(ibc lnivcrsit^ of CbicaQO
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
RANDOLPH L. HOWARD, Associate Foreign Secretary of the
American Baptist Foreign Mission Society, is a graduate of Shurtleff
in the Class of 1905. After a term of three years as Greek and Latin
Master in Broaddus Institute, he entered the Philosophy Department
of Harvard University, and in 1910 received his A. M. degree. Imme-
diately thereafter he sailed for Rangoon, Burma, to become Professor
of Psychology in Judson College. It was the first year of full college
work in that institution ; the student body was small, and the college
was struggling for recognition. During the fourteen years of Doctor
Howard's service at Judson, he saw it grow to become one of the
outstanding Mission Colleges of India.
A prominent athlete in his college days, he carried a fine spirit of
sportsmanship to the playing fields of India, being the director of a
large and varied athletic program not only in Judson College, but also
in the three high schools allied with it during almost all of his service
In 1920 political unrest in India brought on a disastrous student
strike in Rangoon. Under the strain of those tense days, President
Gilmore's health broke, as also did that of his successor, Doctor Kelly,
after only three months' service. In the spring of 1921, Doctor
Howard was elected President. The student body was sorely depleted,
the future was uncertain, yet under his leadership Judson College was
back to normal attendance within a few months, and showed steady
growth during the years of his administration.
An outstanding achievement of that period was the successful carry-
ing through of negotiations with the Burma Government whereby the
continuance of Judson as a full college was secured. Doctor Howard
also brought to definite fruition plans maturing for more than a
decade whereby a magnificent new site of almost sixty acres was
secured for Judson, together with a half million dollars pledged from
Burma sources for buildings.
During these years, Doctor Howard was Chairman of the Execu-
tive Committee of the Burma Mission, and a member of the Senate
of the University of Rangoon. He also served on many important
committees of the provincial education department.
In 1924 a break in Mrs. Howard's health compelled a return to
America, and the slowness of her recovery compelled Doctor Howard
to present his resignation. He then accepted appointment to the
Administrative Staff of the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society.
There was at that time still to be secured the half million dollars
from America needed to meet the pledges obtained in Burma for the
Judson College buildings. Doctor Howard has been able to do his
part in bringing that campaign to a successful conclusion. Judson will
shortly have an exceptionally fine plant easily worth three millions if
built in America.
Doctor Howard's present position gives him important responsibili-
ties in the administration of mission work in India, Burma, China,
Japan, and the Philippines.
A MORTON LANE GIRL
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
By RANDOLPH L. HOWARD
The Department of Missionary Education
Board of Education of the Northern Baptist Convention
152 Madison Avenue, New York City
THE JUDSON PRESS
BOSTON CHICAGO LOS ANGELES
KANSAS CITY SEATTLE TORONTO
Copyright, 1 93 1, by
THE JUDSON PRESS
Published May, 1931
Second Printing October, 1931
PRINTED IN U. S. A.
The power of the Christian message to transform a
pagan country into a Christian commonwealth is nowhere
more convincingly demonstrated than in the land of
Burma. From the first day of Judson's arrival until now,
Burma has been a land of promise. Judson's first little
flock of nineteen converts has become a Christian com-
munity of more than one-quarter million. Superstition
has yielded to education. Churches, schools, hospitals,
asylums, and philanthropies have conspired to show the
native enterprise of this land to which we sent our first
Burma holds the promise of a new day in her national
life, and her desire for independent political status is soon
to be satisfied. The Christian movement in Burma con-
tinues to be one of significant promise. Mr. Howard,
with his broad knowledge gained through years of experi-
ence, makes some interesting predictions on Burma's
This book is full of vivid word pictures and panoramic
descriptions, showing the changing life of this people
under Christianity's influence. As a reading book, Bap-
tists in Burma has the charm of a continued story ; as a
book of inspiration, it looks toward a larger land of
promise the Christian conquest of the Orient; as a
source-book, it has the value of a compendium of informa-
tion; as a study-book, it has the teaching quality of a
In connection with the study of " Christianity and Rural
Life Around the World," Baptists in Burma demonstrates
the far-reaching influence of Christianity in a great rural
We heartily commend this timely book to the attention
of adults and young people for missionary reading and
WILLIAM A. HILL.
I. ADONIRAM JUDSON 1
The First American Foreign Missionaries The Land
the Judsons Entered Their Purpose There
Efforts in Evangelism Some Results Today
II. VOYAGES AND MOTIVES 14
How Far Is Burma Vinton Voyages The Barque
" Cashmere " Frontiers Today Missionary
Motives: (1) A Vital Experience; (2) The
Needy World; (3) The Great Commission
Mission Stations Today.
III. FOUR ESSENTIALS 27
Francis Mason's Hobby Essentials of Success :
I. Mastery of the Language, (1) Its By-Prod-
ucts; (2) Its Difficulties II. Bible Translation:
(1) The Burmese Bible in Prison; (2) Reduc-
ing Languages to Writing III. The Printed
Page: (1) Burma's Many Translators; (2)
The Mission Press IV. Trained Colleagues :
(1) Contrasts in Students and Curriculum; (2)
Burmese and Karen Seminaries.
IV. CERTAIN BARRIERS 45
George Dana Boardman Buddhism a Barrier: (1)
Its Objects of Worship; (2) A Glimpse of the
Buddha's Life; (3) The Roads to Nirvana
(Neibban) ; (4) A Modern Monk The Chris-
tian Message for Buddhists Love of Mother-
land a Barrier The "Loyal Karens" Karen
Traditions and Ko Tha Byu Barriers Breaking
V. COCOANUT CREEK KARENS 61
An Early Missionary on Tour Missionary Mortality
in Arakan The Chronicle of Cocoanut Creek
The Karen Martyrs Bassein Beginnings A
Meeting in a Buddhist Monastery "Partner-
ship not Paternalism" in 1852 Difficulties of
Self-support Karen Centennial Subscriptions.
VI. BEYOND MANDALAY 75
The Kachin Jubilee^-Eugenio Kincaid and Burmese
Banditti Bibles : Shan and Kachin Thra
S'Peh: Karen Missionary Animism: A Re-
ligion of Fear Chins, Shans, Lahus, Was
Takings, Indians, and Chinese New Needs Con-
tinually Arise Both Sides of Burma's Border.
VII. WOMEN'S WORK 91
Goal and Methods Schools for Girls Coeducation
The Burmese Woman Medical Work for
Women The Leper Asylum A Haven in the
Hills Bible Schools The Missionary's Wife.
VIII. MEN AND METHODS 108
A Karen Executive Secretary The Burma Baptist
Convention The Need for New Missionaries
Qualifications Required in a Missionary Mis-
sionary Methods: (1) Teachers, (2) Pastors
Two Types of Tracts A Veteran's Vision.
IX. A PROPHECY FULFILLED 126
The Judson Centennial The Seventeen Years
Since Among the Burmese Churches Physi-
cians for the Frontiers Some Local Remedies
Unmet Medical Needs Waste-basket Surgery
The Agricultural School Student Gospel Teams.
X. READJUSTING RELATIONS 140
Burma's Immigration Problem Burma Is Not India
Militarism a Major Issue Strategically
Placed in Asia Transfer of Mission Admin-
istration Devolution's Difficulties C a p a b 1 e
Church Leadership Maymyo Bible Assembly
Burma Soon a New Dominion.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION 159
BOOKS ON BURMA 167
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
A Morton Lane Girl Frontispiece
Map of Burma 3
Map of Voyages 15
A Buddhist Monk Opposite 52
Ko Tha Byu Memorial Hall, Bassein Opposite. 68
Up the Irrawaddy in 1834 77
Judson's Own Tract 123
A Student Gospel-Team Starts Revival in India
Burma's Lion, Guardian of the Pagodas 158
"Just at night" on Tuesday the thirteenth of July,
1813, Adoniram Judson stood in the "Water Gate" of
Rangoon. His was a solitary figure. For loneliness it can
hardly be equalled in the history of any great cause. He
and Ann Hasseltine, his wife, must that day decide a ques-
tion, most vital not merely to themselves but to American
Baptists as well. Behind him some sixty feet of slimy
mud bank fell away to a broad bend of the Rangoon River.
In this spacious harbor there rode at anchor the sailing
ship which had just brought them to Burma. Before him
stood a stockade, and through the gate he glimpsed a city,
a sprawling mass of thatch-roofed huts. Each was set
high on stilts out of harm's way when the tides belched
forth filthy water from the intersecting creeks. Formerly
a much fairer city, fire and misgovernment had reduced it
from thirty to perhaps eight thousand people. As the sun,
up river, dropped below the horizon Judson must have
heard the squealing " meager swine " as they, the day shift
of scavengers, turned over their duties to the howling
packs of pariah dogs soon to make the night hideous. The
first sight of the city was not pleasant for a prospective
resident. William Carey back in Calcutta had warned him.
His son Felix and his associates had undergone sore trials
there. This warning had caused Judson to regard Ran-
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
goon with a feeling of " horror." Evidently half the
horrors had not been told. Could they, even as his wife
hoped, be " instrumental in removing some of the rubbish
and preparing the way for others " ? Could they succeed
where the English brethren had failed? Felix Carey, he
found, had been summoned to the king's court at distant
Ava. There was little likelihood of his return to mission
work. No visible evidence of the five English Baptists
remained save the mission residence and the grave of
Too, the Judsons had no assured financial support.
Study of the Scripture during the seventeen weeks from
Boston to Calcutta had convinced them that theirs was not
" believers' baptism." After baptism by immersion in the
Lai Bazar Chapel in Calcutta, there had gone that letter
to the American Board. Their connections with the Con-
gregationalists with " everything to allure," had been
severed. Could and would American Baptists assume
their support? Lake Champlain had hitherto been the
utmost limits of the missionary endeavor of Boston Bap-
tists. The " ladies in Harvard " must increase their con-
tribution of $4.87 if even his salary of $666.66 was to
As the deep curtain of tropical night closed suddenly
about him Judson turned back to board the Georgiana,
there to face the severest test of all. Under a simple
canvas shelter on the deck of that miserable craft lay Ann
Hasseltine. She had faced death during the twenty-two
tempestuous days from Madras. Rangoon offered neither
medical attention nor congenial companionship. Mrs. Felix
Carey might read both Burmese and Portuguese, but she
could speak no English. Mrs. Newell, companion of the
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
voyage to Calcutta, lay buried on the Isle of France. Had
he any right to risk Ann's health further? Modern wis-
dom would have warned him not to set foot on shore. Yet
the next day " Mrs. Judson, still too weak to walk, was
carried into town/' The die was cast. American Baptist
foreign missions had that day their beginning in Burma.
Burma is a sort of blind alley. It is easy of approach
only by sea. The most easterly of India's provinces, it is
also much the largest. Lying beyond the Bay of Bengal,
that wide sea is two-fifths of its boundary. The other,
three-fifths are formed by a series of mountain ranges. It
is 1,200 miles in length. Victoria Point, the most southerly
extremity, touches Malaysia. It reaches far north to the
apex of the Triangle where Tibet and China meet. The
total area of Burma is about that of the eleven States
north of the Ohio and east of the Wabash Rivers. The
long coast-line has great stretches of mud-flats and sand-
banks. These make it unapproachable for ships of any
size except where the main streams keep a channel open.
In many places are belts of mangroves in the soft mud.
They are so often inundated at high tide that oysters live
on the trees. At the far south are clusters of islands as
picturesque as any in the Inland Sea of Japan.
Burma may be divided from a physical point of view
into three parts. The western includes Arakan along the
Bay of Bengal and the Chin and Kachin Hills. The
eastern is the Shan States, Karenni and the Province of
Tenasserim. The central includes the Irrawaddy basin,
a dry zone about and below Mandalay covered largely with
scrub jungle, and the Irrawaddy delta extending back
up as far as Prome. This last is one of the rich garden
spots of the world.
Mountains and Rivers
The mountains which wall in Burma on three sides begin
back up in Tibet on the roof of the world. They extend
in the form of a pitchfork with the basin of the Irrawaddy
between the two prongs. One prong forms the eastern
frontier. The other is the Yomas, separating Arakan
from the rest of Burma. Some of these mountains are
eleven thousand feet above sea-level. Many of them are
covered with almost impenetrable forests. The chief river
is the Irrawaddy. It is one of the most noble rivers in
Asia. Its upper defiles are magnificent. Below Mandalay
there is much flat and uninteresting country, but from
Prome on, it intersects the delta with its many mouths.
Here the beauty of its tree-covered banks is indescribable.
It is the Irrawaddy which first greets the traveler to Burma
by its yellow silt far out at sea.
The Salween is the second of the rivers in point of size.
It, too, rises in the far north and, hemmed in by mountains,
rushes to the sea through deep gorges. These are but two
of Burma's large rivers. The Irrawaddy is preeminent
because it is navigable for nine hundred miles.
The valleys of Burma have three seasons, the cool and
dry weather, the hot weather, and the rains. These run
into each other so that it is often hard to separate them.
There is no question about the hot season, nor can one
doubt the existence of the rains. Sandoway in a half
year has 250 inches. It is sometimes a source of argument
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
as to whether any cool season exists. Some years seemed
divided into two seasons, the dry and the wet, both hot.
From late May to the middle of October there is seldom
a day without a downpour. It rarely rains during the
remainder of the year. Humidity is almost always high.
One seldom wishes to wear any but the lightest clothing.
There is never a killing frost. Microbes multiply without
let or hindrance.
Birds and Beasts
Space does not permit the mention of many of the birds
and beasts. There are the white-browed gibbon of the
north and the white-handed gibbon of the south. There
are the little mouse-deer and the mighty elephant. Then
there are the reptiles. On the very first night in Rangoon
we were disturbed by a large snake chasing rats in the
attic of the old bungalow. We were entertained by little
lizards, the size of your finger, catching the insects on the
ceiling. Almost all that one may imagine of tropical wild
life is found in Burma.
Burma has hardly the wondrous wealth early voyagers
imagined. Still it is fairly rich in minerals. Gold and
silver are found in the hills in the northeast. Mandalay
has marble quarries. Mogok supplies the world with
rubies. Jade and amber come from beyond Bhamo. Oil-
derricks thickly dot the banks of the Irrawaddy half-way
between Rangoon and Mandalay. It is not on minerals,
however, but on the rice crop that most people depend.
The soil with little care gives a fair yield. Just burn off
last year's stubble, and it fertilizes sufficiently to assure a
crop. This was enough for a comfortable living, as long
as Burma's rice was in world-wide demand.
Burma's Chief Gateway
Eighty miles of muddy water greet the traveler to
Burma before he passes Elephant Point and enters the
mouth of the Rangoon River. It is twenty-one miles
up this stream that the capital of the province is situated.
To Rangoon's great wharves come many ocean steamers.
To these wharves also come a large fleet of Irrawaddy
Flotilla steamers. These ply the delta's many streams and
also go up country as far as Bhamo. For miles above
Monkey Point the Rangoon River is over a mile wide.
It offers an ample harbor for shipping even at the height
of the rice season. But before we survey Baptist mission
work in Burma's chief city, let us have a further glimpse
at the pioneers.
The Missionary Purpose
More than three years were to pass, it was 1816, before
any recruits arrived from America to help the Judsons.
There were even then but two, George and Phoebe Hough.
Mr. Hough was a printer. Certain articles of agreement
were drawn up by Judson, the eminent translator of the
Burmese Bible, and Hough, the first to print its pages
on Burmese soil. These reveal the propelling purpose of
their hazardous enterprise. Their " sole object on earth,"
they declare, " is to introduce the religion of Jesus Christ
into the empire of Burmah." The story of their accom-
plishments as translator and printer is to be told later.
Adoniram Judson must be seen first in the role in which
he is preeminent, that of a winner of men to his Master,
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
To him the printed word was essential. The spoken
word was, however, the major means of attaining their
objective. In both these ways few if any have displayed
a patient persistence equal to Judson's. He pressed on
in the face of seemingly insuperable obstacles. Settled
among a people utterly untouched of Christ, he won them
by the simple fragrance of his life and message.
No more inspiring chapter is found in all the annals of
American efforts to carry Christ across the seas than
that of Judson's winning that first handful of converts
in Rangoon. Run through the record of the first nineteen
converts. Ann Hasseltine was carried through curious
throngs on July 14, 1813. The nineteenth member was
welcomed into the Rangoon Church on July 21, 1822.
Nine soul-trying years! Almost four years passed be-
fore there was even the mention of an inquirer. No con-
gregation gathered in the zayat, the little open preaching-
shed beside Pagoda Road, till a Sunday morning in April
of 1819. Thousands had passed along that wide festival
thoroughfare to the great golden Shwe Dagon pagoda, but
never before had more than three or four lingered to
listen. It was that same April that the first convert,
Maung Nau, came to the zayat. A vivid picture is painted
of the baptism of this humble disciple three months later.
The more one studies the winning of that first nineteen
the more one's admiration mounts. Piece together a para-
graph here, a sentence there, and one finds what might
well be called a case history of each. Judson, the physician
of souls, emerges. As he threads the maze of an Oriental
tongue his technique develops. First one possible ap-
proach is tested, then another. The effect of each phrase,
each act, is watched with intense anxiety. Like a physician
fascinated by a new and as yet unconquered tropical dis-
ease, every symptom is observed with anxious attention.
Now he fears that his remedies are too drastic and that he
has driven the inquirer away. Then again hope mounts
high, for some word seems to have gripped the heart. His
quiet persistence and infinite care never falter till the fight
is won, a soul is saved. Outstanding among those first
few is Maung Shwa Gnong. Entries culled from the
pages of the Judson manuscripts give the case history of
"the teacher," as Judson continually calls him. With
each succeeding entry, admiration increases for America's
first foreign missionary. It required eleven months of
effort before the teacher was finally won.
The name of Maung Shwa Gnong should be placed with
that of Judson on that " monument," the Burmese Bible,
for it is impossible to see how that tremendous translation
task could ever have been accomplished without his able
Judson's first nineteen converts called for nine years of
heroic labor. For a striking contrast take the same nine
years a century later : the years of 1913-1922 saw 33,350
brought into the membership of Baptist churches in Burma,
while the census of this latter date gives a Christian con*
munity of nearly 260,000.
The one little Baptist church in 1822 has become in
1931 some 1,320 churches scattered far and wide, "in-
troducing the religion of Jesus Christ " among the races
of Burma hitherto " destitute of pure gospel light." Burma
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
is a land of many tongues. The Burmese, by far the
largest group, dominate the valleys. In the hills, spilling
down into the valleys, are many other races. The call of
such sturdy mountain men as the Karens, the Chins, and
the Kachins are chapters in themselves. These lines of
lesser resistance have been followed until the Karen Chris-
tians alone form a community of 179,000, and Christ is
winning the hearts of Chins and Kachins in a way that
gives real promise of those groups being brought almost
bodily into the Kingdom. Among the Burmans, however,
the race for which Judson and a great group of the world's
finest missionaries have given themselves, is found a
Christian community of only sixteen thousand. Yet the
Burmese are well over nine of the thirteen million people
of the province. These people, immersed in Buddhism,
still need more " physicians of the soul " with the devo-
tion of the Judsons to win them one by one to Christ.
They do not come by villages or families. There are no
mass movements as in India. There is a challenge to
American Baptists today in the consecration of the mem-
bers of her first expeditionary force overseas.
To Burma have come men of all races. On Rangoon's
crowded thoroughfares may be found Chinese, Japanese,
Malays, Siamese, natives of India of all the three score
and ten varieties, together with Armenians, Jews, English,
French, Germans, Italians, Greeks, and all the European
nationalities. Mingled with these throngs of foreigners
are the native races Burmese, Talaings, Shans, and
Karens. For any one who would study facial types, let
him stand near the Sule Pagoda. It forms an island in
Rangoon's finest street. Around its base there swirls
within the hour the world's most varied mixture of man-
kind. The different tongues have compelled a certain
diversification of mission work. This is true to a degree
in many parts of Burma. It is peculiarly so in Rangoon.
Take then a hasty survey of Burma's capital and chief
city. It is the main center of Baptist activity in Burma.
It is also the largest center of Northern Baptist foreign
missions found anywhere in the world.
On Merchant Street is the Mission Press ; a block away
facing Fytche Square is Immanuel Baptist Church; a
couple of blocks east on Dalhousie Street stands the Union
Hall School for immigrant Indians. Leaving the center
of the city, out beyond Soratee Bazar is Lanmadaw. This
" royal highway " church and school are direct descendants
of Judson's first little flock. Some of Rangoon's finest folk
are found in the church and on the staff of the school.
But one cannot fail to feel a bit of shame at the buildings.
Let us hurry on out Commissioner Road to where it be-
comes Lower Kemmendine Road. There is the old Judson
College campus. The removal of Judson College leaves
adequate room for the three allied schools which remain.
Gushing High School is the mother of them all, including
Judson College. The Normal School has trained many
teachers from all over Burma. The English High School
is for the Euro-Burmans, as the Anglo-Indians of Burma
now call themselves. Swinging free of the city, we go
out Mission Road into a residential suburb. Here is a
great beehive of Baptist activity. It has seven mission
bungalows, a missionary " rest-house," and many other
buildings. The Burmese work there has two bungalows,
one for the women missionary evangelists, and one for the
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
evangelistic family for the Rangoon field. Together with
these are the Lanmadaw parsonage and the Fredrickson
Memorial for Burmese Bible Women. For the Karens
there are likewise two bungalows, together with the Bray-
ton Memorial, the building of the Bible School for Karen
Women, and Pegu Karen High School a fine group of
buildings centering in the Vinton Memorial. Still our
survey is not ended. A couple of miles west, beyond the
idol-carvers' quarter, is Kemmendine Girls School, minis-
tering to all races. Then, last" but not least, a mile or
more farther west on .the Victoria Lakes is Judson College.
To all these institutions we must return before we leave
Burma. Let us pause just a moment more at the college.
The new fifty-four-acre site is beginning to give promise
of rare charm and beauty. The new buildings are almost
completed. The foundations are laid for the $100,000
chapel. One-half the cost of the twenty-five buildings has
come from Burma, the other half from America. Though
the> money for these has come in the last few years, they
may be looked upon as the fruit of Adoniram Judson's
own labors. The Judson Fund, through which most of
the American money came, caught its chief inspiration
from a desire to perpetuate this College, a memorial to
the great missionary. In like manner the gift of the
churches of Burma, covering one-half the cost of the
chapel, was a thank-offering for the one who might well
be considered their founder. Yet there is another, a pecu-
liar sense, in which Judson's own hands might be said to
have laid brick^on brick as these buildings took form and
comeliness. Sixty per cent, of America's share in faculty
houses, classrooms, and dormitories, and all its share in
the chapel came from a single benefactor. The usual
channels to Baptists' largest giver had closed. Then the
hand of the Master himself seemed to touch the strings
of memory. Many years ago when Adoniram Judson
was on furlough, a mother had taken her son to meet the
great missionary. The memory of that sainted mother and
of the touch of Judson's hand worn with suffering for
Christ in Burma, brought an eager offer to meet the entire
balance of the cost. And more, there was added a chal-
lenge to Burma Baptists. Dollar for dollar would be
given toward the proposed chapel. So Judson's own hand
touched a heart, and the continuance of Judson College
In 1813 Adoniram Judson found in Rangoon only one
rude mission house and a missionary's grave. Today in the
same city he would find a tremendous center of activity
and a college which worthily bears his honored name.
[NOTE. " Questions for Discussion," p. 159.]
VOYAGES AND MOTIVES
Kitna dur haif " How far is it? " was the first phrase
learned by the writer when on a hike in Hindustan.
That question mastered, a search began for "yards,"
"rods," "miles," that the answer to it might be under-
stood. Disgust ensued, for there were no words for
linear measurement in the Handy Manual for Beginners
in Hindustani. Just for practise sake, however, he tried
Bhimpore kitna dur haif " How far is it to Bhimpore ? "
on the next person met. The reply was a profound
salaam, a pointing to the third quarter of the heavens,
and an Uster may, Sahib that is, the arrival at Bhimpore
will be when the sun reaches " Over there, sir."
After all, the reply to Burma kitna dur haif is more
accurate in terms of time than in the miles which place
it just half-way round the world from America. The
schedule for 1931 for most missionaries is six weeks
from New York to Rangoon via London or Liverpool,
though it is possible to make it. a week less by crossing
France by rail. If a traveler does not mind the high cost
he can cover the distance in twenty days provided he takes
the British Air Mail in its seven days series of " hops "
from Croydon, England, to Karachi in Northwest India.
Leslie Mae Seagrave, great-great-granddaughter of the
first Vinton, may find it possible (see map) by 1944 to
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
return to Burma by airplane in fifteen days. Her grand-
mother, Alice Vinton Seagrave, has made various voy-
ages by steamer via the Suez Canal in six weeks. Justus
Hatch Vinton himself, the head of the distinguished
Burma branch of that well-known family, made his first
voyage by sailing ship. Of this trip a very different tale
is told both as to time and also as to the trials of travel.
May we then take a few bits from the log of the Cash-
mere and get a picture all too typical of travel conditions
a century ago. The Cashmere made the first direct mis-
sionary journey Boston to Burma, by the Cape of Good
Hope. She was an old-fashioned barque hewn from the
Maine forests by farmers, of " ship rig, with a square
stern, a billet head, two decks, and three masts." The
passenger list consisted of sixteen missionaries, among
them Jonathan Wade, chief chronicler of the voyage, and
Justus Hatch Vinton, preeminent in the unbroken service
record of his family through almost a century; 1931 finds
the Vintons represented not only in Rangoon but also in
Moulmein and Namkham. Delve then into the old records
(those yellow pages of the days when all s's were f 's, and
where a writer describing the missionary convention as
a " beautiful sight," has by his typography made it, for
modern eyes, a " beautiful fight "), find there the account
of their historic trip to Burma as sent home for publica-
tion and signed by the seven missionary men of that
party. It is full of descriptions of study, of "religious
exercises," of monthly " concerts of prayer," of members
of the crew " forgiven and accepted by the Saviour," and
it closes with the statement that those days on shipboard
had been the " happiest portion of our lives thus far." To
all appearances, sea travel was simple in 1834.
VOYAGES AND MOTIVES
The searcher was not satisfied that this report told the
whole story. Calista Vinton says her father was seasick
for six weeks. That certainly is not the time for the ad-
jective " happiest." A further investigation into the files
found -certain old letters of a century ago. Among them
was a journal a report not intended for publication. It
begins in November, 1834, and is signed " J. Wade." In
this document there is " confided to the disposal " of the
Foreign Secretary some interesting items regarding those
one hundred and fifty-seven days on the high seas.
The Cashmere Voyage in 1834
When the first entry is made, after four months and a
half at sea, fresh provisions have become a matter of
major importance and Jonathan Wade records :
You know I made an effort to get the live stock increased, and
the result was the addition of six pigs. It was thought by you that
the supply would give us fresh meat two days in the week all the
passage. I did not expect this, nor have we realized it. We
have had but ond meal of fowls during the voyage (the rest of the
fowls were cooked occasionally for the sick). When a sheep
was killed, it afforded us a single meal in a week, that is a fresh
dinner on Sunday. When we had a pig, it would furnish a meal
also for Monday. But ten of the pigs died, and why? Because
they were put in a pen far too small for the number. Eighteen
pigs were put in a pen five feet six inches in length and four feet
six inches in breadth, and nearly half of that room was taken
up by the bow of the long boat. They absolutely had not room
to stand, much less to lie down, and the consequence was they
died off until they were reduced in number proportionately to the
size of the place in which they were confined.
Lack of fresh meat was somewhat made up by plenty of
fresh bread made of flour or meal.
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
We have had no cheese for many weeks and no ham. Out of the
five hundred pounds of ham put up we have only had a little
for breakfast, not more than thirty times, I should say, during
the voyage. There has been great waste on it on account of
its being so fat, also that the mice got in and devoured much of it
November 24: All of our stock is now gone except one old
chick. Sugar and molasses are running very low. The last barrel
of flour has been broached. We were forbidden fresh water
for washing our teeth, but the next day the Lord opened the
windows of heaven and poured out such a supply that we have
not been reduced to that extremity since.
A great source of distress for those deeply devout folk
was the rude, irreligious attitude of certain members of
the crew, particularly the supercargo and the clerk. These
two, becoming " inflamed with wine," took to ridiculing
sacred things, getting up the dog or cat and talking to them
about religion in a way that would show how much contempt they
felt for the suggestions which had been offered to them to induce
them to think of their souls. One evening they got into a high
strain of ridicule on the words, " While Shepherds Watched Their
Flocks by Night," turning the words into lasciviousness, drinking
toasts to the missionaries either collectively or individually, de-
nominating them by the term of brother or sister with the addition
of some remark to give a point to the toast, or following it with
an attempt to sing some song, though I feel thankful neither of
them are singers.
Such incidents might seem humorous but for the
thought of the more than twenty-two weeks in those ex-
ceedingly cramped quarters. The vessel was a small one.
The Port of Boston Certificate of Registry, No. 194,
describes it as having "length 115 feet 3 inches, breadth
27 feet 8 inches, depth 13 feet 3 inches, and tonnage
397-46/95 tons." To the sixteen missionaries confined
VOYAGES AND MOTIVES
in space so limited, these daily annoyances must have at
times been irritating almost beyond endurance.
By December 3 the lack of vegetables and fruit was be-
ginning to have most serious consequences; the record
Still at sea and our circumstances are becoming truly alarming.
Four of the men are laid by with the scurvy, and the disease is
making sweeping work. Some others of the men are scarcely able
to keep up. Our cook is among the number of those laid by.
The steward is complaining of the symptoms of the incipient stage
of the disease, so are three of the officers (though they are
ashamed to own the fact) and the greater part or at least half of
the passengers are in the same state, some of whom have been
complaining for the last two or three weeks.
December 4: Had what I should call a mutiny on board this
morning. The captain laid violent hands on one of the men. He
resisted, and the captain called the officers, and the men called the
crew. The passengers now left the deck. It was a scene of great
anxiety, but there was no further violence. We are entirely
out of sugar and have broached the last cask of water.
Already forty days late, no one knew whether the breeze
would hold ; if it did they should reach Burma soon, if not
the crew would soon be helpless. All faced death. Then
December 6 brings the joyful entry, in a hand already
grown stronger : " Today arrived at Amherst." The jour-
ney ended, its hardships forgotten, it soon became "the
happiest portion of their lives so far."
Frontier Stations Today
"How far is Burma?" For Vinton and Wade the
answer is 157 days full of the things that try men's souls.
Justus Vinton and Jonathan Wade accepted Christ's word
" uttermost " as an absolute imperative. Few have gone
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
farther, in days and weeks, for anything than they did
for Christ. Yet even today long, time-consuming journeys
are by no means eliminated. Howard Malcolm in his
Travels in 1836 took three weeks from Rangoon to Ava,
near Mandalay. That journey can now be made in great
comfort between noon of one day and six in the morning
of the next. Yet there are still stations which may be
truly said to be on the frontier Haka and Namkham
each about a week from Rangoon and still involving slow
and tiresome transport. Kengtung, till 1914, was as far
from Rangoon by travel time as New York. It now
takes almost half that time. Sandoway and Tavoy are
still isolated towns inaccessible by rail. Contact of mis-
sionary with missionary is difficult. Some have even to-
day a real taste of that loneliness that would have driven
mad less courageous souls than those of a century ago.
Missionary Motives: 1. A Vital Experience
What could possibly have induced men to go so far and
endure so much as did those pioneers ? Why do able men
and women today follow in their train? Motives are dif-
ficult to know of a certainty. Common judgment would
certainly discover radical differences in dynamic between
1813 and 1931. Without question the main theme of
today's message is more that all mankind may have the
" fruits of belief " than that they may secure the means of
escape from the " fruits of unbelief." Yet the perusal
of old letters and a reading of present-day missionary
candidate papers will carry the conviction that the com-
pelling motives back of the missionary movement have
not radically changed through a dozen decades. Modern
youth is much more likely to find himself tangled in a
VOYAGES AND MOTIVES
maze of new phrases. He finds it difficult to state in
" rational " terms why he wishes to answer the call of the
East. The youth of a century ago, on the other hand,
slipped on, as it were, a garment which his professors had
already cut for him. Finding satisfying phrasing was
much simpler, therefore, then than today. The marvel
of the humble South Indian outcastes being manifestly
gripped by Christ is often the subject of comment. It
would seem the much more marvelous thing that Christ
can find his way through the mass of knowledge with
which modern youth is overwhelmed and secure a like
manifest control of his life. In most colleges during the
greater part of the first century of the American For-
eign Mission enterprise, the ministerial student followed
a very limited curriculum to attain a quite adequate grasp
of the main outlines of human knowledge. The prospec-
tive theolog today dips into a dozen fields of knowledge
any one of which might well take a lifetime to master.
He proceeds just far enough to be crammed with queries.
The wonder is, that the Light does penetrate through this
mass of ideas much undigested, that Christ does grip
college men and women with a compelling experience and
send them out to the uttermost parts of the world. With-
out question the first great motive impelling both nine-
teenth and twentieth century missionaries is such a vital
experience of the power of Jesus Christ.
Missionary Motives: 2. The Needy World
Second of the main motives is the call of a needy world.
It is, one may fairly believe, a misapprehension as to this
need that makes modern youth hesitate before the definite
answer, " I will go, send me." We, today, know vastly
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
more of foreign lands than was true in the time of Judson.
Yet the very mass of the knowledge tends to prevent a
real grasp of the whole truth. The modern college youth
sees in his University " Cosmopolitan Club " a group of
young people from foreign lands of exceptional ability
and promise. There is not so often the realization that
these are only a selected few. They are tremendous in
potential power for molding the future of their father-
lands. But they are such a small minority as to face
grave danger that their flaming idealism may be smoth-
ered under the great mass of age-old lethargy. They
all too often find themselves upon return separated by
a great gulf from the vast bulk of their countrymen. In
the task of bridging this gulf, they warmly welcome assis-
tance from America. U San Ba, Burma's voice in A Call
for Colleagues (1929), cries, "Come over here to wear
out your life and to lose yourself among the people, and
you will be rewarded in seeing yourself built up in the
nations that are being born." East and West are now
working shoulder to shoulder to solve some of the great
and appalling problems. In this joint task there is no
place for self-superiority. There is not, and must not be,
however, any lessening in the sense of the superiority
of the Message. Only that can empower one to "lose
Missionary Motives: 3. The Great Commission
Third among the main motives should be placed the
command of Christ. Here it may be said is the greatest
contrast between " the chosen few " of old and the larger
group of today. " Commands today are not the mode and
will simply cause rebellion." One must, it is urged, reason
VOYAGES AND MOTIVES
with modern youth. Yet any student of psychology knows
that a word whispered at the right moment can win as
immediate action as the command, more or less stentorian,
of our grandfathers. Christ's " Go ye " may then have
thundered from heaven ; today it more often is a " still
small voice." It still wins quick and whole-souled action.
" Loyalty to God and Christ, love to man, the tremen-
dous want constrain us " today. They have constrained
men from the days of the apostle Paul down. They make
foreign missions " the most Christian aspect of the Chris-
tian program." It in a peculiar sense above all other parts
of that program demands unselfishness. One would not
for a moment deny this statement so far as Judson was
concerned. One could not have much of self-interest left
in his system after a thirty-two year " first term of ser-
vice " in the Burma of his day. To see those who " follow
in his train " today sail on a trans-Atlantic liner may make
it seem an attractive adventure. And yet sometimes one
wonders whether these days which distinctly demand that
the missionary shall " decrease " while the Nationals " in-
crease " are not more than ever exacting in unselfishness.
It is much easier to head an enterprise able to act and to
command action than to be a partner giving oneself mainly
to making oneself dispensable. The great granddaughter
of Justus H. Vinton, Rachel Seagrave, who heads the
splendid Karen High School in Rangoon, has in many
ways a much more difficult task than did the distinguished
pioneer. Motives must be of the highest, the mandate of
the Master must be supreme if the modern foreign mis-
sionary is to continue long his task. Yet how superb the
task, how marvelous the opportunity, if one but knows
Christ and can bring men to him.
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
Burma 9 s Mission Stations
These motives have sent Baptist missionaries into many
parts of Burma. The wide variety of races, languages,
and dialects has made their work exceedingly complex.
Let us make an aerial survey, seeing the stations and some
of this complexity. Taking off from Calcutta we swing
due east across the many mouths of the Ganges River.
Just across the border of Burma, high up in the Chin
Hills are Haka and Tiddin. As we turn to the south
down the Arakan Yomas, every valley of this western
backbone of Burma adds Chins with a different dialect.
It is three hundred miles, however, before we see off at
the left on the west bank of the Irrawaddy our next Chin
station, Thayetmyo. Some eighty miles southwest of
Thayetmyo is Sandoway. That sounds near, but these
two towns are separated by one of the wildest stretches of
almost impenetrable jungle one may find anywhere. The
Sandoway churches are mostly Chin, but there are multi-
tudes of unreached Burmans. We drop down from our
heights into the valley on the east and wing our way
across the tip of the Irrawaddy Delta. Here are Bassein,
Maubin, and Pyapon. All three minister to both Burmans
and Karens. The delta is dotted with their villages.
Striking out across the Gulf of Martaban and pointing our
craft southeast by east we soon sight the beautiful beach
at Maungmagon and a bit beyond it on the river, Tavoy.
Here is some of our oldest work, both Burmese and Karen.
As we come back north along the coast-line we see Moul-
mein. This city has churches for Burmese, Karens,
Talaings, Indians, and Anglo-Indians. Separate schools
for each of these races except the Takings have been
VOYAGES AND MOTIVES
necessary. Before the British captured Rangoon this
was the great center for Baptist work. Great things are
still being done there. But haste is necessary. To the
northwest is Pegu in the midst of rice-fields, dotted with
hundreds of Burmese villages. Up the Sittang River
valley are Nyaunglebin and Shwegyin; these together
with Toungoo reach back up into the hills to the east to
help the Karens. The Burmese folk of this area are
divided between Pegu and Toungoo for their shepherding.
One only needs to note the number of villages with Bud-
dhist monasteries to realize how overwhelming is their
task. One more station is on the Sittang, Pyinmana. It
has an agricultural school which is also an evangelizing
agency. Turn now sharply east up into some of Burma's
most beautiful hills. Here and there you see the steeples
of Karen Baptist churches. Sixty miles brings us to
Loikaw, the only station in Karenni, the red Karen coun-
try. In these steep hills live also the long-necked Pa-
daungs. Thirty pounds of brass make their striking neck
adornment .which is ten inches high. The Shan States are
just north of us now. There are stations at Mongnai and
Taunggyi, with Kengtung far to the east and Namkham
far to the north. The swift-flowing Salween River is our
guiding line between the two. On these hills and high
plateaus are found four races, the Shans, Taungthus,
Lakus, and Was, From these last have been the greater
ingatherings. Work for them extends to Bana and Meng
Meng beyond Burma's border. At Namkham we come
into the Kachin country. Bhamo to the northwest and
Myitkyina north of it are also stations for Kachins. Our
later visit to this country will be one of our most inter-
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
From Myitkyina we drop rapidly down the defiles of the
Irrawaddy. Bhamo is again sighted, then far to the south
we see Mandalay and its sister city, Sagaing. Nor must
we forget high in the hills to the east, the summer capital,
Maymyo. It is the center of activity for a group of mis-
sionaries and a place of escape from the heat of the plains
for many more. Swinging on a detour through the dry
belt we pass Meiktila, back to the river again and we are
over Myingyan. Far below it Prome is passed. All
these six are Burmese stations. Myingyan High School
and evangelistic work are entirely in charge of Burmese
Baptists. Below Prome in the rich and densely populated
delta, before we descend onto the Maidan at Rangoon, we
have four stations. These are Henzada with outstanding
work for both Burmans and Karens. Thonze and near-by
Tharrawaddy are closely linked, the same praise must be
meted out to them. Last of all we pass over Insein.
The Burmese Women's Bible School and the two semi-
naries, Burmese and Karen, mark it as a center of first
Many of these places will see us again. Each and every
one has a story worth telling. One impression, at least
must not be forgotten. Within Burma's boundaries, due
to racial differences, are at least nine different missions.
In literature, in training of leaders, and in adequate care
for the work, this has increased the complexity of the task
far more than ninefold.
Francis Mason's Hobby
By-products of Bible translation sometimes startle. At
the same time they indicate the magnitude of the task.
For example :
Burmah: Its People and Natural Productions, with
Systematic Catalogues of the Known Mammals,
Birds, Fish, Reptiles, Insects, Mollusks, Crustaceans,
Annelids, Radiates, Plants, and Minerals with Ver-
nacular Names. By Rev. F. Mason
This octavo volume of 913 pages " owes its origin to the
wants experienced" by the translator of the Bible into
Sgaw Karen. There are " between seven and eight hun-
dred names of natural productions " in the Old and New
Testaments. The author thought, " How much more lucid
and interesting will appear the Book of God if these terms
be rightly translated." So the collection of notes became
a hobby. Often, "to forget weariness when traveling,
when it had been necessary to bivouac in the jungles,
while the Karens have been seeking fuel for their night
fires or angling for their suppers in the streams," the
author " occupied himself with analyzing the flowers or
examining the fish or an occasional reptile, insect, or bird
that attracted attention." These notes he codified into a
book, still an authority.
All this was just an incident in the labors of that rare
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
linguistic genius, Francis Mason, one of many missionaries
who have striven to untangle the varied tongues found in
Essentials of Success: 1. A Mastery of the Mother
Adoniram and Ann Hasseltine Judson are, of course,
America's trail-blazers in the learning of an Asiatic tongue
for the purpose of preaching Christ. The Judson journals
draw a vivid picture of this " first formidable " undertak-
ing of the missionary. The acquiring, as adults, of an
Oriental tongue is a terrific task for most foreigners.
They have passed the age for easily twisting their tongues
about new tones unknown in English. Too, the work for
which the missionary has come cries for action. Many a
missionary today goes to a field with a large Christian com-
munity still looking to him for advice in all decisions of
major importance. Then, too, in a large number of places
the leading Nationals understand English. Compelled at
first to depend on this English, the pressure is strong for
this dependence to become a habit. The missionary's
effectiveness is certain to be crippled thereby. It is rarely
possible for one of the West to win one of the East to
the Master except by the channel of that man's mother
tongue. This is not simply because one's own language
holds guard over one's own heart, but because language
study has many by-products. It adds much knowledge of
the "habits, prejudices, customs, courtesies, proprieties,
religious tenets, superstitions, and natural tastes of the
people." One cannot convert without an understanding
of these basic elements so vitally affecting the religious
An Oriental Attitude
A question in the Judson College registration blank called
for the name of the mother as well as that of the father,
for there are no family names. Daw Zun is the capable
mother of Saya Tun Pe's fine family. That mother's
name was often given with reluctance. Yet it was in no
sense due to any feminine inferiority in the household.
The Burmese mother occupies a large place in the hearts
of her sons, yet mention of her name is not made with
the ease of the West. Such reticence must be understood
if one's approach is to be well received. The path one
must travel to acquire the language and the power for
effective phrasing of one's message is a long and tortuous
The Judsons' Sixteen-Hour Day
The modern missionary in many fields has an excellent
language school. This is a tremendous help in surmount-
ing this first great barrier to effectiveness. Burma has
never had such a< school. The twentieth-century student
of Burmese has books and English-speaking teachers.
Still he often must laboriously extract such knowledge as
he can from one who knows nothing about teaching meth-
ods. The task today is simple, however, compared with
that undertaken against almost overwhelming odds by the
first missionaries. The Judson letters of their first four
years, 1813-1817, in particular, are crowded with com-
ments on efforts put forth to master Burmese. " Nancy,"
as she signs herself in a letter to a friend, pictures a
typical day. This is the routine faithfully followed, not
for a few days only, but for many weary weeks and
months during the early years :
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
We rise at six in the morning, commence study at seven, break-
fast at eight and after breakfast have family worship. We then go
to our study and attend to the language closely, till half-past one,
when we dine. We generally exercise for half an hour after
dinner, then attend to our study again till near sunset, when we
take a walk, either out among the natives or in our verandah;
take tea at dark, after which we have family worship, then study
till ten, at which hour we retire. I go to bed feeling as much
fatigued as any farmer can after a hard day's work. I find it no
easy thing to acquire a foreign language; and though our teacher
says we gain rapidly, yet we can hardly perceive that we make
any advance. It is a most beautiful, easy language to write, but
very difficult to read or pronounce.
With the help of palm-leaf manuscripts Felix Carey of
the English Baptist Mission had made some progress.
He gave them the beginnings of a grammar and dictionary.
The Portuguese Catholics had made a start on transla-
tion work but it was " too Romish." Judson on a blister-
ing April day declares :
I have been here a year and a half and so extremely difficult is
the language perhaps the most difficult to a foreigner of any on
the face of the earth, next to the Chinese that I find myself
very inadequate to communicate divine truth intelligently. I
have, in some instances, been so happy as to secure the attention,
and in some degree to interest the feelings, of those who heard me ;
but I am not acquainted with a single instance in which any per-
manent impression has been produced.
An artist has painted a picture of the great translator
with slender hands fingering the leaves of the Burmese
Bible while the face is uplifted, glorified. " Nancy " gives
a more intimate portrait. " Could you look into a large
open room which we call a verandah, you would see Mr.
Judson bent over his table covered with Burman books,
with his teacher at his side; a venerable-looking man in
his sixtieth year, with a cloth wrapped around his middle
and a handkerchief round his head." It is the month of
September, so add a humidity through which only grim
determination can carry on. Catch as well the reference
to his teacher's garb or lack of it, not forgetting that
with Buddhist benevolence, the learned " saya " must shoo
away, not kill, the mosquitoes which continually alight on
trousers rather open to attack since they consist simply
Difficulties Any Student Meets
After two years and a half at this task Judson had
begun to form certain convictions. They are worth quot-
ing, for they ably express modern experience :
I just now begin to see my way forward in this language, and
hope that two or three years more will make it somewhat familiar ;
but I have met with difficulties that I had no idea of before I
entered on the work. For an American to acquire a living Oriental
language, root and branch, and make it his own, is quite a different
thing from his acquiring a cognate language of the West or any
of the dead languages, as they are studied in the schools. One
circumstance may serve to illustrate this. I once had occasion to
devote a few months to the study of French. I have now been
above two years engaged in the Burman. If I were to choose
between a Burman and a French book, to be examined in, without
previous study, I should without the least hesitation choose the
French. When we take up a Western language, the similarity
in the character, in very many terms, in many modes of expres-
sion, and in the general structure of the sentences, its being in
fair print (a circumstance we hardly think of), and the assistance
of grammars, dictionaries, and instructors, render the work com-
paratively easy. But when we take up a language spoken by a
people on the other side of the earth, whose very thoughts run in
channels diverse from ours, and whose modes of expression are
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
consequently all new; when we find the letters and words all
totally destitute of the least resemblance to any language we have
ever met with, and these words not fairly divided, and distin-
guished, as in Western writing, by breaks, and points, and capitals,
but run together in one continuous line, a sentence or paragraph
seeming to the eye but one long word; when, instead of clear
characters on paper, we find only obscure scratches on dried palm
leaves strung together, and called a book; when we have no
dictionary and no interpreter to explain a single word, and must
get something of the language, before we can avail ourselves of
the assistance of a native teacher Hie opus labor est. . . It
unavoidably takes several years to acquire such a language, in
order to converse and write intelligently on the great truths of
the gospel. . . A young missionary, who expects to pick up the
language in a year or two will probably find that he had not
counted the cost. If he should be so fortunate as to obtain a
good interpreter, he may be useful by that means. But he will
learn, especially if he is in a new place, where the way is not
prepared, and no previous ideas communicated, that to qualify him-
self to communicate divine truth intelligibly, by his voice or pen,
is not the work of a year. However, notwithstanding my great
incompetency, I am beginning to translate the New Testament,
being extremely anxious to get some parts of Scriptures, at least,
into an intelligible shape, if for no other purpose than to read, as
occasion offers, to the Burmans with whom I meet.
Essentials of Success: 2. Bible Translation
If one should make a road-map of that translation task,
it would be unbelievably long and tortuous. There are
two long trips up the Irrawaddy to the royal " Golden
Presence " at Ava. There is an intended three-months'
trip to Arakan for health which a storm at sea changes
into a journey, via the Coromandel Coast and Madras, of
eight months while Mrs. Judson in Rangoon has no word
from her husband. One would find, too, twenty-one
months in horrible Burmese jails. That part of the trans-
lation road-map has a thrill all its own. After many days
of imprisonment filled with intense anxiety Mr. and Mrs.
Judson are finally allowed to meet.
One of the first things Mr. Judson inquired after was the manu-
script translation of the New Testament. Part of it had been
printed, but there was a large portion, together with important
emendations of the printed part, still in manuscript. Mrs. Judson
had secreted it, with her silver and a few other articles of value,
in the earth under the house. It was now the rainy season, and
if the paper remained in this place any considerable length of
time, it would be ruined by the mold. It was thought unsafe to
allow a manuscript of this kind to remain in the house, from
which every article was subject at any moment to be carried away,
as, once examined it would certainly be destroyed. The final con-
clusion was to sew the manuscript up in a pillow, so mean in its
appearance, and so hard and uncomfortable withal, that even the
avarice of a Burman would not covet it, while Mr. Judson him-
self should undertake the guardianship of the treasure. As he said,
"When people are loaded with chains, and sleep half the time on
a bare board, their senses become so obtuse that they do not know
the difference between a hard pillow and a soft one."
The Burmese Bible in Prison
Such an arrangement safely guarded the precious manu-
script for several months. Then one day a band of men
rushed into the prison yard. Some seized the white pris-
oners, and added two more pair of fetters to the three they
already wore. Others snatched up pillows and mattresses,
and whatever other articles came within their reach.
Stripped of their few comforts the prisoners were uncere-
moniously thrust into the inner prison. " Night came, but
brought with it no rest . . . Judson recollected . . . some
passages in his translation capable of a better rendering."
While Judson lay wondering as to the fate of the old
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
pillow, the jailer was trying to use it as a rest for his own
head. Finally he tossed it aside with disgust, wondering
at the odd taste of the white man. So it lay neglected till
the day the prisoners were driven through the hot sands
from Ava to Aung Binlay. Then one of the ruffians ripped
open the mat covering the precious pillow and threw away
the apparently worthless roll of hard cotton. The next
day, that devoted disciple, Moung Ing, stumbled upon this
relic of the vanished prisoners and carried it home as a
memento. Not till several months later was the manu-
script found within uninjured. It is now a part of the
Burmese Bible which Judson was twenty-one years com-
With all its difficulties Burmese did have its written
tongue and its large manuscript literature. Sgaw Karen,
on the other hand, had neither. To Jonathan Wade fell
the elusive task of catching " the fleeting breath of Karen
speech " and reducing it to writing. He used the rounded
characters of a modified Burmese alphabet. This work re-
quired great zeal and scholarly ability. More than one
Baptist missionary in Burma has had a like difficult task.
Essentials of Success : 3. The Printed Page
The urge behind all this work of translation is easily
understood. Through the printed page one could " speak "
in hundreds of places to which he could not possibly go.
This was, and is, particularly true among the Burmans.
The Buddhist monastery is always the best building in
any Burman village. Located in an attractive grove, the
monk was always, and still is in many places, the school-
master. No village can be found without those able to
read. Such reading is almost invariably aloud, and any
one who wishes may come and listen. It is in this way that
in recent years the Nationalist Movement has stirred even
the remotest Burmese villages with a desire for indepen-
dence. Every Burmese village boy is taught in the monas-
tery schools long passages of Pali, the language of the
Buddhist writings. Burmans from the beginning continu-
ally asked if there were such " sacred books " written
about the " Jesus religion." No country between Europe
and Japan offers anything like as large a percentage of
readers. That means of preparing the way for Christ to
enter into Buddhist hearts is by no means being employed
as much as it should be. Much has been done. Much
remains to be done.
Biirma's Many Translators
The many languages found in Burma and the need of at
least "the New Testament, the charter of the Christian
church," in each has irjevitably divided effort. One might
almost surmise that Burma was the original site of the
Tower of Babel. Scripture translation has been done by
Burma missionaries in more than eight languages. Each
has required effort almost equal to that of the Judsons.
The Bible has been completed by Francis Mason in Sgaw
Karen ; by D. L. Brayton in Pwo Karen ; by J. N. Cush-
ing in Shan; and by Ola Hanson in Kachin. The New
Testament was translated by J. M. Haswell into Talaing
and by Herbert Cope into Chin. Many others have made a
contribution to the Christian literature of Burma. Some
real progress has been made toward histories, harmonies,
and commentaries. Three veteran missionaries, H. H.
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Tilbe, J. McGuire, and E. N. Harris, are now devoting
their time to literature. There are four papers printed at
the Mission Press: The Morning Star and The Tavoy
Shepherd in Karen, The Messenger and The Harvest
Field in Burmese. The last is published by the Christian
Literature Society for Burma. It has also published re-
cently, among others, The Life of Booker Washington
and Little Black Sambo in Burmese. Yet a great field
remains, and one must agree with a modern translator
" that the man who can produce Christian literature that
grips the reading public of Burma may do more than any
other to bring them to Christ."
The New Testament's Premier Place
In this literature the New Testament, of course, takes
first place. An axiom of foreign missions is that the mis-
sionary cannot evangelize the world. He plants the first
seed and wins the first converts. He helps form these into
churches. He depends on the churches to become the main
means of spreading the gospel. To such churches the
message of the Master in their own tongue is an indis-
That method, too, is least likely to confuse Christianity
with Western civilization. Such confusion must be care-
fully avoided today. Experience of what has actually
come from the West to the East, calling itself civilization,
enables one to enter somewhat into Mahatma Gandhi's
feeling. He calls it " black art " and would banish it bag
By that method may the East find more harmony than
the West has as yet succeeded in securing! Many mis-
sion fields have representatives of only one American
church. Burma is in large part a Baptist land. It should
all have been, but little can be said where others have come
to take what Baptists failed to occupy. This has, how-
ever, now and then led to clashes, than which there are
few greater hindrances to the acceptance of Christ.
A Question the Bible Does Not Decide
The New Testament in the mother tongue as seen
through Eastern eyes does not, however, solve all prob-
lems. There is, for example, no direct authoritative decree
as to the price to be paid for wives. But let Herbert
Cope of Tiddim, Chin Hills, tell his own story :
Because of the division of the Chins into almost innumerable
tribes and dialects it is impossible to pass resolutions at the Asso-
ciations which deal with customs and relations of Christians thereto.
We have thus developed regional gatherings where the particular
tribal customs are discussed and regulations adopted. There reso-
lutions are not the kind one hears of at the Associational or Con-
vention gatherings, but they are real attempts to coordinate Chris-
tianity and the social customs. Social and religious customs are
like scrambled eggs it is almost impossible to separate them.
I have just been to one such meeting. It is the first tribe in
which there were Christians and yet after all these years we have
not settled on how certain customs will be treated by the Chris-
tians. We sat through two long days talking and conferring and
in the end had to postpone three of the most important matters
until next year. The opinion was so divided it was useless trying
to pass a resolution. For instance, what should be the dowry paid
for a wife? The system is as old as the Chins, and the price has
been steadily going up until a man asks enough for one daughter
to almost keep him the remainder of his life and the young groom
goes deeply into debt. The original idea probably was that the
father lost the labor of his daughter, and the one who secured it
should pay. And that is the reason a number of the Chins marry
young; they do not want a wife, their parents want some one to
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work for them. We have been steadily trying to reduce this dowry.
I have not wanted to do away with it altogether. Divorce would
then become very prevalent. If the husband is in the wrong he
loses the dowry, while the father of the wife, if she is at fault,
must repay the full amount. Some of the people were for sixty
rupees and some for one hundred, and there they stuck and neither
would give way. A few said the custom should be abandoned.
Then a preacher was called on to give the Scriptural teachings
on the matter, and to my surprise he found some passages. The
only trouble was he misinterpreted them in a way which would
make a professor scream. I did not know what to do, so, as in
all such cases, did nothing but awaited events. Finally a small
committee was appointed from the various groups. Then I had
to do something, and suggested that since there were so many ideas
and opinions it would perhaps be better to let the matter rest over
until next year, and all joyfully assented. In the meantime I can
set the preacher straight.
The first essential for effective service is, therefore, a
mastery of the language of the land. The second is the
translation, at least, of the Bible. The third is printing.
Fortunately the American Baptist Mission Press is pre-
pared to print, and is capable of printing, any worthy work.
Its output includes many different languages.
An Oriental Alphabet
On October 15, 1816, George and Phrebe Hough, a print-
ing-press just a hand affair and a font of Burmese
type secured at Serampore, arrived in Rangoon. A full
font of Burmese type is something fearfully and wonder-
fully made. The Burmese alphabet has thirty-two conso-
nants, ten vowels, and two diphthongs simple enough so
far. It is when you get to the combination of these that
trouble begins. Four of these consonants may be com-
bined with many other consonants, singly or doubly, and
with different combinations among themselves. In addi-
tion all the vowels may be combined with each of these
consonant combinations. And each of these combinations
means a new character in the modern Burmese font.
K-y-o, to illustrate, is not printed as three letters but
that combination becomes a new character. The Bur-
mese compositor has two cases with six hundred and
seventy-five different sorts of type. How to devise a lino-
type which could handle these was a problem which taxed
the master mind of Frank Denison Phinney. A linotype
for English work was easily adapted to the Chin and
Kachin which use Roman type but slightly accented. As
for Burmese the arrangement finally used was to put three
hundred and sixty, the most common characters, at the
command of the operator of the keyboard. All the rest
must be picked up from side cases and placed in position
by hand. The Lord's Prayer is printed with only two
turnings to these side cases which indicates how success-
fully the difficult problem has been solved.
A Fine Mission Press
Since 1904 the American Baptist Mission Press has been
housed in a fine building of its own on Merchant Street,
Rangoon. It is " the handmaid of the whole mission on
the business side of its endeavors." Its educational and
commercial printing is large and now carries the entire
overhead. It is possible, therefore, to print religious litera-
ture economically. It can as well assure for the Scriptures
that high degree of accuracy which is essential. Its work
has won it a high place among the mission presses of Asia.
Of recent years, through colporters, it has made a major
contribution to the evangelistic work of the mission.
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
Essentials of Success: 4. Trained Colleagues
So have progressed Bible translation and printing. But
what of the spoken word? In the early eighteen-forties,
about a decade before the second Burmese war, the
Eleventh Triennial Convention met in Philadelphia. It
appointed a committee to consider " the expediency of the
establishment of the Karen Theological Seminary at Moul-
mein." This resulted in a call to a prominent pastor in
Savannah, Georgia, Joseph G. Binney, to go to Moulmein,
to take charge of pastor training for the Karens.
The pageant, " The Redemption of a Nation," written
by Dr. and Mrs. H. I. Marshall, captivated the Burma
Baptist Convention in Moulmein in 1928. It paints a
vivid picture of the century of Christian Missions among
the Karens. In it, the Recorder cries :
Leaders were needed. Men trained in the sacred lore, who
should teach them all things that He had commanded. For four-
score years the Seminary has been their teacher, sending out her
sons both far and near both to teach and -to preach, to pastor and
to evangelize. Not yet have they finished the fight. Though
thousands have been won to the new-found Book and its Saviour,
yet multitudes are still with old customs content and ancient tabus
still abound. Up, my men, the task is yours, and the victory awaits
Students and Curriculum 1847 and Today
Picture the four who responded to that call, " Up, my
men," to form the first graduating class of Newton, not
in Massachusetts, but in Obo, just north of Moulmein,
Burma. This class of 1847 were : Phrahai, whose " pecu-
liarity is that he preaches with great point and power to
the heart and to the conscience " ; Kyahpah, a man who
has manifested a deep interest "in all that affects the
welfare of the churches " ; Aupaw, " Tried in the fire of
persecution and pronounced to be pure gold " ; and Tahoo,
a man who has " too much attachment to the plain, simple
gospel as he first learned it ever to go astray." Such were
the type that Binney found when he came to Burma. Who
could wish for better men ! Yet they were but diamonds
decidedly in the rough ; magnificent material, but with al-
most no previous schooling. In that regard after four-
score years one finds a striking contrast. Take a recent
entering class as they gather at the Karen Seminary, now
at Insein, twelves miles north of Rangoon. One can only
sense the tremendous difference when he realizes that the
great Karen church has followed along, step by step, with
the advance in the training of its ministry. This entering
class numbers thirty-three; a goodly number of them are
high-school students; all have had seven or more years
of schooling sufficient to place them in a position of
leadership, while not weaning them away from the village
Another contrast is in curriculum. That used with
a little group in Tavoy may perhaps be taken as typical
of what Binney found. It included : " Reading and writ-
ing for of all' things the Bible must be made intelligible.
Arithmetic with some Plane Geometry and Geology,
Land Surveying with practical lessons measuring the Mis-
sion Compound. The Karens must learn to protect their
land. Materia Medica in its bare rudiments. A monthly
original composition in their mother tongue and a monthly
sermon to be preached and criticized." And besides all
these " Their principal study was theology, with the Bible
as their text-book." The whole of the New Testament
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
was studied verse by verse. Effort was made to render
historical and other allusions intelligible a large task.
All practical passages were brought home to the conscience
of the students and the attempt was made to make " the
lecture-room a Bethel and every lesson a sermon."
Place over against this the courses offered today. The
Bible is still the center, but built about it there is a strong,
well-balanced three years' course of study comparable
to America's best Bible schools. This includes a finely
planned and ably directed course in field evangelism.
Week-end campaigns and subsequent conference have
marked an advance in meeting modern conditions. There
is also offered, to qualified high-school or college gradu-
ates, a full course of four years in English, with its
B. Th. or B. D. degrees. This last department is con-
ducted in cooperation with the fine Burmese Seminary
located on the same compound. The Burmese Seminary
has not only trained many men for work among the
Burmans. It has served all races except the Sgaw Karen.
Its last graduating class spoke seven mother tongues. It
has trained leaders for the far frontier hills as well as
for the Irrawaddy valley. These two seminaries, sup-
ported in large part locally, are playing a great part in
winning the ruby Burma for the King's crown.
Today there is on Seminary Hill at Insein a spacious
compound. Both Burmese and Karens have good buildings
here. Both are ably staffed. Winding up on the Karen
side is a laterite road bordered by beautiful rows of trees.
At the top on the right stands the main building, a large,
attractive teak structure, combining chapel and classrooms.
Across from it are the two Mission residences. One
finds, too, the Haskell Gymnasium and a dining-hall, and
best of all two new brick buildings units of the Daniel
Appleton White Smith Memorial recently erected with
half the cost met from Karen gifts. In these fine, two-
story buildings are housed over a hundred students. Alto-
gether this will make, when the houses for the Karen
faculty are completed, a fine plant.
Visit any one of the 977 Karen churches, 957 self-sup-
porting, and one is almost certain to find the pastor a
graduate of this Seminary. The leaders who have made
possible the magnificent equipment at Bassein, the fine and
rapidly growing group of buildings at Henzada, the Mor-
row Memorial rising in Tavoy, as well as the great advance
steps in the Rangoon, Moulmein, and other fields, have
many of them been men who passed through those Semi-
nary halls. Many, too, have gone to the frontiers, some
even across the border into Siam and China.
Two Recent Graduates
Just two among many of recent graduates may be men-
tioned : Thra Sein Nyo with his young wife are up in the
Triangle, two weeks' journey beyond Myitkyina. This,
until recently, was a wild piece of unadministered terri-
tory. Then Government released four thousand Kachin
slaves. Among these the two Karen missionaries are at
work. Another, B. Tha Ya, is the son and grandson of
Nyaunglebin pastors. In 1929 he returned to that promis-
ing field as a seller of books, a starter of libraries, and a
personal worker of unusual ability. He has opened doors
in many villages. Meeting a man on a path to a rice-field
he begins the story of salvation. He strives to answer
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
the query of how Christ's way is better than Buddha's.
The story is not completed when the rice-field is reached.
He tucks up his longgye and descends into the mud and
water. As they reset rice plants the message is continued.
A friend is made and a future visit will be welcomed.
Foremost in all that the Karen Seminary has accom-
plished, memory brings four faces: Dr. and Mrs. D. A.
W. Smith and Dr. and Mrs. W. F. Thomas. The mes-
sage of these two Christian homes on the Hill was one of
the finest contributions to the Karens.
Such is the tale of four great essentials of Kingdom
advance anywhere missionaries who are masters of the
language of the land, the message translated into the
mother tongue of the people, that message so multiplied in
print as to be easily placed in the hands of any interested,
and fourth, pastors, intimately acquainted with the think-
ing of their own people, trained to interpret that message.
A Bit from Boardmaris Experience
One day, late in July, 1827, George Dana Boardman,
his wife and little Sarah Ann, were walking on the road
that led from the first Mission compound in Moulmein
to the Thayagong Bazaar on the Salween River, three
blocks below. There soon followed them more than sixty
little folk from the near-by Burman houses. To our
eyes, Boardman is the fine type of American found fre-
quently among the volunteers for service overseas. His
features are clear cut, with something of sternness in his
countenance ; tall, spare, a bit Lincolnesque of figure ; gait
firm and moderate, bending a little forward, sometimes his
chin rests on his chest; forehead high, "but inclining in
direction backward"; large blue eyes deeply set under a
projecting brow a man twice looked at anywhere. First
scholar of the first class of Colby College America has
produced no finer specimen of manhood.
Yet to the bright black eyes of these sixty Burmese
youngsters he appeared, simply an odd, somewhat dis-
torted, pale copy of their elders. And in the minds of
those elders, watching him with curious eyes as they sat
cross-legged on the tiny front verandas of their high-
perched bamboo houses, he was evidently connected with
the Red Coats of His Majesty's Forty-fifth Regiment,
stationed in the cantonment, a mile away; for, as one of
them said, they " look alike, talk alike, are alike."
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
Eighteen months before there had been concluded the
Treaty of Yandabo. Its terms included the cession to
Great Britain of the rich Brahmaputra Valley of Assam,
the east coast-line of the Bay of Bengal, including Arracan
and Tenasserim, together with Martaban east of the Sal-
ween River. In addition, an indemnity of one crore (ten
million rupees) had been demanded; of which twenty-five
lakhs (two and a half millions) had been paid. Awaiting
the second instalment, the British army still occupied Ran-
goon. That the Burmans should joyfully accept one who
was inevitably associated in their minds with such im-
perialism, is just too much to expect of human nature.
Boardman records that they " at first . . . endeavored to
silence me by sneering, laughing, and jesting, but being
filled with compassion for their souls, I spoke freely of
Christ's suffering and death and a future judgment. At
length they became silent and attentive. Was never so
badly used while exhibiting truth and never felt so much
pleasure in suffering reproach for Jesus' sake."
From the Karens, on the other hand, in their villages
hidden in the jungle, away from the main lines of travel,
Boardman could not possibly have received a warmer
welcome. " They showed us all the kindness in their
power, bringing us presents of fowls, ducks' eggs, yams,
fish, plantains, various sorts of rice, and everything which
the village could furnish."
Buddhism Is a Chief Barrier
Why this striking contrast in attitude on the part of the
two peoples of the same country? The reasons were
many: Among them must be reckoned the difference in
religion. Yet that other reason the effect of the British
invasion can by no means be overlooked. Certainly Bur-
mese Buddhism stands out in startling contrast to the
animism of the Karens. No enterprise is more easily criti-
cized than one ten thousand miles away. The most com-
mon objects to which the correctors of the mission cause
direct their attention are the missionary and his methods.
Neither is perfect. When all has been said, however, the
outstanding factor is all too often forgotten. The chief
reason Christianity has not swept the world is : Mankind
everywhere has firmly fixed religious attitudes. They are
already set in paths other than those pointed out by Christ.
Another faith already fills the mind, grips the emotions,
and directs the life in certain very definite forms of con-
duct. No matter how much a missionary may vow " the
smoking flax he will not quench," it remains that most of
these attitudes must be changed.
These attitudes, the chief hindrance to the advance of
the missionary enterprise, are peculiarly present among
Burmese Buddhists. They have a religion that advances
considerable claims to being of all religions the most
logical. It is a strong social force. Through festivals and
the ever-present yellow-robed priest it penetrates every
corner of the daily life. From its hold it is well-nigh
impossible to free oneself.
The Three Objects of Worship
At the center of this religion for the Burman is the story
of Buddha, the Law, and the Sangha. No Westerner
can help but be stirred as he sees " The Light of Asia "
through the eyes of Sir Edwin Arnold. The Prince Sid-
dartha, the Buddha-to-be, is seeking soul-peace ; Sir Edwin
paints him as with
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
His tearful eyes raised to the stars, and lips
Close-set with purpose of prodigious love.
He cries : " Farewell, friends !
While life is good to give, I give, and go
To seek deliverance and that unknown Light ! "
Yet Arnold paints a picture unquestionably colored by
his own Christian training. Turn then to what Bishop
Bigandet calls " The Legend of the Burmese Buddha,"
believed by his followers in the land where Buddhism is
found in its purest form, to be a true account of his life.
In his invocation the Burmese narrator chants :
I ADORE Buddha who has gloriously emerged from the bottom-
less whirlpool of endless existence, who has extinguished the
burning fire of anger and other passions, who has opened and
illumined the fathomless abyss of dark ignorance, and who
is the greatest and most excellent of all beings.
I ADORE the Law which the most excellent Buddha has pub-
lished, which is infinitely high and incomparably profound,
exceedingly acceptable, and most earnestly wished-for by
Nats and men, capable to wipe off the stains of concupiscence
and is immutable.
I ADORE the Assembly of the Perfect, of the pure and illus-
trious Ariahs in their eight sublime states, who have over-
come all the passions that torment other mortals, by eradicat-
ing the very root of concupiscence, and who are famous above
all other beings.
A Bit from the Buddhist New Testament
There follows Gautama's life-story. Believe this legend,
and the " I adore " is understandable. The " Payalaung,"
the god-to-be, was born in northern India in the sixth
century before Christ. A Crown Prince of the Kapilawot
country on the very day of his birth, he " freed himself
from the hands of those attending upon him, and stood
in a firm and erect position on the ground . . . ; conscious
of his superiority he jumped off the distance of seven
lengths of a foot." Attended with like wonders was every
event of this, his last mortal existence. In spite of all the
luxury of the royal life, of three palaces each nine stories
high, and of the forty thousand maidens devoted to his
amusement, the future Buddha was dissatisfied. On a
certain day he rode forth in his beautiful carriage, richly
caparisoned, drawn by four horses. By the side of the
road was the form of an old man " the body bending for-
ward, with gray hairs, a shriveled skin, and leaning lan-
guidly on a heavy staff"; his first glimpse of old age.
Another day, on his way to his garden, " a sick man
appeared quite sinking under the weight of the most loath-
some disease " ; his first sight of sickness. On a third
occasion, there came the knowledge of death when the
shocking sight of a corpse first met his eyes. When to
these three experiences was added his first glimpse of the
meek form of a monk, the " prince felt instantaneously an
almost irresistible inclination to embrace that attractive
mode of life." '
A short time later the climax came: It appeared to
him that his magnificent apartments were filled not with
beautiful maidens but "with most loathsome and putrid
carcasses." His determination crystallized. He called for
his horse, Kantika, which " felt an inexpressible joy at
being selected for such a good journey and testified his joy
by loud neighs, but by the power of the Nats, the sound
of his voice was silenced," so that the king, who might
have prevented the departure, was not disturbed. With
one last glance at his new-born son, Raoula, he departed,
determined to become a Buddha.
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
" His progress through the country resembled a splen-
did, triumphant ovation. Sixty thousand Nats marched
in front of him, an equal number followed him, and as
many surrounded him on his right and on his left."
Finally, on the banks of the Anauma River, the prince
divested himself of his royal garb, donning in its place
the simple yellow robe of the monk. Then, with one hand
he unsheathed his sword ; " with the other, seizing his
comely hairs, he cut them with a single stroke." Throw-
ing them up into the air, " they remained suspended in
the air until a Nat came with a rich basket, put them
therein, and carried them to the seat of Tawadeintha."
Suspending from his neck the bag containing the earthen
begging-bowl, he departed in search of enlightenment.
Six years were spent in meditation, at the end of which
the Payalaung undertook a great fast, allowing himself
only the use of a grain of rice or sesame a day; finally
denying himself even that " feeble pittance," he eventually
fainted, fell on the ground, and was thought by many to
be dead. Upon recovery from the swoon, there swept over
him the uselessness of fasting and mortification. He,
therefore, refreshed himself and withdrew into the forest
for further meditation. Finally, " a little before break of
day in the hundred and third year of the Eatzana Era, on
the day of the full moon of Katson, the perfect science
broke at once over him. He became the Buddha," the
The Four High Roads of Buddhism
First the prince, then the ascetic, then the enlightened
one, he is a figure fine enough to grip the imagination of
any people. As a fitting climax add the preacher of the
four great truths of the Law " that can dispel ignorance "
so " the coming out from the whirlpool of existences can
be perfectly effected." These four truths are : "Afflictions
and miseries attend the existence of all beings. Passions
and, in particular, concupiscence, anger, and ignorance,
are the causes of all miseries. Neibban, the exemption
of all passions, is the deliverance from all miseries. There
are four high roads which lead to Neibban." To pass
through these one must leave the world, renounce all
pleasures, practise patience, study the law, and meditate.
If these things are done, " The four roads to perfection
are opened before him. These he must follow with per-
severance; they will conduct him to Neibban. They are
a perfect belief, a perfect reflection, a perfect use of
speech, and a perfect conduct." This Law, very logical,
fascinates the intellectually inclined among the Burmese
A Modern Buddhist Monk
As to the Assembly: Take a modern picture, that of
the monk of a monastery in a bit of a grove beside the
Irrawaddy on the road to Mandalay. The old Pongyee
with his robe of yellow the color of dirty rags and his
shaven head his hair, the great source of vanity, gone
sat on the unwalled first floor, away from the heat of the
March noonday. I was waiting for the Flotilla steamer
down to Prome. He greeted me with a kindly smile, a
freshly spread mat, and all the gracious hospitality typical
of the Burmese. An order sent a bit of an upazin scurry-
ing up a near-by palm-tree, and soon there were refresh-
ments of fresh cocoanut milk and cakes. Christianity and
Buddhism were discussed for an hour and more. To my
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
query he replied : " No, I will not attain to Neibban this
Pawa. It will be many existences yet before perfection."
So every question is answered with a gentle tolerance.
What more natural than that the villagers should venerate
this lovable old gentleman, striving to live in the spirit
of the Buddha as a toiler on the Fourfold Path.
So much for the Buddha, the Law, and the Assembly
the objects of adoration of every Buddhist. All are
tinged with pessimism. The East Indian living in poverty
and hunger finds in them a future filled with gloom and
foreboding. The true Buddhist should be " a world-weary
philosopher." Yet it is not so with the Burman. In a
land with ever-abundant rains and so comparative pros-
perity, his " Kan," or fate, becomes just luck. He, a
born gambler, wagers his last rupee that it will be good.
Buddhism, pessimistic in theory, in actual practise has be-
come bound up with all the national festivals. The Burman
makes it a thing of gaiety, a happy-go-lucky philosophy
of life, " with funerals no less festive than marriages."
Till old age compels it, he refuses to face his sin and its
punishment. Therein lies a great difficulty in converting
him to Christianity.
The Christian Message to Burmese Buddhists
What then is the Christian message to Burmese Bud-
dhists? The qualifying adjective Burmese should be
carefully noted ; for " four hundred and seventy millions
of our race live and die in the tenets of Gautama, and the
spiritual dominions of this ancient teacher extend, at the
present time, from Nepaul and Ceylon over the whole of
the Eastern Peninsula to China, Japan, Tibet, Central
Asia, Siberia, and even Swedish Lapland." The varying
climates and cultures have inevitably created a wide range
of Buddhist faiths. Then, too, Christian-trained critical
scholars of its sacred books have brought forth still
further interpretations, Christian and otherwise. So into
these various branches of Buddhism has crept a wide
variety of teaching. It is to be feared that Gautama
Buddha himself would not recognize many of his com-
mandments either as now chanted in Eastern monasteries
or as preached in Western pulpits. This infinite variety
must inevitably affect the Christian approach.
One may say the missionary " simply carries Christ " to
Burma. Yet, as I sit in my study on Lower Kemmen-
dine Road, Rangoon, a thousand, perhaps many more, pass
daily, each almost without exception bent on securing
simply his own selfish, sordid ends. Against that back-
ground, peak points in the Christian message must appear.
While Christ and Gautama are both historical characters,
the Buddha is hidden by " the mist of legend that envelops
him," while the account of Christ has the ring of fact.
Gautama " was a pure, noble, true man." The missionary
who bears a merely human Jesus has no message for
Burma. The Buddha set standards of conduct much
higher than those of his day. Any added heights are
futile unless with them comes the Living Son of God to
help. This Living One is to lead to the Father. They
two will break the Buddhist wheel of weighing merit, that
balancing of one's good deeds against the bad which
haunts many a devout Buddhist elder. The Burmese
proverb says, ku-tho t'be, a-ku-tho fbait-tha merit a
trifle, demerit a ton. In other words, it is hopelessly im-
possible to pile up sufficient merit to outweigh one's
demerit. The Buddhist monk alone leads an " ideal " life.
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
Yet even he cannot break the bonds of his evil deeds.. To
the Buddhist it seems unbelievable that there is One who
gives life more abundant both in this world and the next
One who releases from the treadmill of seeking one's own
salvation. Can it be that unselfish service for others is
this world's greatest good? Can one by forgetting self
best prepare for the life to come?
Buddha' s Self-sacrifice
The " birth stories " tell of the Buddha's various exis-
tences One gives a glimpse of the sort of self-sacrifice
found in Buddhism. Read it as written in The Light of
Asia. Gautama meets a starving tigress and her two cubs :
"And how can love lose doing of its kind
Even to the uttermost?" So saying Buddha
Silently laid aside sandals and staff,
His sacred thread, turban and cloth, and came
Forth from behind the milk-bush on the sand,
Saying, " Ho ! mother, here is meat for thee ! "
Whereat the perishing beast yelped hoarse and shrill,
Sprang from her cubs, and hurling to the earth
That willing victim, had her feast of him
With all the crooked daggers of her claws
Rending his flesh, and all her yellow fangs
Bathed in his blood: the great cat's burning breath
Mixed with the last sigh of such fearless love.
Such tales to the modern mind seem too fantastic to be
true. In power to stir one's heart they are separated by
aeons from the story of the Cross. The Bearer of that
supreme symbol of self-sacrifice is every day lifting the
load of sin. By him men are daily empowered to enter
on paths of service. This is the message. Yet if one is
to understand at all the missionary task, he must see
through this account how Gautama captures the imagina-
tion and fascinates the intellect of many millions.
Buddhism a Greater Barrier than Animism
As over against this Burmese belief in Buddhism, the
Karens were a primitive people, never sufficiently devel-
oped to embody their ideas in literature. To them the
essential part of religion was not belief, but practise.
Their primary aim was to avert the anger and secure the
aid of the supernatural beings that lurk not only in the
animals, but also in the trees, rocks, springs, plants,
weapons, and heavenly bodies spirits of all sorts ; weak,
powerful, kind, unkind, helpful, and hurtful.
In theory the two Burmese Buddhism and Karen Ani-
mism or spirit worship, a view of life better seen when
we travel " Beyond Mandalay " among the Kachins
stand at the opposite poles among non-Christian beliefs.
In actual practise Buddhism is itself mixed with animism,
yet the Burmese Buddhist, with his literature and lofty
ethics, naturally finds more mental hazards on his path to
Christ than does the animistic Karen largely dominated by
Then, too, the Karens, driven hither and yon, had no
country they could call their own. Hunted as if they were
wild beasts, they could easily accept alien help. On the
other hand, no man has a more beautiful fatherland than
the Burman. Stand beside the old Moulmein pagoda look-
ing eastward upon one of the world's most beautiful bits
of scenery a valley of striking charm : In the foreground
are trees of every hue, the dark olive of the mango, the
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
light green of the pagoda-tree, the graceful plumes of the
bamboo. Over the trees, a mile away, the Salween spreads
out into a magnificent sheet of water, studded with green
islands, with glistening pagodas and monasteries; to the
east, beyond the Attaran, rise isolated, fantastically shaped
ridges of limestone, in part bare, elsewhere with jagged
peaks partially concealed by straggling clumps of vegeta-
tion; off to the south, the dark Taungwaing Hills, their
somber color relieved only by more glistening white
pagodas. India's farthermost province is often entranc-
ingly lovely. National feeling, religious emotion, and love
of beautiful " Mother Burma " are inextricably inter-
woven in the mind of the Burman. That which disturbs
one, threatens all, and is deeply resented.
Red Coats and Religion
The Karens not only accepted Christ in great numbers ;
they, driven beyond endurance by Burmese persecution,
also bore arms for the British. Trained to stalk the
beasts of the jungle, they turned that talent to the aid of
the alien invaders. They live today in separate villages,
with comparatively few contacts with the Burmese. So the
years of British rule have seldom seen occasion for strife
between the Burmese and their fairer skinned neighbors,
the Karens. Yet a wireless message from Rangoon early
in 1931 tells of a petty revolt led by one Shwe Kyi Lone,
" the only Golden Crow." This " King of Dragons," by
an offer to tattoo " bullet-proof " charms, won some one
thousand two hundred followers and set himself to estab-
lish a " Burmese Buddhist Kingdom." Though the royal
edict names Englishmen only as enemies, he is reported to
have burned two Karen villages, " because the Karens are
loyal to Government." So even today in some places the
fires of hatred are smoldering. This is true though
decades have passed since the Karens rendered their out-
standing service and won the sobriquet, " Loyal Karens."
No one would question but that they took a natural course.
By this conduct, however, they undoubtedly built barriers
for Christianity's advance among the Burmans.
So it was not alone the difference in religion that made
the Karen more responsive to the appeal of Christianity.
The fact is that in the minds of Burma's peoples the
white face, whether British or American, whether magis-
trate or missionary, was inevitably associated with British
military men. Their Red Coats meant to the Karen
relief from oppression. Those same Red Coats meant to
the Burman the passing of his fatherland into the hands of
the British Bureaucracy. At best, a conqueror rarely wins
the hearts of the conquered, and the religion of the con-
queror rarely wins ready acceptance from those among his
subjects who at one time belonged to the ruling class.
To the missionary writers of the early days, the con-
quest by the English was a source of intense gratification.
The intolerance of the Burman powers to all except the
national religion was now broken. The East India Com-
pany would no longer feel bound by its agreement to pro-
tect heathenism. There would be toleration for the new
religion. So the missionaries rejoiced in the success of
the British arms as " an answer to prayer." If the prayer
was with the hope that this success of the British arms
might lead to success in winning Buddhist Burmans, then
that hope is even to this day to a large degree unrealized.
The major mission problem still is, how to lead to Christ
the many millions of Buddha's disciples.
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
Karen Traditions and Ko Tha Byu
One must never forget another a positive and power-
ful factor in bringing the Karens to Christ, namely, the
religious traditions of the people which included the story
of "The Book of Silver and Gold" and the "Y'wa"
legend which also played a tremendous part. This last
tells of the placing of the first parents in the garden by
" Y'wa," the Creator ; " their temptation by a dragon to
eat of the forbidden fruit," and continues with a creation
story closely resembling that of the ancient Hebrews.
This legend has exercised a strong influence upon the Karen peo-
ple. To be sure, it did not supplant the ancient animism of the
tribes any more than Buddhism has displaced spirit-worship among
the Burmese. Nevertheless, it was accompanied by the prophecy
of the return of the white brother with the Lost Book, which
inspired the Karen with the hope of a better future and furnished
an admirable foundation on which Christian teachers could build in
promoting the development of the Karen nation.
Such was the setting for Christian conquest among the
Karens which awaited the coming of the missionary who
should call an apostle from among their own people.
On May 16, 1828, in Tavoy, Boardman " repaired early
in the morning to a neighboring tank and administered
Christian baptism to Ko Tha Byu, the Karen Christian
who accompanied us from Moulmein." Such is Board-
man's simple record of what must be looked upon as the
great event of his short missionary career the baptism of
the first Karen convert; for Ko Tha Byu was destined
to become a member of that group of whom Christ said,
" Greater things than these shall ye do." Uncouth and
unlettered, but literally aflame with the glorious gospel,
Ko Tha Byu went through the hills and valleys from
Mergui to Sandoway, unmindful of personal hardship, in-
different to exposure, summoning the Karens. This people
prepared by traditions listened eagerly to the apostle's
message. He promised the fulfilment of their long-
deferred hope. He gave a glimpse, not for a moment to
be forgotten, of a future perhaps here, certain hereafter
free from oppression. From the seed he sowed there
sprang during his own brief life a church of more than
a thousand members. They have become the great Karen
Baptist community reckoned today as almost 180,000.
Some Favorable Factors Today
No like progress has been made among the Burmans.
Yet a most hopeful factor for the future of the King-
dom is the changing attitude of the Burmans toward the
Karens. The " national schools " of recent years founded,
supported, and managed by the Burmans, have brought to
a large group of ardent patriots a practical lesson in the
difficulties and expense involved in education. With this
has come, too, a real respect for the notable achievements
of the Karens. A Minister of Education, a Burmese Bud-
dhist, declared that the Bassein Karen schools would be
the theme of his addresses everywhere. Parliamentary
experience has more than once proved the sound wisdom
of the Karen representatives in the Legislative Council.
Even more promising, Karen College and Seminary men
have gone with gospel teams to Burmese Mission Schools
and found an effective message though given in their
" second language." All these are elements of a new
day in Burma.
Another factor not so often mentioned, but by no means
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
to be ignored, is the able Karens in government service.
They are rendering outstanding service. Among these
is Saw Bee an Oriental name any American can pro-
nounce. Trained in interracial contacts at Judson Col-
lege, he was appointed a " D. I. S." -a Deputy Inspector
of Karen Schools. His first assignment was the fertile
delta district of the Irrawaddy. Well built and of gentle-
manly bearing, he shows as good taste in dress as any
Burmese. He, therefore, moved most acceptably whether
in conference with the District School Board or among
the villages. The majority of the villages were Burmese.
All the members of the District Board were Burmese Bud-
dhists. They naturally felt that all schools should close
on the Buddhist sabbaths. There are four of these " Oo-
boat-nays " in the lunar month. They vary in date with
the waxing and the waning of the moon. Failure to follow
this rule should mean no payment of school grants. The
Karen villages of that district are many of them Christian.
Karen Christians observe a " blue law " Sunday. Elders
have been known to protest against the picking of a flower.
To them there was no choice of sabbaths and the loss of
grants would be a very severe hardship. Saw Bee went
to the Board and suggested a very simple solution. The
Board was quite right in insisting that all schools have a
six-day week. But might not each local group of elders
decide which day should be the "holy day"? That
simple solution required the highest diplomacy in its pre-
sentation. Racial feeling might easily have arisen. In-
stead, friendly relations were built up between the two
races. Another step was taken toward the removal of a
barrier which has stood between many a Burman Bud-
dhist and the acceptance of Christ.
COCOANUT CREEK KARENS
A Missionary Meeting in 1841
The rendezvous was Megezzin; eighty miles south of
Sandoway for Elisha Abbott, forty miles northwest of
Bassein for Shway Weing, the young chief apparently
within easy distance, but
Abbott left at ten in the evening on December 23, 1841,
in a small, sharp built, fifteen-ton schooner, a two-master
with fore-and-aft rig, loaned by T. Morton, Esq., Senior
Assistant Commissioner of Arakan. From the deck of the
little boat tossed by the Bay of Bengal, that coast province
presented " one continuous succession of broken, irregu-
lar hills, covered with jungle ; apparently one vast howling
wilderness." The Yomas, rising from eight to twelve thou-
sand feet far away on the sky-line, reared their majestic
heads over dark masses of clouds. The villages, if any,
were hidden in the forests along the banks of the moun-
tain streams. Often the foot-hills extended right to the
shore, sending out rocky points a mile or more into the
bay no simple coast to navigate. Any level land was for
the most part covered with mangroves. At high tide the
salt water flooded in, making marshes from which arose
" a miasma impregnated with fever, cholera, and death."
Into this region Abbott planned to penetrate. For such
a place Shway Weing left the beautiful, gravelly hillocks
of the eastern the Bassein-side of those same Yomas
hillocks with thrifty gardens of pineapples, shaded by jack
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
and mango trees in great numbers ; hillocks between which
rice grew luxuriantly, and " if the rice crops should fail,
the fruit gardens still remain, a land richly blessed of
Abbott anchored at the mouth of Megezzin Creek at
dusk on Christmas Day. At sunrise, in a small dugout
canoe of the country, he went for three hours up the
stream, past the Burmese village, between banks covered
with trees in full blossom, with foliage of all the shades
imaginable. It was typical, tropical jungle, the home of
" peacocks, tigers, elephants, and gigantic serpents." Not
often for Abbott, never for " The Young Chief," was
travel so easy. All too frequently, the missionary journey
led " over mountains and rocks, through swamps and mud,
past the tracks of wild elephant; creeping under trees
which had fallen and grown across the path ; such a road
as it is impossible to give any conception of." Often if
it had not been for the hard sandy beach or the mountain
creeks, Abbott did not see how he could have made his
way from village to village.
But there was no sandy beach nor mountain stream for
Shway Weing and his companions as they made their way
to the rendezvous. Cowering in their homes under the
oppression of the Burmese officials, fearing death at the
hands of these same officials, if it were known that they
were leaving Burmese territory, these Karens could not go
by any beaten path. They must force their way through
wherever the thorn-covered mass offered an opening,
shivering in the penetrating cold of the jungle night, pant-
ing in the intense steamy heat of tropical noonday. After
eleven days of wandering, often at the point of exhaustion,
they finally covered the sixty miles to their destination.
COCOANUT CREEK KARENS
And the reason for this rendezvous? It is found in
the pages of an old journal. On the 30th, the record
reads, " baptized ten in the morning " ; the 31st, " baptized
thirteen, all lived in this village " ; January 2, 1842, " bap-
tized eleven in the morning. After morning service on
Sunday the 3rd baptized nineteen." It was not until
Monday the 4th that Shway Weing arrived, bringing with
him others who were baptized at noon in " our Jordan, a
small stream running down from the mountains, over-
looked by scenery wild and beautiful, the distant forests
resounding with sounds of praise from a hundred happy
The Cost to the Missionaries
Try to reckon the cost, the cost of carrying the gospel
and the cost of accepting Christ in Arakan in the eighteen-
forties. This missionary accounting may be found in an
It may almost be said, that Arracan's shores are lined with the
graves of the fallen, whose memory can never die. Here labored
and died the faithful Comstock and his companion, and his
remains quietly repose beneath an humble tomb at Akyab hers
with two children at Ramree. Sandoway is marked by the graves
of Mrs. Abbott and children. At Kyouk Phyoo rests the sleeping
dust of br. and sr. Hall, and of br. Campbell. In the Mission
grave-yard at Akyab also have been buried the mortal remains of
the last Mrs. Moore and of Mrs. Knapp.
The missionary mortality of that day in Burma seems to
stand second only to the record of Africa's west coast.
The Price Paid by the Karens
For the cost to the Karens take five scenes from an
imaginary drama of Cocoanut Creek.
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
PROLOGUE: Desiring freedom to worship God, and finding no
rest from the Burman oppressor in the Bassein District, Karens
cross the mountains to the sandy soil and sickly climate of
Arracan. There under the British Raj they need not fear death
for reading the Bible.
SCENE I. JANUARY 15, 1842
Abbott anchors his boat in the small bay at the mouth of Ong
Kyoung Cocoanut Creek. After an hour's walk, he finds upon
a little hill, a short distance from the village, a neat chapel with a
pulpit " quite in advance of the age."
SCENE II. APRIL 16, 1843
One hundred and twenty new Christian families, with two hun-
dred and fifty water buffaloes, have made the long, long trek over
the mountains from the Bassein side. The chapel that April
Sabbath day cannot contain more than one-fourth of the Assembly.
Fruitful fields and rivers abounding in fish have been exchanged for
mangrove marshes. Yet that matters little. For in Cocoanut
Creek " they may worship God in the open face of day, and not
a dog may move his tongue."
SCENE III. SEPTEMBER IS, 1843
Early morning. A large and beautiful chapel (Early Bamboo-
thatch Period), eighty dwelling-houses, looms clicking, everywhere
Noonday. Cholera, that dread scourge, broke out in their midst,
raged, spread with a fatal rapidity. Panic seized the poor people.
Parents caught up their little ones in their arms and fled to the
jungle ; some crossed back over the mountains ; many died in the
jungle. The fine village becomes a place of desolation, their chapel
a habitation of ants.
SCENE IV. DECEMBER 18, 1843
Abbott, again in Ong Kyoung ; his chronicle records : " I struck
the gong, the people came together, arid I preached a funeral
sermon for one hundred and twenty souls."
COCOANUT CREEK KARENS
SCENE V. JANUARY, 1848
The annual preachers' training class gathers in the Cocoanut
Greek Chapel. Abbott stands among a group of twelve, the repre-
sentatives of thirty-six pastors of churches, " the greater number
of which are in Burma." All are tried men " who have remained
steadfast, immovable." Each face is marked with "intense joy at
seeing " Abbott among them again. They " rejoice together and
offer to the Lord " as only Karens can " a song of grateful praise."
The Karen Martyrs
Few have endured more than those Karens, pastors and
people. Some had been " pierced with swords and spears,
severely beaten, suspended by their necks from trees and
let down before life is extinct to recover strength for a
repetition of the cruel torture." Others had incisions
made all over their bodies, then rubbed with salt and
tortured to death. Men were dreadfully beaten and bound
with iron fetters. Women were placed in a boat, anchored
in the middle of the river, with their young children left
crying on the shore., Christian chiefs were arraigned,
imprisoned, fined for embracing the Christian religion and
learning to read. Whole villages stripped of everything,
including food, driven to beg their rice, were compelled to
work as loathed pagoda slaves. So runs a record with few
equals for devotion to Christ and the gospel.
Beginnings in Bassein
On the morning of January 8, 1853, there is read in
Bassein the annexation proclamation of the British Gov-
ernment. That proclamation has been given in the three
languages of the attentive multitude. As twenty-one guns
from the stockade, and as many from the steamer anchored
in the near-by stream,
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
thundered forth the decree of a mighty nation, what various emo-
tions are awakened in the awestruck crowd ! The soldier is elated
with thoughts of glory. The haughty Burman hears in those peals
the doom of his kingdom and his religion, and trembles. But the
long-oppressed Karen hears a voice proclaiming liberty to the
captive, freedom to worship God.
Thus began a second period of Bassein mission history.
During the first dozen years the missionaries were com-
pelled to live in distant Sandoway. To that side of the
mountains pastors came for training, and from that side
they returned to win converts and care for churches.
With the annexation Bassein itself became the permanent
mission center for that district. More intensive training
to lift the level of these churches is begun.
A Monastery Becomes a Meeting-Place
Even before the public proclamation of annexation,
Elisha Abbott and Henry Van Meter had proceeded to
Bassein and taken up " temporary settlement." Outside
the high, massive brick wall which extended for nearly
a mile along the river was what at first glance seemed " a
beautiful grove," but further experience proved it to be
full of jungle fevers. In it stood an almost new Buddhist
monastery. The yellow-robed monks had fled from this
pangyee kyaung at the approach of the British forces.
Major Roberts, the officer in command, had given it to the
missionaries. The building was a timber one, and by
demolishing a large monastery in good condition near-by,
sufficient material had been secured to divide it into three
rooms. These became a chapel thirty by fifty feet, and a
room each for Abbott and Van Meter. In this building
takes place a significant meeting.
COCOANUT CREEK KARENS
Abbott, in failing health, had been carried ashore on the
twenty-first. On the next day the Sabbath, July 22, 1852,
he preached twice, to the delight of the Karens, and did
not seem the worse for it. After the evening service,
" there was a meeting of native preachers, twelve were
present. The four ordained preachers Tway Poh, Mau
Yeh, Myat Keh, and Poh Kway had been appointed a
committee to inquire of all the assistants as to their losses
during the recent troubles and to present their present
Men Who Are Multiplied Many Times Today
The Karens throughout the years have produced many
notable men, not least among these were those gathered
that July evening in the Bassein monastery. What a short
time before had been a depository for cases of Buddhist
books, became the scene of a great forward step in the
administration of mission funds. Tway Poh, one of the
Committee, had for a number of years been pastor of the
Cocoanut Creek Church. A " mild and lovely John "
without " an enemy in the world. He has ever been a
fair high character and acquired a commanding influence,
which, in meekness and love, he consecrates unreservedly
to the cause of truth." Mau Yeh, another Committee
member, was the oldest of the ordained Karen pastors.
He perhaps presents the report from the Committee. One
finds him pictured as : unusually large and rather uncouth
in his personal appearance, with firm mouth and prominent
nose, a man of the jungle, with little education and less of
eloquence, yet with a power in his speech, for "there is
soul and common sense in all that he says." His turban
is but ill arranged; he wears two or three long Karen
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
coats, one over the other, and around his neck is a soiled
silk handkerchief knotted at the one end to hold some
small change while from the other end dangle his keys.
As he stands there, with his face alight, his very presence
bears unforgetable witness to the transforming power of
Partnership Not Paternalism
The case of each pastor was taken up separately by this
Committee and recorded in due form. The result was that
that some sixty-five dollars was asked for. " This sum, it
must be remembered, is all that they have received for
almost two years."
So those pastors gathered that night to hear a report
which distributed the pitiful sum of two hundred rupees
from America among fifteen of them; men, many of
whom had lost all of their possessions through Burmese
persecutions. The striking thing, however, is not the
amount distributed nor the fact that so little could be of
any assistance to them, but that even in 1852 there was
developing real leadership among the Karens. Even then
the watchword of the Bassein Mission was " partners, not
employees." The Jerusalem Conference of 1928 coined a
finer phrase for the relation between missionaries and
Nationals : " partnership, not paternalism." But Beecher
and Abbott, Tway Poh, and Mau Yeh practised the prin-
ciple three-quarters of a century before.
The Cost of Self-support
The report of that Committee in the Buddhist kyoung
also furnishes a glimpse of the beginnings of self-help as
attained by the Karens. They have today become the out-
COCOANUT CREEK KARENS
standing group in this regard among Baptist "younger
churches " everywhere. Common comment is, " but con-
ditions among the Karens are different." Conditions to-
day are undoubtedly different among the Karens from
those found among most Christian groups in Asia. They
are now, but were they in the eighteen-fif ties ? Few folk
have ever had a greater ground for appeal to America
for funds. Few missionaries have faced more difficult
soil in which to sow the seeds of self-support. Yet it was
stressed from the first, even though the substitution of the
Karen churches for the mission treasury cost Beecher and
Abbott " more anguish of spirit and more hours of con-
troversy and pleading than all the other troubles arising
from the forty pastors and five thousand converts put
together." Shway Weing, Ko Tha Byu, and their asso-
ciates were not " secured and held to their work by rupees ;
they went forth living as the fowls of the heaven in the
goodness of God, and through their labors multitudes be-
came obedient to the faith." This meant, for more than
one pastor, weeks of weary labor in his own rice-fields to
secure for himself " self-support." " In the year of Christ,
1849, the Elders of the Church at Great Rock to teacher
Abbott " wrote :
We gave our teacher, Shway Bo, during the year, twelve rupees,
eight annas [$4.50] ; sixty baskets of paddy ; one hundred viss of
dried fish [365 pounds] ; fifty viss of salt ; a bundle of tobacco,
etc. We are very poor, O teacher 1 [too true] and can do but
little. Pray for us, that we may be blessed.
It was no great amount for Thra Shway Bo. It was,
however, seed planted, later to bear abundant harvest in
sturdy independent truly indigenous churches. The sacri-
fice of the pioneers has today its rich reward.
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
Present-day mission policy states that " the paramount
aim of the Christian missionary is to lead men everywhere
to accept Jesus Christ as Saviour and Master through
whom they may find the Father." After that acceptance
there arises the urgent need for these believers to band
themselves into churches; for upon those churches is
largely placed dependence for the further extension of the
Kingdom. Church life " inevitably seems to express itself
in complete self-government, self-support, and self -propa-
gation." At all stages of mission history it has been
natural, therefore, to look upon progress in self-support
as convincing evidence of vitality, and the securing of
such self-support as one of the main problems of mission
administration. The Karen churches must be given high
rank in this regard. Without a glimpse of the early days
one cannot realize the price paid by the missionaries. Nor
must one forget the self-sacrifice of Karen pastors and
Some Fruits of Century-Old Seedlings
One might catch the contrast between early years and
today by walking through the Ko Tha Byu Memorial
in Bassein. Dr. C. A. Nichols, for more than fifty years
in this field, has made that building perfect in every detail
from its copper-nailed slate shingles to its beautiful pipe-
organ made of ten tons of Burma's best teak. Remember
all its cost has come from Burma. Other Karen stations
are also showing marvelous progress along these same
lines. Drop down to Burma's farthest south, Tavoy. On
the slab which covers George Dana Boardman's grave read
the words : " His epitaph is written in the adjoining forests
and in the Christian villages of yonder mountains. Who
COCOANUT CREEK KARENS
taught you to abandon the worship of demons? Who
raised you from vice to morality? Who brought you the
Bible, your Sabbaths, and your words of prayer? Let
the reply be his eulogy."
With the questions of that epitaph in mind, attend a
meeting of Karens from " the adjoining forests." Let
Walter Sutton, their missionary, give their reply :
A big question at our Tavoy-Mergui Karen Association was
whether the Karen Christians of the District should entertain
the All Burma Baptist Convention and celebrate the centennial
of the baptism of Ko Tha Byu, the first Karen convert. Bright
and early the morning of February 8, 1928, the Karens filled the
mandat to vote upon this question. It was feared it was too big a
job for Tavoy to undertake. It has never been held in so small a
town. The Karens have debts and are erecting a new church and
school building which will cost a lakh and a half of rupees (about
$50,000). The entertaining of the Convention would cost money.
These stern figures caused doubt in the minds of many as to the
wisdom of entertaining the Convention. But this was the one
hundredth anniversary of Ko Tha Byu's baptism. It happened in
Tavoy. It can only be fittingly celebrated in Tavoy. Christians
all over Burma are anxious to come here for the celebration.
A delegation from the U. S. A. is expected. Because we have
never done it before, is not a good and sufficient reason why it
should not be done now. It was evident that no one was against
it on principle, simply upon debts. After hearing different ones
give expression to their opinions the Karens were anxious for a
vote. They voted. Unanimously they determined to use what they
hope will be their golden opportunity to greet their fellow Chris-
tians from all over Burma and some from beyond the seas, and
start upon a grander century of work for Jesus to whom they
Centennial Celebration Subscriptions
When the vote had settled the question, a motion was made
and carried to appoint a committee, to apportion the getting of
BAPTISTS IN BURMA.
sufficient food for all the delegates. When the report was read
Thra Ah Du asked that there be no grumbling over the requests
made by the committee. They had tried to divide everything fairly.
Then he began and received intensive hearing as he said, " Tavoy
20 baskets rice, Mytta 10 baskets rice, Et Et 15 baskets rice." So
to village after village until the number of baskets of rice
reached 337. Likewise the number of pigs asked for totaled 56.
Nine individuals promised ten cows. Each Christian was asked
to donate one chicken. Certain villages can secure certain foods
better than others because of their location. The villages on the
sea are to supply all the dried fish. Where vegetables grow well,
vegetables will come from the villages. A few villages right in
the heart of the bamboo country will supply the thousands of
bamboo needed for the mandat and the temporary dining-shed
and cook-house. In addition every Christian is asked to give
eight annas (16 cents) at least. Those' Christians having a
monthly salary or a good yearly income are expected to give half
a month's salary.
Yet that is not all the story. Our new church and school build-
ing, the Morrow Memorial, being constructed at the expense of the
Government of Burma and the Karens, each to pay half of the
cost, is progressing as fast as the Karens can collect their share
of the money. Our money was practically depleted when I went
to the Association. I had to know how much the Karens would
give and when. The afternoon meeting opened with Scripture
and a prayer. Then the President of the Association announced
that the session would be devoted to the interest of Morrow
Memorial. Thra Tudee was called upon for a short speech. He
explained the critical financial condition which the building fund
faced. With only Rs. 750 in hand and Rs. 20,300 needed as
quickly as possible to carry on the building and prevent what has
already been built from being damaged by the next rains, which
start in May, it was clear to all that they must hustle with their
cash contributions for the building fund. There was not much
cash to be had, but every one wanted to know how much cash
could be counted upon. They proceeded to find out. The people
saw three strange-looking blackboards and some snowy white
COCOANUT CREEK KARENS
An Elephant Helps Build a School
When the invitation was given to come up and write down the
amount of the pledges, all eyes centered upon some of the Karen
elders. We wanted to see what they would do. Then some
shouted for U Shwe Po to start off, but he did not jump, instead
he was looking for a hymn to express his thoughts. He selected,
"What Hast Thou Done for Me?" He read it through to the
people, and concluded by saying he was going to do something for
Him. Turning, he walked up to the blackboard and wrote down
Rs. 5,580 (about $1,860). That was grand. The people ap-
plauded vigorously. Next they were anxious to see Thra Gwaw
Po. He took the chalk and said that he did not have cash but
some things he could convert into cash readily and wrote that he
1 elephant (cheap at price) Rs. 3,000
1 piece of paddy land 2,500
1 water buffalo 40
1 cow 10
1 horse 25
1 goat 5
Again there was an outburst of applause. A procession of
faithful pastors filed up the aisles to do their part, and not one
person failed to give something. Their gifts ranged from Rs. 20/
to Rs. 300/. One was a pastor who works among non-Christians
who give him no aid, and who must grow his own paddy in order
to live. He has so little that the Christian Endeavor Societies
give him Rs. 60/ (about $20) per year to assist him. That man
with face beaming wrote opposite his name Rs. 60/ and said, " I
get this much from the Christian Endeavor, and I'll give it to
the Morrow Memorial Building Fund." The Karens raised in
pledges at this meeting the magnificent sum of Rs. 16,527. It
was an amount beyond my dreams. Even if it takes nearly every-
thing they have the Karens propose to erect that new school
building in honor of Thra Morrow (Rev. Horatio Morrow) who
served them so acceptably for 29 years.
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
Today there are 611 Karen Baptist schools ; 593 of these
do not receive a rupee of mission aid. Almost all of them
are in villages. In Bassein in addition to the buildings of
the Sgaw Karens centering about the new twin-towered
Ko Tha Byu Hall one also sees a fine group of Pwo
Karen buildings a few blocks away. In Rangoon there
are the fine brick buildings, replacing long used teak struc-
tures, rising about the impressive Vinton Memorial. To
the stories of these Karen stations interesting chapters
might be added of Henzada, Maubin, and Tharrawaddy,
lying between Rangoon and Bassein; of Moulmein to the
south; and of Toungoo, Nyaunglebin, and Shwegyin to
the north as well as Loikaw back up in the Hills, the
youngest of the Karen fields. No finer record is written
anywhere in any mission field than that of the Karens.
The Kachin Jubilee
Only seven days after his arrival in Bhamo, Albert
Lyon was stricken. On March 15, 1878, the Burmese
Governor, the British resident, Jacob Freiday, the new
missionary to the Shans, and Josiah Gushing, the veteran
missionary to that same race, followed Lyon's crude casket
to a grave outside the stockade. Hopes long deferred for
founding a mission beyond Mandalay among the Kachins
seemed crushed. For all that was left was a single Karen
hidden in the hills.
Yet a half century later, just after the Ides of March,
1927, some seven thousand Kachins, a majority Chris-
tians, gathered in Bhamo to celebrate the jubilee of the
arrival of Thra S'?eh, the Bassein Karen. That gathering
gave due honor to two outstanding figures in the Mission's
beginnings William Henry Roberts and Ola Hanson.
With these, if one includes the prospector period, may
well be placed three well-known names : Kincaid, Mason,
The First Missionary Journey Beyond Bhamo
Eugenio Kincaid in 1833 went up the Irrawaddy from
Rangoon to make a " reentry into the Golden City," Ava.
There had been no missionary there since Judson left some
seven years before. Four years after this reentry a crazed
king and a crumbling government compelled his hasty
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
withdrawal to British territory. Before his flight he
made the first missionary journey into the regions beyond
A small native boat bound for Bhamo and beyond bore
Kincaid up the Irrawaddy from Ava. His ultimate desti-
nation was Mogaung, " the most northern city of Burma,"
in the " Great Sacred Lake region, skirted by a territory
crowded with people and abounding in amber and serpen-
tine stone." The up-stream trip took twenty-two days,
past mines famed even then for the world's finest pigeon-
blood rubies and blue sapphires, mines which in 1929
yielded a $35,000 ruby and a sapphire worth half again
that amount. Still on he went through the majestic defiles,
and within sight of Ta-roke-yo-bong, the " three heaps of
Chinese bones." There forty thousand Chinese soldiers, it
is alleged, perished in a single day in a battle with the Bur-
mese. One dusk found him at " Great Rock," residence of
the Governor of Monheim Province. That official gave
much information about a people called Kachins, ordered a
sumptuous dinner, royally entertained Kincaid and his
companions, and dispatched them the next day, with gifts
of rice, dried fish, and vegetables. Many friendly villages
were visited. Calls were made at hundreds of homes.
Scores of tracts were distributed. The trip was a typical
missionary journey. With it came a vision of advance
over the Himalayan foothills to join Burma with Assam,
the two to become one great Baptist mission field.
Burmese Banditti Capture Kincaid
A very different tale must be told of the trip back down
the Irrawaddy. Civil war had broken out. Numerous
bands of armed banditti overran the country. The cry of
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
" Robbers, robbers," had been so frequently heard that
at last at Sa-ban-ago it went unheeded. Then suddenly
there was the roar of thirty muskets. " I heard some of
the balls whiz past my ears, others struck the boat, and
some fell into the water. My boat was surrounded by
villainous robbers more than seventy spears encircled my
body, I was completely encased by steel points touching
me. But God was with me and sustained my courage."
Dragged ashore and placed in the center of a council of
banditti, they " decided to behead me at sundown, the time
of day when all Burman executions took place."
The sentence of the council was providentially post-
poned. Kincaid was, however, robbed of the last rag of
his clothing, a " strip about a cubit wide " being given him
to fasten around his loins. " They then tied me with
ropes and led me off under a guard of one hundred and
fifty men. After six days and nights full of danger, I
found means to escape to the mountains, though for thir-
teen days, nearly destitute of clothing, exposed almost con-
stantly to a burning sun, sleeping in the open air, and on
the ground, and obliged to beg here and there a handful
of boiled rice, I was enabled to endure it." In this way
the nearly one hundred miles to Ava were covered and
Kincaid reached home. So ended the first missionary
journey beyond Mandalay, and so suffered another mis-
sionary, staking new frontiers for the Kingdom.
Bibles: Shan and Kachin
An attempt to go up the Irrawaddy beyond Mandalay
was made in 1867. Josiah N. Gushing and A. Taylor
Rose embarked at Rangoon, Bhamo-bound in search of
northern Shans. Their flotilla steamer, Arthur Phayre,
named for the great civil servant, reached Mandalay just
after Christmas. They had a happy audience with King
Mindon Min and hired a boat for the venture. Then
opposition arose to a trip north. Abandoning the boat,
with six pack ponies instead, they set out into the hills to
the east toward China. That was a pioneer journey among
the southern Shans who call themselves " Tai," and it
played its part in paving the way for Cushing's masterly
translation of the Bible into that many-toned tongue. The
Shans had a written language ; the Kachins did not.
Francis Mason, master linguist and translator of the
Bible into Sgaw Karen, penetrated the country to the
north in 1873. He sought Kachins, kinfolk, he was con-
fident, of his beloved Karens. Thanksgiving Day finds
that grand old man in his seventy-fifth year sitting in a
Burmese zayat in Bhamo digging out a bit of Kachin
grammar and a considerable vocabulary of words. This
was his last work. To Mason's manuscript Cushing later
made some additions. From these meager beginnings
Dr. Ola Hanson completed the reduction of the language
to writing. Then through three crowded decades he per-
sisted until the entire Bible was translated into Kachin.
Kachins and Karens
A report of Mason's survey was sent to Bassein. He
felt sure that " Bhamo is the earliest bit of solid ground
we have on which to found Karen history." He found
some striking similarities : " The Kachins carry baskets
on their backs, like Karens. The Karen, like the Kachin
women, use a very peculiar kind of loom in weaving;
and the look of the Kachin women is precisely the same.
Like the Karens, the Kachins chew the betel-leaf, and
BAPTISTS IN BUEMA
call it pu-lap very near the Karen name Lipu-la." Catch
that similarity if you can !
The experiences of that trip deeply stirred Mason. His
" ready pen " further records :
When I looked up to the range of mountains not ten miles dis-
tant, but stretching off to the east far as the eye can reach some
six thousand feet high, and marked like a mosaic pavement with
the brown patches of Kachin cultivation contrasting with the deep
green forest, my heart yearned after these children of the moun-
tains, with none to point out to them the way of salvation.
The Bassein Karens caught Mason's vision. Pastor
Bogalay was sent to accompany Gushing, who was making
another determined effort to get beyond Mandalay. These
two reached Bhamo in 1876. Bogalay, cowed by the
" fierce sons of the jungle," left in a week, but Thra S'Peh
soon came in his stead. His name should be linked with
Lyon, Roberts, and Hanson.
The First Missionary to the Kachins
A letter from Thra S'Peh, this first foreign missionary
from America's first foreign mission field, shows that the
high courage and devotion of the pioneers had caught
among the Karens.
POOMAH, JANUARY 11, 1878.
DEAR TEACHER AND MAMA:
I pity this people very much. They want very much to learn;
but at present I am all alone on the mountains among them.
Owing to fighting among the Kachins and Burmans, I cannot
travel about as freely as I wish. The Burmans have given out
that they would massacre all the Kachins from fifteen years old
and upwards, and I was a little afraid. Teacher Gushing told me
not to fear; if the Burmans attacked one mountain, to flee to
the next; and, if they should take all the mountains, to flee into
China. I did as he said, and stayed on the mountains. I am
all ready to cast in my lot with these poor Kachins, to suffer
with them, and to lead them with my whole heart to Christ, as
Moses cast in his lot with the children of Israel. Nevertheless,
I was attacked with fever three times, but not violently. I am not
very strong. Pray for me that I may have strength for my
work. I will write you monthly of this work. Do you also
write me sometimes, and thus strengthen my heart. Salute all the
Bassein pastors for me. Finally may you all experience God's
Four years later W. H. Roberts baptized the first seven
Kachin converts. These were the results of the labors
of Thra S'Peh. Many such Karens have gone as mission-
aries to Burma's far-flung frontier. Their contribution is
Animism: A Religion of Fear
Missionaries, American and Karen, found above Bhamo
a religion very different from Buddhism. Religion among
the Kachins is in a large measure like that of any other
primitive people. With no literature, its essential part is
not belief, but practise. The primary aim of its rites is
to avert the anger of supernatural beings and to secure
their aid in the struggle for existence. These spirits are
some weak, some powerful; a few kind, many unkind;
some helpful, most hurtful; in their midst man is com-
pelled to live. His most important task is the adjustment
of his relations with them.
Something of this sort of belief still lingers among the
conduct-guiding forces even of civilized nations. Much
of it is found in the background of Burmese Buddhism.
It is our own superstition many times manifold. Thirteen
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
reclined at the " Last Supper " table. This fact makes
unrentable and so eliminates the " thirteenth " floor from
152 Madison Avenue, New York City. Such supersti-
tions greatly intensified operate as the motive power be-
hind every act of these primitive hill-men.
Ola Hanson gives as his matured judgment that " the
savage is far more religious than his civilized brother.
Everything he does can be traced to some religious cus-
tom and superstition. In his work or amusement he is
always under the shadow of his invisible guardians or
tormentors. They follow him as his own shadow from the
cradle to the grave."
The Kachins' nats or spirits are innumerable, occupy-
ing every imaginable place above and below. " They rule
the sun, the moon and the sky, dwell on every mountain-
top, in every spring and stream. Every waterfall, cave,
and precipitous rock has its guardian, as well as every
wood, field, and large tree. And to this host is added the
particular divinities to whom each village, tribe, or family
must pay particular attention."
Trees, rocks, or animals are, however, never worshiped.
No images of any kind are ever made. It is the varied
and sundry ceremonies conducted by the village priest
which go to make up their religious exercises. " This
priest is, as a rule, the most intelligent and best-informed
man in his community. His duties are clearly defined,
and he alone is familiar with the religious language chanted
at the sacrificial service."
Visible Evidence of Animism
One cannot travel far in the Kachin country without
having their demonology brought forcibly to his attention,
The typical Kachin village is entered by a long, shaded,
often picturesque path. On either side of this path are
several short, squared posts covered with rude models of
weapons, household articles, and ornaments. These are
" the things most desired by the community." The pro-
viding spirits have their place of abode just beyond, so
these pictures constantly remind them of the wishes of
their worshipers. These spirit abodes are usually placed
under some tall and venerable trees. They are shelf-like
structures, and are worshiped by the chief as the repre-
sentative of the village.
Enter the village and before every house is a similar
curious collection of shrines for the supernatural guardians
of the family. With these no one may interfere. All are
receptacles of various kinds of offerings. These are kept
intact as constant reminders to the spirits that they are
not forgotten. Within the house, whether that of chief or
commoner, above the main fireplace is the sacred corner.
In it is yet another altar dedicated to the household gods.
Any trespass in this place is keenly resented. It is the
tearing down of these various altars which marks the day
when the family becomes Christian. This ceremony serves
as a severe test of sincerity.
So the Kachin goes with danger dogging every step
of life. To quote again from Doctor Hanson's authorita-
tive book :
If soot falls from the roof into food that is being prepared, it is
a bad sign. If rats build nests in a grave, the relatives of the
interred will be poor. If lightning strikes, the not of thunder
must have an offering. If a house burns, if a man is killed by a
tiger, the nat causing such misfortunes must be placated. By far
the greatest number of sacrifices are, however, to secure help in
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
time of illness. Disease, in spite of a healthy climate and a great
deal of outdoor life, is very common. The belief that the nats
alone can help has developed a fatalism in regard to health. They
often seem entirely indifferent to pain, but in reality they stand
a great deal less than their civilized brothers.
Kachins and Cotton Mather
One of the difficult tasks of the British Raj in India
has been to dispense justice without clashing with " re-
ligious " customs and belief. The Kachins would have
made congenial fellow townsmen of Cotton Mather in
Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692. Their " religion " makes
it impossible for them to understand why the British law
prohibits summary disposal of witches. They are thor-
oughly convinced that witches are demon-possessed, a real
danger demanding drastic measures.
The Origin of Burma's Many Races
Such are some of the characteristics of the Kachins,
just one of Burma's many races. That country's multi-
plicity of peoples might well require a Tower of Babel,
a flood, and a tidal wave, if one is to try to explain their
origin. The Tower, mayhap, was located in mid-Man-
churia, the flood spilled its " Joseph's coat " collection of
mankind far and wide in China. It ran over into Burma
and swirling down the valleys above and below Bhamo,
pushed its vanguard back into the high hills, there to
form the Karens, Kachins, Chins, and Padaungs, leaving
the Burmese and Talaings to occupy the valleys. As
though this diversity were not enough, each high mountain
ridge found the intervening valley a sufficient barrier to
build up a different dialect an authority claims forty such
for the Chin group alone. To add to all this confusion
worse confounded the tidal wave of " Tai " swept up
from the stormy South China Sea, a wave that did not
spend itself till it had reached the high plateaus of North-
east Burma where the Tai as " Shans " pushed Taungthu,
Wa, and Lahu likewise up the hills. They are now domi-
nant there through sawbwas, petty princelings, loosely tied
together in the Shan States Federation. That same wave
swept down the rich Menam River valley where the Tai
now rule as Siamese. When these inundations had ex-
pended themselves a dozen distinct language groups and
almost ten dozen dialects were within what are now
Burma's borders. All have become native to the soil like
the tropical jungle's prodigal profusion of flora and fauna.
This has made the mission task most complex.
Of Chins and Shans, Lahus and Was, Taungthus and
Talaings interesting stories might be told. For each race
important mission work has been and is being done. The
Chins' story has been ably told by Mrs. Arthur Carson's
Pioneer Trails, Trials, and Triumphs. That their forty
dialects mean real differences any one of the six or seven
Baptist missionaries to those two hundred and ninety
thousand hill people will bear witness.
As for the Shans, they are mostly Buddhists like the
Burmans. They seem to excel even that race in slow-
ness of acceptance of Christianity. Here again, as with
the Burmans, it must be admitted, workers have not been
and are not now sufficient to face the task adequately.
There are twelve missionaries, American Baptists and
English Wesleyans, for more than a million people.
Though hidden in the hills, Chins and Kachins, Lahus and
Was have proved more accessible, and so have drawn
much of the Mission's strength.
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
The human flood and tidal wave referred to above pre-
ceded British rule. Since the arrival of the British Raj,
two major peaceful invasions, one of " natives " and the
other of Chinese, must be mentioned. The name " native "
is a thing of pride when it is " Native of Washington,
D. C.," or some other desirable domicile. It has a very
different meaning when it is " native of India." Burma
has some nine hundred thousand " natives of India," about
half of whom are Moslems. Many are wealthy merchants,
bankers, brokers, petty traders, and policemen, but most
are just coolies. These are clad like Kipling's Gunga Din,
with " nothin' much before an' rather less than 'arf of that
be'ind." Naturally the name "native" is anathema in
Burma. Most of them work on the docks, cook, clean,
and do a thousand other useful things. A chief task is to
care for the rice crop. That garnered, they more often
than not return across the Bay of Bengal mostly to the
Madras side till the next harvest. Many, though, have
sent for their families and settled on the soil. So all to-
gether, the Indian community can muster ten seats in the
Legislative Council. Among these Indian immigrants a
work worthy of extended mention is being carried on.
In Rangoon, Union Hall High School, highly commended
by Government inspectors, serves as a center. There are
churches, too, such as Bethel Baptist back beyond the
Shwe Dagon pagoda among the lowliest of the city's ser-
vants. Also the Telugu Church which is under the leader-
ship of their own T. B. Joseph, an outstanding evangelistic
preacher. Moulmein has its Mizpah Hall School. Mis-
sionaries there, as well as others in Bassein, Prome, and
Mandalay, have done much to further the work so capably
carried on for many years by William Fredrick and
Hannah Norris Armstrong.
The other peaceful penetration of recent years has
come from the East. The coastal provinces of South-
eastern China have sent shoemakers, shopkeepers, cabinet-
makers, carpenters, contractors, and keepers of pawn-
shops. Chinese now total one hundred and fifty thousand
if one includes with these the thinbau of the ships and the
anya of the north who come overland by caravan from
Yunnan. No village can call itself a town until the
ubiquitous Chinese comes as the dispenser of short-term
With these penetrations, peaceful and otherwise, have
come certain amalgamations to add still other distinct
groups. Anglo-Indian and Chino-Burman have played
most important roles in the country's development. This
close alliance of China and Burma has been a peculiarly
happy combination of kindred races remarkably produc-
tive of leaders. As for the Anglo-Indians, they vary as
widely as the heredity of the "Anglo " half and as the
environment in which they are brought up. Many of them
have won high places in every aspect of the life of the
country. Mission schools and churches, in particular
Immanuel Baptist, Rangoon, and the two English Baptist
churches at Moulmein and Maymyo, with their American
pastors, have played no small part in making the Anglo-
Indians the vital element of the nation which they are.
As for the Chino-Burman, he has largely had to look to
the Burmese church for Christian instruction. From this
group have come such able men as Saya Ah Syoo, pastor
of the Moulmein Burmese Baptist Church.
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
New Needs Continually Arise
Such statements give just a fleeting glimpse of the
varied folk who now make up that cosmopolitan coun-
try Burma. It is a land which is continually opening
new doors for missionary endeavor. North of Myitkyina
in " The Triangle " the Burma Government recently ran-
somed four thousand Kachin slaves. Among them the
Kachin Baptist Mission Society would send workers. It
is that, in part, which leads them to plan to start a small
Bible school, headed by the veteran George Geis, in the
hills east of Bhamo. There they would train more workers
in addition to those who have completed the course at the
Burmese Seminary at Insein. Chester Strait at Haka
already has such a school with eyes turned toward the
urgent needs in the Chin Hills. It is in the far eastern
part of the Shan States and on that same plateau as it
becomes a part of Yunnan, China, that the greatest ingath-
erings have come recently. With them, too, has come the
difficult problem of how to give adequate training. This
mass movement has not been among the Shans of the
valleys but from the Lahus and Was hidden in mountain
villages east of Kengtung.
Both Sides of the China Border
About a dozen years ago the veteran William Young
turned the work in Kengtung state over to younger hands
and pressed into the " regions beyond." What he has
met there may be best described in his own words :
From Hsi Ken we went a day's journey on our return trip to a
large village called Pang Nai. Three small villages under it were
awaiting baptism. An official at Ai Hsoi three hours' march
from there had attempted to break down the work. Both last
year and this he had sent men to oppose and threaten, but the
people stood firm. On February 6, 1925, we baptized the four
villages, 331 baptisms. In the afternoon we moved on to Ai
Hsoi, where a mob collected as we passed through the village.
It had no doubt been instigated by the official over a small post
there. He was a raving maniac from rage when we reached his
place. He ordered it barred and began beating and kicking our
workers. He refused to look at our passports or the Governor's
edict insuring protection and religious liberty. He ordered the
entrance to his place barred and then ordered the soldiers to get
their guns. They were ordered to fire on us. A mob of about
300 to 400 was pressing upon us, brandishing spears and long Wa
knives. They kept shooting from the crowd. The soldiers were
ordered to fire. They were only about fifteen yards from us. We
could hear the click of the hammers as the guns were lowered
on us, but not a gun of the soldiers went off. We managed to get
out of the enclosure in front of the Post, to a place about fifty
yards away where we had expected to camp for the night. After
being surrounded for about a half hour by the soldiers and mob,
and hundreds of shots fired, some of the mob became ashamed
of their actions. Harold and my Chinese interpreter had pleaded
with the official to < quiet down and restore order. The Wa
preachers pleaded with the Wa, and some began to plead for
order. Others cried, "Kill them all." We were permitted to
move on later. No one was seriously hurt. Our pack animals
that had been taken were restored. Some of the mob ran ahead
and kept firing from ambush as we went along the road.
An Association in the Bana Field
Then there is an account of an association in 1930. It
was held in a small independent District, under neither
Chinese nor British rule. The District borders on the
territory of the wild head-hunting Was.
We arrived March 1, and were to hold our Association March
5-7. On Sunday, March 2, I sent the ordained native workers
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
out to the Christian villages of that District. There had been no
baptisms in most of the villages for five years, and many children
had grown to baptismal age. I was working in three villages of
about three hundred houses; as I entered the largest village for
10 a. m. service, I heard shouting and the report of guns in a
wooded section not far from the village. I saw villagers running
with their guns to that spot. A band of about forty head-hunting
Was had attacked six boys who were driving cattle and buffalo
out to pasture. Four of the boys were killed, the other two
narrowly escaped. One received a spear wound in the back. The
other they attempted to behead but struck too high, and as he was
wearing a heavy turban, the knife struck the turban and glanced
off his head. Nearly seven hundred were baptized in that section
in villages that had been largely Christian before. The attendance
at the Association was reported as three thousand four hundred.
The day after the Association closed, several groups of head-
hunting Was came and we preached to them in the chapel. About
twenty new villages were baptized on this tour. Some were asked
to wait as we were short of workers to locate with them as pastors.
The work has been greatly strengthened all along the line.
So Burma furnishes varied problems for missionary
effort. In the valleys of the Irrawaddy and of the Shan
plateau the Burmese and Shans are both Buddhists and
both very slow in accepting Christ. While from the hills
which surround these valleys have come the great groups
who are trying to live the life to which the Master has
The hurried tourist is " doing " Rangoon. He has seen
the Shwe Dagon Pagoda across the Royal Lakes at sunset.
He has visited the fascinating night bazaar. In the early
morning mists he has gone to a timber-yard with its
"eliphints a'pilin' teak." It has been perfect so far.
What else remains for the last two of his eighteen hours ?
For a fitting climax go out Umbrella Lane to the Kem-
mendine Girls' School. Along the lane you will find a
bit of Burmese village life. At its end is an example of
Burma's best in the fruits of foreign missions. Nothing
finer is found anywhere than the cooperative effort of the
women of Burma and of America in the education of girls.
Goal and Methods in Women's Work
The goal of women's foreign missions is " the elevation
and Christianization of women and children in foreign
lands." The methods employed for the accomplishment
of this are " evangelistic, educational, and medical." A
very able group of women have gone from America to
Burma. An equally remarkable group have responded
to their leadership. These two are demonstrating beyond
a doubt that all three methods may lead to the same great
end. The "A. B. M." girls' schools in Burma hold high
rank as educational institutions. Their very atmosphere
breathes of a winsome Jesus. They train those already
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
Christian. They bring non-Christians to Christ. They
demonstrate that education may be a method second to
none for extending the Kingdom.
Susan Haswell: Founder of the First School for Girls
" Mama Susie," as the friends of her childhood in
Burma called her, must take first rank as a founder of
institutions in Moulmein. The English Girls' High
School, the Leper Asylum, and the All Burma Orphanage
are clearly of her conceiving. It was her urgent appeal
which brought to Burma the first woman physician, Ellen
Mitchell. So came the inspiration for the Ellen Mitchell
Memorial Hospital for women and children. The first
institution of her founding was, however, Morton Lane
School. Hosea Howard came with Jonathan Wade on
the Cashmere in 1834. He conducted for some ten years
a boarding-school with a department for girls. About
fifteen years later Miss Haswell came back to Burma to
join her father, James M., and her brother, James R. She
found the intelligent, active Christian women of Moul-
mein had been pupils in Hosea Howard's school. As for
the younger women, they could scarcely read, knew little
of God's Word, and had their hearts set on money-making.
The convictions she formed bore fruit in her day in
Morton Lane. She built the " White House." It was a
most attractive building. The upper floor was of teak,
the lower plastered with cement. Handsome white pillars
ran across the front. There is now a group of five fine
buildings equipped to care for some six hundred girls.
The staff is exceptional. Its work extends from kinder-
garten to high and normal school. Morton Lane School
for Girls has few equals, East or West.
The First Four Girls' Schools
Morton Lane and English High in Moulmein together
with Kemmendine in Rangoon have celebrated their
jubilees. Mandalay Girls' High and Normal School lacks
only a few years of its fiftieth birthday. All of them are
well equipped. A number of fine buildings have been
erected during the last decade or so. They have sent some
of their finest graduates to Judson College. Few college
women anywhere can surpass that group in charm and
capability. Drawn from all over Burma, they receive
training not only in the classroom but also in the life of
Benton Hall. Just to mention one or two from the Morton
Lane group. Ma Nyein Tha is now the smiling, efficient
headmistress of her old school. Ruth Ah Syoo, a daughter
of the Moulmein parsonage, is a teacher in the near-by
Judson Boys' High School. Ma Mya Yin is a Deputy
Inspectress of Schools in the Tennaserim Circle. Ma E
Tin is back in the High Department of Morton Lane. She
made an unforgetable picture when she presented a
bouquet to the Prince of Wales. She also stood highest
of all the students in the University of Rangoon in the
B. A. examination of her year.
Personal contacts in Sunday-school work bring another
pleasing picture that of the staff of Kemmendine. There
was just one little group gathered in the house of an evan-
gelist when the writer first began to take the tram to that
crowded suburb. The work did not go too well. House-
to-house visiting down the crowded street helped but
little. Then Ma Hla May and Ma Nyein May came from
Kemmendine. Another house opened its doors, and then
a third. Many little folk each week hear of Jesus.
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
Kemmendine has a strong church which meets in the
school. After careful preparation there came a gospel-
team chiefly of Judson College students. The campaign
continued for two days. At the end an invitation was
given. More than seventy, most of them from Buddhist
homes, accepted Christ. The school has for years been
leading many of its students along the Way. There has
been no marked opposition. Times have changed, how-
ever. Word of these decisions spread rapidly through that
quarter of the city. About eighty girls were taken out
of school. Many of the decisions were from the older
girls. These girls had been for years in the school. The
testing-time only deepened their faith. That was a couple
of years ago. Last year a similar effort at Morton Lane
led seventy girls to make a public profession of Christ.
There resulted a somewhat similar demonstration of oppo-
sition in that city. Undaunted, the year 1931 brings a
report of plans for a campaign at Mandalay Girls' School.
Such is the spirit which pervades the schools for girls.
There are sixteen such schools, most of them of grammar
grade, in the Baptist Mission. Such Christian women as
Kittie Po Thein, Sgaw Karen, and Eleanor San Tay, Pwo
Karen, both head mistresses, make this number possible.
These schools are open to all races. Chiefly, however,
they meet the demand of Burmese and Shan parents for
separate schools for their daughters. To the Karens, on
the other hand, coeducation has come to be the accepted
system. Of the more than 23,000 pupils in Karen Baptist
schools, well over a third are girls, while about half the
teachers are women.
Sarah Higby: Eminent in Coeducation
As "Mama Susie" Haswell has typified the contribution
of American womanhood to the separate schools for girls,
so may " Sally Higby," as she signs herself, represent the
part played by American women in coeducation. Both of
these missionaries were familiar figures to any one who
knew the Burma Mission a decade or so ago. Miss Higby
was a perfect example of that devotion which has made
Karen coeducation remarkable in results. One had but
to know her Tharrawaddy boys and girls to see clearly
placed upon them the imprint of her life.
After thirty years of active service, though fifty-six
years old and sorely crippled, she came to Tharrawaddy
and carried on for almost twenty-two years more. Her
greatest work was accomplished there. She may well
stand with Dr. Ellen Mitchell at the head of the list of
Burma Baptist missionaries, twelve of whom have been
awarded the " Kaisar-i-Hind Medal for Public Service."
The Place of Burmese Women
Work among the women of Burma has always been
peculiarly attractive. For women play a very important
part in the life of that land. Let us look a little more
closely at the Burmese " better half," the women of the
dominant race. The Rangoon Times of January 6, 1931,
carries a headline, " Ward Headwoman Preserves the
Peace." There had been serious clashing between Burmese
and Chinese in Lanmadaw Quarter of Rangoon. It threat-
ened to spread to the Bahan Quarter, but Ma Pwa Hmyin,
the ward headwoman, made it clear that she would not
permit it. The "bad hats" took her at her word. In
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
few countries do women occupy a position of greater free-
dom than in Burma. The maiden may keep a stall in
bazaar without it being considered anything derogatory.
The young man seeing her there is attracted. Nine o'clock
at night is, in Burmese phrase, " courting time." At that
hour the duly chaperoned calls are made. Once married,
she takes custody of her husband's cash. In bazaar and
shop the chief part of buying and selling falls to her lot.
All this gives a tolerance and understanding which cannot
but impress any one who knows her. In Buddhism, as in
other religions, the women throw the weight of their
influence against change. Yet they are accessible far
above most women of India, and are as well more open-
minded and alert.
The place attained by Burmese women might in many
respects be considered ideal were it not for the mark left
on her by Buddhism a mark difficult to define yet evident
in her countenance. The writer was traveling one day
on the road from Pyinmana to Kantha. The party stopped
at a little wayside bazaar to buy a bit of warm " jaggery,"
that district's special brand of peanut candy. That master
of the vernacular, Lee Mosier, asked the husband sitting
by smoking his cheroot about a certain proverb. " Yes,"
that husband replied, "woman is better than the female
but not than the male dog " ; for the philosophy of it is
that only the male may attain Nirvana. To be sure, our
Burmese friend repeated the proverb with a grin and a
chuckle. Yet a close observer cannot escape the convic-
tion that this belief, eating at the feminine heart, has
written itself on her countenance. Certainly release from
that same soul-cramping factor, as found in Christ, com-
pletes a personality hard to excel anywhere.
Though Buddhist monastery schools have done much
for boys, they have done nothing for girls. Hence the
opportunity of the mission school. A like opportunity for
the united effort of Christian women has been found in
Two Rangoon Physicians
It was late one hot and sultry afternoon in 1923. My
thoughts were turning to afternoon tea and tennis when
the little barroom-type doors of the Judson College office
swung quickly open. Dr. Merlin Kingsley entered. A
woman in the early forties, she was dressed in white, spot-
less, severely practical. She sat down as one who could
stop but a moment. There was a need and a definite plan
for meeting that need. Both were quickly stated, and she
rose to go, leaving me to think it over. Her Ford touring
car pounded away bearing her on an ever-hurrying round
of healing and helpfulness.
Doctor Kingsley was a member of an old Anglo-Indian
family dating back to 'the time when East India Company
subalterns married into the best Indian families. Her old
car was not due to any lack of income. The many needs
she could meet demanded all her resources, physical and
financial. Her mother was a widow. The family was
large. The younger brothers and sisters were above the
average in ability ; they must have their opportunity. She
had set herself to give it to them. A brother was at
Oxford preparing to be a barrister. He was a Tennis
" Blue " and later became a member of the British Davis
Cup Team. A sister was in University College, Rangoon.
She was preparing for study abroad. She later returned
as a teacher in her alma mater. Other members of the
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
family would need her assistance. That was only one
responsibility. In the ten years I had known her she had
been continually adding to her responsibilities.
Doctor Kingsley had been trained and inspired by Dr.
Marie Cote. This former missionary had blazed a path
for women practitioners in Rangoon. After study abroad
Doctor Kingsley returned to take up this practise when
Doctor Cote laid it down. She had carried it on to even
wider reaches of service. She was an alderman, the
first woman to hold that office in Rangoon. Much time
and strength went into the fight for public health and
against white-slavers. In Immanuel Baptist Church she
was the leading member, giving of her strength and re-
sources without stint and winning a remarkable place with
the young people. Sunday almost always found her at
the organ leading the choir. Her preeminent service was,
however, to the women and children of Rangoon. She
was the city's leading obstetrician, entering a field occupied
largely by ignorant, unsanitary midwives. The poor could
always count upon her help. Utterly forgetful of self,
thinking only of service to others, at her death in 1927 she
was readily recognized as the first citizen of Rangoon.
A Rangoon funeral furnishes an unusually accurate
index of the place occupied by the deceased. The coolie
in his simple winding-sheet is borne on a humble bed.
A wealthy Hindu funeral has its brass band, an elaborate
hearse, and thousands of coppers thrown to the crowds.
At the interment of the Burmese man of wealth his
friends stand at the cemetery gates distributing presents.
Doctor Kingsley's cortege had a significance all its own.
His Excellency the Governor placed a wreath on her casket.
The Lord Mayor of Rangoon, scores of those in high
places, and hundreds from humble homes followed the
body to the grave. Never had been seen such an outpour-
ing of all classes, creeds, and nationalities expressing the
sorrow of a city. Doctor Kingsley walked in the foot-
steps of her Master.
Another Christian physician is Dr. Ma Saw Sa. She
is now Rangoon's leading woman physician. Many in
America saw her at the Jubilee services. To really appre-
ciate any Oriental woman, however, one must place her
in her own setting. Dr. Ma Saw Sa is exquisite of dress
and has a dignity and charm of manner all her own. To
see her walk across the lawns at a government house-party
is to see one manifestly distinguished among the citizens
of a great city. She is a third generation Christian, the
daughter of a high government official. She attended
Judson College in its junior college days. After gradua-
tion from Calcutta University Medical School she went
abroad as a state scholar. She returned from the Uni-
versity of Dublin with two degrees, F. R. C. S. I. and
D. P. H., which mean in "American " a well-qualified
M. D. Being the first among Burmese girls to gain this
distinction, she in a peculiar sense has become their ideal.
Many girls are today planning to become doctors due to
her making the medical profession attractive. Dr. Ma
Saw Sa's " The Clinic " on Tank Road, Rangoon, is full
of promise for all Burma.
The Moulmein Hospital
The Burman Mission's efforts to meet the health needs
of women and children have found their chief expression
in the Ellen Mitchell Memorial Hospital in Moulmein.
Arthur Darrow came to Moulmein the year after Doctor
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
Mitchell's death. She had for twenty-two years carried
on a little hospital in a house on the hillside. That house
became the Darrow home. There were continual re-
minders of the ever-present needs which Doctor Mitchell
had met. Mr. Barrow's work was among the Takings,
rulers of Burma in the early days. Four years after his
arrival there was a large ingathering into the Talaing
church. As a thank-offering two decades later, this group
raised Rs. 10,000. They purchased a fine site and at the
Judson Centennial in 1913 presented it to the Foreign
Mission Societies. It was to be used for medical work
for women of all races. There near Mt. Hope now stands
a fine hospital -and a nurses' home.
When the hospital was opened in 1918 many people
were suspicious of foreign doctors and their remedies. It
was difficult to get them to remain at the hospital for treat-
ment. Today that hospital is crowded with patients. The
nurses' home is filled with a fine group of girls in training.
These nurses go to all parts of Burma to meet one of that
country's greatest needs. Two of them may be taken as
examples of the rest. Miriam is in the Mongnai field
helping Doctor Gibbens in his hospital. Daisy Gaung E
has gone back to Nyaunglebin. She cares for the ills of
the boys and girls in the large mission boarding-school.
She advises mothers and ministers to many community
needs. There are five Americans, three doctors and two
nurses, at Moulmein. Their combined impact is of tremen-
dous importance. It is by no means limited to the four
walls of the hospital. They go to a number of villages
to give health talks and to hold religious services. Dr.
Grace Seagrave, daughter of Albert E. Seagrave, for
many years an able adviser to the Rangoon Karens, re-
cently helped welcome the twin sons of a teacher in a
village school. Though the couple were Buddhists, that
help from a Christian physician opened the doors of their
home. Sixty children now gather there each week for
The Leper Asylum
It is from this hospital that the doctors come to help
the lepers. Doctor Mitchell went to the cemeteries where
Burmese custom banishes them. For many years now,
however, there has been a growing asylum. It is carried
on through the cooperative efforts of the American Mis-
sion to Lepers and the local people of Moulmein. One
of the missionary men is always superintendent. The
treatment which sometimes heals this most loathsome of
diseases is given by one of our hospital physicians. No
more self-sacrificing ministry can be found than this.
The Rest Haven at Taunggyi
There is yet another ministry, the plans for which began
in Moulmein. The first Judson College boy I met was
Jimmy Sandys. He was a freshman, an Anglo-Indian,
one of " Saya " Kelly's boys from Mandalay. Later I
found him in my logic class. An impediment of speech
hindered his recitations. His paper work was by all odds
the best of the class. Gradually there came the vision of
his taking my place at furlough and my going to meet
other urgent needs. That stammering stood in the way.
But many hours of labor brought improvement till the
time came when he successfully taught freshman logic.
Then the white plague laid hold of him. Almost before
we knew it he was gone.
H [ 101 ]
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
Many such heart-breaking experiences at Morton Lane
School, Moulmein, brought a conviction. Miss Lizbeth
Hughes and Miss Agnes Whitehead, two seniors in mis-
sionary service, dreamed of a rest haven. In 1927 it
became a reality. Taunggyi is high above sea-level with
a climate of the finest. Many girls with tubercular ten-
dencies have gone up from the plains to find health in
this home. Since it was opened, only four years ago,
more than fifty girls have been cared for, and all but two
are going on with their work now. Such a haven has a
Women's Bible Schools
Burma's side of the Bay of Bengal has never known
India's curses: suttee, infanticide, child marriage, and
enforced widowhood. Burma knows nothing of obscene,
idolatrous rites, nor of the worship of
The organs of birth and circlet of bones,
And the light loves carved on the temple stones.
Women as freely as men listen to the itinerant evangelist.
The urgent call for zenana workers has never come from
Burma. Yet there are missionary women, like Rangoon's
" Mama-gyee," Anne Frederickson, who have made a
marked contribution in full-time evangelism. Today a
tiny chapel stands in the shadow of Mandalay Hill.
Through services and Sunday school, Bible-women and
nurses, there is brought home to Buddhist women an idea
" of Christ's all-forsaking love." In this both Burmese
and American women have a part.
The two Bible schools, the Karen in Rangoon and the
Burmese in Insein, are training a capable group of women
for just such an outreach. With ninety in one school and
twenty-five in the other, a three-years' course sends out
well-trained evangelists. It is no easy task these women
face. Ma Mya May from her tiny house on the Burmese
Mission Compound in Toungoo tells of her efforts in the
school. A boy asked to be baptized against his parents'
wishes. He was taken out of school. Life was made
miserable for him. He wanted the Bible-women to get
him work. "All we can do is pray that he may stay
true and that we may be able to help him in this terrible
time of need." Another, Ma Chaw from the village of
" Forty Houses," declares in her quaint English : " I
always praying, I must be clean, I must be pure, looks
just like dove." So she presses on, spending a large por-
tion of her very meager salary in order that the work may
A new source of support for the Bible schools has
been found in the two Women's Mission Societies, the
All-Burma and the Karen. Both of these organizations
are comparatively young. Both contribute toward the
expenses of the schools. What is more important, both
pay salaries of graduates who go to all parts of Burma.
Their presidents, Ma Mya and Ma Mi Lon, are most
capable. Their fine faces give unmistakable evidence of
The Missionary's Wife
In any sketch of the work of American women in
Burma the missionary's wife must be given a major place.
Ann Hasseltine Judson worthily heads the list. Possess-
ing courage and devotion of the highest order, she stands
as a- peer of her distinguished husband. Her little group
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
of women meeting " on Wednesday at seven " in those
early Rangoon days brought to Christ Mah Men La " the
tenth Burman convert, and the first woman. She was
indeed among women what Moung Shwa-gnong was
among men, of most extensive acquaintance through the
place, of much strength of mind, decision of character, and
consequent influence over others." Indeed to that little
meeting may be traced six of the first seventeen hard-won
members of the Rangoon Church. Christian women are
often a minority among the Burmese. Among the Karens
they are usually in the majority, so making the more
" normal " church. Over a thousand of them are teachers
in Baptist mission schools. Over two hundred are full-
time evangelists. The coming to Christ of many of these
women is directly traceable to the missionary home. From
Tavoy to Namkham, from Sandoway to Kengtung, in
hospital, school, and home the women of Burma are con-
tributing as full a share to the Christian cause as their
"Ann of Ava " by no means stands alone among mis-
sionary wives in sacrifice and accomplishment. A glance
at the service record of the first Thomases gives another
picture of deepest devotion.
Missionary reports are usually made by the men.
Neither missionary magazines nor letter-files show many
communications from the missionary wife. One does occa-
sionally find such a letter as that written by Charlotte
Bacheller Thomas picturing their first jungle journey out
from Tavoy in January, 1852. It was by elephant " with
a motion too much like a ship to be pleasant." There was
camping by pure streams of water, in dense forests, at the
base of lofty mountains. There were devotions in English
and Karen, and experiences which brought deep happiness
to their little tent, for " Christ is even here." So goes the
charmingly written account of just one of many such trips
through the years in Tavoy and Henzada.
There is, however, another journey typical of the actual
in the life of more than one missionary, and of the pos-
sible for all missionaries in the first seven or eight decades
of the Burma Mission. This trip must be pieced together
from bits found in her husband's last letters.
Benjamin Galley Thomas went to Bassein from Hen-
zada to heal a rift between the Karens and the mission.
That last year found him in January, 1868, regretfully
recording his inability to complete the eighteenth year of
his first term of service. Mrs. Thomas " has not recovered
from an attack of cholera." He himself is " reduced to
almost a skeleton." These two, with Willis, their son of
twelve, leave Bassein on January 30 to return to America
by the " Overland Route " steamer to Penang, thence
by way of Point de palle, Ceylon, to Egypt, and by rail
through the construction camps across the Isthmus of
Suez, it being two years before the opening of the Canal.
Nine weeks from Bassein finds them on the steamer Tan-
gore near Marseilles with this comment on his health : " I
have been far from well all the way." Ten days later in
Paris, " my sickness has rather increased than diminished.
My family are better or at least no worse." Three weeks
later he is " a very little better " and can cross to England.
From London on May 9 he declines an invitation to speak
at the " May Meetings " in America because " I really be-
lieve it would kill me." Finally on June 8, after eighteen
weeks of intense anxiety, Mrs. Thomas arrives with him in
New York City, only to have him succumb two days later.
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
Yet the combined ancestry of Miles Standish and John
Alden sent that devoted lady back to Burma to continue
for more than twenty years her self-forgetful service.
Her son, Willis, joined her in 1880 to carry on in his
father's stead for forty-five years.
The way in which many such a missionary wife and
mother has made the home a veritable beacon set on high,
makes no more than just the " full missionary appoint-
ment " accorded her by the Board. One such " only a
missionary's wife" is referred to by Sir Walter Roper
Lawrence in his The India We Served (1929) :
The women in Burma all hope to be men in the next trans-
migration, and I heard of a missionary lady near Prome who was
much liked by the Burmans, but the reason they took her medi-
cine so readily was not that they believed in her skill as a doctor,
but because they were certain that by virtue of the laws of Karma
she would become a man in the next world.
The one mentioned by Sir Walter is Harriet Calista
Stevens, daughter of Francis Mason. She, for forty-five
years, ably aided her husband, Edward Oliver Stevens, in
presenting Christ to Burma. That dear lady notes this bit
of unsought praise with " I was amused to see this refer-
ence to me. The part I liked best was the fact that I was
much liked by the Burmese. Love begets love. They
knew that I loved them."
As one in the twentieth century reads " Ye are the light
of the world " there comes to mind neither candle, nor
kerosene lamp, rather an incandescent bulb, an almost in-
visible something within a fragile covering which, when
touched with power, sends its rays far and wide. So the
" Light of the World " clearly manifests himself when he
touches within its fragile covering that invisible something,
the soul of a woman, for then his rays are thrown afar by
the very light of her countenance. Nothing demonstrates
more clearly the power of the gospel than where that
crystallized hardness, instilled by Buddhism, is broken and
there shines forth the full beauty of Christ from the
countenance of the Burmese woman.
MEN AND METHODS
USanBaw: District Secretary
At a distance on the path in the Pegu Yomas he appears
to be an official. He is seated on a swaying elephant. He
wears a khaki colored sun-helmet of the pig-sticker type.
The background of tree ferns and giant feathery bamboos
gives a striking setting. But he lacks the official's retinue.
Then, too, he rides his Indian " ship of state " as one to
the manner born. There is an easy yielding to the mighty
beast's motions. He is not tossed on the choppy sea which
the elephant usually makes for the man from the West.
As he comes closer one sees he wears a blue jacket and
bright-colored langyee. The elephant kneels, and a stal-
wart figure steps easily down. The smiling face and
kindly brown eyes are those of that outstanding Karen,
U San Baw, executive secretary of the Tharrawaddy
Karen Association. He is returning from a missionary
" voyage " to the churches high in the eastern hills.
U San Baw is one of " "Mama " Higby's boys. After
twenty-two years as the head master of the Tharrawaddy
school he ran for the Legislature. The other candidate
was a Buddhist lawyer, whose slogan was : " Fellow Bud-
dhists, vote for one of your own race and religion. Don't
vote for a Christian Karen." But the Christian Karen
won. The Tharrawaddy school, though under Karen man-
agement, welcomes Burmese students. In the Legislature
U San Baw cared for the interests of both races. In
MEN AND METHODS
recognition of his services Government awarded him the
" Kaisar-i-Hind " medal.
Since 1923 he has been in charge of the evangelistic
work among the Tharrawaddy Karens, a task which
formerly fell to a missionary. There are forty-three
churches to be visited and encouraged. Two new churches
were organized and a new meeting-house built in 1929.
While in 1930 there were one hundred and twenty-one
baptisms, forty-nine of these from Karen Buddhist fam-
ilies. That year also saw a wide variety of efforts for
furthering church growth. Eight vacation workers
preached in eight villages. A ten-days' Summer Assem-
bly was conducted entirely by the Karens. The Tharra-
waddy Home Mission Society employs fourteen workers.
There are in addition six Bible-women, four Christian
Endeavor secretaries, and two traveling evangelists. All
but one are supported by the Karens. Tharrawaddy is
just one of many vigorous associations in Burma.
The United Effort of All Races
The Burma Baptist Missionary Convention the co-
operative effort of all races also renders outstanding mis-
sionary service. The " missionary " in its name is simply
to indicate its effort to bring the knowledge of Christ to
every unreached corner. American missionaries form only
one-sixth of its committee of management. Among its
officers are found a Karen, a Burman, and an Indian. Its
mission workers are scattered from Tavoy on the south to
the far northeastern border. There U Ba Thaw cares for
churches among the Myitgyina Lisus. Over in Siam under
the leadership of U Ennie Dewar they are pressing the
evangelization of the Karens. Near Thayetmyo among
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
the Chins the Convention supports a teacher-preacher,
U Po Sein. He works in Hnitkyatkwe one of those
easily remembered names. On a similar task they send
U Ba Tun far north, two days beyond Namkham, among
the Shans. Nor are the Chinese forgotten; in Mandalay
U Pak Hang teaches during the school year and spends
his holidays preaching in many places in Upper Burma.
The record of Burma Christians in catching the missionary
vision of their American associates gives them high rank
among the "younger churches." Yet their vision of the
place the church should occupy, their knowledge of what
it has done for them, makes them plead for more Amer-
The Need for New Missionaries
The " Opportunities for Christian Service " list of the
Student Volunteers shows that the Foreign Mission
Boards of North America are planning to send overseas
a total of 778 missionaries during 1931. That number by
no means covers the urgent requests. Other really " desper-
ate needs " must be placed on a " Secondary List." North-
ern Baptists through their Boards present a striking list of
needs they have set themselves to fill. There is not one
of their fields but what has sent urgent requests. These
include evangelistic advisers to local pastors, evangelistic
leaders of advance into scarcely touched areas, teachers
to train future leaders, and physicians to do the above in
addition to their ministry of healing.
Burma has many races. There have been remarkable
ingatherings among the hill-folk. The multitudes in the
valleys have been much less moved. All three factors
enter into the pleas from Burma for 1931. Away up in
MEN AND METHODS
the Chin Hills is a real stirring of interest among that
frontier race. It may mean that many Chins now animists
will become Buddhists. It is more likely that they will
become Christians. That is if the gospel is given them.
During the rainy season a little Bible school of twelve is
being conducted in Haka. There is literary work to be
done. There are many weary miles to travel. It is little
wonder there comes a repeated plea for "Another family
for the Chin Hills." Mandalay, the center of Burmese
Buddism, needs an evangelist. Assistance must be sent
to care for the mass movement among the Lahus and Was
across the Burma border. The President of the Burmese
Theological Seminary cannot continue indefinitely to divide
himself between two fulltime positions. He should have
help among the immigrant Indians. Then, too, Judson
College urgently needs replacements for the losses from its
staff. A like plea comes from the Pwo Karens. There
are 625,000 of them. They have such outstanding leaders
as U Toe Khut of Maubin and U Shwe Ba of Bassein,
both members of the Legislature. They urge that a second
family be sent. They want this missionary to inspire and
to counsel them, and also to help them win their non-
Christian neighbors who otherwise will become Buddhists.
Such are just some of the needs. The Baptist churches
of Burma are every year assuming larger responsibilities,
yet the Baptist churches of America must continue their
help, if the rich promise of the future is to be fulfilled.
The Type of Candidate Required
In meeting these needs depleted treasuries are a dif-
'ficulty, but an even greater difficulty is the finding of
enough men and women really ready to go. A new vision
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
is needed. Candidates there are, but not enough who are
able to meet the requirements spiritual, mental, and phys-
ical. The last sometimes seems the most difficult. More
than one couple has come ideally qualified spiritually and
mentally. Then comes the medical examiner's report.
They have been found unfit for the severe test of a tropical
climate. The other requirements of foreign service are
far from being easily met. Try, for example, to find
among your acquaintances any who could satisfy the set
of specifications as given in' the replies of twenty-seven
Mission Board executives. A check list was sent out by
the Editor of Far Horizons, It "assumes that a Chris-
tian experience and conviction is the magnet core about
which all these qualities will be coiled." The summing up
of the replies given in the October, 1930, issue finds five
qualities with the highest rating. They are: cooperative
ability, unbiased appreciation of other races, genuineness,
capacity for growth, and sense of mission. This order
of rating, as well as the qualities specified, has thought-
provoking power for any one interested in the church's
If today's group of American Baptist missionaries do
not measure up there are unbiased critics who declare
they do it is not because of lack of care in their choice.
Today's candidate reference blanks are sent to people who
know the candidate well. They give confidential informa-
tion by checking characteristics through the list covering
some sixty-five groups bearing on all aspects of character
and qualifications. No one knows better than the modern
missionary administrator that " the missionary enterprise
finds its largest power and its largest peril in its per-
sonnel." This is even more true today than it was in the
MEN AND METHODS
earlier years of the endeavor. Missionaries today are
" the most severely selected group of workers now in the
Christian movement, and they show it." Become a world
traveler, seek out the missionary in his adopted land, and
you will agree with this comment. If he does not always
seem so when found on furlough, remember the degree to
which his native country has become for him a foreign
land. Then, too, don't forget how quickly we Americans
condemn any one who is " different."
Elias William Kelly: The Right Type
The second decade of the twentieth century saw still in
Burma missionaries whose service dated well back into
the nineteenth century. The writer has always counted it
one of his great privileges to have known that truly re-
markable group of men and women. If one must be
picked as the type a missionary should be, let Elias Wil-
liam Kelly be taken as that representative. His name must
be placed high on any world list of Christian workers.
Josiah Nelson Gushing transformed " Rangoon Karen
College" into a cosmopolitan institution. Doctor Kelly
conducted the negotiations with Government and consum-
mated the preliminary plans which made it possible for
that institution to become " Judson College " and to have
the fine group of buildings which it has today.
Gushing and Kelly should also be bracketed together as
leading protagonists of schools as a missionary method.
Probably no two men did more to make for schools the
large place they now hold in the Burma Mission. Though
these schools involved large grants-in-aid from Govern-
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
ment, they still defended such a relation between Church
and State. They maintained that Christian schools are an
essential and effective method of accomplishing the mis-
sionary purpose. The only way open for conducting such
schools was in cooperation with Government. Were they
right in giving education such high rating as a missionary
method ? On this point Burma should give a clear answer.
The Burma Educational Code
Government regulations have practically compelled the
opening of mission schools. Any such schools have been
required to come under the provincial educational depart-
ment. Government does maintain some schools directly
from public funds. In addition, most municipalities have
established schools. Yet many more must be maintained
particularly in the villages if the Christian children are
to have any education. State control is exercised through
inspection and grants-in-aid. What America would con-
sider a first responsibility of the State is in Burma left
largely to the initiative of the people in any community.
Many schools, Buddhist, Hindu, Moslem, and Christian,
have been established " under private management." There
have been, until recently, no restrictions on religious teach-
ing. These schools have made possible the intimate union
of secular and religious education within the walls of one
The Vital Place of the School
Mission schools have made a large contribution to Chris-
tian progress. They not merely train children from Chris-
tian homes. They actually win many boys and girls to
Christ. As to the cooperation of Church and State in
MEN AND METHODS
their conduct, Baptists have insisted that no church school
in America receive public funds. This position is soundly
based, but it is based on experience. When experience in
Burma shows that the system is working injustice, it must
be changed. At present it is the only means possible of
securing justice. Otherwise the vast majority of Chris-
tians would have no schools.
Of Burma's 888 Baptist Mission schools 611 are for
the Karens. These Karen schools are located in almost
every case in villages wholly or largely Christian. Often
the same set of men are the village elders, the church
deacons, and the school trustees. Not more than one-
half the cost of the school is returned to them out of their
own taxes. The balance is met by school fees and sub-
scriptions. Entire freedom to teach of Christ is unques-
tioned. From these schools has come the Karen leader-
ship. The results have been remarkable.
A Kachin Christian Village
Among the Kachins 'the forces for uplift have also
centered about the Christian chapel-school. Each is a
tremendous purifying influence. That the Kachin in his
natural state needs some outer cleansing, there is no
shadow of doubt. Rumor has it that a hospital nurse had
to bathe a Kachin three times before she reached the epi-
dermis. That cleansing to be permanent must start from
within. The end of the road on which William Henry
Roberts, veteran missionary, took me gave undisputable
evidence of the vital place of the village school. We set
out one April day to visit Christian villages back over the
high mountain passes in the Lungshan Valley on China's
border. Our destination was four days' journey by pony
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
from Bhamo. Along that mountain path were many
demon-ridden villages with their filthy streets and filthier
houses. Everywhere the two horsemen with their four
pack-mules were met by groups of curious children. Each
seemed dirtier than the last. They were sturdy, likable
lads, many of them. More than one had a furrow down
his chest where some water somehow by accident had
trickled. He had just that much more water than was his
due. Anything approaching adequate ablutions should
only come at birth, at marriage, and at death. There were
Christian villages which were vastly different, particularly
the one at /the end of the trail. It was N'Bapa, the out-
standing Christian village of that district. Started some
years before, it had grown as Christian families from
other villages had moved into it. Set on a hill in the bend
of a stream, it was surrounded by orchid-festooned forests.
Its streets and houses were of the quintessence of neat-
ness. The picture it made that morning is unf orgetable.
Running down to meet the missionary party came a bit of
a boy. He was dressed in typical baggy trousers and
jacket, both of cotton, both dark blue and both clean.
Another outward evidence of inner change was a face
rubbed bright with Sunlight soap. As he came he sang :
Yesu ngai hpe tsaw ai ra.
Jesus loves me. This I know.
So hundreds of lives are being remade. N'Bapa is but
one of some sixty such villages. Children formerly
trained to be cutthroats are now becoming true Christians.
The return to the cause of Christ from these village
schools is beyond reckoning. The future of the Baptist
church in the Kachin Hills is bright.
MEN AND METHODS
Government and Schools in the Chin Hills
Statistics sometimes deceive. For the hills and valleys
around Haka the 1924 mission report gives nine schools
with three hundred pupils. In 1930 there are reported
only three schools and seventy-five pupils. That mission
work there has gone backward seems evident. The fact
is, however, that a Baptist missionary, Herbert Cope, is
Honorary (which means unpaid) Inspector of Government
Schools. The newly appointed subinspector was the head
master of the Haka mission school, a Karen Baptist.
Some thirty schools with fifteen hundred pupils form the
circuit. The teachers are all Christian. Their spare time
is spent winning pupils and their parents to Christ. The
Honorary Inspector spent 280 days on tour last year.
Almost every night he preached in one or the other of the
several dialects. While on this long trek text-books have
been written. A hymn-book and the completion of the
translation of the New Testament into Chin might also
be mentioned, just to 'show that the schools are by no
means his main interest. These schools are entirely sup-
ported by Government. By this cooperation schools are
kept open which otherwise must have been closed. They
are better housed and equipped. They are better staffed
than Government alone could possibly have staffed them.
For they have appealed to down-country Karens as a real
missionary task. Their Christian impact is immeasurable.
The Leavening Influence
Much might be said of other schools among other races
of Burma. The teachers in all the schools of the mission
are almost without exception Christians. This offers the
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
Christian parent what he so much desires. He is reluctant
to send his children to schools staffed largely by Hindus,
Buddhists, and Mohammedans. In some of the mission
schools Christian students are in the minority. This makes
it difficult to maintain a strong Christian atmosphere. The
rise of national feeling has not decreased this difficulty.
If the nationalist slogan should change from " Burma for
the Burmans " to " Burma for the Buddhists " the ques-
tion of the continuance of certain of these schools may
Another very important aspect must not be overlooked.
Through the schools there has been a great leavening of
Buddhists with Christian ideals. One may find evidence
of this in many places. Arthur Mayhew, able member
of the Indian Educational Service, insists that this leaven-
ing in India has eliminated all reason for fear of " any
antagonism to Christian missions as the outcome " of the
change in government and the placing of more power in
the hands of the people. Burma's experience so far would
support this opinion. Opposition to Christian schools led
by Buddhist priests has at times arisen. The results might
have been disastrous but for kindly disposed Buddhist
leaders. Mission schools have been a large factor in
creating this friendly attitude.
Some Odd Missionary Methods
There have been various other missionary methods.
Raymond Lull some six centuries ago crossed the Medi-
terranean to convert the Moslems of North Africa. He
carried with him three concentric circles of pasteboard.
These were each divided into nine sections lettered B, C,
D, etc. By the manipulation of these letters the truth of
MEN AND METHODS
Christianity was to be proved to the doubting disciples
of Mahomed. He tried his new method in Tunis. At the
age of eighty he became a martyr. When his symbolic
logic failed, he launched a " tumultuous " attack which
speedily brought his end.
In a somewhat similar manner but fortunately without
such disastrous results Jonathan Wade purchased in Cal-
cutta an orrery. This apparatus is designed to illustrate
the movements of the earth about the sun. Wade believed
" that if they were convinced that their ideas of astronomy
were false, their whole system would stand a confessed
system of falsehood."
Nathan Brown, 'eminent missionary linguist, not only in
Burma but also in Assam and Japan, fell into like error.
He declares, " Let a Burman only believe that there is
such a country as America, at a distance and of a size
corresponding to our description of it, and his faith in
Buddhism is annihilated at once."
The Chief Method Is the Living Voice
Fortunately only a few men either in those early years
or today are tricked by too much learning. Not many have
lost sight of the main missionary method. And they have
done so only for the moment. Eugenio Kincaid, a cen-
tury ago, ably expressed what has been recognized by all,
Wade and Brown included, from the earliest days down
to the present. Kincaid testifies : " The longer I continue
among the Burmans the more I am convinced that the
gospel conveyed by the living voice is the means appointed
for the conversion of men. Reading of books enlightens,
and induces a spirit of inquiry ; but the full and overflow-
ing heart reaches the conscience, and awakens the finer
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
feelings of the soul. Hence the necessity of preaching
the word, of being instant in season and out of season.
It is not enough that we pray for them; it is not enough
that we give them books; we must preach Jesus Christ,
and not be discouraged amidst reproaches and insults."
Evangelistic Work Involves Hardships
E. W. Kelly, the champion of schools, gave many of his
richest years to evangelistic work. There is hardly a letter
from him to the Mission Rooms in Boston but this, his
one purpose, no matter where he is stationed, is manifest.
Both the college and the evangelistic work are good, " but
surely the evangelistic return is the better," he declares.
Always he is pressing for a " forward and aggressive
movement " in evangelism and ever urging increasing
appropriations for reaching more villages. He continues :
" I can work every month in the year in the district if I
only have funds. It means work, toil, it means exposure,
great exposure in the rains ; it means all my capacity for
anxiety and care and patience, but I believe it means
success under God. Make me as your servant and brother
to add to the great number who have been led to Christ
through your prayers and efforts."
One might write much of Kelly's connection with Ran-
goon, Moulmein, and Mandalay, with Cushing, Judson,
and Kelly High Schools, the last now named for him, and
especially with Judson College. There were sermons
preached to English congregations that would easily have
won high position in American pastorates. There were
hands extraordinarily adept in unraveling snarls in church,
school, or mission affairs. With his ability in council
he might easily have mounted high in diplomatic circles.
MEN AND METHODS
Rather than following the usual biographical lines, how-
ever, let us get instead an intimate glimpse of the spirit
of the missionary. Pen pictures have been drawn of mis-
sionaries courageously facing the danger of violent death.
Tropical disease can be equally dangerous. Between the
lines of this note to a Board Secretary read real courage.
Many a man would have fled before the danger this mis-
sionary unflinchingly faced.
DEAB DUNCAN: RANGOON, DECEMBER 12, 1896.
I am compelled to write you that my health has become seri-
ously impaired. Early in August I took cold, from getting wet
while traveling. As a result I had to call a physician, a civil
surgeon, during the last of September. He took me through two
attacks. In the last of October I had a still more severe attack.
Doctor Kirkpatrick cared for me for ten days, night and day, and
pulled me through. He did most excellent and brotherly service.
I was able to go to the district one trip in November. On Decem-
ber 3, I started again, but after six days had to return with a
fresh attack of dysentery that threatened to be very bad. . . Doctor
Kirkpatrick says the trouble is catarrhal inflammation of the liver
and dysentery both climatic and a bad complication. From the
beginning the troubles have shown a persistence that has never
once yielded fully. I get better, but not well.
E. W. KELLY.
Such were the hardships cheerfully faced, for were not
the returns " more than one hundred and thirty baptized
in town and district " so far that year ?
Two Different Gospel Tracts
Even in evangelistic effort there has been a diversity of
methods. This can not be better shown than in the little
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
tracts, very important tools in breaking ground for cultiva-
tion on the mission field. One well-known tract of the
earlier years is the " Investigator." This through ques-
tions and answers makes cutting comparison of Chris-
tianity and Buddhism. Answer One insists that it is not
proper to ask how God began, a question any keen-witted
Buddhist monk would immediately propound. Answer
Eight denies omniscience to Gautama because he, forsooth,
declares that no man could know the beginnings of things.
"Of God it is not proper to ask the question where and
how he came to be." Of Gautama, " if he is not able to
see anything of the beginnings of things, how is it going
to be said that he knows all things wholly?" So it pro-
ceeds to state that the Pitakas, the Buddhist scriptures, are
hearsay set up by the priests to promote offerings what
modern terminology would call religious graft. The " In-
vestigator " closes with a reference to the prophecy that
" before long every false religion will be destroyed, and in
every place in the world the ' mill-lay-nee/ which estab-
lishes the Kingdom of Heaven, will come." Few Bud-
dhists reached this, to them, cryptic reference to the mil-
lennium, for of this tract one missionary writes : " Some
hatred was manifested this morning. One was torn to
pieces and thrown into the river as soon as my back was
turned." The " Investigator " is long out of print. With
it should be compared " The Golden Balance." This tract
is Adoniram Judson's own. It is still on sale and is asked
for by Buddhists who have heard it praised by their core-
ligionists. It contains comparisons of Buddha and Christ,
but they are exceedingly kindly comparisons, waiving for
the moment the truth or falsity of the glories ascribed to
Gautama. It just takes him as they believe him to be,
BURMESE, PRICE ONE PICE.
AMERICAN BAPTIST MISSION PRESS.
H. W. SMITH, SUPT.
Stereotyped 40th EditioQ-10,OOQ-327,OQOO,
JUDSON'S OWN TRACT
Still in Demand
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
and places him beside the One whom the missionary calls
Master. Let the life of Christ speak for itself is its theme.
So Judson more than a century ago employed a method
which modern students of missions declare is the proper
" Christian approach to non-Christian religions."
A Missionary Veteran 9 s Vision
This latter, the finer and better way, was the one in
which Doctor Kelly instructed me, a new member of the
faculty at Judson. I had been out only a year when
he first came as president in 1911. The simple, direct
presentation of Christ and the gospel with only occasional,
always kindly, comparisons with Buddhism was his
method. By this method he had made notable advances
In the last eighteen months of his life Doctor Kelly,, due
to declining health, handed over the administration of
Judson College to that new faculty member of ten years
before. The frequent visits of his successor, continually
seeking his sound advice, found the " Sayagyi's " fervor
never faltering. In fact, it burned even brighter as his
physical powers waned. On the veranda of the Burman
mission bungalow in Rangoon, a house secured through
his oft-repeated pleas over a long number of years, he sat
through those final months, a lonely figure. Much of the
time was spent reading his Burmese New Testament. He
was too feeble to return to America to join his wife who
was held there by ill health. Though his end seemed
clearly written in his enfeebled frame, he never for a
moment lost his fine faith and courage. In conversation
his face would light up as he told of a bit of a village on
the banks of the Sittang River where he hoped he and
MEN AND METHODS
Mrs. Kelly could live, of the house, just a little village
home like the rest about it, where, when he was well
enough, he would go to spend his remaining days just
telling Burmese Buddhists about Christ. Such was Elias
William Kelly, for many years the Mission's leading
advocate of schools.
A PROPHECY FULFILLED
The Judson Centennial
Five " little girls " were the peak point of the Judson
Centennial celebration in Rangoon. Four of them had
fathers with records of more than forty years each in
Burma. These same four daughters had themselves each
an active service average of more than fifty years. All
five could remember the years following 1840. That De-
cember day in 1913 Sarah Stevens Smith, Mary Brayton
Rose, Julia Haswell Vinton, Susan Haswell, and Sarah
Stilson became again little folk seeing the face and hear-
ing the voice of Adoniram Judson. The last of the five,
Sarah Stilson, speaking with a youthful enthusiasm not
one whit dimmed by her seventy-four years, declared :
Though the pioneer has passed, his work is going on. New
churches, new industries, new schools are springing up till Burma
promises to be honeycombed with the influence of Christian mis-
sions. Village after village shall sing:
Chay zoo daw go thi gyin sow.
Hymns of praise to Grace Divine.
A survey of the almost completed first fifth of the
second century more than justifies this optimism. In addi-
tion some new forces have assumed a real share in the
accomplishment of the task, the fulfilling of the prophecy.
Since the Centennial
The seventeen years since the centennial have seen
502 new churches ; 368 churches become self-supporting ;
A PROPHECY FULFILLED
251 new schools. Of these schools almost all are new vil-
lage Christian centers. Contributions from the churches
in 1913 were $92,000. In 1930 these contributions had
mounted to $258,000. School fees in 1913 were $44,000
while 1930 saw that item reach $252,000.
Of new buildings many of the larger ones have been
already mentioned. Scores of smaller structures involving
great self-sacrifice on the part of the churches might be
enumerated. Among the Burmese in the Thonze field
Letpedan, Tooywa, and other outstations have built ac-
ceptable chapels entirely from their own funds. The
Shwegyin Karen field has recently undertaken a heavy
program. With a membership that only totals about two
thousand five hundred, they are launching a building pro-
gram amounting to Rs. 74,000/.
Taking Burma as a whole the new church buildings
reach a high total. Bamboo structures have been torn
down to be replaced by very sturdy and substantial, if not
particularly handsome, teak buildings. In other places old,
dingy brown meeting-houses of teak have been replaced
by modern brick chapel-schools. Insistence on self-sup-
port has made development along certain lines slower.
But after all the sturdy oak cannot be grown in a hot-
Among the Burmese Churches
Pause a moment, and see the progress in and about
Pegu. Merrick Parish by unceasing evangelistic effort
has since the centennial increased the number of churches
from one to seven. Their membership has grown from
eighty-one to three hundred and fifty. Numbers do not
mount rapidly among the Buddhists. It requires an ever-
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
persistent pressing of the message to individuals ; that same
method which Judson employed in garnering his first
nineteen. Pegu also has a well-organized Home Mission
Committee. Its secretary is U Tha Aung, the pastor
of the Pegu Church. His church ably, and entirely inde-
pendent of missionary leadership, entertained the Burmese
Association recently. In Burma entertainment still means
just that. They have not adopted the " pay as you enter "
system prevalent in America.
Just a glance at two other Burmese fields. Swing up
over the heavily forested Pegu Yomas. Drop down on
their westward side into the heart of the Irrawaddy Delta.
Here is an area also crowded with high-metaled, proud
people. Since the turn of the mission century the schools
in Thonze field have increased from six to sixteen. That
means ten more centers of Christian influence in important
villages. The same may be said of Henzada's fifteen
schools. Each is a chapel on Sunday, a schoolhouse the
rest of the week. Through this seven-day training plan
the Christians are being brought to a position of leadership
in their communities.
Hospitals for Burma' s Valleys
Let us turn then to the new forces which are assuming
a share in the accomplishment of the missionary objective.
One of these has been mentioned, the Ellen Mitchell
Memorial Hospital at Moulmein. Doctor Mitchell's own
little hospital has also been referred to. With those
two exceptions there has been no sustained medical work
in Burma proper during the history of the mission. Here
as in education the mission has been influenced by Govern-
ment policies. Government hospitals have endeavored to
A PROPHECY FULFILLED
care for this need, because of this mission medical work
has not been so urgently necessary.
Admittedly an Indian Medical Service man is stationed
at each district headquarters. These men are either British
or Nationals trained abroad in the best British schools.
They conduct civil hospitals and some additional dispen-
sary work. Very recently the Burma Government has also
cooperated with the Rockefeller Foundation in a demon-
stration of modern health organization. This experimental
unit is located in a village twenty miles north of Rangoon.
The further extension of this work would mean untold
benefit to countless villages.
Some estimate of the adequacy of the Government med-
ical service may be gained by a look at the Chin Hills. In
that hill tract of twelve thousand square miles with a
population of 120,000 there are three Government hos-
pitals. These are staffed by a Civil Surgeon and eleven
subassistant surgeons. Three of the latter travel about in
the villages some twenty days in the month. In other
words, one medical worker to ten thousand people scat-
tered over one hundred square miles. An adequate mis-
sion program should include a doctor for these hills.
The Government of Burma must be commended for
its efforts to provide medical relief for the people. Still
there remain many places beside the Chin Hills where the
services rendered can hardly be considered adequate. Even
granting that they are all that any government might be
expected to attempt, still one must regret that there are
not more mission hospitals. Burma should have more of
that powerful appeal of the Master given only as through
his physicians " the blind receive their sight and the lame
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
Physicians for the Frontiers
To place physicians everywhere is hardly possible. To
give some concrete expression to Christ's compassion for
human suffering is almost indispensable. This has been
done on Burma's frontiers. American Baptists have sent
in all fifteen physicians outside the province proper to the
frontiers. They have been stationed high up in the
Himalayan foot-hills which form the rim of Burma.
Truman Johnson served long and ably at Loikaw in the
Red Karen country on the east. After his death Mrs.
Jennie Bixby Johnson bravely carried on for a decade.
Then that medical work ceased. Erick East and John
Woodin, both fine physicians, were between them for
eleven years at the hospital at Haka in the Chin Hills.
Then it closed its doors. The heavy demand on mission
resources has not made it seem wise to try to continue it.
In the Shan States there are now missionary doctors at
Taunggyi, Mongnai, Kengtung, and Namkham. Twelve
mission physicians have through the years ministered to
the Shans. Five of these have been at Namkham. One
finds there today the new Harper Memorial Hospital with
Gordon Seagrave, a great-grandson of Justus Hatch Vin-
ton, in charge. This hospital is a memorial to his prede-
cessor, Robert Harper, the man with the burly body
and the big heart. The old hospital had "a Christian
influence which cannot be measured with a hundred-mile
yardstick." How much more effective the new hospital
must be ! The old was " a dark gloomy building on stilts.
The floors were covered with stains of blood and pus and
medicines which had soaked into them during the twenty
or thirty years. They were made of soft spongy jungle
A PROPHECY FULFILLED
wood, and no amount of scrubbing would make the floor
clean." The new building is of native stone. It is light,
airy and above all, it can be kept clean. This hospital is
one of the new factors of the new century. It, like Moul-
mein, trains a corps of nurses. They have gone here and
there through the hills and valleys carrying an ever-widen-
The future of the church in no small part rests on the
question whether there may be found other Christian phy-
sicians, both men and women, to give themselves for the
upbuilding of Burma. Dr. L. T. Ah Pon has served the
mission long and well in the Shan States. Hope for others
lies largely in those whom Judson College is sending from
its premedic course to become Bachelors of Medicine of
the University of Rangoon.
Zewaka: The Celebrated Burmese Physician
The ignorance of the average man of the East in matters
of Western medicine is, as might be expected, appalling.
True, the eclectic say saya has discovered a number of
valuable remedies. Chaulmoogra oil, long known in India
and China as a remedy for skin diseases, was sold in the
bazaars of Burma many years before Western science
employed it for leprosy. Government has undertaken the
codifying of these discoveries. The celebrated physician
Zewaka, who " once cured a colic which afflicted the Lord
Buddha Gautama, by simply giving him three flowers to
smell," is the father of Burmese medicine. No examina-
tions are required of his followers.
The charlatan has a wide open door for his frauds. Examine
one sample from his medicine case, a common remedy for bad
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
(1) The "hand" of a taukete, the big trout-spotted lizard that
haunts the thatch of houses. (2) Sulphur. (3) The bulb of a
white lily. (4) A chili roasted. (5) Cock's dung. Mix in equal
parts, and stir while heating it, and finally add some earth oil.
Hanson finds in Kachin pharmacy, "Among other drugs,
the blood of wild buffalo, the gall of a python, the fat and
gall of the slow-loris, crushed tiger's bones, musk, and the
gall of the bear are especially valued."
A striking instance of " Practising Medicine and
Surgery and How ! " in the Kachin-Shan country is
found in that fascinating book of Gordon Seagrave's
A man came for an abdominal operation, localized peritonitis.
We had none of the drainage materials used in America. All I
could find was a rubber tube, hard and brittle. And I stuck that
in for a drain. Threes days later it was nowhere to be found. I
was terrified. I was certain we should have to cut him open again.
He said it had been bothering him a little, and he had pulled it
out and thrown it away. We were convinced that he was lying,
but we decided to look around first before doing anything so
drastic as to cut him up again. We walked from ward to ward,
looking for it under the beds and in the corners without success,
so you can imagine how perfectly delighted we were when we
got out on the front porch and found a baby using that tube for a
pacifier ! He had almost pacified himself permanently.
Brought up on " the more bitter the better," any physi-
cian, civil or missionary, with sugar-coated pills finds his
path difficult; yet experience proves that the Christian
physician can open doors closed to others.
A PROPHECY FULFILLED
Unmet Medical Needs
Not only in the Chin Hills in the far northeastern corner
of the country is Government unable to meet the need,
but few of the tens of thousands of villages have anything
approaching adequate medical treatment. Even Rangoon,
the best equipped of any city of the Province has only a
civil hospital of five hundred and fifteen beds and a Sri
Rama Krishna hospital of one hundred beds for a city of
almost four hundred thousand people. The followers of
the Hindu mystic are to be commended on their open-
minded acceptance and active exemplification of Christ's
message of service to all. Yet, too, they are a challenge
to the Christian Church to help provide the " at least five
hundred additional beds very urgently needed " for Ran-
goon. In this Dr. Ma Saw Sa is ably doing her part.
Through her efforts the religion of Jesus Christ is living
today as it did in the ministrations of Doctor Mitchell in
Moulmein, and Doctor Kingsley in Rangoon.
Burma 9 s Effort to Aid the Rural Billions
A second venture of the second century was the Pyin-
mana Agricultural School. It is Burma's bit of evidence
of a new approach to an old problem. The World Mis-
sionary Conference in Edinburgh in 1910 did not in any
way consider the special needs of rural areas. The Jeru-
salem Conference of 1928 devotes a volume of its findings
to " Missions and Rural Problems." It is not that there
has been an Oriental " Back to the Farm " movement. It
is but a new realization of the old economic problem, a
problem that in Burma, as in all Asia, is largely written
in rural terms. Of Burma's thirteen million, nine million
K [ 133 ]
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
are engaged in agriculture. There are only some seventy
towns as compared with thirty-five thousand villages. In
these the farmers live. The isolated homestead is entirely
unknown. India has an average of 225 people to every
square mile. Burma has only about a quarter of that
number. Yet even in Burma the problem of making ends
meet is acute. Two pairs of bullocks and their quota of
land twenty-eight acres should in that " garden spot "
give a family a fair support, but they do not know how to
reap the full benefit of the rich soil. Months of abundance
are succeeded by months with a shortage of proper food.
There results a lack of stamina to fight disease. For the
most part the cultivator knows only a single crop rice.
The many months between the annual harvests tend to
debt with interest at SO per cent, or more per annum.
This soon devours the twenty-eight acres. Large numbers
of land-owners, Christian and non-Christian, are becoming
tenants of the Chetties, " natives of India " Shylocks
who foreclose at the first opportunity.
Granted that the development of the church is sorely
hampered by poverty, what business is that of a foreign
mission society ? " None," would have been the answer
of most of us two decades ago. The economic side of life
lay outside our conception of the missionary task. Yet,
somehow, a vicious circle must be broken. Consider the
question in a most limited sense. The path to permanence
is churches. Self-support is essential, if they are to be
truly indigenous. Poverty prevents self-support and
presses for mission doles. Such doles develop flabby
muscles unprepared for that heavy upgrade climb to devo-
lution of mission responsibility. Yet you may say
" Look at the marvelous accomplishment of the Karens."
A PROPHECY FULFILLED
Comparatively speaking, they have given themselves better
equipment than is to be found almost anywhere East or
West. Yet the Karens, increasingly, wish that phrase,
"comparatively speaking," removed. Why should not
Ein-chain-lay-zee have what any " 40-house " village con-
siders essential in America in church, in school, and in
adequate medical care ? And they will get these things for
themselves, provided they can be 'pointed to paths of
higher physical and economic as well as higher spiritual
levels. In fact, it is difficult to see how they can attain
the highest spiritual levels without a radical reconstruction
of living conditions.
A Burmese Village Transformed
Pyinmana's first task is making better farmers of those
who have already found Christ. In no sense does it set
itself to furnish material inducements for entrance into
the church. Yet that agricultural school inevitably piles
up weighty evidence in favor of the Christian religion. Its
portly pigs point the way of escape from poverty which
" stunts the soul." Buddhism concerns itself largely with
nauk pawa, the next existence. Christianity serves " the
whole man in every aspect of his life and relationships."
Some say " that the Kingdom of God cometh by preaching,
and others by education, and others by making two blades
of grass grow where only one grew before." Seventy-five
boys at Pyinmana through a four years' course are getting
training in all these, so that they may return to their
villages, there to give the combined impact of all three
bringers of the Kingdom. Pin Thaung is a sample village.
It was " the worst of the district, full of opium-smugglers
and opium-eaters, rice-whiskey distillers and drinkers,
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
gamblers and cattle-thieves." Yet it is rapidly becoming
completely changed. It now has a Christian headman, a
good school, and a church of one hundred members. All
this because the people were prepared to heed the message
of men whose advice had transformed their rice-fields.
A large part of Pyinmana's expenses are met by Gov-
ernment grants-in-aid. Thomas Jesse Jones' expert judg-
ment is that " in these days of national self-determination
and racial consciousness cooperation with governments
and nationals is almost the sine qua non of permanent and
genuine service, rural or otherwise." Pyinmana has that
Student Gospel Teams
So much for pigs and pills. Now for play and its
striking part in Kingdom advance. Any one from the
tropics knows that a set or so of tennis is a tonic much
needed to stir sluggish blood. Soccer football leagues such
as those in Rangoon's " allied schools " the Normal,
English High, and Gushing High Schools are stirring
the sluggish blood of a nation. These leagues include
Midgets, Junior-juniors, Juniors, and Seniors. They
bring to any one closely connected with them a firm con-
viction of the value of games. Besides physical vigor,
they produce those invaluable incommensurables a sense
of fair play and a spirit of cooperation. To these the
second century has seen other high values added. The
student gospel-teams since 1923 have found a place for
play as a key to prejudice-bound Buddhist hearts. They
have brought to Burma her first recognition that the sharp
smack of a boxer's glove may clear the way for Christ's
entrance into a hitherto indifferent heart.
A PROPHECY FULFILLED
Thousands of Buddhist pupils enrolled in mission
schools have attended daily Bible classes during their
formative years. Their minds have been filled with Chris-
tian truth, but their hearts have too often still been held
fast bound by Buddhism. These groups have heard the
plea of the missionary, of visiting teachers in school cam-
paigns, and of such ardent general evangelists as William
Hosmer Hascall and Willis Frye Thomas. For the most
part, though they have been deeply moved, it has not been
quite to the point of acceptance. From such faithful sow-
ing the gospel-teams are reaping rich harvests.
New Evangelistic Methods
In this new movement play performs a double func-
tion. First of all it has brought about a marked change
of attitude on the part of the Christian student. He had
done evangelistic work before chiefly from a sense of duty
and with no striking success. Now, impelled by " a heav-
enly joy " found in a method better adapted to his tem-
perament he leads many into a knowledge of Christ.
Then, too, " the vivacious, volatile, pleasure-loving, happy-
go-lucky Burmans " have almost inevitably thought of
Christianity as a barrier to that festivity which is such
a large part of their Buddhism. Gospel-team campaigns
have shown Christianity to be " The Way " along which
they can take that joy and laughter they so much love.
The campaign begins with a football or basket-ball game
when the visitors from the metropolis meet the local team.
The as yet unpicked partner in a Burma tennis tourna-
ment is often entered as "A. N. Other." The student
athletes on the gospel-team always strive to play as if
Another sat on the side-lines, for victory is gained only
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
if friends are won for Him. There follow on successive
nights a concert with perhaps a bit of boxing, a pageant,
and a drama. This play appeal forms a happy approach
to the deeper things Bible classes, searching talks, and
stirring personal testimonies. Each student evangelist tells
of Christ's place in his personal experience. Before the
close comes the drawing in of the nets. The method is
that of personal appeal in a place apart, that of the well
of Samaria, not that of the saw-dust trail. All these
efforts are fused into one mighty impact by the warmth
of " expert friendship." For the gospel-team credo is
" Friends with God. Friends with each other. Friends
with all others."
More than two hundred students the very finest
from Judson College, the Burmese, Karen, and English
Theological Seminaries, and the Karen and Burmese
Women's Bible Schools during the first seven years of this
movement have gone out as members of gospel-teams.
Chief among the values is the indelible impression left on
the lives of each of these students. In the campaign
comes a deep emotional experience such as seems taboo
among many of the " older churches " in America, yet the
youth of the " younger churches " are proving that it may
have an important place in this present day.
The worth-whileness of it all can perhaps best be seen
in the light of the testimony of Johnson Kangyi, outstand-
ing Karen, athlete, scholar, and glee club leader, now
Assistant Professor of English in Judson College. His
testing-time came while studying in America :
There was a very rude awakening when I was thrown against
some Christian divinity students at the University in America,
who said that my faith was irrational, childish, and blind. But
A PROPHECY FULFILLED
when doubts and temptations assailed me, the vital religious experi-
ences I had gone through with the student gospel-teams stood me
in good stead. One of these students, not an American but an
Indian Christian, insisted upon that ultra-rationalistic view of the
Bible and life, so that there was no room for the living Christ;
but I know, because others and I have proved it in our gospel-
team work, that God is my Maker and Father, my Saviour and
Burma's Immigration Problem
Monday, May 26, 1930, must be marked, in black on
Burma's calendar. It saw the beginning of racial riots.
For five years India had been shaken by many sanguinary
encounters between Hindus and Moslems, the chief ap-
parent cause being the " cow-music " question. Burma's
national bird, the peacock, had preened itself in " its pride
proper," as it were, entirely superior to such communal
clashes. Then there broke a terrible storm of arson and
murder. Coringhee coolies from the Coconada coast of
the Madras Presidency were the stevedores loading ships
in Rangoon's crowded harbor. Their pay for that strenu-
ous labor was fifty-four cents a day; they struck for
sixty-two. The Burman had always scorned such menial
labor. But the continued piling up of an unsalable sur-
plus of rice made him eager for any employment. Here
was a means of support which he thought was permanent.
Skill and strength to handle large bags of rice do not come
in a day. Coolie maistries wearied of the Burman novices
and conceded the Coringhee demands. That Monday the
just-discharged Burmese met the taunts and missiles of the
triumphant Madrassi. The detested " native of India "
had cut them off from sorely needed income. Conse-
quences common to such industrial situations everywhere
ensued. That is common except for their intense ferocity.
Burmans from town and district ran amuck. Any Co-
ringhee man, woman, or child risked death by ventur-
ing on the streets. Jinrikishas were wrested from their
Indian pullers, smashed, and their axles employed as
weapons. Soon, no kola, white or black, was safe from
the brown man's wrath. Valiant efforts of British of-
ficials and Burmese elders together with the calming
presence of His Majesty's Highlanders finally secured a
cessation of hostilities ; but not until more than one hun-
dred had been killed and many times that number seri-
Burma's welcome to unlimited numbers of cheap labor-
ers from across the Bay has been definitely withdrawn.
For years coolies by the hundred thousand (408,000 in
1926) have entered her ports for seasonal labor. More
than ninety per cent, of them have returned to India each
year. The rest, together with Indians of other classes,
now number almost a million permanent settlers, about
one-tenth of the population of Burma proper. Appre-
hension has been growing that Burma would soon lose her
own individuality. Then came the pinch of financial de-
pression, precipitating the inevitable clash. Such com-
munal strife will continue to be a menace so long as
Burma must submit to unrestricted immigration. The
racial riots brought sharply to the fore the need for a read-
justment of relations with India.
Separation from India Is Recommended
As he walks across an English racing paddock leading
his winning horse, Rustom Pasha, one would not for a
moment suspect him to be Aga Sultan Mohomed Shah,
G. C. I. E., G. C. S. I., K. C. I. K, LL. D., spiritual head
of Ismail Mohammedans. The wealthy and powerful
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
"Aga Khan " is also an authority on things Indian. His
query, "Is Burma to be India's Ireland?" is worthy of
most serious consideration; at least it was until June 24,
1930, the date of the publication of the second volume of
the Simon Report. Sir John Simon's Royal Commission
was appointed to inquire " into the working of the system
of government in British India." Its Report recom-
mended the immediate separation of Burma from India.
Provided that recommendation met with the approval, first
of the Round Table Conference and then of Parliament,
prospects were bright for Burma. But would it secure
such approval ?
Envious eyes are turned toward Burma both from the
west across the Bay of Bengal and from the east over the
high Himalayan foot-hills. Edward Thompson in his
exceedingly able Reconstructing India writes :
Practically all schools of Indian thought are opposed to the sepa-
ration of Burma. The reason is economic. Burma is lightly
populated; its struggle for existence, a thing of recent years, is
due to the rapid silting of emigrants from India. India is over-
populated, is debarred from East Africa and Australia, is eagerly
looking for a land into which to dump her surplus folk. Inde-
pendent India, presuming that its population continued to grow far
beyond its power to support, would not resist the temptation to do
with Burma what Japan has done with Korea.
The Round Table Conference in London proved this
prophecy only partly correct. Thompson had not reckoned
with the Indian Princes. That momentous conference met
in the winter of 1930-31. It included Hindu and Bud-
dhist, Moslem and Christian, caste and outcaste, ruling
prince and common citizen. They came together with
members of the British Parliament to consider India's
future constitution. It had been thought that British India
alone would wish dominion status. It seemed certain
that the powerful Native States of Indian India would
wish to retain their present direct relation with the Vice-
roy. It became clear early in the conference, however,
that the maharajahs wished to join a federated India.
These princes also favored the separation of Burma. The
weight of their influence brought an early recommendation
that Burma's plea be granted.
Burma Is Not India
The Burman easily finds a wealth of reasons why he
should not be swallowed up in any future federated India.
Burma is geographically distinct. Wide seas and high
mountains covered with almost impenetrable jungle sepa-
rate it from India, its neighbor on the north and west.
None of the former conquerors of India ruled Burma.
It was the British raj " purely as a matter of administra-
tive convenience" who first did this. It is an unnatural
alliance and should not be continued.
Burma faces east, not west. It looks toward China, not
India. Its major races came from far Cathay. It is not
like India, either Aryan or Dravidian. It has the marks of
a Mongolian ancestry and civilization. Burma has no
caste, no use of the veil for women, no early marriage
nor an enforced widowhood. There are none of the major
evils of Hindu society. In Burma the Buddhist monastery
has made literacy almost ten times as great as in any other
province of India. With the entire freedom from caste
have come a gracious hospitality and a kindly tolerance.
Add to these a natural light-heartedness and generosity,
and you have " an individuality very delightful and valu-
[ H3 ]
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
able to the outside world." This individuality is threat-
ened with extinction in any union with India.
Indian Actions Irritate Burma
India's favored treatment of its own cotton and steel
industries together with its tax on the rice trade has been
exceedingly irritating to Burma. Heavy import duties
on cotton and steel have helped Indian mills but have
added to Burma's burdens. For Burma has no steel nor
cotton mills. Burma has rich oil-fields and valuable forests
but its real wealth lies in the rice from its paddy plains.
Anything that affects the price of rice is felt in every
corner of the province. Some years ago an export duty
was placed on rice by the Indian Legislative Assembly.
This goes to India's central treasury for all India expenses.
Of these expenses Burma's part is small. The Assembly
in order to meet an acute slump in the rice trade in 1930
grudgingly reduced this duty about one-fiftieth of a cent
a pound. A half million additional tons left Burma's
paddy bins within two weeks. Popular belief is that that
trifling reduction did it. Being the only Indian province
to export any rice, Burma demands complete control of
any duties that may hinder the sale of what is to it, in
more senses than one, the staff of life.
Military Strength Made a Major Issue
In Burma sentiment is practically unanimous for sepa-
ration. British parliamentary approval may be safely
predicted. So far as opposition other than Indian is con-
cerned, it centers itself on those envious eyes on the East
in Siam and China. Siam once felt the heel of Burmese
conquerors. The alarmists fear it would seek revenge
on an ill-defended Burma. China like India is over-popu-
lated. It might well covet Burma, that most blest by
nature of any land of the East. Any Rangoon fruit
market will give a glimpse of nature's bounty in Burma.
Bananas of a dozen varieties, as different in taste and
texture as the apples of the West; pomelos, a glorified
grape-fruit; sweet limes, an orange the size of a musk-
melon; apples filled with a fine fruit custard; mangoes
and mangosteens with nothing in the West worthy of
comparison; and last, but first of them all, the dorian,
with its delightful creamy fruit cheese and its odor " audi-
ble " at a hundred yards. Without question any nation,
East or West, would find Burma a profitable possession.
Its peace it is asserted could not be maintained without
the assistance of the Indian army. That army is almost
entirely British officered, so the problem of defense, it is
argued, is for British hands. The northwest frontier up
toward Turkestan has been the chief cause for serious
concern in India. It can hardly be called a Burma menace
except on the assumption of a complete collapse across
the Bay. Any arguments against Burma's ability to de-
fend herself may be applied with even greater force to
other provinces. The Punjab's bewhiskered battalions
are sixty-two per cent, of the army recruited in India.
Bengal furnishes not a single soldier. Burma the " prin-
cess of the provinces " contributes three thousand men.
True, Burma looks largely to the martial races of India for
its civil and military police. Burmans have fitted none too
well into the Indian military establishment, largely, it is
alleged, because it is too meagerly paid. Burmese recruit-
ment was cut in 1929, in part at least, because Indian
sepoys are cheaper. Burma's recruits are mostly Kachins,
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
Chins, Lisus, Marus, and other men of the Hills. These
" Burma Rifles " have an excellent record as garrison
troops, and, too, they have won distinction, for Subadar
Major Lasang Gam, ranking officer of the Kachins, a
Christian, has been called to London to act as a King's
Orderly. " Theophilus " of the Rangoon Times argues
with considerable cogency that the Burmese should be
trained as the " second line " to be called in emergencies
when real action is required. They could confidently be
expected to take their full part where any actual fighting
is imminent. They could and would ward off any covetous
hordes from China or Siam.
The Legislative Council Has a Good Record
So much for needed adjustment of external relations;
what then of adjustments from within? It has been as-
serted on good authority that Burma's legislative body, has
been "the most level-headed and utilitarian of the pro-
vincial Councils set up under the dyarchic regime." To
be sure, there are keen critics who assert that any advance
in self-government is impossible. Sir Reginald Craddock,
former head of the Burma Government, in his Dilemma in
India declares : " The spoiled children of the East, so
radiant in gaiety, so feckless in purpose, taking no thought
for the future, must be born again before Burma can even
enter the Dominion of Home Rule. The explanation lies
in the moral fiber, and Acts of Parliament are powerless
to supply it. It must be a plant of local growth." On the
other hand, equally able men urge that as " The history
of nearly every country which has thrown off the shackles
of foreign control shows some kind of rejuvenation," so
it will be in Burma.
As to the matter of moral fiber, every session of the
Legislature has seen some Burman rise to propose a Pro-
hibition measure only to have his motion defeated by the
official bloc, the Government-appointed members of that
body. To be sure, time alone can tell whether this plea
for prohibition is a matter of morals or just a means of
In this connection it is well worthy of note that Sir
Joseph Maung Gyi was officiating Governor in the fall of
1930. He is the second native son to hold such an office
in any province of India. His appointment as the first
Burman Governor is a clear indication of the confidence
which the King-Emperor places in the Burmese people.
The most serious difficulty is the shortage of leaders. The
increase in the number of Nationals allowed to enter Gov-
ernment service was at one time looked upon as an advance.
It is now proving a hindrance to self-government. For
many years the cream of the colleges has been drawn off
into Government employment, most of the positions of a
subordinate nature. These positions pay salaries much
larger than any available for their less fortunate college
classmates. A large group of Burma's best have thus be-
come " British Brahmins " barred by their official con-
nections from political activity. Important cogs in the
machine " made in Great Britain " for giving good gov-
ernment and giving it, their powers have been devoted to
strengthening the position of the paternalistic British raj.
If some means could be found for making their assistance
available, Burma could much more quickly build a self-
The importance of these readjustments of relations
from a missionary standpoint can hardly be overstated.
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
Some firmly believe that they portend grave difficulties. It
is the confident belief of others that these changes will
make for freedom and opportunity of the Christian com-
munity. Experience so far shows an increase in the pres-
tige and influence of the Christian church.
Burma's Strategic Place in Asia
A separated Burma bears real promise of becoming the
hub of a very considerable Oriental universe. A mission-
ary at home on furlough from Rangoon painted a very tell-
ing picture. Under his facile tongue Burma became the
land where all the human currents of the Orient meet,
meet to divide again and make their influence felt to Asia's
farthest corners. Of Burma Rangoon stands as the great
port city, as the undisputed metropolis, the point at which
this world-influencing function makes itself most felt.
The aforesaid missionary's position placed him at the
center of Rangoon. From which it was inferred, though
not spoken, that his influence ran throughout the length
and breadth of Asia. Whatever may be said of the final
conclusion of this thesis, the premises cannot be seriously
questioned. Many have come to Burma from the most
widely scattered parts of Asia, they have found there suf-
ficient of this world's goods to be able to return home in
comparative wealth. So the fame of Burma has pene-
trated from the Punjab to South China, from Darjeeling
to Singapore. The position she will come to occupy in the
political life of Asia is a matter on which opinions may
differ. Her unique economic position, due to her mineral
resources, her forest reserves, and her paddy plains, is a
matter of fact. And as for political predictions, Burma
may in a few years easily loom largest in Oriental eyes of
all countries east of Europe and west of Japan. Given
separation, Burma " with its tolerance, its literacy, and its
unity," unencumbered by the social conditions which
hinder progress in India, seems certain to become a leader.
It promises to blaze the way for the millions of subject
peoples in Southern Asia. Success in self-government in
Burma will furnish an unanswerable argument against any
one race dominating another.
The Transfer of Administration in Baptist Work
To what degree have twelve decades of mission work
prepared the church to play its part in this new Burma,
soon to be? That eminent administrator, William Isaac
Chamberlm, Secretary of the Board of Foreign Missions
of the Reformed Church, has said that there are four
stages in the history of foreign missions : First, the Mis-
sion; second, the Mission and the Church; third, the
Church and the Mission ; and finally, the Church. Burma
is in large part in the " Church and Mission " stage.
Administrative responsibility is being delegated to Joint
Committees. They distribute funds for schools and evan-
gelistic work. Missionaries to the Karens have long been,
to a large degree, acting in an advisory rather than an
administrative capacity. Some, for years, have had no
more power than a State Convention Secretary. Karen
elders have assumed responsibility not only for local affairs,
but through their Associations for their home and for-
eign missions. In most fields they have advanced far to-
ward self-direction and self-support. Joint committees
are no novelty to them. The call of Thra San Ba, B. A.,
B. D., from the Seminary by the Bassein Sgaw Karens
points clearly in the direction of complete church control
L [ 149 ]
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
in that great field. Burmese Christians, on the other hand,
are fewer in number. They are gathered only in small
groups. There are no Burmese villages entirely Christian.
So they have not found it possible to assume as much re-
sponsibility. The Burmese Committee, therefore, finds
many more schools, and churches, which formerly looked
to the Mission, still looking to it for support, than does
the Karen Committee.
Each Joint Committee has a membership of nine Na-
tionals and three missionaries. The high caliber of the
Nationals may be seen by a glance at the personnel. On
the Burman Committee are U Ba Hlaing, B. A., LL. B.
(London), Moulmein Barrister, and U Hla Bu, M. A.,
Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Judson. On the
Karen Committee are such men as Thra Mating Po, Hen-
zada pastor, and Joseph Po M' Law, general evangelist
for the Moulmein Karens. No National on either com-
mittee receives support from American funds. As for the
missionaries, they are cooperating to place their present
responsibility on the shoulders of Nationals, so that they
themselves may press on to the large, as yet untouched,
A Difficulty in Devolution
Devolution, the handing over of responsibility to na-
tionals, is not easy of accomplishment for the missionary.
Points where the answering of Burma's call most often
causes missionary casualties are health and separation
from children. This last has been greatly relieved by the
excellent "American School " at Taunggyi. As to health,
conditions have vastly improved through the years. Yet
danger of disease is still much increased when one leaves
America for the tropics. Burma has not as yet become a
bit of peaceful countryside. The year 1929 saw in the
" bag " of its sportsmen 1,200 leopards and a like number
of bears, 500 tigers were killed, and 400 elephants cap-
tured. There still remains more than a bit of jungle and
much of the menace to health which jungle implies. Yet,
after all, the chief drain on missionary strength comes in
striving to combine efficiency and devolution. The
Burman's favorite phrase is " at leisure " the American's
" busy." Ways of saying things often indicate ideals, and
the ideals of the two peoples have differed just that much.
Yet who can blame the tropical-born for craving leisure?
How many Americans have cut short their careers trying
to transplant " pep " ? Perhaps, after all, the longer years
and the slower pace will accomplish more. Still, for the
missionary recruited because he was " a leader and organ-
izer with energy, initiative, and self-reliance," few strains
are more severe than to see that prized commodity, ef-
ficiency, endangered as he takes a second place. Is it a
second place? David Chandler Gilmore, with long ex-
perience in Burma, feels " Devolution is going to mean
that the missionary is to be promoted from the compara-
tively humble post of administrator, to the higher post of
apostle, prophet, teacher. That is to say, he will be pro-
moted, if he has it in him, through Christ, to fill these
higher posts." Doctor Gilmore is among those already so
A Strong Church with Capable Leadership
But let us look at the church to which responsibility is
being transferred. Adoniram Judson's goal was " to in-
troduce the religion of Jesus Christ in the Empire of
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
Burma." On July 13, 1930, the one hundred and seven-
teenth anniversary of his arrival, there was held in Vinton
Memorial Hall, the Annual Mass Meeting of the Rangoon
Baptist City Mission Society. Twenty churches, totaling
almost five thousand members, were represented. Six
different tongues joined in "All Hail the Power of Jesus'
Name." Surely this is evident that Judson's goal is
Or, pass in review a few of Burma's fine group of
Baptist leaders. In Rangoon, there are such men as Thra
Pan, director of young people's work among two hundred
churches in the Karen Association, and U Ba Han, pastor
of the Burmese Church founded by Judson. He also
teaches on Seminary Hill, Insein, with Saya Tha Din as
an able colleague. Bassein brings memories of Thra
Lugyi, fluent in three languages, fearless preacher to Bud-
dhist Karens, and with him U Ba U, former Buddhist
priest and now evangelist to the Burmans. Among the
laymen are U Ba Tsoe, Burmese timber merchant, deeply
devoted to the Pyinmana Church, and Thra Thin who be-
queathed to the Bassein Association Rs. 30,000 for carrying
the gospel to the Karens in " the regions beyond." Thra
Kra Su is shouldering major responsibilities. " Old and
rugged but a regular saint of God, he is carrying on in
Loikaw where missionaries have found it hard to work."
Judson College points with pride to its graduates.
Among its men are such mission school heads as U Po
Win of the Moulmein Karen High School and U Po Min
of the Myingyan Burman High School. There are, too,
among its women Ma Hannah, fulltime secretary of the
Daily Vacation School movement, and Ma Nu, a teacher
<n the Burmese Women's Bible School. There is also an
impressive list in Government employ. U Than Tin and
U Shwe Sein each hold that important post, somewhat
misnamed, " Under-secretary to Government," Silas San
Wah is a Judge in Mergui, and U Mating Cho is Pro-
vincial Inspector of National Schools. There are also
U Ba Htin, Assistant Deputy Commissioner at Pegu,
U Po Chit, headmaster of the Government High School
at Insein, Daniel Aung Bwint of the Rangoon Police, and
L. Htin Po, Civil Surgeon at Shwebo.
Maymyo Bible Assembly
No group better portrays the prospects for the future
than those gathered at the Maymyo Bible Assembly. High
in the hills east of Mandalay is Maymyo, Burma's sum-
mer capital. Here is the hot season residence of the
Governor. Here, too, the Baptist Mission has an all-
nations' church and a fine school for girls. Chief of the
mission's buildings is the Milton Shirk Memorial Rest
House. It gives rest and respite from the heat of the
plains to many missionaries. Just across the road from
the Rest House is the spacious assembly building. Ten
days in late March and early April each year are given
to this gathering. More than two decades of experience
have proved its importance to the whole mission. The year
1930 saw twenty-three out of thirty-one mission stations
represented. There were among the delegates sixty-four
Burmans, sixty Karens, fifteen Anglo-Indians, five Chins,
four Chinese, three Kachins, three Takings, three Indian
Christians, two Shans, two Hindus, one Armenian, two
Taungthus and one Mohammedan. This racial roll-call
indicates that every important group is being touched.
The general subject was in 1929 " The Life without
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
Limit " and in 1930 " The Overcoming Life." There is
a definite attempt to avoid that which has occupied the
group, most of whom are students or teachers during the
preceding nine months. The urgent need is not a wide
and varied curriculum, rather spiritual renewal which will
carry through the coming year. Bible classes in English,
Burmese, and Karen, courses in C. E., and D. V. B. School
methods and training in personal work occupy the morn-
ings. The afternoons are given to recreation. In the eve-
ning is heard an inspirational address. On the closing
Sunday afternoon in 1929 a consecration service was held
out under the trees. Many lives were rededicated to
Christ. Several for the first time made a public profession.
All left the meeting with a deeper certainty of the place
the Master must have in their lives. Foreign Secretary
J. C. Robbins, deeply moved by what he saw and heard,
declared, " When you can have such a meeting led in such
a beautiful way by a Burmese pastor like U Ba Han, there
is no need to fear for the future of the Kingdom of God
Large Areas Are Still Unoccupied
A glimpse of these different groups almost leaves one
persuaded that the task is done persuaded till one turns
to a few comparisons. The best record is among the
Karens with, if Catholics are omitted, one in nine Chris-
tian. Among the hill-folk twelve thousand five hundred
Christians are quite a company, yet the task which awaits
is sixty times that number. Immigrant Indians are, many
of them, Christians, yet only twenty-five out of every
thousand have accepted Christ. As for the Burmese Bud-
dhist the Christian bears a ratio of just one in one thou-
sand. This ratio is substantially the same among the
Shans. These figures point to many unoccupied areas.
The districts of Ruby Mines, Katha, Upper Chindwin,
Magwe, and Minbu have been but little touched. The
Arakan division with nearly one million people finds the
Bible Churchmen's Missionary Society taking up work in
the north, an area neglected since the early days of the
Much is yet to be accomplished. Societies, other than
the American Baptists, striving to help are the American
Methodists in Lower Burma at Pegu and Rangoon to-
gether with Thongwa and Syriam close to the capital. The
English Wesleyan Methodists with seven stations are scat-
tered throughout Upper Burma from Kalaw in the South-
ern Shan States to Mawlaik far up the Chindwin River.
The Bible Churchmen's Missionary Society, in addition
to their new venture in Northern Arakan, have six points
north and west of Bhamo where, since 1924, work is being
attempted in the territory first penetrated by Eugenio Kin-
caid prospecting for a 'link between Burma and Assam
Baptists. In none of these stations, save perhaps Pegu,
may the work be said to overlap. The Society for the
Propagation of the Gospel the Church of England organ-
ization has seven stations ; and the Seventh Day Adven-
tists from America have three. This last Society is now
penetrating up the Salween River above Moulmein. There
are also in Rangoon the Y. M. and Y. W. C. A., the
British and Foreign Bible Society, and the Salvation
Army. Although these other Christian organizations are
doing their part, Baptists must assume major responsi-
bility for untouched territory. Prior occupancy of Burma
places responsibility on them.
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
Baptists have twice as many foreign workers and six
times as many Nationals giving full time to mission work
as all other religious bodies put together. The 1,320 Bap-
tist churches occupy a position of first importance. Yet
it is manifest that the door of opportunity has only been
partially entered. Burma has unique political possibilities.
If these possibilities are realized, the Christian church
in Burma is bound to wield a wide influence. Edward
Thompson, before the Round Table Conference in London
in the winter of 1930-31, declared that if that Conference
should prove successful, it would furnish the best propa-
ganda in all history for the peaceful solution of disputes
between nations. And more,
They will strike the hardest blow that racial and color prejudice
have received since the time of Christ For the first time, an
Empire dominated mainly by people of one blood will have found
a way to incorporate on equal terms a vast people of blood and
thought and religious belief poles apart from its own. It will
open up new hope for depressed and discouraged peoples every-
where, and there can be no limit set to the regions into which its
influence will go. It will have repercussions on the policy of
every nation that owns a yard of territory outside its own borders;
or has any dissatisfied minority within them.
The progress made by the Round Table Conference far
An Opportunity Unexcelled Anywhere
Separated Burma bears promise of becoming a leader
along this path of peace and of cooperation regardless of
color. Burma is already far more democratic than any
other province of India. Burma's racial and religious
groups are much more kindly disposed to one another.
The dominant religious group, the Buddhists, are believers
in a faith by far the most susceptible of all in India to
the permeation of Christian teaching. Buddhist ethical
principles have acquired new meaning due to the constant
contact with Christianity. The common reply to Chris-
tian teaching is a tu du be they are the same. This
attitude has opened doors for a leavening uplift. Would
that it had carried farther! Be deeply grateful that we
find Burma facing her future with her two most important
groups, Christian and Buddhist, not "poles apart" but
prepared to work together for the welfare of " Mother
Burma." Through this cooperation Burma will not only
play an exceedingly important part in the political drama
of Southern Asia, but it will speak for Christ as well.
Dean Charles Reynolds Brown, on a visit to Japan, one
of the far points to which the teachings of Gautama
Buddha have penetrated, joined a band of pilgrims to the
shrine at Kamakura built to memorialize that son of a king
who gave his all to gain enlightenment. Standing before
the heroic figure in bronze he exclaimed :
The dignity of the majestic figure, the look of peace and ineffable
calm upon the face, the air of repose meets the hurried, thought-
less tourist as if to hush him into reverence and meditation. But
the figure is seated; the arms are folded; the eyes are closed. It
is the calm of death.
" The calm of death " cannot sit at a round table con-
ference drawing up plans for democracy. Gautama Bud-
dha accomplished much. His creed condemns caste. It
aids in the emancipation of women. He has kept the path
to self-government cleared of great barriers which still
stand in India. But the foundation principles for the new
structure must be furnished by Another: the One who
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
stands erect, his arms outstretched, his eyes alight. The
need is not the calm of death but the light of a living love.
Burma, coveted of men for their selfish purposes, is
coveted by the Master for quite other ends. Will he
possess it? The answer rests on the continued cooperation
of the Churches in America and the Churches in Burma.
Guardian of the Pagodas
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
CHAPTER I. ADONIRAM JUDSON
1. Sketch the life of Adoniram Judson prior to his de-
parture from America, catching contrasts with
2. Discuss the difficulties of Ann and Adoniram Judson
in going to the foreign field. Compare them with
3. What effect did the Judsons becoming Baptists have in
the awakening and developing of that denomina-
tion in America?
4. Why should the question of immersion require long
consideration by the Judsons and Luther Rice?
5. How is tropical Burma different from Northern
6. Read Kipling's " Road to Mandalay." Is its geog-
7. What reasons, do you suppose, caused " the teacher "
to delay accepting Christ?
8. How is Rangoon in 1931 different from Rangoon
9. Name the Mission institutions in Rangoon. Are they
all included within Adoniram Judson's purpose ?
CHAPTER II. VOYAGES AND MOTIVES
1. Name four differences between travel to the field in
1834 and today.
2. Why is life in Burma's frontier stations difficult?
How is it different from the homeland?
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
3. Are all three missionary motives necessary? Are they
4. Is Burma more " needy " than America? If so, how?
If not, why not?
5. Name nine different races and the mission stations for
6. In what ways do racial differences increase the difficul-
ties of mission work?
CHAPTER III. FOUR ESSENTIALS
1. What are the modern missionary's main difficulties in
learning the language? How is his task different
2. Why is Burmese more difficult to learn than French?
3. What are some by-products of language study? What
is the value of each by-product?
4. How would you proceed in reducing a language to
writing? What are some words difficult to catch?
5. What book would you most like to share with the
people of Burma? Why?
6. Why was the Mission Board wise in sending Hough
as Judson's first associate?
7. What Christian literature is necessary for America?
8. How can Christianity avoid being called a foreign
9. Why is the missionary task impossible of achievement
by foreigners alone?
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
CHAPTER IV. CERTAIN BARRIERS
1. Why were the Burmans hostile to Boardman?
2. Why were the Karens friendly to the British ? To the
3. Was Boardman right in turning his attention to the
4. Do you find anything to commend, anything to criti-
cize in the three Buddhist objects of worship?
5. In what ways should Christianity be especially attrac-
tive to Buddhists?
6. Compare Gautama's journey to the Anauma River
with Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
7. What do the " Four Roads to Perfection " lack?
8. In what ways is Buddha's self-sacrifice different from
9. Must a one hundred per cent. Burman be a Buddhist ?
10. In what ways were the Karens a barrier to Burmese
Buddhists becoming Christians?
11. What are some other reasons why Buddhists are dif-
ficult to win to Christ?
CHAPTER V. COCOANUT CREEK KARENS
1. How did travel through tropical jungle for Abbott,
how does it even today, differ from a hike through
2. The many missionary deaths in Arakan would not be
considered justifiable today. Were they or are we
3. Should a church ask its " missionary pastor " to make
greater sacrifice than its own minister ?
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
4. Was the price paid for the gospel by the Karens too
high? Do conditions among the Karens today
give any answer to this question?
5. Why did the missionaries to the Karens move from
Sandoway to Bassein?
6. Why did not the coming of the British doom the
religion of the Burman?
7. What were the points of strength and of weakness in
the early Karen leaders?
8. Of the three characteristics of vigorous church life
self-propagation, self-government, and self-sup-
port which should come first in emphasis?
Which second ?
9. If the average wage of a day-laborer in Burma is
Rs. I/ per day, what would be the equivalent in
dollars of Rs. 20,300?
10. Name the Karen Mission stations. How widely are
CHAPTER VI. BEYOND MANDALAY
1. Name the mission stations for Kachins, for Chins, for
Shans, for Lahus and Was.
2. What sections of Burma does each race occupy?
3. How is the savage more religious than the civilized
4. Which is easier for you to understand, Animism or
Buddhism? Why is this true?
5. Why do Animists accept Christ more quickly than
6. Is it fair to compare Kachin demons with Salem
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
7. How is our superstitious "knocking on wood" dif-
ferent from a Kachin sacrificing a chicken?
8. How are the many dialects developed?
9. Would you think that recent immigration has been
good or bad for Burma?
10. Should the Foreign Mission Society attempt to meet
new needs, even if it goes in debt?
CHAPTER VII. WOMEN'S WORK
1. Compare the purpose of Judson with the goal of the
Woman's American Baptist Foreign Mission So-
ciety. Does the former include the latter?
2. What is meant by the " elevation of women " ? How
does Christian education contribute to this?
3. The girls of Burma are eager for education. What
danger and what hope does this movement hold?
4. Compare the proverb, " Better a male dog than a
woman," with Christ's teaching. How might such
a proverb influence the attitude toward education
for girls ?
5. Remembering that much of Animism clings to Bud-
dhism Why should women be suspicious of for-
6. What conditions make the training of women nurses
an urgent need?
7. Why is leprosy the most dreaded of diseases ?
8. Describe four Hindu customs never practised by Bud-
dhists. How do these affect the position of women ?
9. Describe the witnessing ministry of the Christian
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
CHAPTER VIII. MEN AND METHODS
1. Name some natural difficulties which arise in com-
bining several language groups in one convention.
2. In your judgment, what are the necessary qualifica-
tions of a missionary?
3. How would you proceed in order to procure candi-
dates possessing these qualifications ?
4. Just what is the task of mission schools? Should
these schools continue if Government forbids re-
quired Bible classes and chapel services?
5. Is secular education a help or a hindrance to becom-
ing a Christian?
6. Should mission schools in Burma receive financial aid
7. Should missionaries be divided into educational and
8. Have Christians in America any responsibility for giv-
ing a secular education to the children of Burma?
9. Is the leavening influence of foreign missions to be
counted among its good results even though it does
not lead to conversion?
10. Why is the living voice in preaching and personal
work preeminent among methods ?
11. What should be the attitude of the missionary toward
the religions of Burma? Give reasons for Jud-
son's " Golden Balance " being better than " The
12. Would E. W. Kelly's abilities have been wasted in a
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
CHAPTER IX. A PROPHECY FULFILLED
1. Name the mission stations among the Burmese. (See
Chapter II.) What areas appear to be uncared
2. Why is evangelistic work among the Burmans more
difficult than among the Karens?
3. Is the ministry of healing one of the essential func-
tions of our missionary endeavor? What part did
it have in Christ's life work?
4. What is the purpose of medical missions? (1) To
heal? (2) To win converts? (3) To "reveal
the attitude of God toward men " ?
5. In what ways would the practise of the medical mis-
sionary differ from that of your family physician ?
6. Imagining yourself to be an Animist, why are tigers'
bones good medicine?
7. " Foreign missions should train leaders for all depart-
ments of life: evangelistic, educational, medical,
social, industrial, , and political." Do you think
all six of these departments of life should be
8. Discuss pro and con the advisability of sending agri-
cultural experts as foreign missionaries.
9. Do you approve of the methods employed by the
10. Should Christians from Burma be brought to America
for further training? Do you think such visits
will deepen their Christian life?
M [ 165 ]
BAPTISTS IN BURMA
CHAPTER X. READJUSTING RELATIONS
1. What are four major differences between Burma and
2. Should ability to raise armies be essential to nation-
3. What should be the American missionary's attitude
toward the political reforms now under way in
4. What factors make Rangoon the hub of a considerable
5. Should missionaries insist on control of work as long
as it receives support from America?
6. Should missionaries be sent out to work under the
direction of nationals? Has U San Ba a right
to ask of American missionaries what is implied
in his " Call for Colleagues " in Chapter II ?
7. What parts of Burma are still unoccupied by mission-
aries? What parts are inadequately taken care
of ? In the light of these facts discuss the state-
ment : " Missionary work is less needed today
8. What did Judson start out to do in Burma? Give
some outstanding examples of evidence of accom-
plishment of this purpose.
9. How do Burma's political prospects increase the need
BOOKS ON BURMA
Alexander McLeish. Christian Progress in Burma (1929).
Paper, $1.00; cloth, $1.50. World Dominion Press.
S. W. Cooks. A Short History of Burma. $1.60. Macmillan.
Encyclopedia Britannica: Burma, Rangoon, Buddhism, Ani-
Shway Yoe (Sir George Scott). The Burman: His Life and
Notions. $5.00. Macmillan.
K. J. Saunders. Buddhism and Buddhists in Southern Asia.
Adoniram Judson Apostle to Burma. 75 cents. The Judson
Mrs. L. H. Carson. Pioneer Trails, Trials, and Triumphs.
Paper, 60 cents. J. H. Merriam, Pasadena, Calif.
Gordon Seagrave. Waste-Basket Surgery. $1.50. The Amer-
ican Baptist Publication Society.
Dr. San C. Po. Burma and the Karens. $2.50. Leland, 129
Park Row, N. Y. C.
Rev. E. N. Harris. A Star in the East. $1.50. Lit Dept
B. M. C, N. Y. C.
Rev. H. I. Marshall. The Karen People of Burma. Paper,
$3.00; cloth, $4.00. Ohio State University Press.
Alonzo Bunker. Sketches from the Karen Hills. 75 cents.
BOOKS ON BURMA
Honore Willsie Morrow. Splendor of God. $2.50. Win.
Morrow & Co., N. Y. C.
F. Tennyson Jesse. The Lacquer Lady. $2.50. Macmillan.
Alonzo Bunker. Soo Tha a Tale of the Karens. 75 cents.
THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO
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UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO
I J 357 247