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LETTER FROM CHINA, Bertha Smith: ‘Thanking you in advance’

EDITOR’S NOTE: Each day during Baptist Press’ coverage of the Beijing Olympics, we are publishing a letter from a Southern Baptist missionary who served in China during the years before the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949. Some of the letters reveal these missionaries’ great love for the people of China; others provide glimpses into what life was like for an American living abroad in the 19th century. We hope the collection helps Southern Baptists capture the passion of these great souls and understand the sacrifices they made so the good news of God’s love could be taken to what was, for them, the ends of the earth. The letter below was written by the famous missionary Bertha Smith, who served in China from 1917 to 1947.

CHEFOO, China — My dear Dr. Ray,

May I trouble you to send me a typewriter? I want an Underwood. Hope you still get the missionary discount on Underwoods. I am sorry to ask you to do this but I understand that you are in the habit of such for missionaries and can get a better discount than we can.

A party of the “Old Maids” from Pingtu and Laichowfu are camping in the Girls’ School building here, having a few weeks of recreation. It is reported to be the hottest summer in 40 years and we trust not to have another like it till our stay in China is ended.

Mr. Turnbull of the “Sunday School Times” has just closed a most helpful conference here, for which we are most grateful.

We are enjoying Dr. Beall and anxiously looking forward to the coming of our other new recruits in September. I am not expecting to have to wait more than one more year for the girl who is to help me in my school work.

I hope the board will be able to grant the funds asked for by the mission this year for additional buildings and equipment for the school. Our one dormitory, which was built last year, holds only 40, including teachers, and had 65 girls last year — and we are expecting more this autumn. We have no dining room, kitchen or bath rooms yet, but we are getting along in a way. The board has been so liberal in providing the lovely main building and one dormitory that we hesitate to ask for more now, but we feel the necessity for them so strongly that we can’t refrain from making the request. We feel sure, however, that they will be granted if possible.

Thanking you in advance for sending the typewriter and for your prayerful interest in my work, I am

Faithfully yours,

Bertha Smith

Aug. 5, 1920

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