When Miss Barber was called to be a missionary

At the end of her first letter written from Chinese soil, Miss Barber states that she is, “(b)lessed with good health, and allowed to live in this land, a joy to which I looked forward for ten years, enjoying the language and living the people, I can only say, ‘My cup runneth over.’ Hallelujah!”

This mention of “ten years” is the only detail we have regarding Miss Barber’s initial call from the Lord to become a missionary. “Ten years” from the time that letter was written brings us back to 1886, when she was just nineteen years of age. Spiritually speaking, the Lord had stirred up much of English Christendom during her teenage years. D. L. Moody shook England with his 1882 visit to Cambridge, resulting in powerful conversions among the students which would produce a wave of missionaries. Among those whom Moody affected were those who would go on to form the “Cambridge Seven.” Miss Barber would have been thirteen in 1882 and sixteen when the Cambridge Seven toured England before their departure for China with Hudson Taylor as a part of the China Inland Mission. This is what was happening in the environment that Miss Barber grew up in. However, something seems to have spoken more personally to her in the year 1886. Whatever it was, this speaking stayed with her for ten years, calling to her all the way to the day of her November 21, 1896 letter in which she could write of the joy she had to be finally “allowed to live in this land.”

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