Financed by Faith
Like many missionaries of her generation, M. E. Barber set out to China without any traditional means of financial security. As an Anglican missionary, she was guaranteed a regular salary. Now, in 1909, she was sent out to China depending solely on the Lord alone. For many “faith missions” and their missionaries who went before her, money became a major source of the Lord’s teaching and proving of their ministry. Many times she was driven to her knees in prayer for an urgent financial need and, time and time again, God upheld His faithfulness and proved His calling of His servant by providing again and again.
Surrey Chapel Missionaries
We do not know the channels through which the Lord supplied Miss Barber. It is likely that much came from Surrey Chapel. Miss Barber and Miss Ballord were formally sent out as “Surrey Chapel Missionaries” to the field, along with a couple dozen others during these years. However, it seems clear that their only pledge in support of their missionaries was prayer. These sisters really were beholden to the Lord alone.
Reetzke posits1 that Surrey Chapel supplied their missionaries in a manner similar to how their pastor, D. M. Panton, received money. He took no salary but apparently received a certain portion of the church’s offering. We know that D. M. Panton did send Miss Barber and Miss Ballord money from time to time, but it is unclear if it was a personal gift or on behalf of the Chapel.
“Only God can wait until the last moment”2
When Miss Barber writes of miracles of love and power, finances arriving in the nick of time may be an example of the sorts of miracles she is referring to. For example, there was a time she received an expensive wire transfer, the fastest way to send funds at that time, within hours of a large yearly bill coming due. Before the wire transfer, she literally had only one dollar.
1 - Reetzke, James - A Seed Sown in China pg.109
2 - As MEB wrote in A Witness & A Testimony