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Missions in China
THE awakening of China, accomplished in large part since the opening of the twentieth century, may well be regarded as the most remarkable event of modern times. That a people numbering more than one fourth the population of the globe, boasting a civilization reaching back into prehistoric times, and which had for centuries kept itself rigidly aloof from the rest of the world, should now suddenly throw open all its doors, and show an eager interest, not only in the culture and civilization of the once hated foreigner, but also in his religion, is indeed more than remarkable. It defies explanation except as the operation of a divine providence which is everywhere going out before the people of God and opening the once closed doors in order that the gospel of the kingdom may be preached throughout the world for a witness to all nations.
In reviewing as we do in this chapter the missionary operations of Seventh-day Adventists in China, it has seemed best, in the interests of clearness, to consider the country by sections,
taking up one after another the various groups of provinces into which for missionary administrative purposes the country has been divided, and relating the facts concerning the founding of the leading mission stations.
It is only within recent times that Adventists have opened work in the Middle Kingdom. Mention was made of China's needy millions at the General Conference in 1899, but no definite action was taken in the direction of beginning missionary operations there until 1901, a year memorable among Seventh-day Adventists as marking for them the beginning of a really worldwide missionary activity. At the General Conference held in the spring of that year, it was voted, at their own request, to send Mr. and Mrs. J. N. Anderson to China, and a little later it was decided that Miss Ida Thompson, Mrs. Anderson's sister, should accompany them.
South China Union Mission
The work thus begun was in a part of the celestial kingdom now designated as the South China Union Mission, including the provinces of Kwangtung, Fukien, French Indo-China, the British colony of Hongkong, and the islands of Taiwan (Formosa) and Hainan. The party of three took up residence at first in Hongkong to learn the language, and to follow up the work of Abram La Rue, a colporteur and Bible worker who had there engaged in self-supporting missionary effort since 1888. Brother La Rue had entered upon this work of his own accord, and maintained himself by selling health foods and religious books and papers. He labored chiefly in Hongkong, which is not a part of China proper, but his efforts were extended also to Shanghai and other parts, where he sold a large number of the standard denominational books and distributed many thousands of papers and tracts. His work was chiefly with English-speaking people, such as merchants, sailors, soldiers, and dock laborers; but he carried no little burden for the large Chinese population in Hongkong, and managed, with the assistance of Mok Man Cheung, a colonial court translator, to have two Seventh-day Adventist tracts translated into the Chinese. These tracts he diligently circulated; but not knowing the language, he was unable properly to follow up the work.
When J. N. Anderson and his associates arrived in January, 1902, Brother La Rue was nearly fourscore years of age, and was rapidly becoming too feeble to help in the cause he loved. The new workers accordingly devoted a part of their time, while studying the language, to following up the interest already
developed, and Elder Anderson was able after some months to baptize nine persons on profession of their faith, including six members of the crew of H. M. S. "Terrible."
At the end of October, 1902, the band of workers in South China was re-enforced by the arrival of Elder and Mrs. E. H. Wilbur, who first settled at Can
ton, in the province of Kwangtung, but later took up work at Hongkong, thus releasing Elder and Mrs. Anderson and Miss Thompson, who thereupon began to labor at Canton. They opened a school for boys, and one for girls under the charge of Miss Thompson, and applied themselves diligently to the study of the Cantonese dialect.
ABRAM LA RUE
In 1906 J. P. Anderson joined the workers in South China. He began studying the Hakka dialect, preparatory to taking up work among the Hakka-speaking people who lived in the central and northcentral parts of the province of Kwangtung. He settled presently in Waichow, a city which served well as a center for the work among the Hakka-speaking people. In addition to the main station at Waichow, there came to be several widely scattered outstations, that were looked after by the workers residing at Waichow. The membership was more than 500 in 1920. At Waichow Mrs. J. P. Anderson died, after doing very valuable work in the schools and in translation, having attained an unusually thorough knowledge of several languages.
During the year 1907 two new stations were opened in Kwangtung Province for the Cantonese-speaking people, one at Fatshan, about ten miles from Canton, under the charge of Dr. Law Keem and his wife; the other at Kongmoon, about fifty miles from Canton, under the charge of Elder and Mrs. Wilbur. The mission at Fatshan, which has a population of half a million, later passed into the hands of one of our native workers, who is carrying on a dispensary and treatment-rooms.
Work was begun in the southwestern part of Kwangtung by August Bach, a German missionary who had worked for many
years in South China. He was brought to a knowledge of the doctrines held by Seventh-day Adventists by reading the book, "Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation," and by falling in with some missionaries of this denomination who were on their way to Korea. After spending some weeks at the headquarters of the mission in Shanghai, he went in the fall of 1909 to the southwestern part of Kwangtung Province, and opened work in the city of Pakhoi. A considerable interest developed, resulting in the organization of a church in Pakhoi and the opening of outstations.
The Cantonese Intermediate School for young men and the Bethel Girls' School were both near the city of Canton. These schools were in operation for a number of years, and did much to forward the work. The school for young men is still in operation. In 1920 the Cantonese Mission was reported as having twelve stations. The Year Book for 1925 reported thirty-two churches and 2,154 members in the South China Union Mission.
DR. LAW KEEM
Central China Mission
In September, 1905, work was begun in Hunan, the last province to be entered by Protestant missionaries. P. J. Laird and his wife (Dr. Emma Perrine Laird) were the first to carry the advent message into this province. They settled at the provincial capital, Changsha, opening a dispensary and a school for the Chinese. Mr. Laird, a former missionary of the Church of England, knew the language, and thus could enter at once upon evangelistic work.
Elder and Mrs. Laird were compelled to return to America on sick leave in 1910, and some months later Elder and Mrs. R. F. Cottrell moved to Changsha to take oversight of the ork in that field. In the fall of 1911, C. P. Lillie and his wife w sent out by the Mission Board, and after spending a few mon in Shanghai, they joined the workers in Changsha.
O. B. Kuhn, who later became director, operated tent-meetings with good success in various Hunan towns. He reported 340 believers in 1920, with about a thousand persons receiving regular instruction. As a result of the faithful labors of a colporteur, the people in the province of Kwangsu began to call for a laborer. Early in 1914, Dr. Law Keem, responding to these calls, settled in Wuchow. Very soon a number were keeping the Sabbath. Later Dr. Law opened a dispensary at Nanning, far up the river, and there died. Dr. and Mrs. Roy Falconer and Paul Williams were sent to labor in this field, and there Mrs. Falconer was stricken down. One hundred members were reported in 1920, with two schools in operation.
Work at Amoy, in the southern part of the province of Fukien, was first opened as an outstation by the company in Canton. Later it was placed in charge of Elder and Mrs. W. C. Hankins, who arrived from the States in 1905. They were joined by B. L. Anderson and his wife.
The way had been prepared for these workers at Amoy by Pastor Keh, a former ordained minister of the English Presbyterian Church, whose conversion to the Seventh-day Adventist faith well illustrates the value of personal work. Timothy, a young Chinese who had embraced the truth at Singapore under the labors of R. W. Munson, was sent up to Amoy to learn the language of that province. He was to attend the school of the London Missionary Society, and went with the determination to make at least one convert to the advent message among the students. He failed to make any deep impression upon any of the young men in the school; but he early made the acquaintance of Pastor Keh, a prominent native worker among the Presbyterians.
The preacher's attitude was at first decidedly antagonistic; but Timothy perceived that he was a man of deep earnestness and consecration, and applied himself patiently to the task of convincing him of the truth. He sought occasion to converse with the pastor, and the two frequently went together to the hills, where they both talked and prayed over the question at issue. At length Timothy had the great joy of seeing his friend begin the observance of the Sabbath. Not long thereafter Keh presented his resignation to the Presbyterian Board, and began to preach for the Adventists. The interest spread throughout
the Amoy district, which is in southern Fukien. A high school, started in connection with the mission, became a regular intermediate school for the training of workers. By 1920 thirtynine Chinese workers had come out from this school. The