* * * * *
Miss Caroline Lee, a remarkable student, was graduated from the State Normal School of California. She is at present (January, 1915) attending the Training School of the Young Women's Christian Association in New York City, preparing to fill an important position in China under the National Board of the Association.
Her child life was filled with tragedy and hardship. Her earliest memories are of a river boat in China and of being sold and brought to San Francisco, and sold again.
Here, suffering from the result of a serious fall, she was found by a missionary and taken to the Mission Home, where she spent five months in the hospital.
In the helpful atmosphere of the Home, she developed a remarkably bright mind and a sweet Christian spirit.
Having completed her school course, she became an efficient worker among her own people, reaching heathen as well as Christian homes through the children in her kindergarten classes, who were devotedly attached to her.
The qualities of her character and service brought her an opening to a position of great importance in Christian work in China. As she returns to China, she becomes another of the many links in the far reaches of Home Missions by which it influences the ends of the earth.
* * * * *
Home Missions probably faces no greater challenge than is presented to its faith and accomplishment by Mormonism.
Through constant recruits of hardy, industrious, but uneducated immigrants, the growth of Mormonism is rapid and of immense political significance.
The Mormon church, with its great foresight, has established strong colonies in many states. In at least eight the influence of the church in civic affairs is paramount.
Because of the fundamental principle of religious tolerance in this country, and the insidious methods of Mormonism, it is most difficult for Christianity successfully to combat this menace. It is acknowledged by those whose experience in Utah and other Mormon states gives them authority, that Christian education of the Mormon young people is the surest and best method of bringing enlightenment, independence of thought, and release from church dominance.
Mormons realize the value of early instruction in religion. Forty thousand children are under regular instruction in Mormon religion classes held in the public schools at least once a week, immediately following the day-school sessions. The regular school teachers (if Mormons) instruct these classes.
"I recently made a circuit of two score towns in eastern and southern Idaho (Mormon territory) in quest of students. It was a strenuous piece of work and required traveling by rail, on horseback and foot.
"Perhaps the most fruitful work of the summer consisted in personal, intimate talks with the younger professional and business men. They do most certainly betray dissatisfaction with the old order. A few are diligently working to liberalize their church against the inertia of the membership and the alert opposition of the crafty leaders. One of these leaders I recently heard openly disparaging education as 'not quick with the Spirit,' and deploring the tendency to question the authority and validity of the priesthood. By far the larger number of younger dissatisfied men are leaving religion out of their accounts, living for personal gain, and when pressed, avowing hostility to all religion.
"The need of cultural advantages is most apparent throughout rural Utah. The work, therefore, of our academies not only fills a great need educationally, but responds effectively to the appeal for good home environment. Christian education is the leaven that Utah needs.
"The graduating classes of the New Jersey Academy for the past three years have all become Christian girls and members of the little Presbyterian church.
"I am confident that a new era is dawning—an era marked by intellectual development and religious awakening, an era of questioning, an era of intelligence. This cannot fail to be effective in breaking up the crust of dogmatism and superstition which has retarded the independent religious thinking of these people for many years." [Footnote: Rev. Mr. Wittenberger—Presbyterian.]
Probably nowhere in our country is there greater eagerness for "book learning" than among the mountain people of the South. The passionately desired schooling in the mountains is often secured only at the expense of great hardship. Booker Washington has said that the measure of attainment is not the result accomplished, but the obstacles overcome in attaining it.
There is much illiteracy among the older people, but through the Mission schools and the improved educational system of the states, comparatively few children now are lacking the opportunity of some elementary education. The training received in the district school is often very meager and the term of a few months' work much too short.
Through the many months when the schools are closed, the young people are thrown upon their own resources. They are without stimulating and helpful outside interests, and deterioration is the inevitable result.
It is interesting to note that in September, 1914, the Kentucky state legislature appointed a Commission on Illiteracy. The Commission has launched an educational campaign with the watch-word "Illiteracy eliminated in 1920."
A number of Southern states have recently made earnest efforts to reduce the percentage of illiteracy within their borders.
The story of what was accomplished in a campaign for the elimination of illiteracy in Rowan County, one of the most backward mountain counties in Kentucky, is both picturesque and instructive.
During the fall months of 1911, 1912, 1913, under the enthusiastic leadership of the County Superintendent and a corps of fifty volunteer and unpaid teachers, practically every man, woman and child in the county was taught to read and write. A special feature of this campaign was the holding of moonlight schools, making possible the attendance of the older people.
Almost all of the fifty teachers who gave this splendid service were graduates of a Mission School, the Morehead Normal School, which is under the administration of the Christian Women's Board of Missions.
Helpful and commendable as such methods are, they cannot supply the place of a Mission School giving regular educational and industrial training. These are qualified to bring to peculiarly backward communities some grasp of the larger, fuller life, and equipment for living it.
* * * * *
"The Mission teacher was making her way along the mountain trail toward a log house. As she drew near, a woman, scarcely more than a child, came to the door, looking eagerly up the creek. A tiny two-year-old boy tried in vain to pass her that he might play in the shallow water of the creek.
"A wailing cry reached the teacher's ears as the mother turned into the room and in a moment was again standing in the doorway, this time holding in her arms a smaller bit of humanity.
"As the teacher reached the house she paused, for a man was riding down the creek. At sight of him the face of the mountain woman in the doorway assumed a stolid, almost hard, look, as if life had already brought to her all the misery and trouble it could, and there was nothing now but indifference.
"The man rode to the door saying, 'Hullo, Ocie.'
"'Howdy, Alf,' was the reply.
"He swung round sidewise on the horse and remarked:
"'They had a fight up to Lef' Fork las' night. Boys been a drinkin'. Jim, he's dead. Andy's not hurt much. They hev taken him to the Cou't House.'
"That was all. The child-woman's expression scarcely changed. The man sat his horse quietly, then with the words, 'Yo pa'll be down some time this mawnin' afte' ye,' he turned and rode up the creek.
"The teacher crossed the foot log, lifted the fretting child into her arms and drew the mother after her into the house. The room was without light, excepting from the open door; the bare, rough-hewn floor and table were spotless. One chair, a bench and an old chest of drawers was the only furniture besides the large bed with its neat, homespun blue counterpane. The hearth of the huge fireplace was swept clean, and although the middle of May, a good fire was burning. The teacher, sitting on the bench behind the table, let the little boy play with her watch, her purse, her rings, until in a wealth of happiness and satisfaction, he fell asleep in her arms. The girl-wife shifted the sleeping babe in her arms, raised her head, and with all the pathos of a hurt and ignorant child spoke her heart to the woman whom she knew would understand.
"'I've fearn this thing for a long time. Las' winter befo' the baby come, I used to set befo' the fire all night long, dreadin', dreadin'—I didn't know what—this, I guess. We've been married nigh onto fou' years now, though I ain't but seventeen; Andy he's comin' nineteen. It's agen the law to marry that young, but pa he hed a big family and Andy, he was a mighty nice young man, so we fixed it all right.
"'We never hed no preachin' fo' more'n three year befo' yo' all come, exceptin' when Mis' Lawson's baby died and when Ben and Lizy was married, ole Brother Bonat come over an' preached a couple o' nights. Fo' more'n year now Andy an' Jim ha' been hangin' roun' Eskin's store, an' you've never know'd 'em exceptin' as the rough men they are. When yo' all come I tho't maybe yo' could get 'em back, but it was too late. Now Jim, he's dead, and Andy—cou'se he never'd tetched Jim if he'd been hisself.'
"The soft, hopeless drawl stopped, and again there was silence. Soon the sleeping children roused, the dog barked, and three men came to the doorway—the father and brothers. Without greeting, the old man said: 'Yo'd better come home, Ocie. Jim, he's dead, an' Andy'll hev to go to Moundsville, I reckon.' (Moundsville meant the state penitentiary.) The teacher helped to dismantle the poor little home and saw the few household belongings loaded on the ox sled.
"The silence which she knew was more acceptable sympathy to the tearless child-woman than words would have been, was only broken when they were standing on the steps above the creek. Then the words were interrupted by the child-mother.
"'It's too late to help this now, but ef yo' all will just see that there's a school here where my children can learn what their pa an' me an' Jim didn't know, an' will keep the meetin's agoin' at the schoolhouse so they'll know how to be good, I'll be mighty glad. These here little fellers named Jim an' Andy, too, yo' know, an' I want 'em to hev more of a chanct than we've hed. They's lots of us up here thet hed in us a great big feelin' of wantin' to be somethin' and to do some-thin' that we didn't know what nor how, 'n' I guess we get reckless sometimes thinkin' it's no use.'" [Footnote: Alma C. Moore—Christian Women's Board of Missions.]
* * * * *
The detailed and comprehensive report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, issued in January, 1915, emphasized the desirability of the attendance of Indian children at near-by public schools, to obviate the dreaded separation from parents which is entailed when they must be sent by the government to distant Indian boarding schools.
The report mentions the gratifying increase last year in the number of Indian children in attendance at the neighborhood public schools.
Some tribes are still peculiarly neglected educationally. The Navajos are a conspicuous example.
Twenty-four thousand Indian children remain without schools.
The religious motive enters deeply into the psychology of the Indian, and no greater stimulus toward better living can be given them than Christianity affords. Therefore the Mission School is especially adopted to bring the Indians into helpful and constructive relationships as individuals and citizens.
Of great significance in the uplift of the Indians is the recent opening of several schools for training young Christian Indians for leadership in Christian work among their own people.
* * * * *
"The transition which is now going on from the old days of hunting and fishing to the new period of commercial development throughout all Southeastern Alaska must have a profound effect upon the future of this people.
"More pupils applied for admission to the Sheldon Jackson School at Sitka this year than could possibly be accommodated. The industrial departments of this institution have received careful attention. The general claim of all this work is to give full practical and theoretical training, with a view to preparing the girls for the task of home-making and the boys as wage earners." [Footnote: Woman's Board of Home Missions, Presbyterian Church in U.S.A.]
This aim holds true also for the schools of all Protestant Missions in the far North.
Education is one of the expressions of the passionate desire and purpose for betterment of those who gave their impress to our national life. Hamilton Mabie says: "Among Americans education is not only a discipline, a training; it is also a symbol. It means living an ampler life in a larger world."
The church-Home Missions—from the beginning has been the largest factor in the spread of schools and colleges—the greatest single educative force of this country.
The record of the Home Mission activities of the various denominations tells the story of the founding of academies and colleges, throughout the length and breadth of the land. In Kansas the State Normal School, State Agricultural College and the State University were founded by Home Missionaries.
Of the great Eastern universities and colleges it will be recalled that many were established by the Christian church. Among these are Harvard, Williams, Columbia, Princeton, Rutgers, Vassar and many others.
Home Missions is still an active and deeply needed educative force. It brings the most powerful influence to the great groups of the neglected in our land, giving them visions of bettered physical conditions, yearnings after higher spiritual purposes, and determinations for a fuller realization of life in all its meaning, with the power of attaining these ideals.
A HEALING FORCE
"During the spring months an epidemic of diphtheria and other infectious diseases visited a district of nine or ten villages in New Mexico. Many children succumbed to these diseases, the number of those who died being about one-tenth of the entire population of the district.
"No people in the world are kinder-hearted than the Mexican people. Everybody, even the children, visits the sick, and attends the velorios (wakes) and funeral rites of the dead, without regard to the contagious character of the disease.
"This fatal custom is re-enforced by a fatalistic philosophy. Whatever befalls one, he receives it with an 'Asi me toco' (It was my fate). Whatever comes, he says:
"'Es par Dios' (It is of God). Each man has his appointed time to die. Until that time he is safe, and when that time comes nothing can save him. There is no such thing as contagion; disease strikes when and where God will. Medicine will cure, if it is the will of God. What the medicine may be is of little importance; a glass of water will cure as well as anything else, is a frequent saying, if it is the will of God.
"She, the missionary nurse, thereupon took up her station in the sick room, kept out the numerous callers, administered antitoxin, and nursed the child back to life. She had saved the child. She gave the antitoxin treatment in other cases where the parents were willing. She thus treated fifteen cases, losing only one."
* * * * *
"The healing of the seamless dress, Is by our beds of pain. We touch Him in life's throng and press, And we are whole again."
* * * * *
Of all the compelling qualities that drew humanity irresistibly to Him, the compassion of the Christ was the most winning. This constraining love was the very heart of His Gospel.
The masses of the suffering in His day knew only the ostracism of society because of their affliction.
The blind must sit idly through the glory of the day by the dusty road-side, begging bread from the passing throng; the crippled lay in their misery and impotence at the gateways of the temples, sustained by the occasional coins tossed by the more fortunate as they hurried by. Nervous and mental sufferers must range through the wilds of deserts and waste places, or share the tombs where the lepers took refuge, being judged possessed of devils and fit only to be outcasts.
The pity of Christ, as well as His power to heal, disclosed a new force in the world-a love that could tenderly share the darkened outlook as well as minister to all the needs of such as these.
The compassion of the Christ reached and lifted the hopeless heart of suffering humanity as His touch soothed the torturing agony of disease and brought hope and healing into a world hardened to pain.
It released a power the beneficence and helpfulness of which increase year by year as science adds to its ability, and a growing sense of responsibility widens its use.
The Christian era ushered in the day of hope for the sick-poor—a day that has progressed steadily, to an ever-enlarging vision of what was in the heart of Christ for the healing of the nations.
Ancient writers tell us of some efforts in pre-Christian days toward the institutional care of the sick. The earliest records mention the treatment of the sick in the Greek temples of Aesculapius in 1134 B.C.; these were probably not for the poor. Seneca very much later refers to the infirmaries established by the Romans for the well-to-do classes.
In 226 B.C., the Buddhists in India are credited with some small efforts to provide for the sick poor, as are also later the fire worshipers of Persia.
"When the example and teachings of Christ began to bear fruit, and when Jerusalem and the roads approaching it began to be crowded with pilgrims, special accommodations for the use of the sick were established. When monasteries and convents followed, they too, provided for the sick."
From the Roman word "hospitalia" (apartment set apart for guests), our word hospital is derived.
In the writings of St. Jerome, who established several, the word "hospital" is first used for a curative institution.
It is of interest to know that the oldest hospital now in use in Europe, the Hotel Dieu, was founded in Paris, in 600 A. D. by the Bishop of Paris.
All the early hospitals were church institutions, and the wards were clustered about the chapel, as may be seen to-day in the arrangement of beautiful St. Luke's hospital in New York City. Thus we find that religion, not medicine, gave birth to hospitals.
An accelerating influence in their growth came through the necessities of war, which threw large numbers of the injured and suffering upon communities quite unprepared to receive and minister to them.
It was to meet such a need that the first hospital was established in the United States on Manhattan Island in 1658.
The "New Netherland Register" says "This hospital was established at the request of Surgeon Hendricksen Varrevauger for the reception of sick soldiers—who had been previously billeted on private families."
In 1679 the hospital consisted of five houses.
Early in the eighteenth century pest-houses were established at Salem, Massachusetts, at New York, and Charleston, and in 1717, a hospital for contagious diseases was built in Boston.
The teachings and writings of Benjamin Franklin were of marked importance in promoting sanitary science and in securing the building of the first chartered hospital in the United States, which was erected in Philadelphia in 1755. The record shows four hundred and thirty-five patients treated in this hospital in the year 1775.
That year was also marked by the building of the New York Hospital, which was destroyed by fire almost as soon as completed, and rebuilt in 1791. It owed its origin to two professors of King's College (now Columbia), which at that time was a church institution.
The necessities of war have from early times had a marked effect upon the development of hospitals. Dr. James Tilton, in presenting recommendations to Congress in 1781, says of his experience in the Revolution: "It would be shocking to humanity to relate the history of our general hospitals in the years 1777 and 1779, when they swallowed up at least one-half of our army, owing to the system of placing nearly all the sick of the army in the general hospitals, where crowds and infection wrought a fearful mortality, and where more surgeons died in the American service in proportion to their number than officers of the line—a strong evidence that infection is more dangerous than weapons of war."
The death rate of the English and French soldiers was so fearful, and the neglect and condition of the wounded men so appalling in the Crimean war (1854), that the entire English nation was aroused. It was a woman, Florence Nightingale, who was sent out by the nation and given full authority to act in the emergency upon which hung the fate of the armies.
Not only did this noble woman, with her band of thirty-seven nurses, bring healing instead of death in those army hospitals, but she instituted reform in sanitation which was adopted by hospitals throughout the world.
To her also humanity owes the inestimable boon of the trained nurse of education, refinement and ability. Before Florence Nightingale gave herself and initiated the movement for the training of young women of standing as nurses, such work had been left to the rough, uncouth, and often low-lived men and women, of whom the unspeakable Sairey Gamp, immortalized by Charles Dickens, is a fitting type.
As the Christian church was the first to give healing to the needy, so it has carried this ministry wherever in the world its banners have been set up.
Throughout this land, from Alaska to the Gulf, may be found hospitals established by the Christian church—the greater number the product of Home Missions.
The Home Mission nurse, or deaconess-nurse, is an important factor in connection with nearly every mission station.
In lumber sections, in mining camps, on Alaskan river boats, in far back mountain settlements, in the patios of Porto Rico and our island possessions, with the Negroes of the South, the Orientals of the Pacific coast, the backward peoples, the Mexicans and Indians, the depressed of our great cities, at the gates of the nation—wherever the cry of human need in our land has been met by Home Missions, there these ministers of healing have carried their blessed service.
If the nurse, or deaconess, is to fulfill her mission to the sick, she must have training. There must be deaconess homes and hospital's for this, where also the sick poor who can rarely be properly cared for in their dark, crowded, unsanitary homes may find help. In answer to this double need, deaconess hospitals have been established.
"The deaconess nurse goes into the homes of the poor, bringing the skilled touch of the nurse and the loving heart of Christian womanhood to the service of the neediest. Contagion has no terrors for her; Filth, vermin, and dangerously unsanitary conditions are matters of every-day occurrence. No service so quickly opens the heart to good influences as that which comes in hours of deepest need and helplessness, to lead the heart through human tenderness to the Source of all goodness and love. Whole families have been won to Christ through the services of a Christian nurse.
* * * * *
"Babies first! The wee folk, doomed to the ill's to which tenement life is heir, must have safe food; a luxury unattainable, or it would be if the House did not have a dispensary from which over a thousand bottles of milk, modified by the doctor's prescription for each individual case, are given out each month.
"It is worth while to visit the Medical Mission at 36 Hull Street, Boston. There will be found a dental clinic, opened in the spring of 1912, and the school nurses send the children there to get acquainted with the pleasures of the dental chair, and, most important of all, to learn how to care for their teeth. Then there are the orthopedic, and the regular surgical and medical clinics.
"Soon after lunch I went with a nurse to make call's on a few of the out-patients. We read of dark stairways, but I had no conception of such dark and crooked ways. Why the children do not have broken limbs all the time I cannot imagine.
"We entered three places—I suppose the people who live in them call them homes; each has two or three rooms, with one or more beds in every room, even the kitchen. If there were three rooms, one was window-less. A mother, with a three weeks' old baby, was scrubbing the stone steps. The babies were bound up like papooses, and the nurse had to unwind the little living mummies to care for them.
"Later, returning to the Mission, we attended the 'Italian Mothers' Club.' How they luxuriate in their weekly treat! They sing, sew on garments which are theirs when completed, listen to talks from visitors and workers, and always close the hour with the Lord's prayer. Children cling to their skirts or lie in their laps as they discuss their personal problems, and all look up when spoken to with the never-failing Italian courtesy.
"Some of the year's statistics are a revelation as to the work done: Dispensary treatments, indoor, 12,522; outdoor, 1536; new patients, 4649; operations, 329; obstetrical cases, 151; calls made by nurses, 3075.
"In one week at the morning and evening clinics, ninety-seven patients were treated at the dispensary besides the vaccination cases." [Footnote: Woman's Home Missionary Society, Methodist Episcopal Church.]
* * * * *
"She was an epileptic. The sadness that is bound up in the word only those who have experienced it can know. She worked with her needle as long as she could. At the warning cry of one of the terrible attacks, her mother tenderly cared for her.
"'There is only one thing that rests on my heart,' said the mother, as she lay on her death-bed. 'I am satisfied about everything else and ready to go, if only there was some friend to care for my poor epileptic girl.'
"A friend promised to place the daughter in the Lutheran Home for Epileptics, and the mother died praising God for those who, in following His Son, had provided for those who were afflicted." [Footnote: The Women's Missionary Society, Lutheran General Council.]
* * * * *
Nowhere is the twofold service of the Mission hospital more needed than among the Negroes of the South, where the unsanitary conditions in and about the homes, and the widespread ignorance of the simplest laws of health are so pronounced. A number of the Boards maintain hospitals providing care for the sick Negroes and the training of colored girls as nurses for their own people.
Among these MacVicar Hospital is outstanding in the character and efficiency of its service.
This hospital is a department of Spelman Seminary, maintained by the Woman's American Baptist Home Missionary Society at Atlanta, Georgia. Its workers are members of the school faculty and they are paid from the school fund. A small charge, to outside patients, is made.
The trustees have set aside one-half of the annual income of a small endowment in order to provide free operations and treatment for those to whom even a small payment is impossible.
Negro women and children from the city have the privileges of the hospital, and patients also come from various parts of the state for medical and surgical treatment.
The hospital is able to take adequate care of the health of Spelman's large family of six hundred people. When smallpox is in the city, vaccination day is held and every boarder, day pupil, teacher, and workman must report to the hospital.
The doctors from the city co-operate in the work at MacVicar, giving their services freely.
One of the most valuable features of the institution is the training course for nurses, to which those in training must give their entire time for three years. They must have completed the eighth grade in school before beginning.
* * * * *
Of those in dire need of physical as well as spiritual regeneration in our land are the Mexicans, of Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, California, and the large colonies in some of the cities of Texas.
The prevailing ignorance, untidiness, and superstition of the homes call insistently for more missionary nurses to teach cleanliness, sanitation, and economy, and the training of mothers in the care of their little ones and in the preparation of wholesome food.
* * * * *
The latest report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs states that the Government maintains fifty-one hospitals (six additional are under construction), with a combined capacity of 1432 patients, to care for a population of 331,250 persons. In view of these figures, it is not difficult to realize the urgent need of the field workers and nurses in connection with Christian Missions among Indians.
The report shows also the estimated number of 21,980 Indians suffering from tuberculosis, and 35,769 afflicted with the highly contagious eye disease, trachoma. The death rate per thousand among the Indians last year was 30.76. The percentage of deaths due to tuberculosis was 31.83, while the birthrate was 38.79 per thousand.
The Commissioner of Indian Affairs says:
"I am fully aware of the fact that to perpetuate the Indian race, the inroads of tuberculosis must be stayed. To do this it is essential that better sanitary conditions be instituted in the Indian homes, and cleanliness, better ventilation, and sufficient and nourishing food be secured."
Realizing the importance of these matters, a study has been made of the physical conditions of the government Indian schools. An effort has been made to detect incipient tuberculosis and trachoma and segregate and treat those infected, so that healthy families may not be infected through the return of a child who has been infected at school. Regular talks are given to the children on sanitary matters.
There is vital necessity for more hospitals to care for the children and other members of the family in the early stages of disease.
Fully sixty per cent of the Indians under the supervision of the Indian service are still entirely dependent upon the government for medical assistance. The medical staff employed by the government comprises one hundred and twenty-eight regular physicians, devoting their entire time, and fifty-nine contract physicians giving part time service.
A unique and most helpful feature of the Indian Missions maintained by the Women's Board of Domestic Missions of the Reformed Church in America are the separate buildings known as lodges, set apart for the use of the Indians.
Here the specially needy sick find care and shelter until other provision can be made for them.
Here when the journey has been long, or necessity compels, mothers bring their little ones for rest, or to spend the night.
Young girls pressed by temptation or needing shelter can find security and safety at the lodge.
The lodge sewing machines and laundry facilities are greatly appreciated by the women who seek the help of such conveniences from time to time.
Here mothers are taught many helpful lessons in sanitation, the care of babies, and the preparation of food for the sick.
Occasionally Indian feasts and celebrations connected with the Mission are held or prepared in the lodge by the Indians themselves under the supervision of a worker.
The lodge matron knows the Indians and how to help them, and is loved and trusted by them because they realize her sympathy and appreciate what her kind hands do for them in the care of the sick, and often, also, in the preparation of their dead for burial.
Many a sick and needy one at the lodge has turned from the old Indian road of darkness, pain, and dread, and found rest, and help, and light in the Jesus Way.
* * * * *
"Here in Alaska the hospital boat was launched this summer, and will be of great use.
"One of the important results of my visit, I trust, will be a report of a medical survey made of the natives in Haines and Kluckwan. A number of estimates of the amount of tubercular and other infectious diseases among these people have been made, but, so far as my knowledge goes, no careful, exhaustive, complete medical survey of any one village has ever been made, or put into suitable form for presentation. I fear that this will disclose a most appalling condition (unless it should prove that the estimates hitherto available have been very carelessly made). Whatever it may show, I feel sure that it will help us in presenting to the United States Government the medical needs of these people in such a way as to compel the serious attention of Congress, and result in an appropriation annually for the introduction of such sanitary measures throughout Alaska as will eventually eradicate the dreadful source of contagion now existing.
"It seems almost inconceivable that while so much has been done for the Indians of the plains, for the people of the Philippine Islands and for Porto Rico, in the way of sanitation, these natives who have been wards of the nation for forty-seven years should have been almost entirely neglected in this respect. According to the information which I have, there is not a single government hospital in all Alaska, and only one hospital of any kind—our own at Haines—that is being maintained for the benefit of the natives; nor are there any homes for the aged, the incurables, or orphans, though these are sadly needed. While the church has been ministering to their spiritual needs, and the government and church together have been supplying educational facilities, all agencies have failed to meet the fundamental problem of physical regeneration.
"The question may be asked, as, indeed, it has been, 'What is the use of attempting to save a dying race?' and secondly, 'Can the race be saved?' I have little patience with Christian men and women who ask the first question, but shall reply most emphatically that on commercial grounds alone we should save these people. They ought to become a very valuable asset in the new economic development of the entire territory of Alaska. When properly trained and disciplined they make excellent workmen. Their natural adaptation to the climatic conditions should prove a valuable commercial asset. In the name of a common humanity; in the name of the gospel of the brotherhood of man, as well as for commercial reasons, I do not hesitate to say that they should be saved.
"Can they be regenerated physically? Possibly not as a race; but as individuals without hesitation I answer in the affirmative. The introduction of proper sanitary measures by the government; the development of educational systems by both church and state; and the ministry of spiritual advisers working hand in hand, would form a combination of agencies that in ten years would completely transform, rebuild and place on the sure road to health and prosperity, this people." [Footnote: Rev. M. C. Allaben, Woman's Board of Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.]
* * * * *
The mountain made a steep descent to the road except for one shelving bit of level ground upon which rested, as if it had alighted there, a one-room cabin, for which an end of a tree trunk served as a doorstep. A loosely-hung wooden door provided the only light by day, except that given by the flickering of the flames from the burning logs on the old open fireplace.
On a big bed in the corner, the only one the home afforded, lay a little baby girl, burning with fever. Over her bent her young mother, widowed, though still in her early twenties.
Pretty fair-haired children of two and four years of age crouched in sleepy misery on the foot of the bed, sharing in their childish way their mother's anxiety.
An older girl of six, pretty, but already womanly in her busy household ways, heaped another log on the fire and hovered over it for warmth. She was barefoot and, like the others of the household, including the sick baby, wore the scanty day-time clothing, having no other, for they were of the very poor of the mountains.
It was the lonely, desolate hour between midnight and morning. The watchers in the cabin listened intently for the sound of hoof-beats which would mean that the Mission nurse had been home when the summons came, and would soon be with them.
Hark! Yes!—through the night came the beat, beat of the hoofs of old "Bess" as she struck the road in a swift steady trot.
Emma, the oldest girl, is down in the darkness at the road to meet the beloved nurse and help her dismount. She holds the lantern while the saddle-bags are swung off and old "Bess" is blanketed and tethered.
As she enters the cabin Miss M—— goes immediately to the bed, and holding the lantern for light, examines her little patient and finds a bad case of pneumonia. The Mission hospital is not yet completed, and there is no doctor within many miles. She must fight alone for the little life.
Swiftly the saddle-bags are unpacked, yielding the "wonderful salve" (antiphlogistine) and other medicines—a small wash basin, soap, wash cloth and towel, flannel and a change of clothing for baby.
Emma is bidden to heat water, which she does by filling an old black kettle and standing it on the blazing embers of the open fire.
How the nurse worked, and watched, and prayed as the hours passed, and no improvement! The day came and went, and another night brought closer the shadow—the little one seemed hardly to breathe. Then the mother fled out in the darkness to rock back and forth in an agony of weeping, which was hushed only when the quiet voice of the nurse said: "You make it harder. Pray instead."
At last the waiting nurse feels the little body relax under her touch. Sleep and restoration begin to steal back the ebbing vitality—the little life is saved.
To-day within reach of this home, and many like it, the Mary Isabel Alien Memorial Hospital at Gray Hawk, Kentucky, stands with open doors and inviting beds for all who suffer. [Footnote: Women's Board of Domestic Missions, Reformed Church in America.]
Whatever equipment and loving service can do to provide healing may be found here.
* * * * *
"The military occupation of Porto Rico drew the attention of the Christian churches of the United States to their opportunity and responsibility for sending the light of the true Gospel to that island where it had never penetrated. Soon after this the investigations of a military surgeon demonstrated the important fact that ninety per cent of the working population of the island were affected with the hook-worm disease. Apart from other diseases which were present, here was a great economic and humanitarian problem. The government had done much, but as elsewhere, other agencies were needed if the physical ills of the Porto Ricans were to be healed. In response to this need Dr. Grace Atkins went to Porto Rico in 1900 as the first medical missionary under the Woman's Board of Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church. She started a clinic in a room of her rented house, and treated many sick people in their homes. Being impressed with how little she could do in this way for many who were seriously sick, or who needed operations, she urged upon the Board the erection of a hospital. In response to her call to the church, in February, 1904, the present hospital buildings in San Juan were opened to receive patients. There were forty-five beds and, at that time, this was the only hospital on the island in which the sick could be properly treated.
"That there is need for the work and that the hospital is meeting that need is shown by the number of those who come for treatment. This has increased from seven thousand in 1907 to over nineteen thousand in 1914. The majority of these naturally are treated in the dispensary, where a clinic is held daily, except Sunday. On Monday all day is required to treat those who come, the number reaching almost two hundred at times. Many come in from the surrounding country, often walking from ten to thirty miles. All classes of diseases are seen. Besides the more common ailments, with which all are familiar, there are many cases of hook-worm anemia and a number of other diseases peculiar to the tropics. Then there are many who need surgical treatment. Blind men come in led by little boys; some are brought in rocking chairs by their friends; others are carried in hammocks, while still others arrive in coaches or automobiles. One woman may have a piece of a needle broken off in her hand and another a large tumor which needs a major operation for its removal. Each one must be examined, a diagnosis made and the proper treatment and instructions given. The most serious cases are admitted to the hospital when there are beds available. On an average six to eight cases a week have to be refused admission because the beds are filled.
"In the private rooms are treated many Porto Ricans and many Americans. The latter not only receive medical attention needed, and much appreciated, on a foreign shore, but also an education in practical Christianity which in many cases proves a great surprise as well as a benefit to themselves and the hospital. Practically all the patients in the wards are Porto Ricans. A few of the more serious medical cases are admitted, but the majority are those who need operations. Able to pay nothing or very little, there is no other place where most of them can receive treatment which will enable them to support themselves and those dependent upon them. The blind have been made to see and the lame to walk. So many apply for admission that there is always a waiting list. Many lives have been saved in the children's ward by taking in babies who have become sick from improper or insufficient food due to ignorance or poverty. Tuberculosis of bones fend joints is common and many little sufferers have been restored to health and strength.
"That the work done in the hospital is not only helpful to individuals but that it could be done by no other institution present or projected is the testimony of the head of the Department of Health, who is an American and has resided many years on the island.
"One of the most important departments of the hospital is the training school for nurses. There were practically no trained nurses on the island and no provision for their training when our school was opened. About sixty have graduated and are doing faithful and efficient work as head nurses in our own and other hospitals, and in the homes of their own people. There are usually about fifteen pupil nurses. In addition to the regular hospital work a department of district, or visiting, nursing has been started and each one is trained to do actual practical work in the home. Not only is this valuable for the nurse, but it makes it possible to follow up many of the cases from the clinic, or hospital, and supervise their diet and care and so try to keep them well, which is especially important for the babies. One of the graduates is doing this in connection with the settlement work of our church in San Juan. Her work has suggested to the local Board of Health the desirability of establishing a similar work on a larger scale. This is an illustration of the indirect benefits of missions throughout the world.
"But men are souls and merely have bodies, so that, however important it is to heal the body, our Master came to save the soul and our duty is to point them to Him. Every day in the wards and in the clinic the Bible is read and prayer is offered. On Sunday a service is held in which the Gospel message is explained. They have never had the Bible and know nothing of the true Gospel. The are either entirely ignorant of religion or their ideas are erroneous. By the spoken word in the hospital and by giving them the written Word to carry to their homes, the way is prepared for the entrance into their hearts and lives of the divine Healer and Saviour.
"The three years' course affords opportunity for the thorough religious instruction of the nurses in a weekly Bible class and in the church services which they attend on Sunday. With very few exceptions they have become members of evangelical churches before graduation." [Footnote: Presbyterian Hospital, San Juan, P.I.]
* * * * *
"Of first importance in the physical well-being of the boy or girl is the knowledge that will lead to a wholesome development of body and mind.
"One of the most important phases of Home Mission medical work is instructing the students in Mission Homes and Schools in health and home sanitation, bringing to them something of the ideal for their older lives that Dr. David Starr Jordan expresses in "The Call of the Twentieth Century," where he speaks to the boy of to-day:
"So live that your after self—the man you ought to be—may in time be possible and actual. Far away in the twenties, the thirties of this century, he is awaiting his turn. His body, his brain, his soul are in your boyish hands. He cannot help himself. What will you leave for him? Will it be a brain unspoiled by lust or dissipation, a mind trained to think and act, a nervous system true as a dial in its response to the truth about you?"
The place and need of Home Missions as a present day healing force can be more fully realized when we consider the conditions peculiar to our country, which call urgently for greatly increased facilities for physical regeneration.
Pre-eminent among these are the constant influx of aliens from southern Europe and others of a dangerously low standard as regards sanitation and health—and the economic pressure which produces appalling congestion in living conditions.
"People are already living on certain portions of Manhattan Island at a density which, if continued throughout the entire city, would give New York a population of 197,372,635."
There is, on the other hand, the isolation and neglect of large groups of people who are uninformed of sanitation and have only precarious access to medical attendance, and whose needs call insistently for help, as well as constitute a menace to the health of these communities; such are found among Alaskans, Indians, Mexicans, and others.
As the enlarging view of spiritual regeneration has come to include the redemption of the environment so that it shall be an aid to better living instead of an almost insupportable hindrance, so also a newer and infinitely greater scope is daily coming to the realm of healing science—that of prevention of disease and stamping out of scourges rather than merely the healing of individuals after disease has claimed them.
This wider vision of physical regeneration, Home Missions is seeking earnestly to promote, that the better day for which humanity yearns may be hastened, when His Kingdom will come on earth.
AN INTEGRATING FORCE
"Then let us pray that come it may, As come it will for a' that, That sense and worth o'er a' the earth May bear the gree and a' that, For a' that and a' that, It's coming yet, for a' that, That man to man, the world o'er Shall brothers be for a' that."
"Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?"
"There is neither Greek nor Jew, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free; but Christ is all and in all."
"One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all."
* * * * *
A prominent American clergyman lecturer and writer was traveling through inland China a short time before the outbreak of the Boxer rebellion, when the feeling toward foreigners was intensely hostile.
Through a misadventure he became separated from the party with which he traveled and found himself alone with his Chinese driver and courier in a village, when a suspicious crowd quickly assembled which refused to permit him to proceed.
Passports and letters from prominent Chinese officials were of no avail with this prejudiced crowd which grew constantly more excited and revengeful.
Suddenly through the threatening mass a man forced his way to the side of Dr. P.——, exclaiming in English, "You Melican man?" "Yes," came the reply. Turning to the crowd he explained the friendliness of American foreigners, and turning to Dr. P. again said, "Me Melican man, too, I live San Francisco seven years." Then he said, "You Jesus man? Me Jesus man, too; Mission, San Francisco, made me Jesus man."
Turning again to the crowd he succeeded in persuading them, though protesting and reluctant, to allow Dr. P. to proceed on his way unharmed.
This incident stands for the myriad influences in the ebb and flow of immigration that carry the impulses, the ideals, and the new life of America into the heart of the old world civilizations.
To the great inert masses of people in these lands have thus been brought the germs of free thought and action and the sustaining, impelling faith that these might sometime be attained by them and their children. That to them through unceasing struggle might also come the better day when government would stand for freedom, opportunity and progress, rather than the sword, prison, banishment and oppression.
America has been the great inspirer of the world.
Since the dawn of the twentieth century more than 10,500,000 immigrants have entered the United States. Through the pressure of economic conditions a large proportion of immigrants and their children are forced into the centers of poverty, crime and disease, the slum districts of our great cities, and into huge colonies in industrial centers where they both receive and contribute to conditions that have become pathological for the community, real sources of infection, both mental and physical. It is therefore not surprising to find that the children of immigrants reared in American cities contribute twice as many criminals as the sons of native whites of native stock. Our great industrial centers show an enormous aggregation of foreigners. It is said that these contain seven millions of the Slavs, the Latins, and the Asiatics, and those whose racial background makes difficult the conception of a democracy and their assimilation into it.
We confront a condition of grave peril to industrial interests as well as to our national well-being when, in addition to the overcoming of racial background, we must add the retarding effect of the segregation of large foreign colonies in mining and industrial centers. Great numbers of these aliens do not expect to become American citizens, but are here only to accumulate sufficient capital to return. "Of all the immigrants now comingone-third return to Europe and two-thirds of all those who return remain there." These constitute largely a mobile migratory and disturbing, unskilled wage-earning class.
They therefore are unfavorable to assimilative influences and tend to establish in modified forms the standards and customs of the communities from which they have come. "The town of Windber, in Western Pennsylvania, has a population of 8000 persons and is the center of twelve mining camps. It was founded by the opening of bituminous coal mines, for which purpose 1600 experienced Englishmen and 400 native Americans were brought into the locality. At the present, eighteen races of recent immigration are numbered among its mine workers. The Southern and Eastern Europeans among them have their churches, banks, steamship agencies and business establishments in the town to which they go to transact their affairs and to seek amusement." "Another illustration is the recently established iron and steel manufacturing community at Granite City and Madison, Illinois, which has the distinction of being the largest Bulgarian colony in the United States. These two cities join each other and for practical purposes are one. Fifteen years ago its site was an unbroken stretch of corn fields. The original wage-earners were English, Irish, Germans, Welsh and Poles; then followed Slovaks, Magyars, a few Croatians. Mixed groups came next, Roumanians, Greeks and Servians, and later Bulgarians, until that group alone numbered 8000; later still, the foreigners were augmented by the arrival of 4000 new immigrants—Armenians, Servians, Lithuanians, Slovaks, Magyars and Poles. Under normal industrial conditions the population of the community is estimated at 20,000 Here the various racial groups live entirely apart from any American influence."
The New York Tribune states: "It is a somewhat startling announcement that more than one-third of the adult male inhabitants of New York City are unnaturalized aliens. There are, according to the census, 1,433,749 males in the city, of twenty-one years or more, and of these more than 500,000 have not become naturalized. In the whole state there are 718,940 foreign-born white men of voting age who have not become citizens. It needs no argument to prove that this is not a desirable state of affairs, and that if perpetuated it would be mischievous, if not disastrous."
From the figures collected in an investigation of four months in New York City Night Court, it appears that 7.7 per cent of the women arrested and convicted for keeping disorderly houses and solicitation were foreign-born.
In New York City all the conditions created by immigration are enormously accentuated, for within itself and its suburbs it has a foreign population exceeding the whole population of Chicago.
"It is at once the largest Catholic city of history and the largest Jewish city of history."
Statistics furnished by the industrial department of the Y.M.C.A., based upon the census of 1910, give the proportion of two out of every three of the inhabitants of the following cities as foreign-born or of foreign-born parentage.
181,511 Columbus 104,402 Spokane 233,650 Indianapolis 213,381 Denver 116,577 Dayton 207,214 Portland 248,381 Kansas City 558,485 Baltimore 319,198 Los Angeles 168,497 Toledo 237,194 Seattle 423,715 Buffalo 100,253 Albany 267,799 Jersey City, N.J. 124,096 Omaha 347,469 Newark, N.J. 137,249 Syracuse 224,326 Providence 687,029 St. Louis 102,054 Bridgeport 1,549,008 Philadelphia 465,766 Detroit 150,174 Oakland 104,839 Cambridge 112,571 Grand Rapids 560,603 Cleveland 218,149 Rochester 670,585 Boston 533,905 Pittsburgh 125,600 Paterson, N.J. 301,408 Minneapolis 373,857 Milwaukee 129,867 Scranton 2,185,283 Chicago 214,744 St. Paul 106,294 Lowell 145,986 Worcester 4,766,883 New York 133,605 New Haven 119,295 Fall River
This tabulation suggests all that these dominant cities represent of congestion of industrial and social pressure, and their powerful effects upon new Americans in their most impressionable period.
"The significant feature of the situation of which the foregoing illustrations are typical," say such authorities as Prof. Jeremiah W. Jenks and W. Jett Lanck, "is the almost complete ignorance and indifference of the native American population to the recent immigrant colonies and their condition. This attitude extends even to the native churches. Comparatively few agencies have been established for the Americanization and assimilation of Southern and Eastern European wage-earners.
"Not only is a great field open for social and religious work, but vast possibilities are offered for patriotic service in improving these serious conditions which confront a self-governing republic."
That the crowding, struggling foreigner of many races and tongues may take his place as a voting American, in whose hands rests a predominating influence upon the present and future of this nation, it is essential that he catch the vision of those fundamental, inspiring ideals which have made America the hope of the hopeless, the very land of promise, to the oppressed of the world.
He must be touched by an integrating force, a dynamic power, capable of revealing and developing the inherent best in him and contributing to him of the essential best in America.
"Religion alone answers this need in fullest measure. It is the great quickening power which can resolve ancient inheritance of personal and race antagonisms and hatreds into a struggle for higher individual and community welfare."
Eternally true are the Master's words, "Man cannot live by bread alone"; he must have the spiritual communion which can give to him and to society the uplifting conception of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. This is the great integrating, harmonizing power that the church of Christ must bring to the solving of America's insistent immigrant problem.
* * * * *
Before taking up in detail the study of what Home Missions is actually accomplishing as an integrating force, let us turn briefly to consider some of the powerful disintegrating factors operative among immigrants and their children.
Second to the great fact of labor and its demands in our cities is the need and demand for recreation. The reaction from the monotony of factory life, with its exacting, fatiguing tension of machine-tending, and the crowdedness of the tenement home, sends the laboring multitudes into the streets at night seeking diversion and amusement. This is pre-eminently true of the young, who find commercialism waiting at night to "extract from them their petty wages by pandering to their love of pleasure" after having utilized their undeveloped labor power in its factories and shops by day.
Jane Addams says, "The whole apparatus for supplying pleasure is wretchedly inadequate and full of danger to whomsoever may approach it.
"Who is responsible for its inadequacy and dangers? We certainly cannot expect the fathers and mothers who have come to the city from farms or who have immigrated from other lands to appreciate or rectify these dangers of the city.
"We cannot expect the young people themselves to cling to conventions which are totally unsuited to modern city conditions, nor yet to be equal to the task of forming new conventions through which this more agglomerate social life may express itself.
"The mass of these young people are possessed of good intentions and would respond to amusements less demoralizing and dangerous, if such were available at no greater cost than those now offered.
"Our attitude toward music is typical of our carelessness toward all these things which make for common joy."
The vicious, sensuous music of the dance hall, with accompanying words, often indecent and full of vulgar, suggestive appeal, are permitted a vogue throughout the entire country.
No diagnosing of the immigrant city problem or understanding of the task of securing civic righteousness can be obtained by Home Mission women without realizing the place and influence of amusements upon the lives of the young people of our land.
A noted English playwright stated that "the theatre is literally making the minds of our urban population to-day. It is a huge factory of sentiment, of character, of points of honor, of conception, of conduct, of everything that finally determines the destiny of a nation."
Hundreds, yes, thousands of young people attend the five-cent theatres every night, including Sunday, receiving the constant effect of vulgar music and a debased and often vulgar and suggestive dramatic art.
"Many immigrant parents," says Jane Addams, "are absolutely bewildered by the keen absorption of their children in the cheap theatres.
"One Sunday evening recently an investigation was made of four hundred and sixty-six theatres in the city of Chicago, and it was discovered that in the majority of them the leading theme was revenge, the lover following his rival, the outraged husband seeking his wife's paramour, or similar themes. It was estimated that one-sixth of the entire population of the city had attended the theatres on that day."
The same would generally be true of other large cities.
Nor is this low and vicious standard of cheap amusements confined to large cities; it is bound to prevail also where our backward people come into contact with white villages and communities. The cock fights and other demoralizing amusements of Spanish-speaking peoples and the dances of the Indians must be superseded by entertainment that is wholesome and helpful.
Through its own agencies and as it co-operates with others for betterment Home Missions must take into account the urgent demand for wholesome amusement for those who, on account of the conditions of their environment, are so much in need of the cheer and joy of attractive and elevating forms of entertainment.
Home Missions responds to the cry of the city's need through the ministry of the deaconess, who in turn is nurse, or visitor, or leader of kindergarten, day nursery, rescue home, or orphanage.
* * * * *
A gentle-voiced Italian mother it was whose ten children filled to overflowing the three-room tenement home, one room of which was without means of light or air. She lifted to her arms the youngest child of less than a year, clad in one ragged little garment, while she seated herself to tell in broken English and with many gestures her story to the deaconess who came to see if she could help about the oldest boy, who was giving trouble. The woman said she had been married in Italy when only fourteen years of age and was now thirty-one. She had come to America when her second child was a baby. Her husband was a longshoreman and earned twelve dollars a week for the support of the family of twelve. They were looking forward soon to the help of the earnings of the oldest child, a boy not quite fourteen. This boy was the problem! To escape the uproar and confusion of the crowded rooms he spent his time when he could escape from school, on the street. A gang adopted him. He was ill-nourished, and his teachers suspected him of receiving and using cocaine. Poor little scrap of humanity! with a hungry, craving body and no room for soul, mind or body to develop but the corrupting street, with its saloons and its gangs! From such a childhood he is destined soon to join the ranks of labor. Will he add to the number of America's criminals or can he possibly enter the ranks of good citizenship? If he were simply an individual case it would still be inexpressibly sad, but, alas, he stands for thousands in our land.
The deaconess will do her utmost for his rescue, but we cannot wonder at her feeling that great fundamental, preventive measures must be taken by the church and society to wipe out the city slums and all that they stand for of pestilential evil.
Of great significance are the disintegrating efforts of certain groups of socialists and anarchists who by means of Sunday-schools gather children of immigrants largely to inculcate in them the peculiar principles and doctrines of anarchism and their brand of socialism, as well as to crush out of their thought all idea of God and love and obedience to Him. These Sunday-schools, so destructive of all that is best and highest in the child soul, flourish in New York, Brooklyn, Chicago and other large cities.
* * * * *
The foreigners who stand perhaps in greatest need of the understanding sympathy and the harmonizing influence of the church are those isolated in the great mining regions, where the conditions of living are so hazardous and where maladjustments of every sort contribute to an atmosphere which breathes of hatred and discontent. It is estimated that our present industrial system, through criminal negligence, takes the huge toll of 45,000 workers killed every year.
One miner of every hundred dies because his employer cares less for the lives of his men than for the few extra dollars, the cost of proper safety arrangements.
"In the course of the Pittsburgh survey it was discovered that by industrial accidents Allegheny County alone loses more than five hundred workmen every year, sixty per cent of whom are young men who have not yet reached the prime of life. This loss falls not upon the people who determine the degree of protection from injury and decide about the introduction of safety devices, but upon the widows, the orphans and the aged parents."
Here the resourceful Home Missionary is an inestimable help. She is often a Slavish or Bohemian girl, knowing from actual experience all the sordidness, the monotony, the tragedy that envelop the mine and its workers, for in many cases she herself has been a part of it, herself Christianized, educated and trained by Home Missions. She speaks the language of the mines, she knows its innermost life. When the frequent accidents, throw their desolation and fearful economic burdens upon the homes, she comforts and sustains. She helps the stricken wife and children to keep to decency and right. She teaches night classes in English, and mothers' classes, sustains reading and club rooms with games and wholesome amusements to hold the boy miner from the lure of the saloon. She conducts the Sunday-school and is herself a peripatetic Christian settlement, with all that it implies of sacrifice, service and the salvation of soul and body.
A commentary on the need of Home Missions in the mining sections is forcibly presented in the following testimony.
Before the Commission of Industrial Relations (February, 1915) Mrs. Dominiki from the Colorado mines, speaking of the general labor conditions in the district in which she lived, said:
"I never saw a church in any of the coal camps except Trinidad. There were no halls where people might meet but there were always plenty of saloons.
* * * * *
"Hotels, boarding houses of many descriptions, stores, saloons and gambling dens, are visible on every street. Everything suggested money-making and money-spending." [Footnote: The Outlook—February 17, 1915.]
This typical mining town does not pretend to have any sacred days or sacred hours. Business, money-making and sporting are the great aim of life. The mines work seven days each week and twenty-four hours each day. The great concentrators know no pause; the cables are ever busy transporting the mineral from the tunnels to the mills.
The streets are full of busy teams on the Sabbath, just as on any other day; the same is true of all the stores but one, the proprietor of which put out as his first advertisement, "This store will be closed on the Sabbath." The saloons and gambling dens boom in iniquity on the Lord's Day as well as on any other day.
The first service was held on the street. A wagon answering for pulpit, platform and choir-loft, the noble few, interested and willing-hearted, were organized for Christian work; and after a long, severe, self-sacrificing struggle, with help of friends here and there, a comfortable meeting house was completed, even to a bell in its tower. The Sabbath bell is now heard, What a message it declares! What memories it awakens! Who can tell what its influence shall be?
"'The next thirty-five miles is an American Sodom,' said the conductor.
"What did the converted coal miner find, when he accepted this difficult trust? Saloons in abundance—in one town eleven in a row—each saloon with its attendant gambling den, dance house, etc. He found this region a hotbed of infidelity. He saw multitudes of young people of all nations under the sun making holiday of the sacred hours of the Sabbath, and, saddest of all, knowing no better. There were no gospel services, nor Sunday-schools, for there was no place to hold them.
"While I have spent much time in visiting the five towns of this neglected field, I selected one place as a center for extra effort, and here I commenced a series of gospel meetings. The result is a church of seventeen members and a Sunday-school of fifty scholars. As all these towns are dreadfully cursed with saloons, we are trying to create a temperance sentiment. Fifty have already signed the pledge, among them some of the worst drunkards in the town. Forty-five children have joined the 'Children's Band' and are trying to keep their lives clean. We have bought half an acre of ground, whereon to build a church and parsonage. Work is already commenced in good faith."
* * * * *
"With the opening and development of the hard coal mines of Pennsylvania in the first quarter of the nineteenth century, a large migration of Welsh miners began to arrive in the state. They were Protestants and fervently religious. Immediately the organization of religious life began. In 1831 different denominational elements gathered together and began Sunday-school and church life in Carbondale, Pa. The Congregational Church there has been a steady factor of religious life ever since, first among the Welsh exclusively, but later among all classes.
"In similar manner churches were organized all over the anthracite district. To-day fully two-thirds of the churches of the Congregational faith in the state are of Welsh origin, and barring a few in agricultural regions all are among miners or mill hands, joyfully affording the privileges of the Gospel to the poor.
"These churches have made a large contribution to the religious life of the state; they are fervently and effectively evangelistic. It is probably true that the Welsh people are the most thoroughly evangelized of any in the state to-day. Twelve churches have received one hundred or more members each on confession of faith within a year.
"In these later months these Welsh Christians are pressing into the evangelization of other nationalities, which constitute a very large part of the population in the anthracite regions, and their splendid zeal helped to make the 'Billy Sunday' campaign in Wilkes-Barre and Scranton the most wonderful, even that spectacular man has ever conducted. As personal workers they are unsurpassed, and since the revivals they have organized workers' bands and Bible classes, and have gone out into all the country for fifty miles around holding meetings in which singing, personal testimony and prayer have been made marvelously effective, while their earnest labors in local churches which they have joined as members, have in many cases verily revolutionized the life and multiplied the power of the churches." [Footnote: Rev. A.E. Ricker, Congregational Home Missionary Society.]
* * * * *
The Italian immigrant is perhaps more widely distributed throughout our land than any of the other nationalities composing the immigration of the past twenty years.
From New Orleans, with its 60,000, to New York with its nearly half a million, scarcely a city is without an Italian colony, and even villages and rural districts show a quota of these ubiquitous, hard working, promising new Americans.
Italy, the land of art and beauty, contributes to us citizens with an enormous capacity for industry and economy, warmth of nature, response to beauty and openness to religious appeal, with a tendency to crimes of passion and, in general, a most un-American attitude toward the child, using him at the earliest possible age as a commercial asset for the family.
Physically they are of marvelous vitality and strength, and like other hardy peasant stock have great endurance and are very prolific. Early marriages, arranged by the parents, and large families, are the rule among them.
All of these factors are of greatest significance to us as a nation, though we can not here enter into a discussion of the grave potentialities involved in the absorption by our nation of a virile, prolific, though not highly intelligent class.
We cannot, however, fail to be impressed with the urgent necessity of imparting to such a people the ideals and standards essential to their adoption into our body politic.
The church is qualified beyond all other agencies to accomplish this end, and to give spiritual direction to the Italian-Americans who are turning from the superstition and inadequacy of the religion which is fast losing its hold upon them in Italy, as well as America, and from which they are rapidly drifting into indifference and unbelief.
In a late investigation made by the Italian government into conditions in southern Italy the beneficial effect of the returning immigrant was expressed in the strongest terms.
In effect this report said that "greater than the benefit any laws that the government could pass, better than any training which the government could give the people was the beneficial influence of the returning immigrant. Not merely did he bring new wealth into the country, but what was of still greater importance than the imported wealth, he brought with him the American spirit of intelligence, and enterprise which made of him a much worthier and more helpful citizen." [Footnote: The Immigrant Problem—Jenks and Lanck.]
* * * * *
He came of generations of Waldensian Protestant ancestry in Italy, this alert, efficient, cultured Italian pastor. He found the parish to which he was assigned composed of several thousand of his countrymen in a Hudson river town; the building to be used for church purposes a dirty, run-down old hall, a part of the most disreputable corner of the town.
There was not one Italian Protestant, or sympathizer, so far as he could discover, in the community and there seemed to be the greatest apathy to the Mission on the part of the old aristocratic church of the town.
Several blocks away a fine new brick church was in process of construction, to be used for Italian Catholics. Truly the prospect was not encouraging for the Protestant Mission.
However, generations of those who endure and overcome had written deep within him an unfailing courage and a conquering faith.
He began to cultivate Italians in their stores, on the streets, in their homes, wherever he might. His charm and sincerity opened the way and won true friends. In his discussions with them he found those who were questioning the authority of their former faith; it seemed out of harmony in this new land, and they were turning from it to unbelief.
Here was the opportunity for him to offer them the new faith and the One who said "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life," and compellingly he did it.
The story that follows is of absorbing interest, but we can only touch it in outline and record-how the groups of converts joined the pastor in repairing, painting, electric lighting of the building, until it became truly inviting.
How there came to be a library with books in English and Italian, and evening classes, and meetings, and wholesome amusements to compete with the dance halls and saloons for the young people. There were at times stereopticon lectures on things historic and civic, and dramatic presentations of the Prodigal Son and other Bible stories which the pastor himself prepared and trained the people to present.
How a wonderful Sunday-school grew and glowed with happiness and enthusiasm, even though threatening priests sometimes pressed in ordering out the children and shaking excited fists in the faces of the teachers.
How beyond all else in depth and influence were the beautiful church services, reverent and meaningful, bringing close to waiting hearts the burden-lifting, life-giving Jesus the Christ.
Did ever the precious hymn, "What a Friend we have in Jesus" seem quite so fraught with joy and sweet companionship as when the familiar music was sung by this Italian congregation.
Quale amico abbiaino in Cristo! Sempre pronto a compatir Ogni nostro pensier tristo Tutto il nostro gran fallir! Ma qual pace noi perdiamo, Quali pene noi soffriam, Sol perche non confidiamo Tutto a Lui mentre preghiam.
Already from this Mission sixteen earnest Christian members have returned to Italy, each having two Bibles, one to give away.
Who can measure the leavening force of the gospel carried by the many who return and who are scattered up and down throughout all the lovely land of Italy.
Home Missions is not bounded in its results by the seas surrounding the home land, but reaches far away into the heart of the old world across the seas.
It is not possible here to differentiate the various races and peoples in our land, each of whose particular circumstances and need and reaction upon our national life makes an urgent claim upon the integrating power of Home Missions and the church.
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Passing mention only can be made of the special needs of the Mexicans in the United States, thousands upon thousands of whom are voting citizens and yet are quite unable through deep ignorance, and lack of standards of life to take their places as part of the people who govern.
El Paso, Texas, shows 40,000 permanent Mexican residents; Southern California, 80,000. They form one-half the population of Arizona and more than half of New Mexico and are found in other Western and Southwestern states.
Home Missions is giving a very valuable and varied service to these Americans from old Mexico.
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The Orientals of America form a distinct group. Marked racial differences and their background of the mystic, age-old East leave them separated and apart in a conglomerate civilization whose assimilative power is the wonder of the age. They form thus far the largest body of "irreconcilables," to use Prof. Lowell's term, found in our land.
"It is indeed largely a perception of the need of of homogeneity as a basis for popular government and the public opinion on which it rests, that justifies democracies in resisting the influx in great numbers of a widely different race.
"One essential condition to a democracy is that people should be homogeneous to such a point that the minority is willing to accept the decisions of the majority on all questions that are normally expected to arise." [Footnote: Public Opinion and Population Government—A. Lawrence Lowell.]
The German poet, Goethe, a most penetrating thinker, declared that the prime quality of the real critic is sympathy. There is no other realizing and understanding approach to a man or a race. "The significant ideals, the organized energy, the sustaining vitality of an alien people must be sought and understood in order to come into sympathetic touch with them." This is the only key to mutual understanding and respect.
It is especially needful that the Oriental should be considered from this standpoint: in varying degrees, according to their race and standard, they lay a grave responsibility upon Home Missions. By the tens of thousands they are here, Hindus, Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese, bringing their ancient faiths, raising their temples in our Christian land. Mohammedanism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Brahmanism, and many other alien and heathen faiths count their adherents by the thousands, while many one-time Christian folk are turning to the modern forms of these religions.
The fact that rescue homes for Chinese slave girls are a feature of Home Mission work among Orientals tells its own story of degrading customs transplanted to America's shores.
Through colporteurs, evangelists, deaconesses, schools, homes, hospitals and churches, Home Missions is giving the Christ to the Orientals; and they, returning, carry the "new life" gained in America to their great awakening lands where rests so much of the world's future destiny. A great international evangelism is being poured out by Home Missions; for these Christians that are "scattered abroad go everywhere preaching the gospel."
A noted Japanese evangelist, Rev. Kiyomatsu Kimura, for six years pastor of the Congregational church of Kioto, known as the Moody of Japan, because of his great power as a soul winner, has been visiting this country, preaching to his own people (January, 1915).
In Hawaii, as a result of his three months of labor, one thousand Japanese and Koreans accepted Christ.
In New York City his brief stay admitted of only three evening meetings, when twenty decided for the Christian faith. Probably just as remarkable results will attend his efforts in Chicago and the far West.
Rev. Mr. Kimura received his training in personal and evangelistic work in the Moody Institute of Chicago.
"An American artist on the wall of a library building has striven to represent the spirit of America by a procession of men, women and children.
"They are all marching together with eager expectation on their upturned faces and the morning light shines on them."
Yes, America offers hope, a future, the upward path, to the crowding millions, but only as the light of God illumines and makes clear the way and His voice stills the hate of race and class, saying "Come unto Me," and "Bear ye one another's burdens."
SOURCES OF POWER
Lover of souls, indeed, But Lover of bodies too, Seeing in human flesh The God shine through; Hallowed be Thy name, And, for the sake of Thee, Hallowed be all men, For Thine they be.
Doer of deeds divine, Thou, the Father's Son, In all Thy children may Thy will be done, Till each works miracles On poor and sick and blind, Learning from Thee the art Of being kind.
For Thine is the glory of love, And Thine the tender power, Touching the barren heart To leaf and flower, Till not the lilies alone, Beneath thy gentle feet, But human lives for Thee Grow white and sweet.
And Thine shall the Kingdom be, Thou Lord of Love and Pain, Conqueror over death By being slain. And we, with lives like Thine, Shall cry in the great day when Thou comest to claim Thine own, "All hail! Amen."
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"Thy kingdom come—Thy will be done on earth."
Fundamental in all projects for the upbuilding of a worldly or a spiritual kingdom, or an individual character, lies the ideal. Action, growth, conduct, spring from the creating ideal and in the process of development they advance and enlarge together.
"The ideal is the primary moving power in the human spirit," Professor Gidding says; "into his ideal enter man's estimate of the past and his forecast of the future—his scientific analysis and his poetic feeling, his soberest judgment and his religious aspiration."
Our ideal then for our country, for the work and place of Home Missions in it, for ourselves as Christian patriots and believers in Home Missions, is essentially a basic source of power. Into the ideal for our country must enter the inspiring conception of the nation which will include the background of its yesterday.
America means not only the cultural institutions, the multiplied industries, the vast wealth of farms (four crops in the year 1915 were valued at $4,770,000,000), mines and forests, but the genius of an Edison, a Burbank, a Goethals, a McDowell, the devotion of a John R. Mott, a Frank Higgins, a Jane Addams and the long honor roll of men and women made great through their service. America also embodies all that was wrought by those early comers who endured hunger, disease, suffering, that they might conquer a wilderness and make it a land of opportunity. It holds the fruits of service and sacrifice purchased by those later ones who willingly faced death "that government for the people and by the people" might replace tyranny and oppression, and the imperishable glory of those others who counted not their lives dear but laid them down that sweet freedom might be the right of every man, of whatever race or color. Beside all these stood the strong, true women who suffered, endured and triumphed with them.