Letters - 1906.01.26 to Liverpool Ladies' C.M. Union
C.M.S. Girls’ School
1 Sam. 30:23-24
Jan. 26, 1906
My dear friends,
Yesterday was Chinese New Year’s Day and I expect you will like to know the state of the Fukien church from the standpoint of the missionaries, as we step into another New Year! Thank God we have a grand view point! We are standing before limitless opportunities and boundless possibilities; and we all believe we are going to have the best year we have ever known for the following reasons,
- The spirit of prayer is more and more taking hold of the missionaries, the native leaders of the churches, and the general body of believers; and special prayer meetings characterized by intense desire and the spirit of faith are very usual.
- The new converts gathered in during the past year are very zealous for their new Master, and are wiling to go hither and thither telling the “Old, Old Story.” One particularly thanks God for their earnestness in following Andrew’s example, and seeking first, as many of them do, their own relatives that they may know Jesus.
- In Foochow a “Revival” Society has been formed. Its members are men from the three missions working in North Fukien, mostly the pastors of churches and the leading laymen, and they have pledged themselves to work for the unsaved souls around them. At our prayer meeting last Monday evening Archdeacon Wolfe said on Sunday last he had seen three of these men at different centers in Foochow City preaching Christ to crowds of heathen and I quote from the report of the Fukien prayer union the following statement:—
“This band of men has gone out on Sunday afternoon and held evangelistic services for the outsiders (i.e. the heathen) before the Viceroy’s Yeomen…the Emperors Temple and other places. At these meetings hundreds of men heard the gospel who before had not an opportunity of hearing it….A conservative estimate is that over ten thousand people have heard of Christ by means of these street meetings.”
I must not weary you with too long a letter, or I might tell you of scores of interesting facts which have convinced me that God is working in Fukien as never before, and is watering the seed of His own Word, which has been sown in the past fifty years in this province, and making it spring up and bear fruit, some even a “hundred fold.”
I tell you this to encourage you to pray on, for “as his part is that goeth down to battle so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff. They shall part alike,” and we know that the prayers of our friends in England are bringing down these blessings upon us in Fukien.
“With that that the Lord has given us” we rejoice to know we can “part alike,” and as we share the spoil may we be inspired with even more zeal for prayer and service.
If all who read this, or hear it read, would spend ten minutes a day with God for Fukien, or china as a whole what might we not see this year of spoils given unto us by the Lord of this battle?
Now as to my own special work as teacher in this large school, God is blessing us. Time would fail me to tell you of many precious proofs of His working amongst us. One or two shall suffice. One morning I saw, on my study table, a letter with $1 enclosed and no name given. The letter was from one of our teachers who said she wished the $1 to be given to Jesus’ brethren the Jews and that as she did not want anyone to know about it, she had not put it in the plate on Sunday. She also said she was seeking to live wholly for God and wished to find alone in Him all her satisfaction. One dollar to that girl was a very large and generous donation for she only earns $2.50 per month. I know who she is although she signed no name.
The other day I met the mother of one of our pupils on the road, and she told me that her daughter was such a comfort to her and so changed. She said, “She used to be so wild and would never help me, but now she wants to make things easier for me and she never forgets to pray.”
When the examinations were over two days remained before the girls left and I had opportunities of talking with them and seeking to help them. These are some of the questions they asked me:
- What will become of the people who have died without a knowledge of Jesus?
- Can a child be saved if she dies when only three or four years old?
- Can people repent after they have gone to hell? (Hell is a very real place to every one who has ever worshipped idols.)
- Do we go straight to heaven or must we suffer for our sins first? (in purgatory)
They asked many other things which showed me that Chinese and English are certainly of “one blood.” As none of our girls knows a word of English, these questions were not the result of acquaintance with Western thought. My two day-schools are still very interesting. We hope to have three of four girls form them either here or at Miss Lee’s school, next term. They give real evidence of love to Jesus.
I have been today to Ciu Buo School and have had a nice talk with the old lady who teaches there. She is not a genius as to mental ability but I would match her against anybody for real devotion to her Savior.
As to myself I have had a term of hard and happy work and of perfect health, thank God, and I am looking forward to an ever more blessed term, with a heart full of God-given hope.
Beloved pray for us
Yours in Christ’s service
Margaret E. Barber
P.S. Please praise God for seven girls baptised last term.
In a separate note, Miss Barber asked Miss W. I. Leon to forward a copy of this letter unto Mr. Baring-Gould. Miss Leon was Secretary of the Liverpool Ladies C. M. Union.