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LETTER FROM CHINA: Missionary E.Z. Simmons tells about baptisms, summer heat

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 E.Z. Simmons, who served in China from 1870 to 1912.

CANTON, China–It is very seldom that the thermometer is as high as 101° F. But our warm weather lasts so long that we feel it very sensibly. And the sun is very oppressive. It gives us the headache almost the moment we are exposed to it. The prayer often ascends to Him who has promised that “the sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night,” that this may be vouchsafed to us. By the blessings of God, we are getting through the hot season tolerably well. I think Miss Whilden is stronger this summer than last. She is working just as though it was cool.

We have had five additions by baptism during the month. There seems to be a spirit of inquiry abroad among the people. Two boatmen, not members, have just left me, who came to ask if they might come and study the Scriptures with me during September. And one literary man, who lives about 100 miles away, has written to know if he may come and study with us. Of course they all come at their own charges. O! how I wish Bro. Graves was here to take the class instead of myself. He is so well fitted for such work. I think the class will be large from the way they are coming in from the country.

I do hope Bro. Graves will bring some help with him, not only for North China, but for our station here.

Yours in Christ,

E. Z. Simmons

Aug. 30, 1881

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