« AnteriorContinuar »
two months, besides A. Fernandez, who had accompanied him from Callao.
Incessant rains fell through November, and on my arrival at Port Limon, Costa Rica, owing to the carelessness of the crew of the Spanish steamer in which I had come from Colon, all my books-four boxes were dropped overboard and thoroughly wet. I lost nearly two weeks iu drying a part of them, and the others were so worthless that I turned them over to the agents of the steamer. Two weeks in December were lost by the delay in the arrival of a new supply of books from New York.
But notwithstanding this long chapter of misfortunes, some good work has been accomplished, for in Panama, Colon, and Costa Rica we distributed during November and December more than 4,000 copies.
VENEZUELA AND COLOMBIA. During ten months of the year Mr. Norwood's attention was given to Venezuela and the northern part of the United States of Colombia, concerning which he reports as follows:
The year 1892 was full of frequent and protracted interruptions. In January and February I was thoroughly incapacitated for work by fever. The political disturbances which began in March continued till near the close of the year. I left Venezuela to work upon three of the Dutch islands, Curacao, Arruba, and Bonaire, returning to Caracas in June for the purpose of arranging matters so that I could go to Colombia and remain away as long as the revolution continued; but, unfortunately, just at that time the summer floods came and I was detained in Caracas by landslides on the railroad and washouts on the wagonroad until August. Nearly all of that month was lost by waiting for steamers from La Guayra to Curacao and from there to Baranquilla. Soon after I reached Colombia a quarantine was established against the whole world, thereby cutting off also all traffic of the steamers on the river Magdalena. The laboring classes in Baranquilla depend principally upon the work furnished by the river and ocean steamers, and as this was cut off the whole town was paralyzed during the time I was occupied there in September and October. On the 29th of October, in pursuance of instructions from New York, I left Baranquilla for a tour in Central America, arriving in Colon November 1st.
I began the year with two colporteurs and afterward engaged two others, but before I left Venezuela I dismissed three of them on account of the revolution, and took the fourth, Daniel A. Yepez, with me to Baranquilla. I left him there to continue the canvass of that part of Colombia under the direction of the Presbyterian Mission,
During the first ten months of the year we sold and donated as follows: Bibles.
The donations are relatively large, since during the revolution in Venezuela many copies were given to soldiers who were unable to pay for em, and both there and in Baranquilla we sold many copies of the cheaper editions, regardless of cost, for whatever price the people in their great need could offer.
We have met the usual opposition from priests of the Roman Catholic Church, who in some places have burned all the Bibles they could persuade the people to surrender to them. It is evident, however, that the desire to possess and reach the Bible is increasing, and our sales are largest wherever the opposition to us is most intense, unless perhaps in the small villages of the interior. A man is sometimes induced to buy by our telling him that the book is forbidden by the priests and explaining why they do not wish to have it read.
It is my impression that all the countries I have visited are ripe for the Bible and for mission work, and that where we have once gone with the Bible we can go again assured of larger results.
BRAZIL. Rev. II. C. Tucker was absent from Brazil during a considerable part of the year, but the returns show no falling off in the circulation. In his report he says:
For five years now the work of the American Bible Society in this Agency has been under my supervision, and I have never undertaken with more delight to make an annual report of the work than at this time. In the spirit of freedom and liberality so prominent in many parts, we see now the fruits of former labors. Amid many difficulties, others have labored to open a way for the circulation of the Scriptures and for the preaching of the gospel. God has blessed their efforts, and we are now reaping results. So far as the civil law is concerned, we have perhaps never had so easy a time as during the past year. We see plainly the good results of religious liberty and separation of Church and State decreed by the government. At the same time, however, influences that have wrought in favor of the freer circulation of the Scriptures have awakened antagonists who are violently opposed to giving the people the word of God. Many times during the year our contact with the priests and zealous Romanists has been very sharp. Our colporteurs would often suffer violence but for the civil authorities. We have been charged in public places and in the papers with circulating false Bibles, and with working purely for money. In the meantime some persons are taking steps in the direction of giving the people the word of God as authorized by the Romish Church. Some time ago the principal organ of the Catholic Church in Brazil began to publish chapters of the Bible, and we hear rumors of other efforts along the same line.
It will be seen that our colporteurs have visited a smaller number of towns and villages than last year. They have consequently been more in the large cities and places formerly well worked. In these places they have found an increased demand for the Bible. Many of the more
intelligent classes have been provoked by the agitation to investigate the Scriptures. In this connection I would again call attention to the fact, so often repeated, of the need of a better Portuguese version of the Bible. The revised and corrected edition of Almeida, prepared by the British and Foreign Bible Society, is growing in favor, and promises to be very helpful in meeting the demand until, in God's providence, a better version shall be provided.
The work during the year has extended over eleven of the eighteen States belonging to this Agency. A few copies may have been circulated in the other seven States through correspondents. It is our purpose during the new year to do what we can to organize work regularly in these other States.
Our colportage force in numbers has been irregular, having at one time been reduced to five. One of our most faithful and successful colporteurs, Sr. André Cayret, died early in the year. He had been in the service of the Society longer than any other. He was a man of remarkable courage and energy. A history of his labors to circulate the word of God in Brazil would make an interesting and instructive volume. No man has done more in that line than he. Our loss was great, as we cannot soon hope to have another so well qualified to take his place. Two others of our colporteurs were laid aside by sickness, and each lost about six months from work. Two have entered the ministry. One of these, through the interest of friends, has gone to London to study. Two were dismissed because of inefficiency. Two have discontinued since December at their own request. One of these was our German colporteur, and the other an Italian. We feel the loss of these men, as there are many large German and Italian colonies in this country. Two new men have been employed who have done well. We have only eight employed, with promise that another will shortly return to our service.
The Agent has done but little in the way of actual distribution, having been absent from the field for more than six months, during which time office work accumulated which kept him more closely in Rio during the latter months of the year.
The following table shows the work done during the year, though, as is well known, figures are inadequate to express the full results. We trust many are being led to Christ and the truth through the word :
BOOKS DONATED. Days of Miles Colporteurs Employed. service. travelled. Bibles. Test's. Parts. Total. Bibles. Test's. Parts. Total. Augusto Hoehne
287 7,292 545 212 524 1,281 2 1 25 28 Joao da Silva Pereira :
314 348 300 258 622 1,180 Pedro Degiovanni
314 1,112 339 370 203 912 11 26 50 87 Bartholomeu Chica
287 5,416 547 172 180 899 46 30 92 168 Luiz Jose Duarte 209 2,326 253 182 301 739
1 Joao d'Alegria
24 Bernardino R. da Veiga
486 4 10 51 65 José C. da Silva
314 3,129 158 1:27 160 415 Leopoldino da Costa 113 2,864 211 50 84 315 13
15 Dyonizio Oliveira 181 1,392 88 48 137 273 4
31 Lourenco d'Almeida 52 602 64 74 103 211 1
6 11 Antonio Leite
1:27 15 85 227 Martiniano Junior
iš Antonio Marques 15 160 48 69
4 121 Andre Cayret . 44 94 80 29 3 112
18 20 Guilherme Telles 76 788 3 4
7 9 26 20 55 Correspondents
859 418 1,660 2,967 Agent
88 128 107 3:23 3 ii 63
2,911 31,363 4,112 2,482 4,693 11,287 100
The amount received from sales is $3,349 10. The whole number of persons regularly employed as colporteurs is sixteen. These sixteen men worked 2,641 days, travelled 31,363 miles, and visited 434 towns and villages, besides many country settlements, in eleven different States. They have visited nearly 55,000 families, and have offered the Scriptures to about 150,000 people.
We take courage, and begin the new year with a fresh zeal and encouragement. We hope always for larger things.
This ends our five years in the Agency, during which period we have distributed nearly 45,000 copies of the word of life. May God bless the sowing, and may we be spared yet to sow more widely!
LA PLATA AND THE PACIFIC COAST AGENCY. The following extracts from Mr. Milne's report show in some measure what was accomplished in 1892 in the large field under his care:
All philanthropic institutions are affected more or less by financial vicissitudes.; but the Bible Society, though as free from commercial aims and as purely benevolent in its character as any, in the degree in which it receives money for the books circulated, is doubly influenced by these conditions.
Up till 1889 inclusive, the annual reports from this field had been for many years records of successive steps in advance. That year the distribution reached the high figure of 40,261 volumes, which was fully 17,000 beyond anything before reported. The greater part of this increase, however, consisted of Portions, and was due in a great degree to extensive gratuitous work among immigrants, who then flooded the country. Immigration has subsided, railroad building and other public works have been suspended, policies remain unsettled, and the financial prosperity looked for on a change of administration of government appears to be as far off as ever. Gold, which had gone down from 389 to 265, giving an average of 329 for the year, is rising again.
Notwithstanding these untoward circumstances we are able to report the distribution of 7,066 Bibles (464 more than ever before in one year), 6,067 Testaments, and 14,974 Portions, and the receipts from sales of $5,307 86. These figures would be considerably larger but that Mr. Penzotti's work in November and December is reported elsewhere.
I expected last year to visit Bolivia, on my way to the Pacific coast, and help to augment the distribution there; but impaired health and other obstacles prevented, and it seemed best to send on to Bolivia C. Stella and J. Vivacqua-two young men of proven faith and zeal-and seek myself a route to the coast more economical, both in point of time and money. The object of the visit to the Pacific coast was to confer with the leaders of the Bishop Taylor Mission in Chili respecting work already accomplished, and to plan for the future; also, if possible, to agree with the brethren of the Valparaiso Bible Society upon a basis of co-operation. Both objects, we trust, have been realized.
The work of the year may best be presented by giving in considerable detail the experience of individual colporteurs, in addition to the tabulated report of their work :
E. Olssen, after canvassing the south of the province of Buenos Ayres and the northern part of Patagonia, passed over the Andes to Valdivia, in the south of Chili. At Concepcion he received a hearty welcome and substantial help from the Rev. F. G. Arms. The books that had been sent to await him found ready sale, and by the time he reached Santiago he had none left. Then the Rev. Ira H. La Fetra furnished a new supply, with which he worked for some days, selling. in the government house alone twenty-two Bibles.
From Santiago he proceeded to Valparaiso, where another consignment had been sent. These he received, but, having to wait several days to get them through the custom-house, he improved tiie time accompanying one of the missionaries on a preaching tour to some of the rural towns, and sold over a hundred and fifty books in three or four days. The brethren of the Valparaiso Bible Society were very kind to him, and would gladly have retained him in their employment.
He has travelled a good deal on horseback in the province of Buenos Ayres, and has sold many Bibles to persons who had never heard of it before. In the country he has found the native-born Argentines more ready purchasers than foreigners. This is not the case in towns. On revisiting places where he had sold the Scriptures before, he has been cordially received and thanked for having taken them the word of God. He had a like experience on revisiting the barracks in the city of La Plata. On the first occasion he sold a good many books, and being invited to return was not long in doing so, and was much refreshed and encouraged by what he saw. An old soldier showed him his Bible, conveniently placed for frequent use. In the centre of a group of attentive listeners was another soldier, with his Bible neatly covered, reading aloud.
In the streets of the same city he met a student to whom a few days before he had given a tract entitled “ The Just for the Unjust.” When he saw the Bible he asked if it was the book of the “ Just for the Unjust,” and being told that it was he bought one immediately. On one occasion a man eighty-two years of age, after hearing of the Lord Jesus and of his love, exclaimed : " Blessed be God for the good news. It is the first time in my life that I have heard it.” In a single day he happened to sell nineteen Bibles and Testaments and Portions in Spanish, French, Italian, Greek, Russian, and Basque. A good day's work, certainly!
J. Gandolfo reports having met one who said he had bought a Testament from curiosity, having heard that it was a prohibited book; but, when he found it taught him how to live in communion with God, he regarded it as a real treasure, and never tired of reading it.
C. Stella tells of having had a warm discussion with some fifteen Jewish immigrants at one of the railway stations in the province of Santa Fé. He showed theni passages from their own Scriptures which