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the one I once owned when I was a Christian, and I am going to be a Christian again some day.' She bought a Bible, and I prayed with her and went on my way.
“I was in one saloon that had a house of ill-fame run in connection with it. There were two men sitting about the center of the room playing on some musical instruments. There was a plate in front of them with some money in it that was being donated to them for furnishing the music. I stopped and cast in a coin. This drew the attention of the crowd. I then began to offer Bibles for sale. One young man bought a Bible and said everyone ought to own a Bible. There were some women standing in the rear of the room. I noticed one with a very sad expression on her face. I asked her to buy a Bible. She stood with bowed head a few moments as if in deep study. She went into another room and came back and paid me for the Bible. One of the other girls bought a Testament. I then offered a prayer, and the woman that I had sold the Bible to thanked me. I sold another Testament to a young man and went on my way feeling that God had sent me there."
The statistical record for the nine months Mr. Perkins worked in 1918 is as follows: Volumes sold, 14,500, in 25 languages; visits, 14,000; miles traveled, 4,500.
E. W. Jennett This colporteur has labored chiefly in Detroit, but has made a few trips into the surrounding country. He is now closing his fifth year, and writes that this has been the best of his entire service. Over fifty per cent of the population of Detroit are either foreign born or of foreign parentage. This fact greatly adds to the difficulties of colportage. Of the 300,000 English-speaking people, only 42,000 hold membership in Protestant churches. Here is an interesting account of one of the new things of the year. The most gratifying work of the year has been among the 14,000 men working at the Ford Motor Company plant. Meetings are not allowed in the works, but outside every facility has been given to distribute the Word of the Lord and to hold meetings.
A band of brethren who have devoted themselves to the service of the Lord have rendered me very valuable service in the distribution of the Scriptures among these men. Their mission hall has been made the headquarters of the work. Services are held in the street and afterward the men are invited into the hall, where continuous services are held from eleven thirty to three and sometimes four o'clock. The gospel of the grace of God has been preached in as many as eight different languages in a day, I myself occasionally speaking in English. At these meetings the work of Bible distribution has gone on, and is now spreading to other parts of the city. Other brethren, seeing the good work being done here, have caught the enthusiasm and are carrying on an active propaganda in their own districts.
“One very important factor helping toward the success of the work is the reasonable prices of the books in the various languages. It is quite a common occurrence for me to be met with the remark,
How is it you are selling them so cheap?' One woman said to me, * You mean twenty-five cents the first payment?' No,' I replied, 'I mean twenty-five cents first, last, and only payment.' not like most agents,' another remarked; 'you seem to see how little you can charge. This disarms suspicion, for these people see that I am not after their money. I tell them I am selling them cheap so as to make it easy for them to buy.
We have a very large Catholic community here, and the influence of the priest is well-nigh all-powerful. Polish priests especially refuse to allow their people to read any Bible. One woman was ordered by her priest to burn two Testaments she had.
The priest told her if she read the Bible she would get too smart and would get like God. Rather a good commendation of the Bible.
'At one house I met a Russian Jewess from London, Eng. When in London the ladies of the Jewish Mission had taken great interest in her. Her brothers were infidels, and threatened to throw her out of the house if she went to the mission. She was very desirous of having a Bible, so I gave her one, which she was going to keep out of the way of her brothers.
Don't read the Bible; no good !' said one woman. I offered a Testament to a Polish bartender who was standing at the door of the saloon. Don't want it,' he said. Just then a man came up and was entering the saloon, and I offered him one. 'I don't read Polish,' he said, and then he turned to the bartender and said, 'You ought to buy that.' I sold them both a Testament."
What will be the result of all the work, and whether this or that shall prosper, God alone knows. But we believe that “God giveth the increase. Detroit is destined to become a great center for the Society's work. During the year we have made about 22,000 calls, have donated 82 Bibles and 19 Testaments, and have sold nearly 2,000 Bibles, 1,500 Testaments, and about 4,000 portions in 26 languages.
Frank Malta The work of this colporteur is among the Italians of Chicago. At South Kensington there is a large settlement of these people, and much of Mr. Malta's time has been spent here. As one of the indirect results of his work, the men of the Chicago Missionary Committee of the Reformed Churches became deeply interested in the religious welfare of the aliens that surrounded them in such multitudes, and they opened up several lines of work in their behalf. A representative came to this office and requested that Mr. Malta be allowed to give his Sundays and one afternoon and several evenings each week in organizing and directing an Italian mission in connection with this church. Permission was readily given. Preaching services, Bible classes, sewing circles, and other forms of activity
were set in motion, and the results exceed the fondest hope of the persons back of the movement. The church has contributed a small sum each month toward Mr. Malta's salary. The work has developed so prominently that a regular mission will be opened next fall with an ordained Italian minister in charge. Mr. Malta is carrying on some studies at the Moody Training School. He is earnest, evangelistic, tactful, and a hard worker. If he keeps up his studies and continues to develop as he has, it will be but a short time when he will be demanded as a pastor, and he will have before him a wide field of usefulness.
In July, 1913, Mr. Rade Pesut rendered a report to the Home Missionary Committee of the Presbytery of St. Louis, by whom he was employed to make a survey of conditions among foreign-speaking peoples in Illinois. I quote a brief passage in this most interesting report, because it shows how absolutely necessary Bible work is in introducing Protestant Christianity among these alien races:
“I would recommend the employment of a colporteur-missionary, who shall not only distribute Bibles, but teach the Bible from house to house and to such groups of people as will assemble for Bible study. The children can best be reached by the American Sunday school, for they are already more American than foreigner. In these schools adult classes should be organized which might well begin as English study classes, the English Bible, so far as possible, being used as the text-book. But in some way the American Church must carry the Bible into the daily lives of these people, either by colporteurs, missionaries, Sunday schools, missions, or churches. The foreigners of these communities are as yet singularly open to Gospel teaching. May they receive the Gospel from their American friends before they are prejudiced against it.”
James P. Welliver This brother was for years a missionary in Morocco, where he was privileged to have a part in the translation of parts of the New Testament into one of the Moroccan dialects. Upon his return to America he secured a small piece of land in northern Minnesota, and is making a home for his little family. The same zeal which led him across the ocean to give the Gospel to North Africa, has led him out into this northern wilderness, where he has done most excellent work as our representative.
Bible Pioneering Some special features of the work are indicated in these extracts from his letters:
Most of my work is among a scattered people. I have in my Bible work driven eight miles to visit a single family, where I could only donate one two-cent Gospel. In a trip of fifty miles from my home I have passed through eight communities having school-houses, only one of which had a Sunday school, and this one settlement had preaching only once a month. I have made five and ten-mile
stretches without seeing a house, and yet there are thousands of needy souls, and some of them hungry ones too, scattered through this vast area, and so far as I know, except one American Sundayschool missionary, I am the only home missionary doing work exclusively for the unreached classes, and the only Bible colporteur. I wish that the American Bible Society might have a dozen godly men in this northland who would carry not only the printed Word of God, but also give the gospel by word of mouth to communities, homes, and individual souls.
Bibles are scarcely ever obtainable in our small towns, and when sold are expensive, and often the selection and the quality are poor.
I stopped one night at the home of a settler, a Sunday-school superintendent, whose Bible was almost beyond use. He said he had never before had such an opportunity to get good Bibles, and bought five leather-bound ones for himself and family.
A Bible that Lasted On one of his trips Mr. Welliver was shown an American Bible Society Bible published in 1819, which was now in the hands of the fourth generation, and in spite of its ninety-four years, was still complete and in good condition. One is led to wonder if even the perfect workmanship used on making our Bibles ought to make it last that long if the four generations of users had read and handled the book as it deserved.
Many of this Bible missionary's journeys are into isolated camps, to be reached only on foot, often over rough corduroy roads, at times
walking ties or on a logging train or load of logs. The accommodations are very primitive and the food substantial but rough.
A Family Towel One man in a logging camp was telling about how much conditions had changed for the better since he entered the lumber industry. He illustrated : “In the first camp I ever struck there was but one towel. I was the last one to use it, and I said to the foreman, ‘Haven't you any more towels ? ' Well,' he said, 'seventy men have wiped on that towel, and I guess it's good enough for you.
Mr. Welliver's report for ten months shows the following totals: Circulated, 125 Bibles, 247 Testaments, 213 portions; donated 48, sold 587. Thirty-two individuals and 14 families having no Bible, were given one. Miles traveled, 482; visits made, 295.
William C. Clock One of the results of my trip to the Great Lakes regions, mentioned elsewhere, was to secure W. C. Clock to canvass in Duluth and vicinity. Duluth is one of the busiest cities on this continent. Two hundred and fifty vessels have entered its harbor in a single month. Often twenty-five come in in a day. A colporteur can
visit only five or six of these a day, which gives an idea of the colportage opportunities at this port. Sailors from all parts, and speaking all languages, the vast majority of whom are non-Christian and who seldom or never enjoy church privileges, are open to evangelization through the Word of God while idle in port. One of our dreams is to find money enough some day to purchase a launch for our colporteur, through the use of which he can increase his work.
Bibles for All Mr. Clock writes: “On one ship I found a room with seven sailors representing five nationalities. I was glad to be able to supply each man with the Scripture in his own tongue. I had the pleasure of selling one sailor a Bible, who had promised his dying mother that he would always carry one, but had never done so. I found one steward reading the book he had purchased on a previous visit, and the engineer testified that everyone on the vessel bad read some portion of it."
William Kowalik This, our oldest Bible missionary in point of service, has had another year of faithful, conscientious service in putting the Holy Scriptures into the hands of aliens in this great metropolis. A reading of his report, which gives but a glimpse of his work and methods, is sufficient to show the difficulties these distributors meet with, and how wise and apt in repartee and illustration they must be to get a hearing or to make a sale. I herewith give his story in his own words:
Dealing with a Socialist One of the first people I met this year was a woman Socialist. I showed the Bible to her, but she said: “This is not for us. We do not want such a thing in our home.' While I was speaking her husband came toward us and refused to speak about the Bible also. I proved to him that he was unjust to the Bible and criticised her from the standpoint of the Catholic priests, who teach different than what the Bible says. He answered: 'You are right in that. I found that out myself when I was in a monastery for four years with my uncle in Austria, who is a bishop, who wanted that should be a priest, but I would rather work hard and have a free conscience.' I read to him about the entire liberty through Jesus, John 8:31, 32, and this influenced him so that he took the Bible and said, You Protestants are right and know something about the Bible, and I might join your church.'
Afraid of the Priest “In a flat I met a Polish woman. When she saw the Bible she was afraid to take one because of the priest, as she would do nothing against his commands. Her parents also do not read the Bible. All my endeavor seemed to be fruitless, so I took the New Testament and read about the Lord's supper, asking her if she received