Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/210

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
158
A WAYFARER IN CHINA

My enforced stay of one day in Ya-chou gave me a chance to see something of the town. I had the good fortune to be entertained by members of the American Baptist Mission, Dr. and Mrs. Shields, and there as elsewhere I found the missionaries most helpful in giving the traveller an insight into local conditions. There is one limitation to this, however, in the gulf which seems fixed between Protestants and Roman Catholics in the East, cutting off the chance of learning what the latter are doing; and when one bears in mind that Rome has had her missionaries in China for three hundred years and numbers her converts by millions, one would like to know more of the work done.

But there is no doubt as to the reality of Protestant achievement. In Ya-chou the relations of missionaries and townspeople seemed very cordial and natural. Medical work is being carried on, and a hospital was shortly to be opened. But more valuable, perhaps, than any formal work may be the results from the mere presence in the town of Christian men and women living lives of high purpose and kindly spirit.

If you listen to the talk of the treaty ports you will hear much criticism of missionaries and their work, and since they are human it is reasonable to suspect that they sometimes make mistakes; but after all they are the only Europeans in China who are not