cart Uncle Christs used to have around the barn only heavier the roads in China are not smooth. You can imagine what the ride will be. The litter in which Miss. Huston and I are to go are carried on the backs of two mules, a little square box, covered, on them in which we sit. Certainly we may walk if we like but it is a very great task to get in and out when they are on the mules backs.
But I haven't told you yet about the girls with whom I am travelling. Two Miss Wakefield and Miss Gregg, are from England and are only going a few days farther. We hope to be in their station by Saturday evening. They will be the only two unmarried C.I.M. lady missionaries in the Province, but I forget that this does not mean as much to you as it does to me. Almost every Province has a number of unmarried girls. Miss Wakefield is one of the girls who had smallpox in the home in Yang chio last Nov. and has not yet fully recovered strength. She is a refined, quiet beautiful Christian girl, while Miss. Gregg is a real "tomboy" but a good Christian girl and one cannot help liking her for she really knows the Lord well. I love her very much. Miss. Huston you know, I think, for I have spoken of her so often, She and I are to be only a short distance apart and hope to meet quite often. She and Miss. Rice from Mass. will be the only missionaries in the city. Miss Rice is alone at present. I will be with a dear little English girl. I have not met her but those who know her love her so much. Mr. and Mrs. Smith of our mission are also in this station. We were at the American Congregational Prayer meeting last night at D. -- somebody's home. There we met two young ladies from America, the Dr. and his wife and a young man all of this mission. It seemed so strange to see missionaries in foreign dress. I have seen so many in the past few months and all in native dress. I do like the Chinese dress it is so comfortable and more civilized, I am sure, than the feather trimmed hats and big sleeves at home. Really when I think of some of the hats at home it reminds me so of the savages in the South Sea islands who have their heads decorated with feathers, beads, etc. But enough of this.
Today is Joe's birthday I would like to write him but we are soon to go so I may not have time. This is more like a July day than the first of April. The sun beats down very hot. WE have to be very careful not to let the sun strike our heads it is dangerous. Day after tomorrow is my birthday twenty five years old. soon be an old maid ,won't I. I have sent you a picture of the Asakasa temple in Japan which we visited in January for your birthday Anna, It may not reach you in time but it will be just as good when it does reach you. I am writing to both of you in one letter this time again because time is as taken up. Tonight we are to find out what it is to stay in a Chinese inn. Sometimes we have pigs, bugs, donkeys, etc. for company but My Grace is sufficient for these. The country here is so much more beautiful here than between here and Tientsin. There is nothing but a level stretch of land and water as the eye can see, here there are trees and a few hills. They tell me Lu-gan where I am going is very nice. Not much like Yang chio with its dirty narrow streets. How good of the Lord, isn't it? Oh the Lord has blessed me so wonderfully since I came to China. It is such a little thing to give up those we love more than our own lives for Jesus who has done so much for us in leaving his heavenly home and Father for my sake, because he loved me. And, too, He gives us such wonderful blessings in making Himself known -- in being Father, mother, brother, and sister, all in all to us. In the past few days of our journey He has been so much more to me than ever before. His word has become so precious. I want to give you my text for today. (Rom. 8:32) " How shall He not with Him also freely given us all things". ["He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" Romans 8:32, KJV] The home here is so sweet. So humble and such a sweet atmosphere in it all. Thoroughly Chinese all through. It is wonderful to see how the Grace of God can change people what it can do for them. Many of these English missionaries are people of wealth who have lived in luxury at home but now are using their money in getting the Gospel to the Chinese and live in a simple, very simple way in China. One wouldn't think of Them coming from the wealthy families of Eng. One man has spent thousands of dollars in putting up and furnishing three large brick buildings for mission use in Shanghai. But really I must stop now, the carts have come.
C/O China Inland Mission Tientsin China
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Whei-luh, Chihli. April 5, '96
My Dear Brother:
direct C/O China Inland Mission Tientsin China
I wanted to write to you on your birthday but when we reached the inn in the evening it was to late and we had to get up and be off by six or half past next morning. Before this reaches you, you will have heard through the girls perhaps that I am on my way to my station in north China, the province of Shansi, Lugan city. You may find it on a good map of China. I with four other girls left the training school at Yang cheo two weeks ago last Monday, this is Sunday so we have been nearly three weeks on the way and still have eight or ten days before me. Two of the girls Misses Gregg and Wakefield from England we leave here, Miss. Huston who came from Kansas City with me goes with in one days journey of Lugan. We are accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Lutley who are returning to their work in Shansi after having been to the coast to be married. From Yang cheo to Shinkiang (15 miles) we went in a small native boat pulled and pushed along by natives when the wind was not strong enough to carry us. From there we went on the Yang tsi River to Shanghai a few hundred miles in a large steamer; at Shanghai we remained two days then took an ocean steamer for four days to Tientsin a northern part of China. There we were in the C.I.M. Home kept by Mr. and Mrs. Clark a little more than a day , took two native boats there for a river journey of five days to Poating Tu where our mission has another business station, here we remained a day to hire mules and men to carry us the rest of the way. Our river journey was very pleasant, like picnicking at home often. Mrs. Lutley's boy did our cooking on a Chinese stove which isn't much like our own at home. It looks like an earthen pot perhaps a foot in diameter into which the charcoal is put. In the bottom of it is an opening for draft. I will not go into details much for you will probably receive thro Dan a copy of my diary which has details of my journey. However I would like to picture to you our caravan as we left Poating Tu in on cart, litters and on mules. There was a young man added to the party here. I'll stop to tell you what the cart and litter are like then tell you of the caravan in general. The litter is like a "soudan" chair only larger and carried on the backs of mules instead of men. It is about five ft high, four feet long and between two and three feet wide with bamboo poles fastened to the sides about two feet from the bottom these are somehow fastened to either side of the mules wooden saddle. One litter is supposed to be large enough for two to sit in facing each other but we fit in pretty snugly and get pretty tired not being able to change position much. The cart is much like Uncle Christ's cart they used around the barn yard ever since I can remember, only these in China are much heavier and this one in particular is much larger. This is loaded with the luggage of six missionaries-- piled way up, on the front is a cover of straw matting in the shafts of the cart is a pretty little brown pony hitched by rope harness in front of the pony are a mule and another pony, hitched by long ropes to the cart, there is nothing to keep them together so they are not always close together. Now for the caravan-- First is the cart loaded away up high with boxes and baskets and two girls laying, or half sitting, because there isn't room for them to sit upright under the mat covering in front, with two ponies and a mule hitched to it, the driver walking along there side with his long whip then comes two pack donkey then a litter with a mule in front and behind, another donkey with a bed thrown across his back, led by a man, another litter with a pony in front and a mule behind and again a donkey or two with boxes or bundles on their backs, and a man walking by each. You can't imagine how funny it all looked to us who are accustomed to carriages and rail road trains. China has a few hundred miles of R.R. and hopes to have more soon. It also has telegraph wires in a number of provinces. But I am getting off my line of thought. We have had a variety of experiences since starting on our journey and undoubtedly shall many more before we get to the end. The inns have been much better than I expected to find them. There has been nothing particularly unpleasant about any in which we have yet put up. I have heard some dreadful stories about China's inns but we have happened to get good ones. Some times the missionaries find pigs, donkeys, Chinamen young and old, bugs big and little, rats and almost any thing you would wish to be without in your bedroom. The natives have not troubled us in the least in our stops, nor have the other disagreeable things which I have just mentioned. We have had a nice rest here with Mr. and Mrs. Green they have very pleasant quarters. This morning we went with Mrs Green to her women. These were sixteen or eighteen in I should think. They were glad to welcome the two new foreigners. They all took a fancy to me and had a good many remarks to make to Mrs Green and each other about my hair and eyes that are like their own. They think I am very good looking because I am so much "like themselves". Every body tells me I am a very good Chinese you know we all wear Chinese dress, the gentlemen too. The ladies dress is much more comfortable than our own. I don't know whether I have sent you one of my pictures in native dress or not. If not I'll send you one if you wish. But I must not forget to tell you about my birthday. It was spent on the road traveling you know, but the one thing I want to tell you about is my ride on the donkey. It was a treat I enjoyed it immensely in the cool of the beautiful morning. I rode missionary style along in the procession of carts, litters, and donkeys. Tomorrow we start off again for eight days more. At least I am very happy in China not because of my surroundings but because I am working for Him who left much for me I do. Wish you many happy returns of April 1. Please write often.
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[Written at top of letter]
( Ps. 73: 23,24) ["Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory." Psalms 73: 23-24, KJV] Thank you for book Anna.
W sou Shansi Province
May 26, '96
My Dear Sisters Anna and Lydia :
I do so appreciate your letter so much, and although I have waited so long to answer. The postman doesn't go out until a week from today But I have time for writing now and may not have again soon. We get mail twice a month. Just think of it I have had only one letter from home since I came to China, That was two months ago or more. A few mails ago I had a letter each from Dan's and Abe's. Mary was so cheerful and encouraging to me. Lydia, if I didn't remember you of old I wouldn't know I had a sister Lydia. I really can't say when I have had a letter from you. A faint recollection comes to me just now that once you wrote about sending me the children's pictures. I would appreciate them more than ever before. I have no good one of you either.
You see by the heading of my letter I am not at home, Lu-gan. I came three weeks ago to help nurse twin babies. This was not what I would have chosen but the Lord has said "go' and I dare not disobey for He knows best and He will supply the needed grace to leave my study for this work. I was so much blessed a few weeks ago in reading The Shepherd's Psalm, (23Ps) by Myer. There are many beautiful thought about the good Shepherd but none has clung to me as this: The way is rough, stony, uphill, dark, through which the shepherd leads His sheep but " it the nearest way home"-- "The nearest way home". Isn't it beautiful. Although many things come to us which we cannot understand yet He knows all and He has permitted them to come and makes " all things work together for our good". The sheep sometimes follow afar off and find the way much more difficult because they haven't the immediate presence of the Shepherd to help them over the stony rough places but when we follow closely how tenderly He cares for us. "He carries the lambs in His bosom" He leads the nearest way home. ( I held my first meeting with the women last Sunday.(how puh how) (good not good).
"I may not always understand
just why He sends to me
Some bitter grief, some heavy loss
But tho' I cannot see
I kneel and whisper Thro' my tears
A prayer for help, and know He hears
My cherished plans and hopes may fail
My idols turned to dust
But this I know-- my Father's love
Is always safe to trust:
These things were dear to me, but still
Above them all I love His will.
I rest content and know His way is best".
Fri May 29 Mail in this morning Oh, so good! The answers to several prayers in them too-- A letter from Dan, Anna, Mary, Joe, Ella and others --Full of good things--John home again-- This surely is my prayer answered --Ella says every thing conspires to help her pay the debt--another answer to prayer. Oh how good the Lord is . My heart is over flowing with praise to Him. But still there's more to follow word came thro' the C.I.M. treasure of the receipt of several donations toward my support. You see I have no salary but get what ever the Lord sends for me thro' the mission. He has fulfilled his promise, "My God shall supply all your needs"( Phil. 4:19) ["But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19, KJV]. One donation came from an Iowa, Gospel Union, Missionary Conference another Thro' one of my fellow students at the institute, but all from the Lord. Praise Him. You ask, Anna, whether I can use U.S. money. I would need to return it to Shanghai and then there would be a reduction. The way to send money is thro' the Toronto board stating for whom it is to be. "The Millions" will give you instructions as to how to send I am so glad, Anna, that you are Missionary at home. You will find joy in nothing as you find in bringing souls to Christ. Is it not so? Oh I'd like to write sheet after sheet, but I have so many letters to get off this post that they must be short.
C/O C.I.M. Tientsin, China
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[The following letter is not by Sarah Alice.]
Mancelona, Mich. July 22, 1896
Dear Sister ["sister" is written in a different ink.]:
I come to you for your annual offering for 1st The bishop, 2nd The Conference Claimants, and 3rd The Benevolence, Missions Church Extension, Freedmans Aid and Southern Educational, Sunday School Union, Tracts and Bible Society.
Each of these causes depends for support on the contributions of the membership of the church. Let us not allow the work or the workers to suffer from any failure on our part to furnish the means to bring this world to Jesus. The exhortation of the Holy Spirit is " Freely you have received, freely give:"
1. The world is the parish of our Bishops. They are able to work it only as means is supplied by the offering of the church.
2. No greater obligation is upon the church than to care for the men who have spent their lives in her service. We should count it a sacred trust to maintain them and care for the widows and orphans of, oh of them as have fallen in the work.
3. The church of the Jesus Christ must be a Missionary Church. The Cause of Missions never called for more workers and larger offerings to carry on the work than today. Nations are being born into Christs Kingdom in a day. To carry forward this blessed work takes means.
If possible hand your offering for the above to me by the 25th of August.
Yours in Jesus Service
John C. Beach
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[Printed on the stationary: "Postal address: China Inland Mission, Tientsin, China"]
Lugan Fu, Shansi Province
Aug. 17, '96
My Dear Sister Lydia:
I wanted to write you on your birthday but didn't get it done and now it is almost time for another post to go out so will try to get it written. Oh how busy Miss gates and I have been the past week getting settled in our new home. However we are now about straight and, oh how nice it is. The Lord has been so good in giving us a good house, or rather houses for there are six of them. As a rule each room is a house by itself-- Chinese fashion. These house are built on four sides of a courtyard. Our courtyard is perhaps 70 by 100 feet as nearly as I can guess. It is something very unusual in Chinese houses to have upstairs that can be used but we have a very nice one of two very large rooms and a hall. These are our sleeping rooms. The sides of these rooms opening on the courtyard are in small doors which can be lifted from their wooden hinges and the front of the rooms left open to air and sunshine. Below these rooms is our sitting room in the centre with a hallway from which the stair way opens at one side and a store room at the other. This is the building on the East side of the courtyard ; on the South side are the dining room and kitchen; on the west side is one great building containing the Chapel and a small room on either side, the one used for a wash room, the other is the man cook room; on the north side the women's rooms three in number. The room we have for chapel is about 16 by 20 feet and about 20 feet high, ornamented over head with delicate carvings and great beams painted in bright colors and gilt. This building and the one containing our sitting room have high verandas supported by large wooden pillars resting upon carved stone blocks about two and a half feet high. The veranda of the chapel has beautiful, delicate carving all along the top which has been beautifully painted at one time but now is faded. The carpenters are still at work repairing but we hope they will soon be away. There are still a few glass windows to be put in. We have nearly all paper windows. They are so nice. The front of our sitting room consists of four very high, heavy with open work for paper windows in the top of each, and the rest is taken up by a cupboard of about four feet high at the bottom with pretty open work above extending nearly to the high ceiling for paper windows. This open work with only white paper pasted tightly over it makes the room so cherry and light though it doesn't admit the sunlight. The buildings are brick with nicely plastered walls stone or brick floors, and pretty paper ceilings. The courtyard is also paved with brick.
There was a great fair in the city last Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and oh so many women came in to see us no men are allowed as men and women of China do not mingle much. Our work is among the women only. Oh these dear women are so utterly dark, Satan has indeed blinded them. It as a rule takes long patient teaching before they can understand. Their minds are so narrow, Oh, so narrowed by hundreds of years of treading down. Few of them can read at all. Only the Spirit can take His Word and make it light to them...I am getting along slowly with the language because so many interruptions first a month on the journey coming from Kang Cleo, then five weeks at U wu nursing, and now the moving. However I am not discouraged nor have I been. I have been taking a class of children occasionally and will now have them every Sunday P.M. I also occasionally take prayers with the women at Mrs. Smith's and with our own servants here. We have had three women helping and two boys. The one woman was here only to help preach to the women who came here. She is Elder Li's wife from Li wu and such a bright Christian ( I'll tell you something of her becoming a Christian later if my paper holds out). You probably think we are very extravagant but these people do not get through with work as we do. In their little bound feet the women get about very slowly. Then too they need the money so much, we get them under the influence of the Gospel and above all we must be free to preach the Gospel and those who haven't the language to study. Another thing here we two Sisters can not live alone without a native man and women. We need two women because one goes out with us when we go to visit the women in their homes and one stays to do the work and see to any who come in. It doesn't cost much, only two dollars a month each.
Now about Mrs. Li's conversion. Her husband broke off opium at one of the mission refuges, went home and told his wife he had heard about a wonderful man who had helped break off opium. She was much interested because she too wanted to break off opium. "Well", he said "I will get you some medicine". He brought her a handful of pills and taking her opium pipe from its place on the wall he started with it to the door when she said "what are you going to do with it" 'Break it" he replied, But I may want it again. "No", he said, "if we want this man Jesus to come into our home and help you break off opium we must trust Him and have no opium pipe in the house". She took the pills after the pips was broken but one night she could not sleep for want of opium and was in much pain. She woke her husband told him she was suffering, when he said "You must pray to Jesus." "But", she said "I don't know how to pray" "Just ask Him to help you". replied her husband. She told the Lord she didn't know how to pray but she wanted Him to help her. Soon she went to sleep. After this she had many more wakeful nights but always prayed to this Jesus of whom her husband had told her. When she had broken off she said, "I must know more about this Jesus. Where can I hear about Him" Her husband told her of a place. She went and upon arriving at the place she asked whether the Jesus doctrine is preached there. "Yes" was the reply, "every Sunday ". "Can't I hear about Him before Sunday?" said the poor women, "No you may come in and stay here but we only preach on Sunday". She went in stayed until she was satisfied the lives of these people were not what the lives of that Jesus followers of whom her husband had told her, Should be, so she inquired whether there was another place where she could hear the Gospel and was told of the Lu Chung where she went and found a foreign pastor and his wife and a "young teacher" she asked whether here she could hear the Gospel every day and was told"yes". She remained until satisfied that these people lived lives that were what she thought followers of Jesus should live and learned also to know and follow Him herself. She is a gentle, quiet women and loves her Bible sitting for hours with it. She knows her Lord well and is a great help to us here. The women understand her so much better than they do us.
Aug. 20 Had to leave your letter unfinished the other night but will try to finish this evening. It is raining steadily. We are having quite a good deal of rain just now though it has been so dry the people carried their rain god along the streets for a few days and night making a great noise with gongs and drums. Several times in the night they stopped to pound on our street door calling out against the foreigners for keeping the rain away and once a brick bat was thrown over the wall into the courtyard. We didn't know but there would be trouble, the crowd seemed so excited. A few years ago on a similar occasion they broke down the door and entered the courtyard but no harm was done inside. It is said by the natives at this time no woman is allowed on the street. If the crowd catch sight of one either on the street or in her courtyard she is seized and unmercifully beaten and torn by the wild mob.
It was raining on Sunday never the less a number of women and children came in. They were sitting in the street in front of our house. When I went out and invited them in they came bringing their shoes on which they were working with them and worked at them while Miss. Gates talked to them. One little girl was making great thick heavy boots for a dead man to take with him into the grave to wear in the other world.
We are trying to start a class on Wednesday afternoon. Yesterday was the first day. There were a great many women and children. Miss Gates took the women and I the children. Just imagine sitting on the floor in the middle of the room with a crowd of dirty ragged children crowding about and bending over me as I taught them "Jesus Loves Me this I know, For the Bible tells me so". Dear little ones! They are so quick to commit anything.
Here is another picture.--A dear old Christian women with a particularly black face pressed against my face her arm around my shoulders begging me not to leave Mrs. Smith's where she is living. Once this would have been repulsive to me, but now-- how sweet to know that these dear people love us.--It is good to be in China and I am so happy. A very different happiness from that found in the things of the world as I used to think I couldn't leave this and that but now it is so different the more I give for Him the happier I am--such a deep, full joy and peace. I speak of leaving something for Him, and what have I left compared with what He left for me--me a poor miserable worm yet He loved me and left his heavenly home which is pure, where the onlp>[The following transcripts of letters by Sarah Alice (Troyer) Young (along with a few letters by others) were made by Mrs. Carol Whiting in the 1990s from the originals, which in many cases were very faded and difficult to read
Dan writes that he has applied to the Reformed Church College in---Japan for a position. Praise the Lord! Some more missionaries in the Troyer family!
May God keep you and the little ones in His mighty hands, Love to C.W.
Here is a text for you, ( Deut.33:27) ["The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them." Deuteronomy 33:27, KJV] My letters are incomplete without a text.
Just received a beautiful bouquet of dahlias from Miss Huston.
[Apparently with this letter were two sketches in pencil of the layout of the house mentioned in the letter. Click here to see the sketches. This was written on one of the sketches: "The heavy pencil marks are windows the short double lines mark doors. The front of the chapel is in twelve doors with the upper half paper windows. The big dots mark pillars, The names are upside down, at least some of them but I had to turn it in the position the house lies or I would have been unable to work. I am so turned around."]
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[No date. Probably autumn of 1896]
Lugan Fu, Shansi Prov
My Dear Sister:
While waiting for the breakfast bell I'll begin a letter to you. I was looking over your letters yesterday and found some things that I want to speak about You said you do so want to get into full light. I do sympathize with you for I was so long groping along in semi darkness and it is awful. But let me tell you, it is all in believing-- believing what? believing God's word, and His word to us in the Bible. It is only a year ago that this truth was bro't home to me in all it's force and what a blessing it was to me then and always since I cannot tell you."Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that ye may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost" ( Rom. 15:13) ["Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost." Romans 15:13, KJV] " That ye may know what is the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe".( Eph. 1: 18, 19) ["The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power," Ephesians 1: 18,19, KJV] Another thing that I learned is, that I cannot enjoy His presence and the joy and peace it brings without beginning the day with prayer for His help and some message from His word which is helpful throughout the day. You gave the root of all when you said " Oh that we might take Him at His word". That is just what we must do to be at peace always. Another thing that has helped me so much is believing that " All things work together for our good". This too is His word. I want to give you some references on this subject which have been helpful to me. First that good text which we all love so much, ( Rom. 8:28) ["And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28, KJV]. All things work together for our good. Then giving of thanks Always for all things (Eph.5:20) ["Give thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;" Ephesians 5:20, KJV] whether things are pleasing to us or not we should give thanks for our Father will not let any thing come to us that is not for the best. Then to notice the purpose of affliction to His children-(Ps.119:71) ['It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes." Psalms 119:71, KJV] "It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn Thy statutes". (Isa. 48:10) ["Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction." Isaiah 48:10, KJV] "Behold I have refined thee...I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction" The Goldsmith sits over the metal he is refining until he can see his own face in it, so our Father is over those He is refining even in the furnace of affliction watching so tenderly until He can see Himself reflected in that one. "Whom the Lord loveth He Chasteneth". Even the sending into captivity of the Jews, we read (Jer.24:5,6,)
["Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive
of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good. For I will set mine eyes upon for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them and not pluck them up." Jeremiah 24: 5,6, KJV] was for their own good, the Lord set His eyes on them for good. In (Gen. 45:5-7) ["Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that you sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in which there shall neither be earing or harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance." Genesis 45:5-7, KJV] we find how Gods hand is in all things for the good of his own. Joseph says "Be not grieved that you sold me into Egypt for God sent me before you to preserve life". Gods Hand didn't seem to be in this act while it as being carried out neither does it in our lives some times but if we trust joy and peace fill us through all. The way may be dark, stormy, rough along which the sheep must go but it is the nearest way home. This has been to me such a sweet thought. The nearest way home! The home to which we are going! not trying to go but actually going. But there is another step to this perfect peace and that is yielding our wills to Him. Willing to put our own wishes to a side and follow His will as he reveals it to us. Then we become the bond slaves which have such glorious liberty in Jesus for His will becomes ours and He is indeed Master. This word has recently become so sweet to me "master".
" Oh, I love , I love my Master
And I will not go out free;
I am His today, forever,
His for all eternity"
Oct. 15 A few days ago in our afternoon outing we went into some Mohammedan streets and found such a difference in appearance of people and things in general. They are a much more intelligent and neat looking people than the other Chinese. We go into no homes except where we are invited in and not being invited into any we did not have an opportunity of giving the Gospel. The Mohammedans you know are so bitterly opposed against the Christian religion and they knew well enough what our business is. They seemed very friendly and greeted us kindly. One man asked where we were going when we told him for a walk to the end of the street he said "Well go you don't come often". As we came to each door the women of the house, sometimes a dozen or more, I should think, came to see us or rather were there to look as we came up. We couldn't understand how they knew we were coming for there was no crying "foreign devils" from one to the other and no running before us of children to tell but every where they were ready to look as we came opposite the doors. These people have no idols, they believe in one God and in Christ as a prophet but a lesser one than Mohammed. They have a little truth but only enough to make it difficult to work among them. They are the people of war and in Kan Suh Province have been in rebellion of more than a year causing the most awful bloodshed, poverty and misery which is still going on to a certain extent. Two of our missionaries and their little daughter have been in the thick of it and suffered both cold and hunger because of the cutting off of supplies by the rebels. They have done a grand work through it all in attending to the wounded and their home is called by the people "The Life Saving Station". In many instances when they had no food or fuel because the money could not reach them the magistrates kindly gave them both, and even sent them servants for they had to dismiss their own because of lack of money to pay them. Some times for months the mission could hear nothing from these devoted missionaries of the Cross and we didn't know but they were killed but matters are more quiet now and at head quarters they hear regularly.
The letters came in today, come in once in two weeks. and I had a good mail from home. Two letters from Ella one of Mattie's written home Father's one from Dan, Ella, and Mertie and others. Last post I was rather disappointed because of so few home letters but I made up for it this time. I am very glad I don't get my letters more frequently for I can seldom do any thing more that day at my study so today I am writing instead of trying to study. The letter from dear Mr. Bishop, our instructor at the institute who is now in Central America was so interesting. Then there was Mr. Fisher's letter from Panama on his way to Ecuador, and Mr. Johnson's about his beloved Indians among whom he so soon hopes to take up his work, etc. etc, Mr. J was director of our work in K City and Mr. Fisher you will remember is president of the Institute. How the Lord has scattered us who worked together in the homeland, some to Central A. some to Africa, some to the Indians, and some to China. But I see my paper is full. I'll be so glad to hear from you often. Letters are so precious in China.
Love to Charley and a kiss for Clifford.
[Written along the side of the first page]
Anna I am immensely enjoying the nice nightdress you gave. It is fine and the dressing gown has already done good service and will do much more before I am done with it probably.
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[No date. Probably 1896]
[Written in a different ink in the upper left corner of the first page]
To Etta, Mary, Anna + Lydia with Love from Sade.
Hold to light.
Lugan Fu, Shansi, China
My Dear Friends:
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus". I want to tell you the story of a dear old women who we believe took Jesus for her Savior after learning about Him and His work for her. We often shrink from telling you about interested ones because the Devil so often makes a special effort to get them back into his clutches after we write home about them but in this case there is no fear for she is safe.
Last August when Miss. Gates and I removed to the South street into our own home one of our neighbor women came in almost daily to sit with our women. We soon learned she was a lonely widow with only herself in her home. For a long time we knew her only as 'The Hat Woman" because she was always working on hats for a shop not far away. We heard from different ones what a bad woman she was, Spending almost her whole time at the gambling table until just about the time we came when she had a quarrel with her companions, and as she had no other place to go to pass time she came to us. Sometimes we felt rather uncomfortable to think of her with our women so much but much prayer was made for her and it was not long before we saw a little change for the better. About the first indication of her desire for the Gospel was her laying down her work during Lord's Day services. The next step was her leaving her work at home when she came in on Sunday and soon afterward she seemed to do nothing on the Lord's Day and soon began to go to the chapel services and stay the whole day. But still we had no evidence that the real truth had taken hold of her. The winter passed away-- She became a warm friend to us but never said that she wanted to follow the Lord and we did not press her for any answer but simply preached Christ and tried to show her, her real condition before God. At last in the early spring came a day when she opened her poor heart which hither to seemed so hard. She wept bitterly as she told the story of her sad life and added that she had several months before put away her idols and had not worshiped her ancestral tablet at the new year, also that she quit gambling soon after beginning to come here. "But" she added I cannot find the way. Our hearts were much rejoiced at this evidence of the spirits working. Soon after her neighbors began to persecute her for coming here. For a long time they had been calling her "foreign devil" but this did not seem to hurt her much. Now they began to accuse her of impure motives in coming here and this was very bitter to her. We trembled lest she should go back entirely. She longed for the Lord to punish her persecutor when we spoke to her of what Jesus suffered for her sake and of his command to us to pray for our enemies she would only weep more bitterly and repeat what they had said to her. When day after day passed by and her enemies still lived she one day said "Jesus counts for nothing or he would strike dead my persecutors" nothing was said to her while she was in this state of mind but continual prayer was made for her both by us and the servants. At last one morning she came in with a much brighter face saying " I am feeling better today" I think that day she for the first time prayed for her enemies . From this time on she was a different woman and one day she said "when they say bad words to me now I only smile at them". Oh, this is what we had been asking the Lord to do for her. We knew that only He could do this work in her heart for she was a known all over the neighborhood as one with a fiery temper.
Not long after this she attended the three days special meetings in the chapel, walking over in the morning and back at night which was not a little walk for one with little feet. After this she was ill for a few days and when she came in again she was under the impression that it was an punishment. I said "It may have been punishment or the Lord may have trying to teach you to be still and listen to Him speaking to you". But she still seemed to think it was punishment, adding "It may have been because I didn't obey Him" asked "Obey Him in what"? were not the subjects at the meetings "Unity" "Sanctification", and "Power of the Spirit". Perhaps it was because I did not obey what I heard there. This made my heart rejoice for I knew she had been hearing the voice of the Lord speaking to her on these important subjects tho' she was not ready to obey Him yet we hoped soon she would be. After there seemed to be a more enquiring spirit and she grew more gentle in actions.
One Sunday morning about a month after the special meetings she went to chapel feeling a little ill and, contrary to her custom left before the afternoon meeting. We knew she must be ill when the next morning she didn't come in as was her custom, to sit with our women and when Miss. Gates went in to see her she was laying on her "Kani" unconscious. The people in her court yard at once asked whether she had food at the "North Street" on Sunday and the neighbors did not hesitate to say that we had caused her to drink some poisonous medicine, tho' we had given her nothing. At noon one of the women came to ask us to pray for her we went but having no assurance that God would raise her up. We could only ask that she might speak and leave a testimony. The people were indignant that we did not ask our God to raise her up. On rising from our knees she spoke one word, the first of that day we were told. Miss. Gates, repeated some verses of scripture which Ala had learned but she only tossed and moaned until (Jno. 3:16) ["For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16, KJV] was repeated when she each time caught up the last clauses until three times she had said should not parish but have everlasting life. We left her until next morning at about six when we sent the boy to see how she was. When she heard his voice in the court yard she asked "Shing Ming what have you come for" and when he replied "to see how you are", she said,"good' Miss Gates soon after went and found her able to converse, a little and when she prayed the dear old woman repeated every word after her then began to pray herself but Miss. Gates said you talk to Jesus silently. You are to ill to talk aloud. At ten we went to see if we could do something to make her more comfortable for the women in her courtyard were so afraid that they would not go into the room except when we went. But when we spoke there was no answer. She had gone. We could do nothing for her as we turned away to tell the women who had gathered by the door and to speak a few words of warning to them. Our hearts were very sad for this woman had grown into our hearts and it was hard to give her up. Our home seemed so empty without her. Her dear old face was no more seen at the window of the women's room where she always sat with her work. Oh, what a joy it will be to meet this dear old woman when Jesus comes! We were much comforted by the testimony of the women in her courtyard as regarding her temper. They said she use to have a very bad temper and scolded and cursed us continually for a month past she has been different. She told us those who follow this doctrine dare not do such a wicked thing. She has only once in this time scolded. It seems that the Lord answered his own pray in taking her decidedly. About a month before her death she stayed for evening prayers and afterward we had some prayer with her and she, for the first time in our presence, asked the lord to save her and at the close of her prayer she added " My Lord ,when you want my spirit take it quickly and don't let me lie long on the "Kang".
WE cannot understand why the Lord took her the only one who has become interested in the gospel since we came to this part of the city, and did not leave her for a witness. But we knew that He doeth all things well and He is able to give much more than this. Please pray that we may not hinder Him by unbelief but take hold of Him for the "much more"
Yours in the Master's Service
S. Alice Troyer
C/o C.I.M. Tientsin China
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[This date may have been added to the letter by someone other that Sarah Alice at some later time.]
Below is an account of my trip tho' not very interesting. I am not in a writing mood for some reason or other. Am also sending a photos. Please send them as indicated on back. If you mount it on a card it will not get soiled so easily- your own I mean. The things you see rolled above the doors an windows are the screens. They are made of tiny strips of bamboo woven together with string. The tree you see is in the street and the door where I am opens into the street. The photo was taken from the chapel just inside the door. These rooms you see are our living rooms. In front the sitting room and on the side where the teacher stands are kitchen and dining room -- latter is only taken so far as the door -- the women's rooms are on the other side. The window above my head opens from my room. The four little doors between the windows also open from my room.
June 24, Started on my first itinerating journey taking with me our cook who is a bright Christian and Mrs. Smith's woman who suffered so much persecution for unbinding her feet last year. Starting in the afternoon we went thirty Li to Hui-Kuan hsien a walled, tho' small, city up in the hills. Riding on the animals we could go the near way by the mountain path. About ten Li of the way was so rough that the animals could not carry us so we dismounted and scrambled over the rocks the best we could. At sunset we reached the city but found that there is no good inn within the city. We were sent to the north suburb to a good inn but the keeper said they were full which I doubted very much. Again we turned back into the city not knowing where our Leader would take us. Our faithful Shing ming's face began to look troubled as we turned our steps to return to the city. I asked our Leader to search us out a resting place as He did for His children when He lead them thro' the wilderness for forty years and He did not fail us. The next place we stopped at was the one. It was dusk but a crowd of people followed us into the inn yard and I had a long talk with one woman who listened attentively and came again next day remaining for several hours to listen.
June 25. The women came in small numbers all day so that we had a good opportunity of giving the Gospel to all. Late in the evening it began to rain and no more women came in. Saturday, June 26th. we left this place and went to spend the Lord's day with Mrs Li, the oldest member of this church. Her son from Kuang Tony Province was at home. He to is a Christian but not a very bright one. The rain came on again this afternoon, and, tho' the journey was only twenty Li, and we had started at about ten o'clock to avoid the afternoon rain, we were caught in it and got rather wet. Besides Mrs. Chang's animal fell and threw her into the mud. At the edge of the city we came to a temple where we took shelter until the rain was over. Lord's Day we had quiet little meeting together and also went to a few homes where we were invited.
Monday morning June 27 left early for a fifty or sixty Li journey to another members home. The journey over the mountains and valley was refreshing to soul and body. Again we were overtaken by the afternoon rain which this time was very heavy. Mrs. Chang's animal being lame, I dismounted when the rain came on and gave her mine for I could walk quickly and thus we would escape more of the rain but the last two Li were up hill and as the rain came on more, and more heavily it became impossible to walk up so I went into the field but here again I found a difficult--steep bank before me which I could not mount. After many attempts and as many failures I at last found a place where I climbed up. Just as I had mounted I heard Shing ming's calling in a troubled voice "where are you, kiao si?" He had gone to the home of Mrs. Li and left the animals and then returned to help me along. He took me by the hand and half dragged me up the hill to the house where we were soon made comfortable by Mrs. li and her daughter now Mrs. Tong but used to be the school mistress at the "North Street". The same evening after the rain we visited the relatives of Han Kioo iu who is now teacher of the boy's school here. His old mother of 80 years is unsaved and seems to be unable to take in any truth, his son professes to believe in Jesus for forgiveness of sins but his life shows he does not.
June 28th. In the morning went to a mining village where a little crowd of women gathered around us to whom we gave the Gospel . Also went to the coal mines to see the men at work. In the afternoon Mrs. Chang and Mrs. Tong went with me to another village a few Li away where we had a number of interested women to whom we gave the Gospel. The people in these mountain villages are so simple and ready to listen. It is a joy to go among them. Here in the city they do not want to hear.
June 29th. Went fifteen li to a village two of the members have opened a shop, and to the home of these which is in a village five li away. His wife is very ready to listen and says she believes in Jesus and wants to follow Him. A number of women here also heard the word of Life.
June 30th. In the morning I visited some homes in the village and in the afternoon we went to a village five li away where a small company of women listened to the Gospel.
June 31, Came home stopping at Peng kia village where there is an interesting family of intelligent women. Some of them were in the city some months ago, heard the Gospel for the first time, and have shown deep interest since.
While on this journey we saw something of the misery of child --marriages. A woman who has shown some interest in the Gospel for some years has married her son of twelve years to a girl of fourteen. They have been married for a year or more. They live just next door to the home in which I was staying and I could hear the mother-in-law cursing her young daughter in law as only a Chinese woman can curse. The mother and little son got up one night to beat this little wife and the neighbors said it was all for a very simple little matter. The mother-in-law think it is their duty to beat their poor little slaves in order to keep them under their control.
The climate up in the hills is much colder than here in the valley. The women still had wadded clothes on tho' it was the last of June. The harvest too is sometime later than here in the valley. The grain still looked rather unripe while here it was cut and being thrashed.
I was very thankful to be able to eat their native food as well. I really enjoyed it and ate more than in my own home tho' it was always millet cooked in water with no seasoning whatever for breakfast, dough strips cooked in water seasoned with a little vinegar and onion for dinner, and, millet tang, or soup, for supper. There wasn't much variety or choice. In Hw-kuan hsien the water was very bad being from a pool into which the water from the city and fields drained. There is only one well in the city and the water from that is so expensive that only when the pool is dry do the people use water from the well.
Mrs Chang is a great help in talking to the people and when prepared by the Holy Ghost will make an excellent Bible woman tho' she still lacks that secret power which is so necessary in preaching Christ. She is the most intelligent Chinese woman I have met and her arguments with the people against their religion are powerful and convincing but it is her own power and intelligence not that of the Holy Ghost. Won't you pray that the Lord Himself may prepare her for that service in the Holiest of all which he desires for his children whom He has made kings and priests. In her daily life she also lacks those graces of the Spirit which are so necessary. Pray that she may be emptied entirely of self and filled by His Holy Spirit.
July 4. Was the first of our meetings which Mrs. Smith has decided shall be held on the first Lord's Day every month for the Christians and inquirers in the district. Owing to the busy time not many came this time. All the Kuan ts uen inquirers, men and women, walked in again, we were glad to see that another one of their number has opened her feet. Her boots were given her sometime ago but she said she would wait until after harvest because she did not want to soil her new boots in her work in the field. We thought the she was only giving that for an excuse to leave her feet bound, so on Lord's Day when she came we were surprised and asking how it was that she has unbound her feet she said "I did not want to do it until after harvest but I could not wait". They are a remarkably bright little company of women, especially so is the dear blind woman who comes with them walking all the way. One of the young men, the first one of them all to step out for Jesus teaches the women to repeat some of the simple hymns and this blind woman knows more than any of the others. It is remarkable how she can repeat hymn after hymn. Oh, pray that the Lord may keep every one of these dear people from falling back into Satan's clutches. All the women who have this year unbound their feet are going on nicely except Mrs. Liu and her mother. The mother has rebound her feet and Mrs. Liu seems neither to go back or ahead tho' she is doing one or the other for she cannot stand still on this road.
S. Alice Troyer
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[Written in upper left hand corner of first page]
Sarah Alice Troyer
Lugan Fu Shansi, China
Saturday, Dec. [space in which Troyer apparently intended to put the day, but never did.] '96
My Dear Ones:
You can't guess where I am now--At Uang fang up in the hills where I told you we met a wolf when I was here with Carrie this time I am alone and you can't know glad I am to be able to come alone-that is with out a foreigner. The schoolmistress from the North Street (Mrs. Smith) is with me. We came in the funniest little ox cart, Yesterday, starting at about noon we arrived here after dark, waited ever so long for food after arriving, had prayer waited again for a man to finish his breadmaking and leave the room, then finally, at midnight or later got into own bed. Oh I was so tired. My board bed was very comfortable or at least I didn't find out to the contrary. The school mistress slept on a table just at my side. This morning they are preparing a place for me upstairs. It is very good of them. They try to make us comfortable when we come and try to cook us some things that they know we have in our own homes. I have brought no foreign food except some salt and a few biscuits and I am going to stay until Tuesday. I get along very well with their food but poor Carrie always gets bad after even one meal of it. I am thankful that the Lord gives me so much liberty in the language. In prayers both last night and this morning I found it quite easy to speak and the reading is becoming so natural and easy to. What the dear people do not understand the school mistress repeats after me. This dear woman, Mrs Jing does understand so little of the true, spiritual things and yet she is so eager to learn. Last night I took (John 14:3) ["And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and recieve you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." John 14:3, KJV] Jesus going to prepare a place for us and repeated over and over again what he had gone for and that He is coming for us soon to possess the place He has been preparing for us, but this morning the thought was very vague in her mind she couldn't remember what I had told her. This morning I took verses (16,17,18) ["And I will pay the Father, and he shall give you another comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the spirit of truth; whom the world cannot recieve, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him: for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." John 14: 16-18, KJV] of the same chapter. Trying to make it clear to her that Jesus had not left us comfortless, or orphans, but had sent the Holy Spirit to dwell with us forever but oh, it took repeating, repeating before she could understand and now I suppose she will not know when I ask her tonight. But poor woman! she is so eager to learn and has quite determined to follow the Lord. The schoolmistress has bought her a pair of shoes so she can unbind her feet and she seemed so glad for them. I make it a point to say nothing about the feet for there has evidently been so much stress laid on this that many think that is all that is required and when they have done that they have done all and without this they can not be saved.
Of course this has never been taught-I mean salvation in unbinding the feet but they miss understand. Some of you remember that when we were here before the ancestral tablets were still in the house. I am glad to say they have since then been burned by the husband who is one of the workers. He came a few days ago to our house to tell us about it and in the conversation he told us of his conversion. He was in the city for seven years studying the "false doctrines". he was told of the foreigner's beautiful large place but never went near. He had a dream in which he saw this place very, very beautiful so thought he would go to see it. He went and of course heard the Gospel and from the lips of one of the Elders too. He continued to go but only to fight against the doctrine instead of learn it. Also tried to convert these men to his own views until finally he made up his mind this must be true doctrine and that he must have been learning a false all these years. He immediately took a firm and bold stand for it and is now the brightest Christian in the church. We asked him what this "false doctrine", as he called it,is. He answered, "It fills ones mind with all sorts of false things". Yes, we answered, we know that but what kind of false things! What is the doctrine? He said "it is to learn to live without sin and in that way become immortal". Only sinless people become immortal in China. He had a great number of books treating on this which he burned with the ancestral tablets. He told us he had been taught from the word that he should destroy these things but before that he did not know that they should be. He was quite ready and indeed anxious to do it when spoken to about it. He said he had asked to come home saying that he had business to attend to but that Mr. Smith was so busy at the time that he failed to attend to it. He thanked us for, or rather thanked the Lord that we had come to his home and seen these things. For he didn't know when he should have had it done if we had not taken it up. This poor man, was very much troubled about his daughter who is to married soon to a heathen man. The engagement was made before he was a Christian and cannot be broken. He asked us to pray about it especially, saying there is no way as far as we can see but the Lord is able to convert them all. This is his hope. They have promised not to have burning of incense at the wedding and for this purpose we have come. The child is to be formally engaged on Monday when there is usually a great deal of idol worship but as they have promised not to have it we have come to see that it will not be done. The mother of course does not want it but the affair is in the hands of the husband's people. The poor little bride is only a little girl but is soon to be married as well as formally engaged. She has been in her husband's home I think for several years. They are very, very busy today preparing for the feast on Monday. When this is over I will have more to tell you.
I am very sorry, but you must do without a letter this mail for I shall not be home until after the postman is gone on Tuesday. This letter is not very personal because it is duplicated in order to save time, and will be sent to others beside the home people.
This is the second time out alone for me. On Wednesday took my first Bible class among outsiders. Carrie was not well so I went alone to Jong-na-tsuang (tsuang-village) where we have a company of Christians. The Lord gave me much liberty in speaking on "Sin in the Believer" and He was in our midst to (unvicting) some. One dear woman who once was a bright Christian but whom we now know to be away from the Lord wept during the meeting-the Lord surely spoke to her. It is nice to use His word for He has promised that it shall not return unto Him void, though He may not be able to use our words He uses His own and for that reason I like to use much of His and only explain and connect with my own. But we remember too that when He gives the message they are not our own words but His.
I have written my first examination. It was not difficult. Truly the Lord answers your prayers in regard to the language. Many assurances of prayers on behalf of the language have come from friends at home. Does it occur to you that you are having a share in this great work of getting the Gospel to China's Millions in this way.
Monday morning While waiting for the guests to come I will write. Saturday afternoon I went with the school mistress to see an aunt of hers in a village a mile or more away. The walk over the hills was very refreshing. Yesterday (Sunday) after our late breakfast we had a meeting with the women of the house and a few who came in then went out on the street. As we went out a great crowd gathered at one place in the street and was still there when we returned. They asked us to sit down on some stones. We were very glad for the opportunity to preach to them. One dear woman was so nice and kind. Indeed all the women were but the men became boisterous and said words that were not good to listen to as the Chinese put it. But this dear old woman hung to my hand bravely defending all that I said. I think the remarks were caused by the school mistress appearance. She is young and unmarried and it is very improper for an unmarried woman to be in the streets or even a young married woman. You may wonder how they know her to be unmarried –
They can tell by her hair, the way she wears it, and they probably asked her the usual question, "How many children have you?" "How long have you been married?" or something of the sort. We had a very late supper after which a few women came in to prayers with us. I am always glad when I can get to bed for they are so late.
Now I want to give you an idea of how they take their meals, by telling of this morning's meal though there were more people this morning and more confusion than usual because of the preparations for the "doings" today. The pots were bro't from the fire under a shed outside and placed on the brick stove just by the side of the "Kang"(brick bed) on which we two guests sat. Usually the children sit around the pot on the stove (the bricks do not get very hot) but this morning they were running about. Chopsticks were taken from a basket in the wall and wiped first on the woman's apron which looked as though it hadn't been washed for--- I'll not attempt to say how long, then on the school mistress's handkerchief and passed to me, next we were helped to bowls of millet seed cooked in water, dry, from one pot and sauerkraut made of turnip tops from another. After we had been helped each of the men, women, and children helped themselves with their own chopsticks. after this bowl was finished we had a bowl of millet seed cooked in water thin enough to drink from the other pot. This finished the breakfast all the time we were eating they, men, women, and children were walking about with their bowls each coming to the pots as often as he cared to have something more. Men are usually not in the room with women but they were busy in the room making "mien" for dinner. Great balls of dough were passed from one pair of dirt hands to another, or carried in the arms against the more dirty clothes. Of course these are things one must get used to before being able to enjoy their food very much. I have almost completely learned the lesson.
Tomorrow we go home! though I am enjoying my stay Very much I shall be glad to get into my own roomy, clean home again. They have stored me away into a loft where I sleep in the middle of the room on the floor surrounded by piles of corn, boxes of flour and a little of everything. The first night I thought some of staying awake to see that the rats and mice wouldn't do something dreadful to me but I heard no sign of them so went to sleep. There are no signs of any for which I am glad.
Dec. 22 I have left this letter for a long time but I want to tell you about the wedding, or rather engagement. There was not much to it as the idolaters ceremony was omitted. Hsuen tsi (obedient son) came over from Incheng at Mrs. Jing's request. At about noon the people began to come. When they were about ready we four, Mrs. J. the school mistress, Hsientsi and I had some prayer together that the Lord would not let anything in the form of idolatry come into the ceremony, and He heard and answered. Because the dead body of an uncle was lying in one of the rooms in the courtyard they went to an adjoining courtyard. On reaching there Hsuentsi took his place by the chair placed on the straw mat in the courtyard and soon the people crowded about. I was content to stay in the back ground but Mrs. Jing and Hsuntsi earnestly entreated me to come forward and forced me to the very front -- now all was ready -- The bride was invited to come out of the house, way was made for her by the crowd to pass on to the mat. In the chair was a box wrapped with red from this were taken a few large bright colored ornaments which were fastened on her head and hair. Before this Hsuntsi had read from the Bible and given them some Gospel also asking me to speak. This was all there was to it. Usually they have a great deal of idol worship and the little bride has to fall down before her husband's parents knocking her head on the ground which is intended to show her inferiority and submission, this being omitted the ceremony was short. While this was going on the young husband to be stood at the end of the mat dressed in his long full dress garments and Yaumen hat. The bride was dressed in red which is the bridal attire of China. They are really a handsome little couple. We now returned and had dinner--not a feast as I expected. The people were so busy the rest of the day that I didn't get much time to talk to them. Next morning we hired a cart and returned home. How good to get into my own clean roomy home and at night the bed was so nice that I couldn't sleep well in it and how I enjoyed my first dinner at home! Though these things were very nice and I am thankful for them to Him who so abundantly supplies, I also enjoyed the five days away and they passed so quickly that I could not realize that it was almost a week.
A day after I returned home Carrie went away for a three or four day's stay and I was again left alone with the Chinese. These times make one learn to use the words we have and of course is very helpful. Having to take the meeting with the servants twice a day and giving them the needed orders gave me plenty of practice and it is much more easy to speak now that I have some practice. Carrie says she is going again soon. It isn't a bit pleasant to be alone but you know we didn't come to China for our pleasure and it is a joy to be able to sacrifice for His sake who not only led a lonely life for our sakes but suffered even unto death.
Christmas is near. You are all preparing for it. We too are going to have a special time of waiting on the Lord and we with Misses Rice and Huston from Luching are invited to Mr. Smith's. There will be special Chinese meetings as well as English. Mr. Glover from England has just arrived. He has not sufficient of the language to take Chinese meetings so will be at our disposal. He is a man taught of the Spirit and one who has suffered persecution at home because of coming out of the world entirely. It is so good to have him here and he has already been a great blessing to all of us. His wife and little ones are still in England.
We have just had our first fall of snow and with it a few days of very cold weather. It must have been below zero.
Today is the day for our mail to come in but the cold weather may have hindered the messenger so he will not be in.
[Still part of the same letter] Dear Anna. Dec. 28th
I am sending you a copy of letter written while up in the hills and as in this last mail the receipt of the $7 came and I am to send a letter through the mission to the donor I'll send this.
We had such a good Christmas day. all being invited to Mr. Smiths for dinner. Mary was there too and came home with me for the night. In the afternoon we had a meeting and after such a blessed time together rose from our knees to receive our letters which had just come. It was so nice. Your letter and Clifford's photo. Thanks so much. He looks quite like he use to but he isn't the little Clifford who insisted on calling me Grandma. I'll never see that little fellow again, will I? Anna your letters came just at the right time when I have none from home.
[Written sideways on the top of the page.]
Thank you so much for the $. You will have a share in this great work of getting the Gospel to the Chinese as your reward. It is more blessed to give than to receive yet it is so blessed to receive when it comes from God. [No signature]
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