The Foreign Journal
A Plea for Pingtu
A year ago the Tungchow Mission
asked the Board to send missionaries to open a new station at Pingtu.
I desire to call attention to some facts that make Pingtu, a desirable
point at which to locate a mission.
- It is situated in a fertile
country. The people in general are well-to-do and prosperous. There
is almost none of that grinding poverty which it is so trying to witness
in the Tungchow region & which is proved to be so very unfavorable
for the reception of religious ideas.
- The people are not hostile
to foreigners. An exceedingly good influence in removing hostility
is the fact that foreigners in Government employ are opening a gold
mine about thirty miles from Pingtu. Proclamations were put out
as to how they should be treated. This smoothes the way for missionaries.
- Houses are easily procurable.
Not only have I obtained at a lower rate the house I rented last year,
but two others were offered me. I have no doubt that any number of
houses could be obtained if there were missionaries to occupy them.
- The people are accessible
in their own homes. I am constantly invited out to visit. True, the
motive is usually curiosity to see a foreign woman, but this very curiosity
may be utilized for higher purposes. Not only is this true in the city,
but the country, full of prosperous villages, is also accessible. In
a residence here of six months, I made more friends & acquaintances
than in ten years in Tungchow. The people are altogether of a different
sort, much more friendly & cordial in every way.
- The opportunities for Womans
work are simply boundless. Many of the women seem to be naturally religious.
The girls are affectionate & docile. While the prospect for womans
work is very encouraging, I would speak with great caution in advising
ladies to come here. Those who come must make up their minds to endure
hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ, & to find their
reward in the work itself. There is absolutely nothing else to attract.
The life here as we Western people consider life, is exceedingly narrow
& contracted. Constant contact with people of a low civilization
& many disgusting habits is a trial to one of refined feelings &
Our need of more workers is
great. For this vast province with its twenty-nine millions, we have
had, during the last year, two men in Tungchow & two in Whonghien.
The Presbyterians have four men in Tungchow, three or four in Chefoo,
two or three in Weihien, & four or five at Chenanfu. The English
Baptists have about ten men at Chingchowfu. The China Inland Mission
adds more men in one year than we do in ten. It would seem to be the
part of wisdom to take into account the work to be done & apportion
of forces accordingly. Certainly four men seem wholly inadequate
for preaching the gospel to the millions of Shantung.
Pingtu, Dec. 13, 1886