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 G.P. Bostick, who served in China from 1889 to 1892 and again from 1912 to 1926. The letter was written shortly after the death of his wife, Bertha Bryan Bostick, after an illness of five days with malignant smallpox.
CHEFOO, China–My dear Brother Bell,
Yours, so full of assurance of sympathy and prayer, reached me last Sunday. I thank you most heartily for your letter. Several of the [Foreign Mission] Journal readers have already kindly written me, and perhaps others will do so. To each of them I want to return, through the Journal, my sincerest thanks. I want to assure all that I believe prayer has been graciously answered in my behalf. God has been very exceedingly good to me in it all.
You all can only make an effort to imagine the depth of my sorrow. Jesus only can know. He does know and He does bless me in it. I think I am a better man than I was a year ago. I don’t understand all God’s doings, but I do believe that all is in love, and that I shall understand “in the sweet by-and-by.”
Let me say to all, don’t worry about the darkness that may come. Trust in Jesus, and there will come through the densest darkness the mellow, sweet light of God’s love, and give a deep, sweet abiding peace.
My darling baby is safe with her aunts in Kentucky, where she will have as good care as anyone not her mother could give. I know that many prayers will join with mine that she may grow up to be a strong, useful woman.
We are all well here. Miss Thornton has been here one week. I went to Pingtu first Sunday in August and baptized eight persons, already examined by Brother Pruitt. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s power at home and in our missions. Send more help!!
Several graves over by the sea tell of lives laid down for Christ’s sake. Let others come to carry on the work.
Aug. 16, 1890