Letters - 1899.11 - in For Christ in Fuh-Kein
The following letter is included in a book about the Fuzhou Mission entitledFor Christ in Fuh-Kein Eugene Stock this letter is included in the 1904 edition edited by T. McClelland. This book is a history of the C.M.S. mission in Fuzhou.
Yesterday a chair stopped before our door, and when I went to see who had arrived, I saw a poor deformed woman, a cripple of about thirty, with a text card, on which was written a prayer, and a small book from which we always teach beginners hanging in front of her dress; and in answer to my greeting she said, “I have come to learn about Jesus.” Nothing else could she be got to say. I then discovered from our school matron that some weeks ago Miss Boileau and her Bible-woman were visiting in the village where this woman lived, and that she sent for them, hoping that the foreigner could heal her body. Of course Miss Boileau told her of the Great Physician, and pointed her to Him Who could save her soul. Once after this she heard about Jesus, and her visit to us yesterday was her third. I told her about the importance of speaking to Jesus often, when she interrupted with, “But I am told that when Christians pray they must kneel, and I cannot kneel; if I put my head down and close my eyes, will that do?” Soon afterwards we all met together and prayed for her, and as we prayed she cried quietly to herself.
McClelland here inserts “Two years afterwards she was baptized, and the following account was given of her by another lady:”
So what follows is not written by Miss Barber.
She is generally called Mo-ka (“No legs” by the Natives all around, but her baptismal name is Ai-Muoi (“Loving Little Sister”). She came in for just one week’s special preparation. It was such a pleasure to have her to teach, she was so anxious to learn. It was, too, very sad to see her sit from early morning till night on her tiny stool, utterly unable to help herself or move unless someone lifted her bodily. She is very patient. Her knowledge of Chinese character astonished me. As I referred her to different passages in her Bible, she could turn them up and read them very well indeed. One day I remarked about her being able to read so well, as she had had very little opportunity of being taught. I know that for some time her New Testament, Prayer-book, and hymn-book have been her only companions, and she spends much time reading them; but Chinese character is not often learnt by inspiration. So I said, “How is it you know character as well as you do? If in reading you come across characters you do not know, who teaches you?” “The Holy Spirit does,” was her reply, “I have no one else.” One day she said to me, “Before I knew Jesus I used to be very, very miserable and wretched, because my body was so weak, and I and my mother were so poor, but now,” she says, “It is quite different.”
Here you see the move of the Holy Spirit drawing souls to Himself. This woman sought out opportunities to hear about Jesus and Barber had the blessing of shepherding a hungry soul. We can note the religious traditions that were quickly noticed by the locals—that of needing to kneel down in order to pray. M. E. B.’s suggestion to speak to Jesus often, was met quickly with a very practical challenge to religious practice. The rest of the two letters lead us to assume that Miss Barber encouraged her very appropriately, leading her into an unfeigned prayer life. This is a very practical help and an encouragement born out of real world situations helping people.