Henry Addison Nelson.

The Church at home and abroad online

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for this one lone Christian on the coast. In
the Trang Province we disposed of the re-
mainder of our books, and could have sold
hundreds more. The province is noted for
its pepper culture, and also produces some
tin. It is the largest province reached dur-
ing our tour, having a population of 80,000.
There are thirty-eight Buddhist temples, and
230 priests, but no missionary to give the
Gospel to the people.


Ours was the first missionary visit to the
province. In fact, so far as Siamese-speak-
ing missionaries are concerned, this is the
pioneer tour for all this coast. Time after
time we preached to crowds who had never
before heard the Saviour's name. If Gtod
spares me, I hope to go over the same route
next year, and feel confident that I shall find
some believers. My fellow-laborer was Rev.
John Carrington, Superintendent of the work
of the American Bible Society for all Siam,
who is laboring earnestly and faithfully to
place the Bible in the homes of Siam, and
deserves the prayers of the Presbyterian
Church. A native evangelist also accom-
panied us, who was faithful in helping to
bear the burdens and bold in his testimony
for the Master. With the exception of two
days' sickness, we were kept in perfect
health. We traveled about 8,000 miles,
labored in seven provinces, preached in tem-
ples, market-places, on the decks of steamers,
in prisons, at the fisheries, and in the homes
of the people. We sold 2,687 portions of
God's Word, in the Chinese, Malay, and
Siamese languages, but chiefly in the Siamese,
and 1,185 Christian books and tracts, and
gave away about 300 copies, making a total
of 4,852 copies. We had some ^^ roughing
it," but the service was delightful. It is our
hope to tour through these provinces at least
once a year, until such time as the Church
may enable us to plant a central station on
the coast, from which the Gospel may be
proclaimed throughout all this region. Who
will help to hasten that time?

Digitized by



The Pillar of Gtaud in Laos.





The pillar of cloud has led the North Laos
Mission from the beginniDg. God's provi-
dential care antedates its establishment, and
prepared for it. Its very geographical posi-
tion, by which the country is separated by a
long river with rapids, and by mountain
ranges, from the vices of the great commer-
cial emporium was not an unimportant factor.
The Gospel had been preached in Siam for
over three decades. Its civilizing and edu-
cating influences had been accepted, but the
nation had been quite satisfied with these.
The fact that the nation was benefitted may
be pointed to with gratitude and pride as one
of the best illustrations of the incidental
advantages flowing from mission work. But
it was reserved for the Laos people to show
the direct influence of the power of the Gos-
pel in Siam.


Our first direct acquaintance with the Laos
race was through captives located in Petcha-
buree, where they formed an important por-
tion of our parish. Dr. Bradley was the first
to be interested in the more distinct Northern
Laos in their triennial visits to Bangkok.
This was also their first acquaintance with
the mission work. The printing press and
the medical work excited their admiration
and wonder. The Viceroy, or Chief, of

Chieng-Mai, whose consent was
essential, had expressed a will-
ingness to have a mission in
his country. Previous to this
date the Laos provinces had
been semi-independent, serv-
ing mom as buffer states
between Siam and Burma,
while even in Siam proper
foreigners had not been per-
mitted to settle out of the
capital. The late Regent used
to remark with pride that while
other eastern nations had been
opened to commerce and civili-
zation by foreign gunboats,
Siam had been opened by the
missionaries. It was reserved to them also
to open the interior by the same peacef ol and
beneficent agency.


The King then expressed his willingness to
grant permission for a mission in Chieng-Mai,
but only with the consent of the Chief. A
time was therefore selected when Chow
Elawilarot, the Chief, was in Bangkok. At
the suggestion of the King, an audience was
held with him by the missionaries, at which
his Secretary and the United States Consul
were present. That audience was held in the
Sala of Wat Chaang, the great Buddhist tem-
ple of Bangkok, almost under the shadow of
its towering pagoda. It was a singular
spectacle. The Chief sat on a high stool
used by the steersmen in Laos boats, some of
the foreign auditors sitting on side seats, and
others standing, while the natives crouched
before him. The Consul stated our object,
Dr. Bradley acting as interpreter. The
Chief ^s consent was readily obtained, as he no
doubt thought that no Laos subject would
dare to embrace a new religion while he
remained a Buddhist. The Secretary reported
his consent to the King in writing. On that
basis the royal sanction was given, and the
passports issued through the Consul. This
gave our mission a legal standing with the
Siamese and Laos authorities and our own
ofiGlcial representative, and probably after-
wards proved to be the providential means of
saving the mission.

Digitized by



Mtrly Martyrdoms.



Another wonderfal intprposition was the
subs«»quent death of the Viceroy, just as the
dentb of a former king of Siam had proved to
be to the Siamese Mission. The crowds that
came to the mission in Laos at its very incep-
tion, and the boldness of the first converts in
embracing the Gospel, showed a secret power
that the Viceroy could not understand, and
suggested to him the plan of stopping it in its
early stages. His religious zeal, combined
possibly with political motives urged upon
him by enemies, were the probable causes
which led him to make martyrs of some of
the converts. Martyrdom, however, never
stopped the progress of the Grospel. It was
his design to compel us to leave, but people
who were willing to die for the Gospel were
not the ones to be deserted. They were
worthy of sacrifice and suffering on our part
to make the truth known to them. The
next three months brought great anxiety to
the mission and its friends, and to the rem-
nant of the scattered flock, as no one knew
to what extent a ruler who had gone so far
might go. When the news reached Bangkok
an officer was sent up with Rev. Messrs.
McDonald and G^eorge, with a royal letter.
The next day an audience was held with
the Chief before the whole Laos court. The
letter was read. It made no allosion to the
martyrdom. The Siamese government was
anxious for the missionaries, but not for the
continuance of the mission. When the mar-
tyrdom was alluded to by one of our party
the rage of the Viceroy knew no bounds.
The lion had been bearded in his den. * * Yes,
he had killed the Christians,
and would execute any of his
people who became Christians.
The missionaries might stay to
doctor the people, or make
merit in any other way, but
rebellion against his god would
be treated as rebellion against
himself.^' All the court was
alarmed at his rage. The
audience closed. Nothing was
accomplished. Apparently the
mission must be relinquished.

for our own safety. But how could it be
the will of Providence that such an opening
should be closed I Bahang was spoken of
as a place to which we might retire. But
we had seen more deeply than the Viceroy
could see, the disposition of the people
towards Christianity, ^lext day the writer
of this article called alone upon the Chief,
and had a private interview. He was
evidently a little anxious lest he had gene
too far, and readily consented, and even ad-
vised us to remain till his return from
Bangkok, for which trip his preparations were
nearly complete. That gave what we wanted,
— time to wait the development of Providence.


In Bangkok he had an apoplectic attack.
His friends were anxious that he should die in
his own capital, but only his remains reached
it. Through a Laos superstition, not even a
royal corpse is allowed to enter the city.
His remains lay in state outside the city wall
till the grand cremation ceremonies were
performed months afterwards. What a com-
mentary on the second Psalm! *'He that
sitteth in the Heavens shall laugh. The
Lord shall have them in derison." The mis-
sion was saved, and now there is a fine
church, with 719 members, just outside of
the city that no Christian was to be allowed
to enter 1 We had permission to remain till
his return. So we are still there, even to the
present hour, by the consent and advice of
one who martyred Nai Sunyah and Nan Chai.


The son-in-law. Chow Intanon, the present
Viceroy, succeeded. Of his kindness we

Our Laos friends were alarmed


Digitized by



ShaUWe Thkeljooaf


cannot say too much. Before and since his
accession he has been oar true friend. Bat
the line that distinguishes between personal
hostility in a mler, and a weakness that can-
not prevent the hostility of others, is, as far
as results are concerned, very slight. His
brother, Chow Bachawong, was the virtaal
head of the government. Strong, hostile,
and unprincipled, he had the spirit, without
some of the noble qualities, of the old Chief.
For a time he was satisfied with secret oppo-
sition. But the growth and influence of the
Church, though still retarded by his influence,
rendered more energetic measures necessary.
He threatened the Christians with expatria-
tion and slavery. The latter he began to
carry into effect. Forbearance ceased to be
a virtue, and we had to fall back on the legal
rights granted by the Siamese Government,
and applied to the present young King, who
has always been a friend to the missionary


A combination of circumstances favored
the appeal. Probably at no time before or
since could the same result have been ob-
tained. The Siamese commissioner, Phya
Tape, favored us. Our appeal was sent
down with other dispatches in the commis-
sioner's swift boat. In two months the royal
seal was sent up with an order to the com-
missioner to make a Royal Proclamation se-
curing liberty to the Laos to worship accord-
ing to the dictates of their own consciences.
When it arrived we were **like them that
dream, ^' and could hardly believe that the
answer to our prayers had come. What our
ancestors had fought for ages to attain was
secured to the Laos Christians by a single
edict. The second Viceroy and his hostile
party were astounded. The royal letter that
secured liberty to Laos Christians censured
the opposition to Christianity, ^^ a religion
that taught the people to be good." A des-
perate effort was still made with the commis-
sioner to suppress the edict, but they were
quietly told the matter was settled. The
first draft was sent us for suggestions. A
few were made, and the next day it was
posted on the courthouse, and sent to Lam-
poon and Lakawn. But even after the Boyal

Proclamation the second Viceroy could and
would have been a strong opposing power.
His death soon after was another of the
providential interpositions in behalf of the
mission. ** Surely by terrible things in
righteousness Thou hast answered us, O God
of our salvation.'*


I leave to younger brethren to report the
work of later years of greater visible results
which they have witnessed, and towards
which they have largely contributed. Among
the special providences for the mission, I
would not forget the sending of earnest, con-
genial workers, and, above all, the constant
outpouring of the Holy Ghost, '* adding unto
the Church almost daily of the saved," for
which the incidents mentioned in the early
history of the mission were the providential



Last year an appeal came from the Laos
Mission for eighteen new workers. The feel-
ing on the field was unanimous, both among
the missionaries and the native Christians,
that the time had come for a movement look-
ing to the immediate occupation of sudi
points as would command the whole territory
occupied by the Laos people. This year the
appeal is renewed. Why should we answer
it in the affirmative f Why should we seri-
ously undertake to capture the Laos people at
once and completely f


There are no closed doors, unless the French
close them in the future in some of their
recently acquired territory inhabited by the
Laos people. At present there is a cordial
reception given to missionaries by the com-
mon people everywhere among all the Laos.
To whatever village they go they are not
only welcomed, but are urged to stay longer
than the time which they have at their dis-
posal. There is no danger of mobs or even
of disrespectful treatment. In all the fonr
stations already established by tho Mission,
ground has been given by the Government.
In Lakawn two thousand rupees in eash were

Digitized by



An Imperative ObUgaJtUnu


contributed by the King of Siam for the
medical work, and in Chieng-Hai, where the
Mission is hoping to open its next station,
the GK>yernor gave ground several years ago
for the station yet to be established. These
and other details which might be given, show
that in Laos there is a genuine Macedonian cry.
The feasibility of the attempt to occupy
the whole field is shown again in the cheap-
ness with which it can be done. It is easily
within the limits of our purse. Our Mission
has already begun the training of native
assistants. This year's report shows that
about fifty men have been actively engaged in
some form of missionary service the past
year at a small rate of compensation for the
time actually so employed. But these same
men do a great deal of work for which they
receive no compensation, and there are still
more men who are in effect teachers and
superintendents of schools, not only on the
Sabbath, but daily, who lead the Sabbath devo-
tional^services, are responsible for the work in
out-vUlages, and who do not ask nor receive
any Mission money for it. Five dollars a
year will support a student in our Mission
Training School during the time that he is in
attendance upon the school, and the most
experienced Christian evangelists, with the
single exception of Rev. Nan Tah (whose
house is practically a hotel) do not receive
above five dollars a month when in the most
exacting itinerating work. The Mission is
striving to educate the nine native churches
and the nearly three thousand Christians, old
and young, to self-support. Our policy has
for years been directed toward raising up and
training consecrated native workers for the
evangelization of the country. A compara-
tively few stations, then, placed at strategic
points, and superintending the native agencies
from these centers, will do the work effec-
tively. We shall thus not only develop the
power of the converts and endue them with
the self-perpetuating spirit of Foreign Mis-
sions among their own yet unsaved country-
men, but this plan will involve a compara-
tively small expenditure of men and means
brought from America.


Not only is it feasible for us to take Laos,

but a peculiar responsibility rests upon us to
do so. In the apportionment of foreign fields,
according to interdenominational comity,
Siam, Hainan and Laos, in Eastern Asia,
have been given to our Church. In these
three missions we have the whole field, and
consequently the sole responsibility. If we
neglect some portions of the vast empires of
China or India we shall suffer for it, but
some other Church will be inspired to do the
more and to fill up that which is lacking on
our part. But unless we evangelize the Laos
they will not be evangelized. We have ac-
cepted the call to Laos. We have some mis-
sionaries on the field. We have a printing
press and a font of type. We are translating
and beginning to disseminate the Word of
€K)d and the elements of a Christian literature.
We have schools for boys and girls and a
school for the training of Christian workers.
We have introduced medicine and have a few
physicians on the field doing a work second to
no other foreign missionary agency. We are
committed to the Laos field, and it is too late
now even to ask the question which stands as
the caption of this article. In the Providence
of God, Christ's '* Go ye into all the world "
means to the Presbyterian Church — ^*Go
everywhere, but be sure you go to Laos.''


Not only is this true on general principles,
but there are special reasons for immediate
response on the part of the Church. The
cession by Siam recently of a large part of
her territory to France, including some of the
territory inhabited by the Laos people, serves
to accentuate the fact that our Laos people
will eventually be under the control of powers
whose attitude towards us might be very dif-
ferent from that of Siam. The work of appor-
tionment has begun. Our homogeneous Laos
people are already divided among the King-
dom of Siam, the Republic of France, the
Empire of China, or under the beneficent
rule of the Empress of India and Burma.
The rustic simplicity of the people will be
lost. They will become commercial, merce-
nary, and vicious. Romanism is already
strongly entrenched at Luang Prabang among
the Eastern Laos. One missionary now will
be worth ten a few years later. He can

Digitized by



A Harveri Sabbath in Laos.



do more now in the virgin soil than tern men
can do after Bomanism has ploughed, sown,
and then left the field to run to atheistic

These are some of the reasons which are
back of the unanimous appeal which comes
from the missionaries who are closest in
touch with the facts, from the unanimous
judgment also of the Board, who last year
passed it on to the General Assembly, and from
the action of the (General Assembly, which in
answer sent down to the churches the rec-
ommendation that twenty-five thousand dol-
lars be raised apart from the regular contri-
butions of the Church, which are all needed
for work already established. It was also
recommended that this special fund be devoted
to enlargement of the work in Laos, and that
it be known as the Mitchell Memorial Fund.


Can we doubt that in this action of the
Assembly the Presbyterian Church voices the
will of the dear Saviour himself? He has
spoken by His Word, '* Go ye." By its feasi-
bility, by our sole responsibility, and by the
immediate urgency, as voiced so unanimously
to the Church, His providence has made this
command very specific. By His spirit He has
spoken in special call to two of the mission-
aries already upon the field, calling them to
leave work already established, and press on
to give the light to those who are *' sitting in
darkness and the shadow of death."

Who can resist the voice of
Jesus speaking in His Word,
His Providence, and by His
Spirit? Only a few thousand
dollars yet remain to be raised
as a special fund. In the hand
of what steward of the Lord are
they now ? Only a few physi-
cians are yet to be found and
sent; men of faith and of
habits of daily Bible study
and prayer ; men anxious, not
merely to rise in their pro-
fession or to carry out on
heathen soil pet schemes of
medical practice, but to save
souls and to please Christ.
Where are they ?



About two months ago a Christian man,
the head of the only Christian family in his
village, came saying that two families of his
neighbors had recently become believers and
desired further instruction.

Welcome news, always, and the instances
are now by no means rare, where people
come asking for Christian teaching. Two
elders from Bethlehem Church were sent at
once to visit them. These men have been
students in the theological school at Lam-
poon and are among our very best evange-


From time to time they reported that the
interest in the village was growing, other
households signifying their desire to accept
the true religion. So great became the inter-
est that it awakened the hatred of their
heathen neighbors. Very threatening letters
were sent to the new believers and native
ridicule was heaped upon them — but all in
vain. The evangelists remained at their post
and were faithful in their missionary efforts,
and the people did not forsake them. A few
days ago they reported that six families had
become believers, that they had been diligent
in study, and that they now desire baptism.


Last Sabbath was appointed as the day for

Digitized by



Other Harvest IHdda.


their reception. A hor8et>aek ride of less
than an hour brought as to a tjpical Laos
▼illage on the banks of the river some four or
five miles below Chieng-Mai. Christian peo-
ple from the citj as well as from the sur-
roanding villages were present in force. A
temporary addition had been made to the
house in order to accommodate all the people.
It was estimated that two hundred people
were present, one hundred of whom were
Christians. Rev. Nan Tah, the only ordained
minister present, conducted the services.

The adult candidates for baptism numbered
twenty persons. Their examination was
very satisfactory indeed. In so large a num-
ber of persons it is usual to find one or more
whose examination is not good. But it was
not so here, this fact speaking well for the
faithfulness of the evangelists as well as for
the intelligence of the people.

That morning service will no doubt long
be remembered by the heathen people pres-
ent. Those twenty adults and two children
standing up to receive publicly the ordinance
of baptism was a novel sight to them.


In the afternoon a second service was held
in a village on the opposite bank of the river,
at the house of a new believer who is an in-
vahd. Many of those present at the morn-
ing service came also in the afternoon.

Here four adults and one child received
baptism, making the total number for the
day twenty-four adults and three children,
an auspicious beginning for
the new year. It was a glad
day. It cheered many a Chris-
tian heart and made a strong
impression on the heathen
neighborhood. On the follow-
ing day three women came to
say that they had attended
both the services and were
much stirred by what they
heard, and had almost con-
cluded that there was no salva-
tion outside of Christianity.
It is believed that others whose
interest was cooled by the
threatening letters will yet
come in.


The results of this day probably had their
beginning some six years ago when Dr. Cary
was missionary physician in Chieng-Mai. At
that time the man to whom reference was
made in the beginning of this article,
together with his wife, had sought healing in
the mission hospital. Both were healed of
their diseases, and the wife became a Christian.
Some three years later the father and eldest
son were baptized. This one Christian home
in the darkness of that heathen village has,
by the divine blessing, been the center from
which the leaven has spread, permeating and
giving life to a large portion of the village,
and the end is not yet. Thus seed sown years
ago is to-day bearing fruit. What may we
not expect to reap from the seed so constantly
sown in all the years past. Surely God has
great things in store for his Church in this


The work in this village also illustrates the
exceeding value of the native evangelist. He
is far belter able to approach successfully his
own countrymen with the Gospel than the
missionary with his foreignisms and strange
modes of speech and thought will ever be
able to do. The missionary can reach the
few, the native the many. The missionary
must be the teacher of teachers and may
thereby multiply his influence a hundred fold.
Important as is each and every branch of our
mission work, none is more important than


Online LibraryHenry Addison NelsonThe Church at home and abroad → online text (page 68 of 98)