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Joe Esther & Family in Amoy(P.2)Cover of This is the Way Walk Ye in it by Joseph and Marion Esther
Note from Bill Brown: Jack and Joann Hill provided photos of Joe, and this self-published book. Please contact me if you hold the copyright (or can provide more information and photos!). Used copies of the book are available online.

Contents
Preface (from son's letter)
1. Childhood Home                   2. Turning Point in My Life
3. My Years of Education       4. My Marriage and My First Church
5. The Call to China 30        6. On the Way to China
7. Our Arrival in Tong-An      8. Fukien Missionary Stations
9. Beginning of Work              10. In An Khoe Mountains 
11.Danger from Tigers            12. The Last Amoy Mission Meeting 
13.Happy Interlude                  14. Off to the Philippines 
   For chapters 15-25, please buy used copy of book online, or e-mail me


Chapter 7. Our Arrival in Tong-An
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Why did we have to endure such cold housing before we could move to our own home in Tong-an and be more comfortable? The delay was because of the Chinese New Year celebration at this time. This is the one holiday in the long year of hard work so everyone took advantage of it. If anyone needed any work done he had to pay at least three or four times as much as usual. Thus, we were advised to wait until the New Year's time was past to move on to Tong-an, north of Amoy.

At last the day came to load our freight onto the junks. Then we ran into difficulty. The packers in Grand Rapids were supposed to be experienced overseas packers, but they surely packed the easy way for themselves and forgot all about the man-power instead of machinery on the other side of the world. Our freight was all in two huge boxes of 950 pounds and 750 pounds each. Somehow the men got the huge boxes on the decks of the sailing vessel though they were confined to the use of their own hands and ropes.

We sat on the same boat and rode along to Chit-Bi where we put our feet down on the mainland of China for the first time, as both Amoy and Kolang-su are islands. We hired a truck and again with great effort the men got those two boxes on the truck. We now made the last nine miles to Tong-an City.

Jack Hill pointing to mission compound in Tong'an ValleyWhen we reached the mission compound at Sang-Chun Thau Village we saw that the gates in the high waits surrounding the compound were all too narrow to admit those big boxes. The other missionaries, the Muilenbergs and Miss Nienhuis, had the same problem, so we were all forced to open the boxes outside the gates and carry the goods in.

This immediately created another problem. Naturally, we had already attracted a crowd of curious on-lookers who wanted to see the new missionaries who had just arrived from America. We wondered how we could open those boxes and carry the goods in without having things stolen. Kind Christian friends on the compound helped us so we did not lose anything.

However, we were again amazed at the packers who had nailed the boxes together with long nails. We had to pull books off the nails. Our favorite rocker, the only piece of furniture which we took was also nailed firmly to the box. A mirror had been shattered by the pressure of nails too. Several bolts of woolen goods to use for warm dresses for our little daughters had been wound around a car battery which had not been drained so the goods was filled with acid holes. Our loss had been at the hands of a company which advertised that they were experienced overseas packers ! falsely.
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Our co-missionaries had the same loss. The Muilenbergs found only two or three whole dishes from an entire set of chinaware. We found an heirloom bed which was due for Florida instead of South Fukien had been mistakenly included in our freight. Soon the owner of the bed demanded the return of this heirloom. We were glad to make the arrangements with our packer to exchange the bed for we found the heirloom bed very old and uncomfortable. After two months we had our own bed and the heirloom was on its way back to the United States. The packer sent his regrets and promised to repay part of our loss. He blamed the men working for him for all the errors that had been made.

Our next problem was to get settled in the huge house with large rooms, high ceilings and French doors. We made our living room upstairs and our red rug warmed the room. We bought furniture and had some made. Another room was made into a study. Here we put up a small stove so Jim and Joan who were soon studying had a warm place to work and play. Mary crawled all over the warm rug. It began to feel like a home.

On the ground floor we had our dining room where we often entertained our guests with a cup of tea or a meal. We used the remaining room on the lower floor for the mimeograph machine and the flannel graph pictures as well as the loud-speaking system and other equipment which we had brought with us. This room was a fascinating place to our visitors and very soon was a busy place where we prepared tapes and taught others to use the flannel graph. From this room, long before we could speak the Amoy Chinese, we took out tapes and our loud speaker and spread the Gospel message through the air.
A Tong'an Church in 1949Return to top of pageBack to Top   Return to top of pageAmoy Mission Main Page
The third project we were busy with right away was language study ! this
time the Amoy dialect. The Amoy church leaders had chosen a fine teacher for us and he moved to Tong-an for the very purpose of teaching us. We began our language study in February, the coldest time of the year. We found the house so cold, with the exception of the room for the children, that we went out into the sunshine with our books and table and chairs. Warmly dressed and warmed by the sun, we managed to keep our minds on the most difficult language in the world. This seemed the reverse of our habits in the United States ! to go outside to keep warm. However, we were still studying hard when the weather changed and then we sought the shade and coolness of indoors to escape the intolerable sun.

Whatever the weather, we continued to add to our vocabulary fourteen new words a day. I decided it was too monotonous to sit all day studying after the active life of a busy parsonage. 1 wanted to learn from the village people how they talked so the teacher took me downtown to learn to ask prices and names of various goods. Then, sometimes, he took me on the narrow paths between the rice fields where I continued to ask questions. After studying this way, part-time with books and part-time with the people, for about six months, we were asked to take our first year's examination. Because we had studied Mandarin and character writing at both the University of California and Cornell, the Committee on Language Study thought we should be able to pass the first year exam within six months. Although we felt the Amoy dialect was much more difficult and quite different from Mandarin, we were willing to try and we succeeded....


Chapter 8 Acquaintance with the Missionary Stations in So. Fukien
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It was at this time that our mission decided that I should go to Sio-Khe to fellowship with the young people who were gathered for a young people's conference. After an interesting trip through the country and up the river, I joined the conference. They had arranged for a speech in Amoy by the new missionary in their midst. I had worked hard on a short message that I was planning to read.

We had been meeting on an old tennis court. During the afternoon they decided to have a moonlight meeting that night since the moon was full. I was to speak that very evening and I had spent time on the boat trip going over and over my speech, but I still felt that I had to read it. How could I read my speech in the semi-darkness of moonlight? I quickly sought out Rev. John Pan who could understand English and told him of my plight. When I said, "I cannot speak without light," he laughed and got a pulpit from the church and placed a lantern inside of it. Well, that gave me a little light, but I had to read every word of my speech and it was a difficult task. At last I finished a hard job and could relax and enjoy the rest of the meeting in the moonlight.

The next morning we went to visit the unique round-houses of Sio-Khe. Mrs. Vandemeer, a fellow-missionary who lived in Sio-Khe took me to sec them. A round-house was actually a village within heavy fort-like walls. The homes built around that wall opened only toward the inside. Within the circular courtyard were many animals, pigs and water buffalos as well as the common fowls. I admired the way Mrs. Vandemeer could talk with the people about Jesus and the way of salvation He gives to all men. I found she always look advantage of such opportunities to spread the gospel, even when she took this new missionary to sec a quaint and very old type of dwelling.
After my three days visit with my fellow missionaries Mrs. Vandemeer and Miss Bessie Bruce, I started on my way hack to Chang-Chiu. It was a strange trip for our boats were poled down the river because the water was too shallow to row. Chang-Chiu was the city in which Molly was born and I was shown the place where she lived as a child. I had the pleasure of staying nearby at the Veen-schoten's home. Since they had spent most of their missionary career in the Chang-Chiu valley, they had many experiences to tell and many places to show me.

In the province just west of Fukien, there was already great Communist activity. Some of the prominent leaders of the Communist party had through the years trained their men in the mountain area West of Chang-Chiu. Also, many times they came out to practice forays on the people, sometimes making it necessary that the missionaries flee from the city. The Communists even occupied some of the missionary houses and made them temporary headquarters.
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On one of my trips to the Ankhoe mountains, Dr. Holleman told me this story of a communist foray: When the missionaries in Leng-na fled, Dr. Holleman had to return for a needy patient's benefit and was captured. He was forced to march with Mao-Tse-Tung's army. The missionaries were sympathetic with the pleas of Mrs. Holleman to pay a ransom for his release; but they dared not put a price on everyone's head so continued to pray for his rescue by some intervention of God.

One morning the doctor was reading in the Bible the story of the enemy fleeing at the sound of a bird. This gave him great comfort and he had a strong feeling that he would be released that day. Suddenly the Communists who held him captive were alarmed by a report of the regular army approaching and they fled with only one thought, to hide themselves in the high mountains.

Although they returned for the captive whom they had forgotten, Dr. Holleman had gained time to hide in someone's home nearby. The Communists failed to find him and he traveled each night and hid in some kind friend's loft during the day and gradually made his way to the coast and back to his home. Dr. Holleman told me this story one cold night in the Ankhoe mountains when neither one of us could sleep. He mentioned that he seldom told it to anyone but he wanted me to know how sure the Word of God is.
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In this connection, I have been surprised how little has been written or said about great happenings in China when our Amoy Mission work was interrupted or stopped by the Communists. Also, little has been told about the continuing work among the Chinese outside of China. In recent years, some of these efforts among the Chinese in the South Sea area have been allowed to be broken off in spite of great things which have been accomplished among the Chinese. Have we forgotten that the Reformed Church in America sent one of the first missionaries into South China and built the first Protestant church in all of China there? This seems not the time to abandon work among the Chinese people which was built upon such sacrificial efforts as I have recalled in the example of Dr. Holleman. He and others endured much suffering under the enemies of the cross. This thought has often been bitterly wrung from the hearts of many of our missionaries to the Chinese.

As I traveled around South Fukien and visited each station, I was deeply impressed with what our missionaries have endured in order to spread the good news. It was a wonderful experience for a new missionary and increased my devotion to the cause of preaching Christ and strengthening the church of Christ in this area.

From Chang-Chiu I traveled up the long rugged, road to Leng-na to sec another important part of our work. I had the joy of staying with relatives there, the DeVelders. I had the privilege of baptizing their young son, David, in the Chinese Church. Walter had planned to take John Muilenberg and me on the rest of our trip in the North River District but a severe attack of malaria prevented his leading us. That left John and me to go on by ourselves to a strange and unknown place, Harriet had called a burden-bearer who led the way. She also sent some provisions with us. It was a long, weary trip over mountains, walking the rugged narrow paths made by the mountain people, or their goats or other animals.
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We trudged along, hardly ever meeting another person all day long and only resting for our noon meal under the shade of a huge banyan tree. Suddenly at 3:00 o'clock, John sat down on a rock and said to me, "I've had it!" We took our shoes and socks off and soaked our burning feet in a cold mountain stream. We felt refreshed; but the effect on John's feet was disastrous later.

After our rest stop we had only walked a short time when we saw the people of ling Hok coming out to greet us. They were kind and in traditional Chinese courtesy took a long walk to meet us. Suddenly the happy shouts passed from one to another, "The Visitors have arrived!" They led us to the churchyard where the youth conference was to be held. They had planned to make a good impression upon the village people by staging a basketball game and having an American on each team ! thinking that being tall Americans, we must be great players.

The referee didn't give us much lime to rest after our all-day walk before he blew the whistle. At the second whistle the ball went up to begin the game. The ball fell into John Muilenberg¨s hands hut he had the misfortune to turn his ankle. The brilliant first play became his last play, because he was unable to continue with the game for the pain in his ankle. That left me as the only one to uphold the general opinion that all Americans were ace basketball players. Basketball was not my forte and as the game came to a conclusion with my side in second place, they announced that our first meeting of the conference would begin after supper hour was concluded. The supper tasted delicious to the tired Americans.
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Our meeting was held out under the stars on that same basketball court. The moonlight showed a fine crowd of young people and the spirit of the group was excellent. I could not understand much of what was said because they spoke a different dialect, besides which my vocabulary was still limited. We were treated very cordially by this enthusiastic group and enjoyed our three days in their midst. However, John had to confine his activity for his ankle was badly swollen and very painful.

After the three days of meetings at the youth conference, we were told that at 2:30 the next morning we would start out for Gan-Chioh. A sedan-chair was provided for John and a companion on that long rugged walk for me. We made it in one day. As we rested in weariness I looked for John. Suddenly he emerged from a building and announced to me that he had never prayed so earnestly or so often as he had that day. When I asked him why, he replied, "Well, you walked over a very winding and steep road and crossed many crooked bridges but I sat in that chair and sometimes the front chair-bearer was on a bridge and I was sitting over a deep chasm while the back chair-bearer was still walking on the road. That left me swinging in mid-air over a deep canyon. I wondered what would happen to me if the bamboo poles broke or a bearer stumbled; but God heard my fervent prayers and here I am."

John and I walked through Gan-Chioh, a typical Chinese village, to find our meeting place. After this visit in Gan-Chioh we still had another place to visit, Chiang-Peng. At Chiang-Peng we noticed that the young people at the conference came from many other villages in the country and there was a fine spirit of fellowship and good-will. We were impressed by the clean, orderly town and felt encouraged to share with these young people our faith in our Lord, even though our limited knowledge of Chinese still bothered us.
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The hard rain during the conference did not dampen our spirits but we were told the great West River was badly flooded. We were advised to remain in Chiang-Peng for a week to wait for the flood waters to recede and make the river safe to travel. Actually, boats handled by the most careful and experienced boatmen could not have made the trip at the peak of the flood because of the rapids in the river.

However, after two days, a second-class boatman, seeing our impatience to start our journey home, offered to take us. His boat was loaded with bales of paper. Our seat would be on top of the mound of paper. We should have listened to the experienced boatmen who still refused to take us down the river, but wishing to get home earlier, we look the offer of this boatman who bargained for a high price for this earlier trip. We had been gone from home for thirty-five days already; besides a Seminary professor from that area was planning to take this same boat. So, we said goodbye to our host, a very fine doctor, with whom we had enjoyed many good conversations and generous hospitality. I did not know that some years later I would meet Dr. Tan's son in Manila and find in him a fast friend; or that I would perform the marriage of this son. I did not know that the Lord would bless this marriage with four very fine intelligent children who became our students and graduated from Hope Christian High School in Manila.

The next morning, sitting high on top of the load of paper, we began our swift ride down the river. With excitement I noticed the strong arms of the young boatman in the front of the boat who guided the craft among the rocks. I was impressed with his skill in missing the big rocks as we were carried along by the raging waters. Suddenly a shot from the opposite bank, which amounted to a warning, drove the men to the bank. As they reached the shore several men grabbed the strong, young boatman whom I had admired. He tried to escape their grasp but they succeeded in tying him with ropes. He was forced to become a soldier in the Army. This was often the way they procured reinforcements for the army.
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The boat-chief quickly chose a much smaller man to take his place at the front of the boat, but now I felt anxious as this fellow was not as strong, nor as skillful, as the former boatman. He often grazed the rocks. We were plunging along when suddenly we hit a rock just below the surface with great force. The boat-chief turned the boat quickly toward the shore but the craft started to sink within minutes. The crew and others all leaped for the shore too, leaving me the sole occupant but I began throwing the bales of paper to the shore. The men kept urging me to jump to safety so I grabbed my bag and leaped to the bank too.
I asked what they were intending to do about the paper and was told that this was their business. I don't remember the name of the neighboring village but there was a church there, so we were kindly treated and slept that night on church pews. I was surprised to find that we were nearly home. After a brisk walk the next day we took a small boat to Kolangsu, where the family was staying for a visit during our trip.
When we returned to Tong-an, the first thing my teacher remarked was how much Chinese I had learned on my five-week's trip. Then we went back to work on our Chinese lessons with a greater vigor as the thought of how I would use my Chinese came again and again to my mind.

Chapter 9 The Beginning of Work
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One evening Dr. Jack Hill walked over to our house.
Dr. Jack Hill kneeling in front of the doctor's house, Tong'an 1948 Amoy He said, "Joe, I have an idea. You and I should go to some Chinese village. You will listen lo them and interpret to me what help they want. Then you will tell them what I want them to do."

I immediately protested, "I do not think we can do this. We have studied very little Chinese and besides I don't know any medical terms. I won't even be able to ask anyone if he has a cold or a sore toe."

Jack laughed, "Of course you can. You know more Chinese than I do."
I replied, "Not much more than you do. Let's take along nurse Bch, the daughter of the principal of the school and perhaps a worker in the church."

Dr. Jack replied, "All right. Let's go next week."
Joe Esther and Jack Hill on bibycles in Tong'an 1949
However, I felt we should explain our plan, gather our supplies and make careful preparations before we went out. So we prepared our two motorbikes, loading one of them with medicines and tracts and leaving the back of the other for our Chinese nurse, if she would go with us. We were advised by the local pastor lo make our first journey to a place called O.Khu, 7 or 8 miles away. The nurse could not leave the hospital, so we started out over very rough roads heading straight for the church in O.Khu, where an old pastor ministered to a few scattered members. When we had rested in the vestry, we asked how we could call together the people who needed help. The old pastor said, "You two on your motorbikes have already attracted a crowd," but he rang the bell. In the courtyard of the church were about thirty people.
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HOK-IM_I-LIAU_CHHIA_TONGAN Ambulance Tong'an This frightened me again," A man who knows two words can hardly translate for a man who knows one word."

Jack said, "Never mind, I'll be able to judge what's wrong with them by looking at them." Then he looked at the first patient. I asked the man what was wrong with his body. He answered by pointing at various places on his body and giving me a brand of Chinese that I had never heard before. I told Jack that I didn't understand the dialect of those villagers.
"Never mind," said Jack again. "I can see all these people have worms or malaria. We'll give them medicine for one or both."

Meanwhile, I was trying to translate Jack's instructions and pass out portions of the scripture. I said what I could about the Good news of Jesus Christ the Saviour. The people took the portions and tracts because of the pretty pictures but they kept saying, "We cannot read."

A few weeks later, when we returned to this same village, Nurse Beh was with us. She not only helped the doctor but could explain much more clearly the meaning of the Gospel portions and the tracts.

Our third trip took us to Ang-Tng-Thau, a busier place on the road to Chit-Bi, so we gathered a larger crowd. One day on the edge of the crowd a voice suddenly was heard wailing in fear and the people began shouting. We found it was a boy of about seven years who was terrified as a large worm began making its way out of his rectum slowly. Dr. Hill was able to help him and to quiet him. He said to me, "You sec what I meant when I said that everyone here has worms." This was such a terrible sight that I remember it until this day, 29 years later. I wished that I could have given the kind of help a doctor gives.
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The Gospel Healing Bus Tong'an Amoy 1948Our small beginning at the work gradually developed into a mobile unit. We procured a truck. We gathered a team of doctors, nurses, evangelists and missionaries. Our traditional idea of working in three ways proved effective, To spread the Gospel was always first. We also had classes on nutrition and good health habits and how to prevent disease. Then we would try to help those who needed medicines or needed to come to the hospital for treatment through a clinic.

On our mission compounds there were mission hospitals, mission schools, and we worked closely with the church. The mission has always followed the example of Jesus the Master in using teaching, healing and preaching.
After we received our truck from Unra to be used as we saw fit, we could enlarge our work greatly. We called our truck "Hok-Im I-Liau Chhia" or "the Gospel-Healing Truck". Now we traveled even into the Ankhoe mountains and all through the Tong-an Valley.
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It gave us great joy to be able to be a part of an organized team, and to work effectively for Jesus. Our impatience in trying to study language was relieved in actual work. Now, the equipment which we had brought from home was not just used once a day by the tapes amplified at the close of day from our own porch. Now we were going everywhere to the people to lift their hearts and open their minds and heal their bodies.


Chapter 10. In the An Khoe Mountains
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We used lo go by bus to the high mountains west of the Tong-an Valley. Often the bus was already very crowded when it stopped on the highway at Sang Chun-Thau Village, so Jack and I got up very early and walked into Tong-an City to the bus station to get good scats, We felt rewarded when we got front seals; but alas, after the bus began filling up we were ordered lo vacate the bus and let them put some necessary goods on first. They kepi piling it in until by the time the passengers were allowed to re-enter we no longer had seats but had to sit on top of the drums of gasoline. Our elation went down like a punctured balloon. As we journeyed along, fear took its place. A favored passenger allowed a seat next to the driver, kept smoking one cigarette after another. We, who were silting on top of the drums of gasoline, prayed every mile of the trip. With great relief and thanksgiving we left that bus and held our meetings and clinics.

It was a welcome change to have the Hok-Im-Liau-Chhia as our means of transportation. We made our trips to the Ankhue mountains and the people were very hospitable and eager to hear the gospel. They treated us well in spite of their poverty. They welcomed the medicines and health education which they needed so much.

I want to tell in more detail of one of our last trips into these mountains. We prepared more material and had a larger team of evangelists, because, due to the urgency of the times, it might be the last time we could proclaim the gospel in these mountains. Everyday the rumors grew and the Communists became stronger and moved farther south.

I was very glad that a brother of Wesley Shao joined our group. He and his older sister Gim-Siu were very active evangelists and were well received everywhere. I was fortunate to be the companion of Mr. Shao and see something of how he worked because in the future in the Philippines that very kind of work was what God had called me to do. He was very warm-hearted and interested in spreading the gospel. Although he worked in newspaper work during the year, he was willing to spend his vacation taking a strenuous walk over rugged mountains, meeting common people and giving them the happiest, the best news of all, the good news of God's love.
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Ankhoe was no easy place to live in. The ground was coarse and unproductive. The winters were cold and sometimes there was even snow. In some places tea was grown. This tea became one of the main products of the area. Many varieties of tea were carefully grown and prepared to be sent all over China. Persimmons grew plentifully. Some rice grew on the beautifully terraced fields but usually only one crop a year. Some coal came out of the mountains also. However, nothing came easily. Only through hard work could the people make a livelihood. Strangely, the hard work bred a strong people who could endure and persevere.

We had to leave our Gospel Truck at a-Bun, the first relatively big city. We remained there for several days, getting acquainted with the people and preparing our plans to accomplish our work. Each of us had the feeling that this would be the last time that we would have an opportunity to preach the gospel in Ankhoe. I did not know the Ankhoe region the way the others did, so I listened to them plan. We all agreed that it was important to reach as many people as we could so we eleven divided ourselves into teams of two or three. From then on we would go into mountain villages to spread the gospel on foot.

We went into the different places assigned to us, in each village accomplishing valuable work for the people by spreading the precious word of salvation through Jesus Christ. We stayed three days in one place before going on to the next place, although we had the sense of urgency always with us, to reach as many as possible.

We discovered their poverty when we were entertained by the villagers. I remembered what Or, Holleman revealed as one of his secrets. He said, "We must not eat off of the people but bring them a present of a chicken or a duck so the people can enjoy the food with us ..." We brought something with us to every home but they in turn did the best they could to entertain us well in spite of their poverty. This hospitality showed the riches of the Gospel among those who were poor indeed.

Mr. Shao talked about the reason for the poverty of these people as we walked to the next village. The mountains were steep and had to be terraced to grow anything. The weather allowed only one crop a year instead of the two or three crops in the plains. On we walked, stopping only for a simple meal of soft rice and tea.
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O. Thau is the home town of Rev. Tan Un-su. We had the pleasure of supporting two of his sons at Khe-Ngo School. They were so eager to go to school that they walked about 75 kilometers in one day ! an amazing feat to me, a former track man and long distance runner. The boys were happy to help us in our garden in return. They worked hard in school as well as in our garden and proved to be fine boys, worthy of a little help.

From O. thau we went to Ankhoe, the capital city of the country, for which the range of mountains was named. There we found wonderful persimmons. We preached to the people and hurried on to Ang-Tng-Thau. As we walked we could hear the tigers calling to each other as they started out on the night's hunt. This was a strange, wild call which quickened our steps, as it was almost dark. To be safe we had to reach the city before darkness fell. We arrived in time for a hurried meal before the evening evangelistic meeting.

Rev. Li-un-Tcng and I were selected to visit a city in the region famous for tea-production. When we arrived our host was a Chinese Christian gentleman who was very eager to spread the gospel to others. I thought he was the finest man that we met on our trip. I heard that he was later beheaded by the Communists, a true martyr of the Gospel.

After the evening meeting we talked and sipped tea from small cups. We tasted many varieties of tea, judging which was the most fragrant. I was asked, I suppose, over a hundred times to describe the peculiar value of a certain tea. I well remember the enthusiasm of our host as he asked the question. However, I was unable to tell him the difference between one tea and another or which was the most fragrant. I had to leave that to my companion, for even if I could have told the difference, I would not have been able to express it in Chinese.
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At last, I found an excuse to go to bed because we were both sleepy and tired. We slept in a mow of grass where we found many visitors ! rats! They did their best to disturb our sleep. Finally, sheer exhaustion gave us a short, deep sleep.

The next day Rev. Li and I joined the others in Leng-Bun where we had left our Gospel Truck. We planned to hold a meeting of praise and thanks for the many services which had been held during the week and the souls that had been touched by the love of God.

The road that we had traveled on into the mountains was made by the Tong-an-Ankhoe Bus Company. It was a private road, although the government kept demanding that it be given to them as a national road. We had parked our Gospel Truck in the Bus Court along with the buses.

Suddenly, the bus company manager came, in great anxiety, to tell us that we might use the Bus Court for our meeting but that it was very dangerous. The people had brought in the news that the irregular corps of Communists were on their way to the mountains.

The men of the team were very excited and I was surprised to find that they wanted to hold a meeting to decide whether to go home or stay and hold our planned evangelistic and thanks service. I expected them all to rush home to Tong-an, about 50 miles down in the Valley. I looked over the group of eleven fellow workers and found among them two doctors, two nurses, six pastors and lay preachers and one missionary. It was a wonderful group indicative of the type of people the Christians were, here in Fukien.

Then, Rev. Li, who was our leader, said, "You know that the news is these Communists are out to catch us but especially that white one who has a camera."

For the first time I knew my particular danger. They wanted to eliminate me. Death was pretty certain if they caught me.  Rev. Li continued, "Let us pray and seek the guidance of God in this matter."
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Everyone prayed aloud with great fervency, begging for clear direction from God. Again, I was surprised to find that everyone concluded that God wanted us to hold our evening meeting as planned and then leave for home.
That night we had our bowls of rice early and I set up the movie screen and projector. We prepared the details of our meeting. Then we stood in the courtyard watching the people coming down the mountainside, each with a small lantern or kerosene lamp, as they wended their way to the valley in which nestled the town of Leng-Bun. It was a beautiful sight.

After we held the meeting of praise and we showed a film with an evangelistic appeal. Rev. Li closed the evening service with a beautiful prayer for God's protective care. Everyone felt happy. The crowd climbed up the hillsides in perfect quietness. It was an impressive sight and we felt again that this was probably the last time we could meet together with these people or preach to them. They would have to walk with God in quiet faith as they were walking then with the small lights in their hands quietly returning to their homes.

After two hours of rest, all of us were called to start our journey home at midnight, leaving only Rev. Tan-un-Tien who wanted to visit with his brother. We got home safely. It was during our monthly Christian Workers meeting that Rev. Tan walked in ! his clothes torn and covered with mud and dust. He said he had walked through many rough paths and avoided the big road. He went on to tell us that the Communists had come that night just before dawn, and asked, "Where are the visitors that were here? Where is that American? He's a spy." Someone knew that I had been taking pictures and this was evidence of spy work in the eyes of the Communists.
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Since cameras were few, they were sure I was a spy of the United States.
Rev. Tan told us that the Communists burned the bridges so that if we had still been in the mountains hiding someplace we would have been caught. If we had left any later I would probably have been shot and been buried in those mountains and the others may have had great difficulty getting home, as Rev. Tan had had.

We thanked the Lord for bringing him back safely and for our earlier escape from the Communists. We asked for a blessing upon the work which had been done. Many prayers were made that when the Communists came to Tong-an we would be strong and brave enough to stay true to our Lord and keep our faith.

We continued to use the Gospel Truck for work in the Tong-an Valley, although the rumors kept coming in that the Communists were near at hand. So we worked by day and watched as we worked and wondered by night whether the Red Army would arrive and we would sec their flag in the morning. How would they treat the foreigners? We could do nothing except trust our loving heavenly Father to guide us and protect us.

Chapter 11 Dangers from Tigers
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...  Click Here for more about our Amoy Tigers (South China Tiger)
One morning I stepped out into the garden to do a little work and was amazed to see the tracks of a large animal. One of these tracks was very clear in the soft ground beneath the Leng-gong tree at the fool of our front steps.


As I stood there trying to figure out what it was, John Muilenburg passed by. "Wait a minute," he said, "I¨ll get a ruler. ̄

We found the track was eleven inches in diameter. Immediately the thought came to me and I said to John, "Arc these tiger tracks?"

We agreed that they must be tiger tracks for they were shaped like cat tracks but they were much too large for any cat except the big cat, the tiger. Mr. Muilenburg called his cook, a man who knew a lot about many things. The cook took one look at the tracks, then said to John, "We can get to Amoy today. I'll pack right away!"

Photo of Amoy Tiger, Meihua Mountain, Fujian, China, 2004, by Bill BrownJohn said, "Wait a minute. Don't be in such a rush. We'll stay right where we are."

All three of us were worried and troubled. If the tigers did come what would we do about them? We had no fire arms. We believed that we must prepare some method of dealing with these huge and dangerous beasts which had left their calling cards the very night before. As we talked, it occurred to us that the first thing we must do was to protect our children. Each family made a rule about when we would go inside our houses for the night. The time Molly and I decided on was 4:30 in the afternoon, safely before the tigers would begin their nightly hunt. The children could play outdoors until she went to the window to call, "Come in now. It's tiger time."

Later on, after dark, we could hear the tigers calling their mates, as
Photo of Amoy Tiger, Meihua Mountain, Fujian, China, 2004, by Bill Brown they came down the narrow Tong-an Valley, following the creek bed. That creek bed was just on the other side of our Mission compound wall. Each male tiger was calling his mate to go hunting with him. We had our evening meal early before it was dark, so our helpers, too, would be through with their work and safely in their rooms before darkness had fallen,
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We had very few evening meetings. However, Molly had to go to the Sang Chhun Thau Church every Wednesday evening to hold a choir practice and to teach the Sunday School teachers' class. The members of both the choir and this class were teachers in the school so they were not free until after the supper hour. I did not like to see her go alone after we had found those tracks, so I sent one of our helpers to pump up the pressure lantern to provide plenty of light and scare away any tiger who might be following. I know each Wednesday evening trip to the church was a test of faith for both of us.

About a month later a terrible tragedy took place at our mission hospital, just below our house. One afternoon a young girl about thirteen years of age asked the hospital authorities if she could sleep at the hospital that night. Miss Jean Nienhuis told her that was impossible for it was against the rules of the hospital. All relatives who were providing food for patients had to sleep in the second story of the kitchen building.
"Oh, if I could only sleep on the floor at the foot of my sister's bed," the girl pleaded.

Miss Nienhuis asked, "Why do you want to sleep in the hospital?"

The girl replied, "God told me to. It's for my protection."
Photo of Father Caldwell, Dada, and the tiger he shot
"Why do you need protection?" Miss Nienhuis asked. "Everyone here knows that you and your sister, who is one of our nurses, are Christians. No one will harm you."

"I don't know but God keeps telling me not to go back to the room above the kitchen. Oh, please let me stay," she cried.
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Finally, she was permitted to sleep on a mat just in front of her sister's door.

Just about dusk, down on the ground floor, another little girl, a slave who was there at the hospital just to wash the rice bowls for her rich employer, was scolded sharply. The old lady, an idol worshipper, said, "Hurry up with the rice bowls. Wash them and return them to the table beside your master. Hurry, it is almost dark."

Just then the bystanders heard a sudden cry from the slave girl and the sound of the bowls crashing on the walk. Nurses, who knew about the tigers, guessed immediately that a tiger had stunned the girl. They picked up the basins on the patients' tables and banged them furiously; for if they were able to scare away the tiger, they might yet save the life of the little girl.

However, all the pounding and shouting of the nurses and personnel of the hospital only made the tiger leap over the six foot wall with the little girl in his jaws. The hospital coolies rushed up to our house and the doctor's house with pressure lanterns asking for help to rescue the girl. John Muilenberg and I immediately went with them. We had plenty of fright and made plenty of noise, but when we caught up with the place where the tiger tracks led us, we found on the flat rock only some remains of the little girl; some teeth, part of her clothing and part of her intestines.
How wonderful it was that God warned the little girl who knew Him that there was danger between the hospital and the kitchen with its guest house above. Alas, how sad that the other little girl, who did not know God, could not hear His warning.
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I'm reminded that the tigers seemed to be returning to our neighborhood for their prey. Almost every month a pig or young calf or a person was taken. A tiger that has tasted human blood often becomes a man-eating tiger, especially after it is older and unable to move as quickly as the young animals it desires to catch and eat.

One day, not many weeks later, two boys were walking to school over the rice paddy paths when suddenly they saw two tigers, a mother and her cub, sleeping in the sugar cane patch which bordered on the rice field. The boys were wise enough not to talk but only gestured to go back to their village. They told their father what they had seen and the farmer, knowing the value of a tiger skin and even the bones and entrails, for the Chinese make many medicines from the tiger, called his neighbors. They discussed how they might be able to surprise and kill a sleeping tiger. The three farmers gathered three tools, a large Chinese rake, a heavy wedged Chinese hoc, and a heavy club. Forbidding the boys to leave the house, they silently followed the path the little boys had described.

The farmers found the tigers still sleeping. Their plan was that one of them should hit the tiger on the head with the heavy Chinese hoe; the second one would jam the rake into the mouth of the surprised tiger, and the third one would finish him with strong blows from the club. As they approached the pair, the cub awakened and ran but the men carried out their plan on the mother tiger and killed her just as they had calculated. They shared the money they received when they sold the body of that huge beast.

Everyone who had seen the size of that tiger was very careful thereafter. Only on the nights of the full moon did they dare venture away from home. If there was need to make an errand the people used pressure lanterns, for a man had been found partly eaten one morning, with his flashlight still on.
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A few weeks later, three men working in a field saw tigers sleeping. The tigers evidently had failed to catch any prey so slept during the day to try again on the second night of hunting. These men had a gun with them. They shot a tiger but only wounded it and the tiger ran off snarling with pain.

This wounded tiger later in the morning met a young lad eighteen years of age on the path. The tiger attacked the boy and grabbing him by the knee threw him high into the air. The wounded tiger, crazed with pain, also leaped upon some men returning home from the fields for lunch. He clawed them deeply from the head to the base of the spine.

Other men going home at noon found these victims of the wounded tiger. Some were taken to the Chinese doctors, but at about dusk, as we were standing near the front door of the mission hospital, two of these wounded were brought in on stretchers. We helped the doctors. My job was always to hold the pressure lamps and keep them at maximum strength of light. Someone asked where the young eighteen-year old was, who had been attacked by the tiger. When the men were back in bed after hours of washing and cleansing the deep wounds, they told us.

"Oh, his family are asking the Buddhist doctor and the gods to help and to heal," was the reply.

One day later, the young boy was taken to the Chinese doctor on the main street and he used all the knowledge of herbs that he had, but by then the deep wounds were infected and the boy was already raging with fever. The next day his family took him to the government provincial hospital. The authorities took one look at him, decided he would not live and said, "Too dangerous! We will not accept him."
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Then, they took him to the mission hospital, as the last resort. The doctors used saline solution and worked hard to cleanse his wounds. He had to be tied to his bed because he was delirious. The doctors explained to the parents that unless he could be operated on and all the crushed and infected matter be removed, healing could not set in. In fact, though they were giving him precious antibiotics from America, his life was endangered by any delay and they advised amputation.

At first the parents refused, hut finally, seeing his dangerous condition, they gave permission to remove the infected parts but would not allow amputation. I was again asked to hold the pressure lanterns during the operation, for we still had no electricity in our city. Fortunately, that very day a new supply of antibiotics had arrived. With the help of those drugs and careful nursing the boy gradually recovered, although his knee remained stiff and his leg was shorter than the other.

All three men were healed but we noticed one sad thing about these people. They had come to the Christian hospital only when they could not be helped elsewhere. They also steadily refused to listen to the gospel message and went home as godless as they came.

How differently another incident turned out about the same lime. Our two older children found a little baby left outside the gale of the compound which opened onto the big highway. Probably some poor family who could not feed all the mouths under their roof thought the American missionaries might do something for their baby girl.

Jim and Joan put the baby in their red coaster and proudly brought the baby to our home, saying, "Look what we found."
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After getting their story and noticing that the baby was covered with sores and filth and was very thin, we decided that the baby's first home must be the hospital. Everyday we visited her and were amazed to sec how the baby changed with good food and loving care. The nurses all loved the little girl who could respond with smiles and coos and looked so pretty and healthy now.

Our next thought was to find a good Chinese Christian home for this darling little girl. Jim and Joan were reluctant to let her go to any home but our own, until we explained that she would probably be happier in a Chinese home.

Some weeks later we found a young Christian couple, teachers in the mission school who had no children, and hearing that we were looking for a Christian home for this little girl, came to see her at the hospital. They loved her immediately and wanted to adopt her as their own daughter in spite of the efforts of their relatives to discourage feeding a girl. This young Christian couple wanted to take the best care possible of their new daughter. They came to look at our equipment for our little daughter, Mary, and had a crib, high chair, and playpen made out of bamboo just like ours. They look loving care of the little girl and she grew prettier and wiser every day. We went often to sec her and this was a great joy; for Jim and Joan always said, "We saved her from the tigers." Indeed they had and now, in a Christian home, she would learn to love and trust Jesus too and be saved from her sins.
       
Next Chapter  The Last Amoy Mission Meeting 
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Cartoon of Amoy Missionary with Bible in one hand and piano in the other Please Help the "The Amoy Mission Project!" Please share any relevant biographical material and photos for the website and upcoming book, or consider helping with the costs of the site and research materials.   All text and photos will remain your property, and photos will be imprinted to prevent unauthorized use.  Thanks!  

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