Author: Julia Payne, the mother of Hugh Morgan
Dear Brother Taylor and Advocate Family:
Greetings from across the sea. I have many times thought and dreamed of being in China, but now it has become a reality. I will not try to describe any of our voyage over for others have written that.
It seems I praise God more each day for the power of the Gospel, and that I had the privilege of being reared in a Christian land. I was first made to realize I was a sinner when only a small girl and was saved between the age of nine and ten. I am so glad God can satisfy a young heart. I can look back in my life and see how God has kept His hand on my life and led me gently along. I believe God put His hand definitely on my life ten years ago for the mission field, though I did not know it was China until something over three years ago. By God's help I settled I could not be content with anything less than God's highest will, and He has led me step by step.
I praise Him this afternoon for His power to keep in China. Oh! the need is great for laborers, we see men, women and children daily bowing down to idols of wood and stone, and how my heart goes out for them.
During the Chinese new year that has just passed, I was out walking one afternoon and saw an old woman worshiping a large rock, she looked troubled, Mr. Rousseau's little boy was with me, and as he speaks and understands Chinese well. I asked him to listen to what she was saying. She was on her knees, praying and offering money and food to this rock, as I could see, she wanted to know what kind of food the idol wanted, and she would drop two small pieces of wood, let them fall on the ground, and in some way they fell she would know whether her prayer would he heard. Morrison could not understand all she said, as we were a little way from her; but I could see that she was in trouble.
One thing is so noticeable about the heathen mothers, they begin to train their children to worship idols when only babies. I have seen these mothers take their children through the form of worship if they were too young to offer food, burn incense or kneel, the mother would take the child and fold his hands and put it on its knees and make him bow to the idols. Is this not something for the mothers in our Christian land to think about.
These souls for whom Jesus died are precious in God's sight, and in the great judgment day I do not want their blood to be required at my hands. We are indeed our brother's keeper.
Is everyone in America doing what God would have him do? I realize all can not come, and I know it is not God's will for all to come, but all have a place to fill. We that are here need your prayers so much, and every one can do that. We feel the need of prayer more than anything else.
1 want to praise God for The Advocate. Since coming to China we have not had the privilege of listening to an English message, so the sermons and news in The Advocate are enjoyed very much.
I also want to praise God for having had the privilege of attending the Holmes Bible and Missionary Institution for several terms. I do not know of another school that is run on faith as it is. I praise Him for every lesson I received there in trusting God. I have not forgotten how God many times made a way where there was no way. It indeed was marvelous in our eyes.
While I was in school God supplied as we looked to Him, and Bro. Holmes taught us not to let any of the institute's needs be known, but now since I am not there those I can tell about the Institute and how it is carried on I think it is my duty and privilege to do so. I am interested in the dormitory that is being built there now, and they need much more money to finish the building and furnish it. So if anyone can send in any money, I know it would be gladly received.
I know from what I hear from the homeland that the price of cotton is low and it is harder times, but this is a great cause, and is everyone doing what he can? By God's grace I mean to stand true to its teachings, and when I come to the end of the way to have some sheaves to lay down at my Master's feet.
In Christian love,
[Editor's comment: It was 100 years ago in November 1920 that my mother, Julia Payne, from Birmingham, Alabama, a single woman, set sail for Hong Kong from San Francisco, CA. The steam ship ran into a violent storm at sea. It was reported by G. F. Taylor, the editor of the Advocate, that all of the missionaries got seasick with the exception of Julia Payne. That was my mother. She was a strong woman.]