Difficult Days for Missions

Meeting the demands of the task ahead.

By ROGER ALTMAN, Office Secretary of the General Conference

Before our work is finished every earthly support will be cut off. To an extent, this is even now the situation that faces those of our foreign mission staff who have remained at their posts in China and the Far East, as well as in other parts of the world field. Some missionaries, as has been announced, have been returned to the homeland on account of the international situation. But others have the high privilege of remaining. This, of course, has been the worker's own decision in each case, for the Mission Board has suggested and offered withdrawal from all combat zones, as well as from areas of dangerous international tension.

At this writing (December 17, 1941) a num­ber of our mission posts in China and the Far East are still partially manned and still func­tioning. In Shanghai, the clinic and the pub­lishing house are both in full, unmolested op­eration, according to recent cabled information. In beleagured Hong Kong and the surround­ing area there are several missionary families, together with two or three men whose families have returned to the United States. All in this area are reported well.

The latest word from Bangkok reports every one of our Thailand staff safe. From Malaya, Burma, the Netherlands Indies, and the Philippines, we have not recently heard. But we know that there are a number of our mis­sionaries in these areas who are courageously standing by the work, continuing their daily witnessing for Christ, and encouraging our native constituencies to remain steadfast. un­movable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. And how are the missions of other churches faring? We learn from a recent issue of the Baptist Watclzman-Examiner :

"Eighty-five per cent of the 1939 Baptist mission­ary staff in China is still on the field. Both in oc­cupied and in free China, they have sacrificed them­selves for the help of the distressed people. The number of Baptist missionaries remaining in Japan is about twice the general Protestant average. All Baptist mission hospitals continue in operation. The Margaret Williamson Hospital, in Shanghai, in the support of which Baptists co-operate with other de­nominations, had to vacate its own building, which was bombed, but the hospital work goes on in rented buildings in different parts of the city. This is the largest hospital for women and children in China." —November 20, 1941.

Let us never allow ourselves to admit that war has entirely paralyzed our foreign mission endeavor. The work goes on. The workers may be fewer for a time, but the results may well be far greater than we dare expect. Cer­tain it is, also, that the expense of operation has vastly increased, and that gifts to missions must not be allowed to fall away. In fact, they must be continually increased. This we must keep before our people. The same journal just quoted goes on to say:

"When a cake of ice costs twenty-five dollars in West China, where the thermometer registers 103 degrees in the shade ; when from other parts of China reports indicate that the cost of living has gone up 1,000 percent ; when poverty, famine, and starvation meet our missions and missionaries on all sides, it requires no expert calculator for us to learn that our scale of giving to missions must be vastly increased if we are to fulfill our Christian commis­sion to the underprivileged world. . . .

"Fourteen countries engaged in sending mission­aries and their financial support can no longer do so. Those that retain this privilege are restricted in what they can do. The only nation free to ex­port Christianity without restriction as to personnel and money is the United States. How long this last oasis of world missionary effort will retain its privi­lege no one can tell. Already restrictions are tight­ening in Government regulations."

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By ROGER ALTMAN, Office Secretary of the General Conference

March 1942

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More Articles In This Issue

Extensive Every-Night Evangelism Needed

Extracts from a statement made at the General Conference Officers' meeting held in Battle Creek, Michigan, just prior to the 1941 Autumn Council.

Facing the Modern Audience

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Adherence to Church Standards

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The Greater Bible Work—No. III

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Frank Admission Regarding Sunday

The reasons assigned for Sundaykeeping have been various and specious.

Making Progress Backward

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