Letters - 1901.12.26 Circular Letter
C. M. S. Girls’ School,
December 26th, 1901
My dear Friends—
As so many of you wish to know about my present work I write a “general” letter giving particulars in the hope that you will all take it as a “personal” bit for yourselves and some day let me have an answer. Most of you know about the Keng-tau Station, its needs and its workers; and you also know where Ning-daik is and what work is carried on there. Some of you know who “Patience” is, who was beaten for Christ’s sake and still lives to witness for Jesus in a village near Ning-daik and you will continue your prayer for the work in these places, will you not? But I want now to ask your prayers and interest for yet another center of light in this favoured province. That is the C. M. S. Girls’ School in Foochow to which I am appointed as helper for the present. I have now been in my new work exactly three weeks and thoroughly enjoy it. There are at present 257 girls in this school, fifty of whom are with us until the Zenana Society can find a suitable building for a school as their own school had to be vacated owing to the plague.
If you want an account of the handsome school buildings with the lovely little chapel attached please get the March Gleaner for 1901 and there you will find all particulars. The school is for the children of Christians. Most of the girls have natural feet or unbound feet and are growing up surrounded by Christian influences. As I look at them from the platform at morning prayers I often speculate on the wonderful effects their lives ought to bring about when they pass out of school to become the wives of the Christian men in this province and Oh! how earnestly do we beseech God to make every one of them a light in the gross darkness which is over this land. The history of this school is interesting and I will quote what Miss Lambert says in her last report—
“The school was first opened in 1863 with only two or three pupils on U-sang in Foochow City, but was very uphill work and grew but slowly as the Chinese were so much opposed to foreigners, and were suspicious of the Missionaries’ reason for gathering the girls together.
In 1879 when the English Mission was turned out of the city, the pupils, then having increased to 21 in number, were taken to the “Old Telegraph House on Nan Tai Island.” This Building was rented to the C. M. S. by the Chinese Government at a very low rent for a term of 20 years. This term ran out Dec. 1899 and made it necessary to build elsewhere; also the number of boarders having then increased to 130 larger premises were needed. The new buildings will accommodate 200 boarders and 100 day scholars and there is a chapel to seat 500 attached to the to the school……The children are taught Scripturas, Geography, Arithmetic, History, Music and singing. Also to read and write their own language, to make their own clothes and shoes; and all kinds of household work; but the chief aim is to teach them to followers of the one True God and missionaries to their own people. The accounts received of the work and influence of girls who have left the school are some times most encouraging. Many of them are now teachers in other boarding and day schools. Some are married to native clergy catechists or schoolmasters and others to Christian farmers and tradesmen.”
Now I must close and in doing so I plead for your help. You can help by prayer. Pray for us who teach—Miss Bushell, Miss Lambert, Miss Leslie, C. E. Z. M. S. and myself and all the native helpers. Ask that we may “win” these girls for Jesus. If you can interest others in this work please do. Tell them that for £2 per annum they can support one of these girls. This school has no grant from C. M. S. and is dependent on such help as the Lords’ people are privileged to give—”Freely ye have received freely give.”
Yours in Christ’s happy service,
Margaret E. Barber