A story is told of an old Fijian chief and an infidel who visited the Fiji islands. The man said to the chief: 'You are a great chief, and it is really a pity that you have been so foolish as to listen to the missionaries who only want to get rich among you. No one nowadays would believe any more in that old book which is called the Bible; neither do men listen to that story about Jesus Christ; people know better now, and I am sorry for you that you have been foolish.'
When he said that, the old chief's eye flashed, and he said: `Do you see that great stone over there? On that stone we smashed the heads of our victims to death. Do you see that native oven over yonder? In that oven we roasted the human bodies for our great feasts. If it had not been for those good missionaries, for that old Book and the great love of Jesus Christ which has changed us from savages into God's children, you would never leave this spot! You have to thank God for the Gospel, otherwise you would be killed and roasted in yonder oven, and we would feast on your body in no time!'—Dr. Donald Barnhouse
(Rom. 1. 15, 16)
Is the kingdom a harvest field? Then I thought it reasonable that I should seek to work where the work was most abundant and the workers fewest. Laborers say they are overtaxed at home; what, then, must be the case abroad, where there are wide-stretching plains already white to .harvest, with scarcely here and there a solitary reaper?
To me the soul of an Indian seemed as precious as the soul of an Englishman, and the gospel as much for the Chinese as for the European, and as the band of missionaries was few compared with the company of ministers at home, it seemed to me clearly to be my duty to go abroad.
But I go out as a missionary not that I may follow the dictates of commonsense, but that I may obey that command of Christ, 'Go into all the world and preach'. This command seems to me to be strictly a missionary injunction; so that, apart altogether from choice and other lower reasons, my going forth is a matter of obedience to a plain command; and in place of seeking a reason for going abroad, I would prefer to say that I have failed to discover any reason why I should stay at home.—James Gilmour of Mongolia
(Mark 16, 15; John 4. 34-36; Rom. 15. 20, 21
The wife of Dr. Donald Fraser, Mrs. Agnes Fraser, has recounted this episode concerning her illustrious missionary husband:
`What is your husband?' asked a Johannesburg business man one day in the steamer, as he watched Dr. Donald Fraser pacing the deck.
'He's a missionary.'
'A missionary! Dear me! Do you mean to tell me that a man like him could not get a better job than that?'
'If he could, you may be sure he would have jumped at it,' replied Mrs. Fraser.
'But surely,' he began—then stopped and looked at Mrs. Fraser, realized what she meant, got up and strolled off to consider that strange phenomenon.
(Rom. 1. 1; 1 Cor. 9. 16; 1 Tim. 1. 12)
The Premier of Australia said that, when the Great War broke out, the Australian Commonwealth at once offered to do what they could to back Great Britain. They asked what was the most useful thing that they could do, and the reply came—'Build us ships: we want ships'.
The Australians do not build ships, so smiled and began to till the fields, sow seed, and reap harvests to send food to the motherland. Grain was gathered, put into sacks, and brought down to the water's edge to wait for the ships. But the ships never came. The mice got in, and then found their way into towns and villages and cities, carrying disease with them—a disease that attacked the eyes of many and blinded some.
And all the time Great Britain said, 'Ships! ships! ships!'
God is saying to His people today, 'Ships, ships!' The mice of Modernism have crept in and blinded many in the churches of the saints. And so missionary zeal has flagged. Still the Lord says—`Go ye . . . and preach.'
(Mark 16. 15; Acts 13. 4)
The hymn 'From Greenland's icy mountains' is a unique example of spontaneous writing. Reginald Heber wrote it in twenty minutes. He was then Rector of Hodnet, and was on a visit to his father-in-law, Dr. Shipley. On the Saturday before Whitsunday, 1919, he learnt that on the Sunday a special collection was to be taken for the propagation of the Gospel in foreign lands. His father-in-law asked Heber to write something suitable to sing on that occasion, and in a very short time he had composed three verses. In a few minutes he sat down and wrote the last verse.
(Luke 13 29; Acts 1. 8; 2 Cor. 10. 16)
The Acts of the Apostles that has been more fittingly called `the Acts of the Holy Spirit through the apostles', is the perfect textbook for missionary service. It certainly does not offer a stereotyped pattern for missionary work, but it does provide—
Principles to regulate the missionary's service,
Precepts to be obeyed in service, and
Practices to guide the missionary in service.
(Acts 8. 4; 13. 1-4)
SHE—"Poor cousin Jack! And to be eaten by those wretched cannibals!"
HE—"Yes, my dear child; but he gave them their first taste in religion!
At a meeting of the Women's Foreign Missionary Society in a large city church a discussion arose among the members present as to the race of people that inhabited a far-away land. Some insisted that they were not a man-eating people; others that they were known to be cannibals. However, the question was finally decided by a minister's widow, who said:
"I beg pardon for interrupting, Mrs. Chairman, but I can assure you that they are cannibals. My husband was a missionary there and they ate him."