More than seven years ago, in March, 1934, the Lord opened a door of opportunity for us to begin proclaiming the message over the air in Shanghai, China. Without interruption, this work has continued for a full hour every Sunday morning until recently.
The late F. E. Stafford made the first contract with station XMHA for the Sunday morning programs to be tried out for a few month-. The charge was $to, Chinese national currency, for each hourly program. In United States currency, this amounted to only $2.50 a week.
Frederick Lee was the speaker in English for the first three weeks, and H. S. Shen was the first Chinese speaker. The program was divided—the first half-hour being in English, and the last half-hour in Chinese. Most of the music was of the recorded variety. At the end of six weeks, Elder Stafford was compelled for health reasons to lay down the burden of love which he had so joyfully taken upon himself, and the radio broadcasting fell into my care. From the last of April, 1934, until my recent return, it has been my pleasure to send out "Timely Messages" weekly from XMHA.
Notices were sent out to former patients of the Shanghai Sanitarium, and to thousands of prominent people all over the city and in near-by places. For a time, health lectures were given once a month by the medical superintendent of the sanitarium, and for a brief period these were given every other week. But after the public became more interested in the Biblical messages, the health lectures were dropped out.
Madame Chiang Kai-shek, who had an Adventist nurse caring for her at her home, was one of our regular listeners for some time before the government officials left Nanking. A prominent banker from Tsingtao, in North China, wrote asking that literature be sent him to explain further the truths he had heard over the air. The report came from a customs official down in Wenchow that he was enjoying the broadcasts. One letter was received from Framingham, Massachusetts, stating that some man with a strong set had very strangely heard us over on the American side of the ocean.
An American marine who was laid up in a hospital in Shanghai wrote us of the comfort he and his companions had received while they were lying in the military ,hospital ward. An invalid missionary of an independent mission, having given her whole life to mission work in China, was greatly cheered after learning of Christ's soon coming and the Sabbath of the Lord. Another missionary not of our faith wrote in, asking for copies of our radio lectures, that they might be translated and printed in tract form for distribution in her field.
In 1937 the Lord very unexpectedly permitted us to give a series of eighteen radio talks over KZRM in Manila, Philippine Islands. These messages were called "Timely Messages," and they were heard far and wide. Thirty-minute programs were given, and in the English language only.
These radio lectures were heard by listeners in at least six of our world divisions: the Far Eastern Division, the China Division, the Southern Asia Division, the Southern African Division, the North American Division, and the Australasian Division. We received letters from listeners in all of these fields.
Once when J. H. McEachern was itinerating in the Philippine Islands, he passed a certain public square one evening and saw a large group of people listening to our radio program as it came through a public loud-speaker. He noticed that the loud-speaker faced the open door of a Catholic church. Moreover, at that moment it so happened that we were reading the third angel's message from Revelation 14, We are happy to know that the radio work is still being carried forward in the city of
Returning to Shanghai after three months, we resumed the work which others had carried in our absence. The way had been prepared for public efforts, and this work was immediately begun. Shanghai in normal times has a population of a little more than 3,000,000, but because of the arrival of many war refugees, at that time it had grown into a city of some 5,00o,000. In the last five years, besides our radio broadcasts, we have conducted no less than twenty public efforts in Shanghai. These efforts, held in this great metropolis of the Orient, have not been in vain.
Since all of our churches were in war-occupied sections, and for the time being could not be used, baptizing was a problem. On one occasion we dug a hole in the ground and fitted a canvas lining into it and filled this with water. There we baptized eleven candidates. On other occasions, an old sanitarium friend, whose mother was a Baptist, was kind enough to lend us his beautiful swimming pool, where scores were buried in baptism at various times.
The radio work helped our Harvest Ingathering donations. Several times we met those who were regular listeners, and found them very willing to contribute to our Harvest In-gathering fund. A few years ago we collected only one or two thousand dollars a year in Shanghai, but this last year we had well over $20,000, national currency, and part of this increase can be traced directly to the radio work. Recently one of our new members in Shanghai paid more than $i I,000 in tithe alone.
We pray that the good work may continue in China even in these times of great trouble.