Basic Missionary Principles

A testimony from China.

By MRS. BOTHILDE MILLER, Pioneer Bible Worker in China

It is now more than thirty years since I ar­rived in China. The experiences of over­seas service have been many and varied, but I realize more and more, as the days go by, that all things work together for good to those who love God. The most important thing for a missionary is that he have his life hid in Christ ; and daily he must realize His power to hide all defects of character. If we as missionaries lead double lives, people are bound to know it. The Chinese as a people are keen character readers, I have found.

As missionaries, we must give up the thought of seeking to teach the Chinese our "superior" European or American ways and methods. We are not to Westernize, but to Christianize. When living in their land, we want to learn their ways and methods—and many of them are admirable. I have learned to appreciate the culture that even the poorer classes possess. If we are to be successful, we should live and associate, with the people, sharing their joys and sorrows. I always remember one state­ment Elder I. H. Evans often made to us workers while he was in China: "We must love these people into the kingdom of God."

After you gain entrance into their homes, even if they do not give much response, do not give up too quickly. Present them daily before God. Some of our most solid members seemed impossible to reach at first. But after years of effort, they took their stand, and have since become real home missionaries. We must not be in a hurry to enter their names upon the church records. Be sure they have first been entered upon the books of heaven. After all, we are not working for appearances in the sight of men, but that our work may stand the test in the day of judgment.

I believe our inquirers should have a heart knowledge of Jesus' life and death and resur­rection, and a clear concept of the sanctuary and its service, the prophecies, tithing, and real Sabbathkeeping. We must teach them to sup­port their native church. In the Central Shanghai church, we stand on the principle that new believers should pay tithe a few months before baptism. The Chinese people, if properly instructed, are glad to pay their tithes and offerings. I believe one great dif­ficulty is that we workers have so little faith.

Years ago I went to a mission station in a northern province. Our evangelist there told me he had a large number ready for baptism. I asked him whether they had been paying tithe. He said no, that he had been dreading to present that subject for fear they would not feel able to accept it. I told him he was depriving them of one of God's precious prom­ises, and advised him to be of good courage in presenting this subject before the people were baptized. I left the station, and in a short time he wrote me a letter telling how gladly the people paid their tithe. May God help our evangelists and Bible women (Bible workers) overseas to have courage and faith. When we fail, I feel sure it is not the fault of the people, but largely the lack of instruction on the part of our workers.

I have found that many of the higher classes are opening their doors to this message. We as missionaries must reach out after such. It takes much time and a great deal of waiting, but these souls are very precious.

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By MRS. BOTHILDE MILLER, Pioneer Bible Worker in China

April 1939

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