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LETTER FROM CHINA, Bertha Smith: ‘Unworthy of the privilege’

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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.

CHICAGO — My dear Dr. Ray,

I have had a pleasant trip this far and am expecting to meet my party tomorrow.

I am enclosing a check for one dollar ($1.00) to pay the remainder of my pledge to the Judson Centennial Fund. It is due in December.

May I ask that you add my mother’s name to the list that I gave whom you are to notify when my ship lands. I have found that Father will be in Hot Springs, Ark., at that time, and as the Post Master will forward his mail, it would be several days before he could get the letter back to her. I believe you will not mind writing Mother as she will be so anxious about me. Her address is Mrs. G. M. Smith, Cowpens, S.C.

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My heart rejoices that I am on my way to China. I feel unworthy of the privilege of going when there were so many worthy applicants, but I am trusting that God shall use me to do a great work for Him there.

Very cordially yours,

Bertha Smith

Aug. 10, 1917