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Full text of "Reminiscences of my life in Persia"

MY LIFE IN PERSIA 
A REMINISCENCE 




MISS JEWETT 






REMINISCENCES 
OF MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

BY 

MARY JEWETT 



WITH INTRODUCTION 

BY 

ROBERT E. SPEER 




THE TORCH PRESS 

CEDAR RAPIDS. IOWA 

1909 



J3VS2t1 



"ABHENTIEII 



DEDICATED TO THE MEMOBY OF MY BE- 
LOVED AND HONOBED FATHEB, WHO GAVE 
HIS ELDEST CHILD TO THE WOBK OF FOB- 
EIGN MISSIONS AND SOON AFTEB LAID 
DOWN HIS OWN LIFE IN THE WOBK OF 
HOME MISSIONS 



M183707 



PKEFACE 

When in the providence of God my duty had 
been made plain to me that I should retire from 
active service on the foreign field to spend the 
remainder of my days in the home land, I was 
glad that they said to me "Come and tell us of 
your life and work," hoping thus to do something 
for the cause. I soon found that it is very little 
that can be told in the short time given for a 
missionary address. So I felt impelled to write 
it out, and thus tell more fully of my experiences 
in Persia. My little book is not a history, nor is 
it a diary or a journal. It does not go into deep 
things, but is only a simple story of my missionary 
life, with greetings to my many friends whose love 
and prayers have been a help and blessing to me 
all the years. I have been guided in the selection 
of matter by questions that have been asked me, 
and what I have written is largely answers to such 
questions. I beg of my readers leniency in judg- 
ment, for my work is far from perfect ; but imper- 
fection marks all our labors here below. With the 
salutation of the East I greet you 

1 * Sala 'am-alakum * J 
Peace be unto you. 



CONTENTS 

Introduction 9 

I. Going to Persia 13 

II. Learning the Language and Beginnings 

of Work 27 

III. Azerbyjan . . . . . 36 

IV. How We Live in Persia ... 45 
V. Religions 64 

VI. Tabriz for Christ .... 80 

VII. How We Work 95 

VIII. Woman's Work for Woman . . 106 

IX. Touring 119 

X. Some Tours I Have Made ... 129 

XI. Khoi 146 

XII. Mahmud 159 

XIII. Eabbi Rachel 167 

XIV. Does it Pay? 175 

XV. Just a Word More .... 182 

Glossary 189 



LIST OF ILLUSTKATIONS 



Miss Jewett .... 

Eose Tree at Tabriz 
Ladies on a Journey 
Buffalo Team Drawing Hay 
Women Eeturning from Harvest 

Field 

The Azan, or Call to Prayer 
Dervish, or Wandering Holy Man 

Tabriz 

Women Grinding at the Mill 
Matron and Pupils, Girls' School 
Persian Gentleman 
Armenian Women in Maragha 
Moslem Village Women at Work 
Where We Dwelt Six Weeks 
In Front of a Tea House 
Moslem Women Churning.. 
Tent in the Mountains 
Mahmud, His Mother and Niece 



frontispiece 

facing page 40 

facing page 40 

facing page 48 



facing 
facing 
facing 
facing 
facing 
facing 
facing 
facing 
facing 
facing 
facing 
facing 
facing 
facing 



page 48 
page 64 
page 72 
page 80 
page 80 
page 96 
page 102 
page 120 
page 120 
page 136 
page 136 
page 144 
page 144 
page 160 



INTRODUCTION 

Persia is still one of the unaltered lands of 
the Orient. The tide of Western material civiliza- 
tion carrying with it schools, commercial houses, 
railways, trolley cars, and the English language, 
which has poured over Japan, Korea, China, Siam, 
and India, has not yet spread to Persia. There 
are no railways. There is one German school in 
the capital, subsidized by the German Government 
and so Mohammedanized in its religious exercises, 
conducted daily by a Mollah, as to give no offence 
to Islam. But the land is still, save for one influ- 
ence, undisturbed in its Oriental stagnancy. 

That one influence is not the modern spirit of 
independence demanding constitutional govern- 
ment. This spirit has come to Persia. The tri- 
umph of Japan over Russia and the growth of 
nationalism throughout Asia have affected Persia 
as they have affected all of Asia. Newspapers 
have sprung up. Public discussion has claimed 
the liberty of opinion and of expression of opinion. 
Local self-governing bodies have been organized 
in many cities, sometimes quite usurping the power 
of the officials representing the Shah. All this 
ferment promises new conditions. But in spite 
of it all, the old Persia is still there. The surface 
has been stirred but the national character has 
been unchanged. 



10 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

The one influence which has wrought construc- 
tively in the life of the nation has been the mis- 
sionary influence. The only good schools and 
almost all the hospitals, indeed all of them outside 
of the capital, have been the institution of the 
missionaries. The missionary has been the only 
foreigner who has settled down and learned the 
language of the people and lived among them. 
Others have come and gone but he has remained. 
The traveler and explorer have passed through, 
reading the great inscriptions, the rug buyer has 
come and departed, the Consul and Minister have 
stayed as long as they had to and have then 
eagerly escaped. But the missionary has come 
and lived and died in Persia. 

In consequence, he has known the people as 
no one else has. It is true that some of the travel- 
ing visitors and men in diplomatic service have 
written good books. "Haji Baba" is a classic 
picture of Persian character. Curzon's " Persia' ' 
is still a good standard work. Browne's "A Year 
Among the Persians" is a marvel of vivid and 
faithful portrayal of the mind and ways of the 
people. But only the missionaries have the knowl- 
edge which comes from long years of intimacy and 
personal contact, such knowledge as in China and 
Japan others besides the missionaries possess. 
And especially in the case of the family life and 
the lot of women, the woman missionary knows 
what no traveler can ever know, not even a trav- 
eler like Mrs. Bishop. 

Miss Jewett was for thirty-six years one of 
these missionaries in Persia. In city and country 



INTRODUCTORY 11 

she went to and fro among the people, and in their 
homes for more than a generation. I remember 
visiting her while she was living alone at Mian- 
duab, a little town south of Urumia Lake. The 
Moslem and Armenian women of the town crowded 
her home, and the men and the children came as 
freely to her. As we rode away one frosty No- 
vember morning, our last picture of her was as 
she stood in her doorway, a gray-haired open- 
faced figure among the group of chuddar-covered 
women who stood about her leaning their weak 
and evil lives against her strength and love. 

I am glad to commend Miss Jewett's clear 
and careful account of the life which she knew in 
Persia, presented here in such simple and attrac- 
tive style, for the information of those friends 
of Persia at home who would understand better 
in order that they may help more. 

For the need of help is great, and the oppor- 
tunities were never richer than now. Whatever 
reactions may come, there is to be henceforth a 
new liberty of investigation and discussion in the 
Moslem lands and nowhere more than in Persia. 
To a people in need shall not the thing that they 
need be given — not mere secular education, not 
mere political agitation, not mere constitutional 
change, but the life of God and the light of men 
in Christ! 

Eobekt E. Speer 




A EEMINISCENCE OF MY LIFE IN PEESIA 

I 

GOING TO PEBSIA 

I have been retrospecting, going over in mind 
thirty-six years of my life — those years in which 
I was actively engaged in missionary work. 
What experiences! What happenings! What 
providences! What joys and sorrows, ups and 
downs, comings and goings! What progress! 
What changes in these thirty-six years! Many 
things have not been recorded, many things have 
been forgotten, many things that once seemed in- 
teresting, do now, after the lapse of years, seem 
scarcely worth mentioning. Some things stand 
out in the halls of memory, never to be forgotten, 
and fnll of interest as ever. 



14 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

When in 1871 the call came to me to go to do 
mission work in Persia, I hesitated not, but said 
"I will go." Then followed preparations for the 
long journey thither and for the long sojourn in 
a strange land. I knew nothing of what was 
needed, what to do, or how to get ready. I soon 
found that I had nothing to do, only to let others 
do for me. Kind and devoted friends in Iowa, 
especially in the towns of Marshalltown, Cedar 
Eapids, and Vinton, took me up, furnished my out- 
fit and sent me on my way with many tokens of 
love and with their prayers and benedictions, 
which have followed and blessed me all these 
years. Oh, the inestimable value of such friend- 
ship! In it they have been blessed — and I. I 
pass lightly over the parting with loved ones. 
The time from my appointment to the time of my 
sailing was very short, and some of those dearest 
of all, I could not see. Some I have not seen since, 
for they passed over the river before even my first 
visit home. 

August 9th, 1871, we steamed out of New 
York harbor. Besides myself there were in our 
party, Eev. James Bassett and wife and three chil- 
dren, Eev. William E. Stocking and wife, and Mrs. 
D. P. Cochran with her two daughters, the latter 
returning to Persia from a visit in the home land. 
Mrs. Cochran, a devoted "Mother in Israel,' 9 
loved and honored by all who knew her, lived and 
labored until the winter of 1893, when she went to 
her rest after more than forty-seven years of mis- 
sionary life. Mrs. Stocking, so lovely and con- 



GOING TO PEESIA 15 

secrated I could only think of her as an angel of 
light, remained with us but one short year when 
she was taken to her heavenly home. The others 
were afterwards called to different fields of labor 
on earth. Dr. Irving, of blessed memory, then one 
of the secretaries of the Board, came on deck to 
bid the outgoing missionaries God-speed and good- 
bye. As he grasped my hand and told me what 
he expected of me, I resolved, by the grace of God, 
to try to prove worthy of his expectations. Then 
there were my fellow missionary workers to be- 
come acquainted with, as at that time they were 
all strangers to me. After sundry offerings to 
Neptune, and several days and nights spent in 
the state-room bunk, I crawled out on deck, and 
reclining in a steamer chair, thought of home and 
loved ones left behind. 

The voyage was a pleasant one, though less 
speedy than voyages nowadays. "We were ten 
days crossing the Atlantic, and reached Liverpool 
Saturday evening the 19th. Eesting in Liverpool 
over Sabbath, we went the next day to London, 
where we remained a few days. Then followed a 
fine trip across Europe via Dover and English 
Channel to Ostend, thence across the country via 
Cologne and Nuremburg to Vienna, thence to Basi- 
as on the Danube, then by boat down the pictur- 
esque, rock-bound windings of that magnificent 
river to Euschuk, then again by rail to Varna on 
the Black Sea, whence we went by steamer to Con- 
stantinople. Approaching that great city we had 



16 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

a fine view of palaces, mosques, minarets, beautiful 
gardens, rugged cliffs, channels, inlets and outlets 
and innumerable ships and boats. It was a sight 
well worth seeing. But how great was the feeling 
of disappointment on getting into the city and 
passing along the narrow, dirty streets, crowded 
with lazy Turks and mangy dogs. It was pleasant 
to be met by missionary gentlemen, with a hearty 
welcome, among them Bev. J. Gr. Cochran, who had 
come from Persia to meet his family. Cordially 
and lovingly the missionaries in Constantinople 
received us into their homes and entertained us 
during the few days we were in that city. I was 
the guest of Eev. and Mrs. Tracy, then stationed 
in Constantinople, but who have since labored 
in the interior of Turkey. We improved our op- 
portunity of seeing some of the sights in Constan- 
tinople, as the Hippodrome, the costumes of the 
Janizaries, the Mosque of St. Sophia, etc. We 
crossed the Bridge of Boats, where it is said that 
every nationality on earth is represented, went 
through the curious and thronged bazaars, rode in 
a caique, visited the Bible House and some of the 
missionary homes. 

Again we were on the stormy Euxine bound 
for Trebizond. Exceedingly amusing was the 
landing at Trebizond. We were paddled toward 
the shore in a little boat, where it seemed we must 
hold on tight or tumble into the water. Near the 
shore we met a motley crowd of funny looking 
men standing in the shallow water with trousers 
rolled up to knee waiting to help us ashore. In 



GOING TO PERSIA 17 

the midst of yells and screams and indescribable 
noise they dragged the boat a little nearer land; 
but still in water it kept bobbing up and down with 
the rise and fall of the waves. Then, watching 
her opportunity, when the wave would recede, a 
lady would give a hand to a man on each side of 
her, and with their help make a spring over water 
and mud, and fortunate would she be if she landed 
on dry ground with dry feet. Then right along 
with horses, mules, donkeys, men carrying boxes 
and trunks on their backs, men carrying children 
in their arms and men with arms full of bundles, 
tired and anxious missionaries, dodging this way 
and that to keep out of mud and out of the way 
of animals and men, we reached a house where we 
were to camp down during our stay in Trebizond. 
We were hungry, and some queerly cooked meat 
and bread and some coffee were brought. I dis- 
covered that we were in an old building that had 
once been used as a church, and I took possession 
of the space behind the pulpit, called it my play- 
house and amused myself arranging my bed and 
other things. The rest of the building was divided 
into compartments by the stretching of curtains. 
There was a gathering together of saddles, bridles, 
whips, horse blankets, tents, camp bedsteads, bed- 
ding, folding chairs, waterproof cloaks, rubber 
sheets, food and cooking utensils. Among the 
last were plates (unbreakable), cups and saucers, 
knives, forks, spoons, etc. Bags innumerable, of 
all sizes, were provided for carrying these things 
and our clothing and personal effects. I was much 



18 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

interested in the provision chest, in which were 
packed these table utensils, together with rice, 
flour, cheese, crackers, cakes, bread, sugar, tea, 
coffee, macaroni, etc., for we were to travel 
through a country where people do not live like 
Americans. After several days of diligent prepa- 
ration all things were ready, horses hired and last 
things all done. We lay down at night expecting 
to start early in the morning. Morning came, but 
horses did not come. The muleteers were hunted 
up and the horses demanded. They had some 
affairs of their own to attend to and were not 
yet ready. They said, "We will not go to-day.' ' 
No power could move them. A day and a night 
we waited. Again the next morning they said, 
"We will not go to-day.' ' I became impatient. 
An older missionary gave me some good advice. 
He said, ' ' There are three things above all needed 
by the missionary : the first is patience, the second 
is patience, the third is patience. ' ' Finally, after 
several days of waiting, and when patience was 
nearly, if not quite exhausted, we started, or as we 
say in Persia, using a Persian idiom, "we fell on 
the way." Our first day's ride was slow and 
short, only a few miles. We stopped for the night 
on a plain near a village. Tents were set up and 
curtains hung. We arranged our belongings for 
the night and lay down for a rest until the steam- 
ing tea urn was brought. We drank and were 
refreshed. Supper was served on a cloth spread 
on some rugs on the ground, after which we lay 
down for the night, but not until there had been a 



GOING TO PERSIA 19 

prayer with thanksgiving and a committing of 
ourselves to our merciful Heavenly Father's care 
for the night and the coming days. At the early 
dawn we were awakened by sounds of quarreling, 
with yells and screams. One of the party, new 
and inexperienced, rose in great distress and 
called to Mr. Cochran, "Our muleteers are fight- 
ing.' ' He received a laughing reply and was 
advised to lie down and take it easy, for it is their 
custom to thus do much fighting with one another 
and there was no danger. After an early break- 
fast, and while the muleteers and our native 
attendants were arranging the loads, a prayer was 
offered. And after much loud talking, quarreling 
and delay, boxes, trunks, saddles and huge saddle 
bags were arranged on the horses, the last ropes 
and straps were drawn taut, the last knot tied, 
and we were again mounted and on our way. All 
the time the rain poured down, and it rained all 
day. So right at the beginning we had use for our 
rain cloaks and our waterproof clothing. Some 
times on the journey there would be a literal 
"falling on the way," as some horse would stum- 
ble and fall, spilling rider and load on the ground, 
or boxes would be tumbled into a muddy stream, 
or a poor, tired animal would lie down under his 
load with no strength or desire to rise. One day 
we enjoyed a hearty laugh at the steward of the 
party — a Nestorian deacon from Urumia. On 
the horse he rode were huge saddle bags loaded 
with traps for use on the journey. On top of the 
saddle bags were his bed, quilt and pillow made 



20 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

into a big bundle, and on top of all sat the deacon 
attired in a green coat with gathered skirt and 
lined with red, on his head a turban of an astra- 
khan cap with a red scarf wound around it, and 
a gun swung over his shoulder. Suddenly his 
horse stumbled and fell and he rolled over in the 
dust. As he picked himself up he solemnly re- 
marked in broken English, "You laugh me now, 
next day I laugh you. ' ' Sure enough he did, for 
next day some one else had a similar experience. 
We truly were a funny looking caravan com- 
pany, gentlemen and ladies on American saddles, 
Nestorian attendants with their queer dress, 
mounted high on the loaded pack saddles, boxes, 
trunks, tents and great saddle bags strapped on 
to the clumsy pack saddles, Mrs. Bassett and baby 
in a takhtrawan, and little girls carried in baskets 
arranged with seats, one on each side of a horse. 
As we slowly moved along we whiled away the 
time in conversation with one another. I began 
picking up words in the language I was to use. 
I learned to count, to ask for water, milk, bread 
and necessary things. Sometimes I would laugh 
at the queerly dressed and queerly acting people 
and funny sights along the way. Sometimes I 
was ready to cry from very weariness and discom- 
fort. Over mountains, valleys and plains, at times 
overcome with heat or suffering with cold, now 
and again stopping to gaze upon the magnificent 
scenery as one grand view followed another in 
quick succession — verdure covered hills — some 



GOING TO PERSIA 21 

mountains covered with forests, some without a 
tree — mountain streams and waterfalls — graz- 
ing flocks and herds — the ' ' cattle on a thousand 
hills' ■ — villages on mountain sides, or in valleys, 
or on plains — gorges, precipices, forests, ever- 
greens, mosses, crocuses — up, up, above the 
clouds, then down again. I enjoyed the nights 
and rested comfortably when the tents were 
pitched, but when we stopped for the night in the 
houses of the people, or in stables, in the midst 
of fleas, dirt, close quarters and bad air, it was 
almost impossible to sleep or rest. Never were 
the evening and morning prayers omitted, and in 
every prayer the dear home land and the loved 
ones there were remembered. Then would we lie 
down in peace and safety for the Lord did protect. 
How delightful were the Sabbath days on that 
journey, when plans and efforts having been made 
to reach some stopping place cleaner and more 
comfortable than usual, the Sabbath days were 
really rest days. How we enjoyed the sweet, 
simple services of worship on those days, singing 
our sacred songs, reading our Bibles, engaging in 
quiet conversation and meditation, in just lying 
still or in taking quiet walks. 

How delightful were the few days spent in the 
homes of the missionaries in Erzroom in Turkey. 
Then again we rode over steep mountain passes 
and dreary plains. We crossed the Euphrates 
and visited an old Gregorian church, where 
among other relics we were shown the hand of 



22 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

John the Baptist! How our hearts thrilled as 
snow capped Mt. Ararat in all his glory loomed 
up before us. As we slowly reached the top of 
the mountain range that forms the boundary be- 
tween Turkey and Persia, my companion said, 
i ' There is Persia. 9 ' With wondering eyes, I gazed 
on that strange land. A village was pointed out. 
I looked in vain for the abode of civilization. Low 
mud huts huddled together, with narrow, crooked 
dirty alleys for streets, heaps of manure and piles 
of straw were what I saw. Queer looking people 
were moving about; there were droves of cows, 
flocks of sheep and goats, dogs barking and un- 
heard-of noise. A few trees had been planted 
outside the village, giving some shade and show 
of comfort. A stream of water ran along by the 
village. In a muddy pond wallowed some buffa- 
loes. A string of camels, loaded with bales of 
cotton and Persian rugs, were slowly and clumsily 
winding along their way. There we were to spend 
the night. A comfortless night it was. Back- 
ward, downward had we traveled until we had 
reached a land of darkness. Strange indeed 
seemed the country and the people. 

As we crossed the last mountain pass before 
reaching Urumia, a never to be forgotten sight 
burst upon our view. It was the beautiful blue 
waters of Lake Urumia, lying calm and bright in 
the sunlight. Here and there above its surface 
appeared small islands, some of them rising moun- 
tain high. A clear stream rippled down toward 



GOING TO PERSIA 23 

the lake. On plain and mountain side were little 
towns and villages surrounded with green, looking 
clean in the distance, like oases in the desert, and 
all teeming with life. It seemed a happy intro- 
duction to the home of my adoption. On the 18th 
of October we reached Urumia. The last day but 
one of our journey, as we were riding on we saw 
two missionary gentlemen on horses galloping 
toward us. Then a little fun was planned. One 
of the party said, " Let's not tell them which is 
which and see if they will know which of the two 
young and new missionaries is Mrs. Stocking and 
which Miss Jewett." The next day we met a 
carriage full of ladies and gentlemen coming to 
meet us, more gentlemen horseback and quite a 
company of native friends. We entered the city 
gate through high surrounding walls, then through 
a great, strong gate and more walls into the 
Mission premises, all these gates and walls being 
necessary for safety and built around all the 
houses in all the cities in Persia. The gates are 
kept locked at night and sentinels are stationed at 
them in the day time. I felt at first as though I 
were a prisoner, but soon learned to be glad of the 
security they afforded. The glad greetings of the 
native people, the cordial hospitality of the mis- 
sionaries, and resting in their comfortable homes, 
made me rejoice that the journey of two months 
and nine days, of which six weeks were on horse- 
back from Trebizond to Urumia, was ended, and 
now I was where I could engage in the blessed 
work to which the Lord had called me. 



24 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

During the years there have been many- 
changes, one of which is the difference in time 
required to make the journey between New York 
and Persia. Now there is a railroad in the south- 
ern part of Eussia reaching to the border line, and 
a wagon post-road in Persia extending north to 
meet the railroad in Eussia. So when I came 
home in 1907 carriages drawn by four horses 
abreast brought us in two days the eighty miles 
from Tabriz to Julf a. This is the port of passage 
between Persia and Eussia, on the Aras Eiver, 
which is the dividing line between these two coun- 
tries. At Julf a passports are examined, and woe 
to the traveler who, by any mishap, has not his or 
her passport always ready at hand and properly 
viseed when traveling in Eussia. Those Bears of 
the North count it a very indispensable adjunct 
of traveling, and the would-be traveler who has 
not one will be either turned back or taken to 
Siberia, or held in custody until one may be ob- 
tained through the Consul of his country. From 
Julf a we came by rail to Batoum, a port on the east 
coast of the Black Sea. As the Eussians never 
hurry, we were much longer than we should have 
been in reaching Batoum. There we tarried three 
days waiting for the steamer, on which we were 
twelve days passing through the entire length of 
the Black Sea, through the Bosphorus — the Sea 
of Marmora — the Dardanelles — the Archipelago 
— south of Greece — past Italy and Sicily through 
the Mediterranean to Marseilles. Too late for the 
train to Paris, we rested at Marseilles one night 
and day, and another night and day brought us to 



GOING TO PERSIA 25 

London. There a delay of a week and then to 
Liverpool and across the Atlantic to New York. 
With all delays, this journey was one month and 
three days shorter than the one from New York 
to Persia in 1871. 

From the first the appearance of Persia im- 
pressed me as a country full of resources, which 
with a liberal government, a true Christianity and 
a free, enterprising people, would be equal to any. 
Experience has borne me out in this, my first im- 
pression, which may be verified when in the provi- 
dence of God the inhabitants shall become enlight- 
ened, the mountains shall yield up their stores of 
mineral wealth, and the valleys shall be filled with 
homes of comfort and plenty. The natives were 
not attractive to me then. Many things were for- 
bidding, and the slow, leisurely movemlents of 
those who were never in a hurry, knew no reason 
for haste and had no enterprise, were very trying. 
I was glad I could not talk to them until I should 
become somewhat acquainted with them, should 
learn to love them and could understand and sym- 
pathize with them. 

I was soon introduced to sorrow and death, 
for Mr. Cochran, after two weeks of pain and suf- 
fering, passed away on the 2nd of November. He 
was buried in the cemetery at Sier, where lie the 
bodies of many sainted missionaries and their 
children. Like all Christians, I can testify from 
experience that "whom the Lord loveth He chas- 
teneth," and that through bereavement and 
mourning He oftentimes sees fit to prepare them 



26 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

for their work. Only five months after reaching 
Persia I received word of the death of my father, 
whom I had left robust and well. Again, like 
others, I must become acclimated, which in my 
case ended in an attack of typhoid fever. 



II 

LEARNING THE LANGUAGE AND BEGINNINGS OF WORK 

The first work of the missionary in any for- 
eign land is the learning of the language which 
is to be his or her medium of communication with 
the people. Persian is not the one and only lan- 
guage of Persia. It is the language of the 
Southern and Eastern part of the country, but 
the language of the North and West is Turkish. 
Nor is this the only language used in that region. 
There are in the country several nationalities, each 
having its own distinct and separate language, 
viz: Syriac, Hebrew, Armenian, and Kurdish. 
Turkish is understood by all in Northwest Per- 
sia and is very extensively^ spoken, not only 
in Turkey and Northwest Persia, but also in 
Southern Eussia, in Eastern China, Afghanistan, 
Beluchistan, and adjoining countries. So those 
who have the command of this language can travel 
through these countries, communicating with their 
millions of inhabitants and preaching the gospel 
to them. Still it is not in all these countries a 
written language, for most of the people are il- 
literate, very few being able to read. Not hav- 
ing a literature, different people in different dis- 
tricts pronounce the same words differently and 
use different words for the same thing. Thus it 
follows that there are many dialects. In order 
to work successfully in any region one must learn 



28 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

the dialect of that region. The dialect used in 
Northwest Persia is the Tartar Turkish, a dialect 
very different from the Turkish spoken in Turkey, 
which latter is called Osmanli Turkish. Those 
who have learned the Osmanli Turkish think it 
a very beautiful language. Tartar Turkish is not 
so. It is a rude, barbarous language, with no 
literature and no polish. It has strong roots and 
has borrowed many words from Arabic and Per- 
sian. It is a strong, forcible language, well adapt- 
ed to preaching to a barbarous people. This was 
the language given me to learn. There were then 
no books in it and to learn it was no easy task. 
But enthusiasm and perseverance won the victory. 
The air seemed full of words, I trying to catch 
them and they continually eluding my grasp. I 
kept listening, or as we say in Persia, "hanging 
my ear," to conversations and to preaching, get- 
ting words, memorizing them and making them my 
own. A teacher was provided, and there was 
translation from English ; a primer, a geography 
and the Bible being text books. It was interest- 
ing to learn words and then practice them on the 
native people. I would be happy when I could 
make them understand, but alas ! when they would 
reply and I could not understand them. The work 
of translating the Bible into Tartar Turkish had 
been begun, and glad was the day when I first 
took in my hand a Gospel of Matthew translated 
and printed in this language, and could read it. 
This language study was really a very delight- 
ful work — with difficulties overcome, tongue 
trained to pronounce the strange sounds, mind a 



LEARNING THE LANGUAGE 29 

store house of new words, ability to speak, read 
and think in Turkish and understand what others 
were saying. Sometimes there would be hearty 
laughter over funny mistakes. One day a lady 
told her cook to make the mouse ready for din- 
ner ; she meant chicken, but used the wrong word. 
The poor cook was convulsed with laughter. I 
tried to order my horse shod, and afterwards 
learned that I had ordered gaiters for him. Many 
words are similar in sound but dissimilar in mean- 
ing, as dava means medicine, dawa — fighting, 
dewar — a wall, dawar — cattle, dua — prayer. 
One day the horses were fighting and one of the 
ladies, using the wrong word, called out, "The 
horses are praying;" "6t" means horse, "eet" 
— dog, "at" — meat. A gentleman, who was 
only just learning the language, entertaining na- 
tive guests at his table, said, "Will you have 
some more dog?" Once on a journey, trying to 
hasten some dilatory attendants, I wished to say 
"Indy chottin" — "Now load up." I did say 
* l Indy chotliin " — " Now burst. ' ' They did near- 
ly burst with laughter. Again, when afterwards 
I was learning Armenian I made a mistake which 
became a standing joke. I used the word "gee- 
nee" — wine, instead of "geen" — wife, and thus 
instead of asking the man for his wife, I asked 
him for wine. He brought me a bottle of wine and 
a wine glass. 

Building up a literature in an uncultured lan- 
guage is an interesting occupation. I have done 
a little in that line, viz: the translation of The 
Tract Primer from English to Turkish, some work 



30 MY LIFE IN PEESIA 

on a geography, helping some in Scripture trans- 
lation, preparing some Armenian tracts and con- 
siderable oral work for immediate use. I studied 
Persian some, reading the New Testament and 
Pilgrim's Progress in that language, and speak- 
ing it brokenly. It is a beautiful, polished lan- 
guage in which poets, scholars, historians and law- 
givers have expressed themselves. In 1871 there 
was only one Mission Station in all Persia, and 
that was in Urumia. From the beginning in 1835 
to that time, the work had been in the Syriac lan- 
guage and for the Nestorians, a Syriac speaking 
people. The workers saw and felt the great need 
of the Turkish speaking Moslem population and 
were actuated with the desire to reach them with 
the gospel. So the policy had been to use all pos- 
sible means of winning their friendship and pre- 
paring the way more and more for preaching 
Christ to them. The way was steadily opening 
up for this grand work, and I became enlisted in 
the great struggle of the age. 

In Holy Writ we read of famines and pes- 
tilences. Some of my first experiences were with 
these things. Indeed, during all my life in Per- 
sia I was familiar with famine, sickness, suffer- 
ing and distress of all kinds. When I first reached 
Urumia they had just passed through a scourge 
of cholera. Beginning that winter and continu- 
ing on through more than two years there was 
famine. Indescribably wretched poverty, dis- 
tress, rags, hunger, nakedness, starvation. Our 
hearts ached for the suffering ones, knowing that 
many of them must soon die, and that without hope 



LEARNING THE LANGUAGE 31 

of a better life beyond, knowing, too, that there 
was no need of such suffering. Had the rulers 
been honorable, had there been a spirit of phil- 
anthrophy, had the rich cared what became of the 
poor, it need not have been. We need not have 
seen hungry women and children all over the coun- 
try hunting roots and herbs and eating grass ; we 
need not have known of men fighting over a few 
grains of barley fallen from the manger of the 
rich man's horses ; there need not have been black, 
unhealthy bread made of barley mixed with bran, 
dirt and gravel, the only bread the wretchedly 
poor could get. It need not have happened that 
the starving should eat human flesh. One day the 
Nestorian pastor of the Protestant Church in 
Hamadan missed his little daughter. She was 
found in the hands of those who were preparing 
to kill and eat her. She was a fat little girl and 
would have made them a good meal. The rich had 
plenty. What cared they for the poor? They 
took their tnoney, their clothing, their houses, their 
all, and said "Let them die." So it was, not only 
during that famine of 1871-3, but often since. As 
I have walked the streets in Tabriz I have heard 
the cry, l ' Oh lady ! one bread money give me, oh, 
lady ! one bread money give me. ' ' Turning to see 
whence the cry, I would behold a wretched, ragged, 
dirty, nearly naked girl or woman or boy or man 
sitting by the wayside begging. Only one bread 
money! No home, no friends, no comforts, no 
happiness in this life or in the life to come. 
Thousands of such die every year. In heat, in 
cold, in storms, the famishing cry for bread. Is 



32 MY JJFE IN PERSIA 

there no bread? Is there no shelter? Can no 
help be found ? Many are living in luxury, having 
more than enough. Could they not spare a pit- 
tance ? Have they no pity, no mercy, no care for 
the perishing? 

The famine of 1871-3 opened a wide door for 
work. The government cared nothing for the des- 
titution and suffering and in accordance with their 
fatalistic ideas would say, "It is the will of God," 
and do nothing to help. Christian nations came 
to the rescue, as Christian men and women of Eu- 
rope and America sent help. Large sums of 
money thus contributed were committed to the mis- 
sionaries for distribution. They visited the miser- 
able haunts to ascertain by personal observation 
conditions and needs. Such abodes of destitution 
and distress ! Many could not get any kind of a 
shelter and were passing the long cold winter 
nights in the streets. I have in mind the picture 
of a place, one of many, where the husband, half 
blind and a cripple, and the hungry wife — both 
in rags — crouched under a quilt that had been 
given them. Their pretty little three-year-old 
daughter seemed happy and contented with a bone 
and a crust. In the city of Urumia not far from 
the residences of the missionaries a large room 
and yard were rented, where the famine sufferers 
assembled every day. A Nestorian Christian 
preacher was put in charge. At noon the door 
would be opened to the waiting crowds. Before 
giving bread the preacher would preach to them. 
They would give eager attention, nodding assent, 
with tears running down their sad pinched faces 



BEGINNINGS OF WORK 33 

as the story of the Savior's love would touch 
their hearts. Shelter and clothing were supplied 
for many, and soup was furnished to the sick. 
They would rehearse the words of the preacher, 
and many seemed to forget their hunger in feast- 
ing on the Bread of life. There were those who, 
on their death beds, were visited, prayed with and 
pointed to Jesus, and who passed away with the 
name of Jesus on their lips and peace in their 
hearts. When the Persians saw that christians 
of other and far off lands were sending food and 
clothing they were astonished, and were convinced 
that there must be something worthy in a religion 
that manifested itself in such works of mercy. 
Thus a good impression was made, want was re- 
lieved and the Gospel was preached. 

Out of this work grew the first Mission School 
for Moslem girls in Persia. It was on this wise. 
I was much interested in the hungry crowds that 
gathered every day, and being eager to do some- 
thing for them, I would go there with Bible in 
hand and with a reading prepared for them. The 
women would remain after the men had gone. 
Then I would have a meeting with them. Among 
them were some bright interesting girls, whom I 
gathered into a room and taught. As we had no 
books I had some leaflets prepared with letters 
and easy words. At the same time there was an 
opening in a Moslem village near Sier. Sier is 
a mountain village four miles from the city of 
Urumia, where there are also missionary homes. 
I had often visited this Moslem village and had 
found there some interesting girls who wished to 



34 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

learn. So I moved the girls from the city to Sier, 
and there gathered together all the girls. Three 
horses carried all the little company of eight pre- 
cious girls with all the quilts and all our school 
property. As they crossed the river, on reaching 
the opposite bank, two loads of girls fell, some in 
water and some on dry land, but with no serious 
result. One of the girls cried, "I died, I died," 
but a dose of castor oil restored her to life. I 
taught them reading, simple lessons in geography 
and arithmetic, sewing, housework and cleanliness. 
Above all the higher lessons, morality, honesty, the 
love of Grod, love to one another and the way of 
salvation through Jesus Christ, were impressed 
upon them as I read and explained the Bible and 
they committed to memory some of the sacred 
words. There was no opposition worth mentioning, 
and the general verdict was in our favor. They 
said, "It is a good thing. It is a good work, taking 
orphans and poor children, feeding and clothing 
them and teaching them knowledge, cleanliness 
and manners. ' f At one time some Moslem priests 
had a conference and tried to influence the gov- 
ernor to stop the school, but he did not heed them. 
Companies of women from the city and from the 
different villages came from time to time to see 
what we were doing. Thus opportunities were 
given for preaching which we ever endeavored to 
improve. This work continued steadily and pros- 
perously from May 1st to July 21st, 1873, during 
which time I did not leave the girls night or day. 
Then a vacation was given. The girls wept when 
told that school must close for awhile, and all went 



BEGINNINGS OF WORK 35 

away with the best of feeling. I had thought to 
continue in this delightful work, but that was not 
my privilege, for I was transferred to the newer 
and more difficult field of Tabriz. 

After many varied experiences, encouraging 
and discouraging, there is now a flourishing Mos- 
lem Girls ' School in Urumia. I rejoice to say that 
Moslem girls are now being taught by missionary 
ladies in all our Mission Stations in Persia. 
There is more and more a growing sentiment 
among Moslems that girls as well as boys may 
learn to read, and many are thus reading in their 
own abodes. 



Ill 

AZERBYJAN 

The Persian ensign is the Lion and the Sun — 
symbolic of strength and brightness. Persia — 
the land of poets and warriors — the land re- 
nowned in ancient and Bible history — where 
reigned Queen Esther, Cyrus the Persian, and Da- 
rius the Mede — where lived Daniel, the man 
"greatly beloved' 9 of God — the land whence came 
the wise men to worship the Babe in the Manger — 
whose people were once the firm friends and de- 
fenders of God's chosen people — is no longer Per- 
sia of the past. Mental and moral darkness, ig- 
norance, superstition and sin have had their bane- 
ful influence upon the people and even upon the 
very face of the country. Quoting from Gibbon, 
we read, "In the more early ages of the world, 
while the forests, that covered Europe, afforded 
a retreat to a few wandering savages, the inhab- 
itants of Asia were already collected into populous 
cities, and reduced under extensive empires, the 
seat of arts, of luxury and of despotism." And 
again, i ' The Persians, long since civilized and cor- 
rupted, were very far from possessing the martial 
independence and the intrepid hardiness, both of 
mind and body, which have rendered the Northern 
barbarians masters of the world. The science of 
war, that constituted the more rational force of 



AZERBYJAN 37 

Greece and Rome as it now does of Europe, never 
made any considerable progress in the East. 
Those disciplined evolutions which harmonize and 
animate a confused multitude were unknown to the 
Persians. They were equally unskilled in the arts 
of constructing, besieging or defending regular 
fortifications. They trusted more to their num- 
bers than to their courage, more to their courage 
than to their discipline. The infantry was a half 
armed, spiritless crowd of peasants, levied in haste 
by the allurements of plunder, and as easily dis- 
persed by a victory as by a defeat. The monarch 
and his nobles transported into the camp the pride 
and luxury of the seraglio. Their military opera- 
tions were impeded by a useless train of women, 
eunuchs, horses and camels, and in the midst of a 
successful campaign, the Persian host was often 
separated or destroyed by an unexpected famine. 
But the nobles of Persia, in the bosom of luxury 
and despotism, preserved a strong sense of per- 
sonal gallantry and national honor. ' ' 

The area of the present kingdom is 648,000 
square miles. It lies between 23° and 40° north 
latitude. It is divided into the provinces of Azer- 
byjan, Ghilan, Mazandaran, Irak- A jam, Khor- 
asan, Kerman, Laristan, Farsistan, Kuzistan, Lur- 
istan and Ardelan. Azerbyjan lies in the extreme 
Northwest, and in that province was my home. 
Situated in the temperate zone it has the climate 
of that zone. The changes are gradual from in- 
tense, dry, burning heat in the middle of summer 
to severe cold in winter, and vice versa. As it is 
a very mountainous country there may be all the 



38 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

different degrees of temperature at the same time 
in different parts of the province and at different 
elevations. So one may pass from the intense 
heat of summer on plain or valley to never melting 
snow and winter cold on mountain top. There are 
parts of Persia where there are the intensely hot 
summers with a plentiful rainfall, where the 
orange tree grows and roses are abundant, but 
the greater part of the land consists of dry barren 
plains and treeless mountains where there is no 
rain all summer, and all the country is parched 
and desert-like. In the bowels of the earth there 
is water, and the people have learned to bring this 
water to the surafce by a series of wells called 
connaughts. They begin on the slopes of the high 
hills, digging first a well until water is reached, 
then a few rods lower down another with an under- 
ground aqueduct connecting the two wells, and so 
on until the water from the mountain depth is 
brought to the surface in a beautiful, clear, cool, 
fresh water spring. Thence it is carried by chan- 
nels and distributed over the country, and by its 
life-giving power transforms the dry land into 
fields, gardens, orchards and vineyards, making 
mother earth, wherever it touches her, beautifully 
green and productive, a vivid illustration of 
Psalms 1-2, where we read of the " trees planted 
by the rivers of water.' 9 Unfortunately, owing to 
lack of enterprise, the supply of water is insuffi- 
cient to meet the demands of the population. So 
it is dealt out sparingly, and there are many fights 
over the water courses, and the strongest man gets 
the water. 



AZERBYJAN 39 

The products of Azerbyjan are such as would 
be expected to be found in such a climate. Bar- 
ley is abundant and takes the place of oats, which 
are not found. Very little maize grows, but there 
is an abundance of wheat, rice and other grains. 
There are the fruits, flowers and vegetables of the 
temperate zone. Honey is plentiful. Of vegeta- 
bles there are onions, beets, carrots, radishes, tur- 
nips, spinage, cucumbers, potatoes, tomatoes, peas, 
beans, cabbages, lettuce, squash and all kinds of 
herbs. Cotton is raised. The vineyards produce 
a great variety and great abundance of most lus- 
cious grapes. Several varieties of them are hung 
in dry storerooms in autumn for winter use, and 
they keep all winter, so we may be eating grapes 
from August to spring. Raisins, molasses, vine- 
gar and wine are made from the grapes, and from 
raisins, alcohol. Other fruits of this province are 
plums, apricots, cherries, peaches, pears, nectar- 
ines, apples, quinces, melons, the mulberry (black 
and white), barberry, blackberry, cornel. Of nuts 
we find almonds, English walnuts, chestnuts, fil- 
berts, pistachio and others. Dates, figs and other 
dried fruits, spices of all kinds from Arabia and 
the South are found in the markets. The silk 
worm is raised, fed on the mulberry leaf, and one 
of the industries of the country is spinning the 
silk and making it into thread and cloth. The 
domestic animals are the horse, cow, sheep (with 
big tails), goat, buffalo, camel, mule, donkey, dog, 
cat. On the mountains are found the mountain 
goat, the deer, wolf, bear, fox, snake, hare and 
other wild animals. Bugs and insects of all kinds 



40 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

abound everywhere. We find the domestic fowl 
and many birds, some with plain plumage and 
some beautifully colored. In the rivers there are 
some fish. Alfalfa is the hay. 

English enterprise has built a telegraph line 
from London to Calcutta, and it passes through 
Azerbyjan. The tall, straight iron poles, set in 
perfect lines and perfect angles, are a striking 
contrast to the crooked, irregularly set wooden 
poles of the telegraph line built by the Persians 
within the last twenty-five years. As well are they 
advance lines of civilization, pleasant company for 
the lonely traveler, and a prophecy of what may 
be in the future. The fuel used everywhere by the 
natives in their cylindrical ovens in the ground 
floors, where bread is baked and cooking done, 
and around which they sit to warm themselves in 
winter, is dried manure from the stables. The 
wood of fruit trees and other trees, as well as 
roots and branches from the grape vine, furnish 
fuel for the foreigner, and also is used by some 
of the wealthier natives. In winter the entire 
face of the country is covered with snow and in 
spring and autumn there are rains. Often in 
springtime the rains, mingling with the melting 
snows, come down through the valleys in such 
floods as to carry away houses and destroy much 
property. In the summer time many of the rivers 
dry up and disappear. "What time they wax 
warm, they vanish: when it is hot, they are con- 
sumed out of their place. ' 9 — Job 6 :17. Many of the 
rivers have treacherous bottoms. Often had I 
ridden across the Lalan river in the dry season and 




1 . Rose tree at Girls' School, Tabriz, planted by Miss Jewett in 1 886. 
School building in the rear. 

2. Two ladies on a journey, attended by Persian men, one of the ladies 
in the takhtrawan. 



AZERBYJAN 41 

had never seen water there, but one spring day as 
I passed that way the river was full of water and 
the bottom slippery. My horse slipped and fell 
and I sat in the water. 

There are no farm houses or school houses 
dotting the country here and there as in our own 
free America. This is on account of the shiftless 
government and the unsettled state of the coun- 
try, rendering it unsafe for a family to live alone. 
The inhabitants are grouped together in villages 
and towns in the valleys, all over the plains and 
far up on the slopes of the mountains. These vil- 
lages are collections of low adobe houses with a 
hole in the flat roof for chimney, a hole in the wall 
for window and a hole in the ground for stove. 
On the mountain slopes the roof of one house often 
makes the yard of another, and all over some of 
the villages one may go, walking on the roofs. In 
most villages there are some houses with upper 
room, in which are glass windows, or in lieu of 
glass, oiled paper. Also there may be found a 
fire-place in one end of the room, and the floor cov- 
ered with Persian rugs. In the larger towns there 
are many of these better houses and in the cities 
there are many fine buildings, comparatively 
speaking. In some large towns they are trying 
to ape European customs and have hotels with 
furnished rooms. I was much amused once when 
on a journey I spent a night in one of these hotels 
in Kazvin. My room was furnished with table 
and chairs. On the table were pen, ink and paper 
provided for the use of the guest. There was a 
single bedstead with mattress and bedding and a 



42 MY "LIFE IN PERSIA 

nightcap, and with the toilet articles was also 
provided a tooth-brush. There are no railroads in 
Persia, unless six miles at the capital city may be 
called a railroad. And there are very few car- 
riage roads. All traveling and all transportation 
is by caravan, with horses, mules, donkeys or 
camels. The halting places for the night are at 
caravansaries in empty unfurnished rooms, so 
beds, bedding, all articles of comfort and most 
articles of necessity must be carried by the trav- 
eler. He will find no lack of entertainment, how- 
ever, for the Persians are hospitable and ever 
ready to entertain the stranger. 

Tabriz is the capital of Azerbyjan and is the 
metropolis of Persia. It is situated in latitude 38° 
5' 10" and longitude 47° 17' 46" E. Its altitude is 
4944 feet above sea level. It is surrounded on 
three sides by high and barren hills. These hills 
— red, yellow and brown — are rich in their 
wealth of minerals, but undeveloped on account 
of lack of enterprise in government and people. 
The plain, on the fourth side, reaches out to Lake 
Urumia and is dotted over with villages and green 
with fields, gardens and vineyards. Tabriz means 
fever-scatterer. Tradition tells us that a long 
time ago a certain great man was traveling with 
his family. On the way his wife was taken ill 
with a fever. Stopping for awhile at this place, 
the salubrious air soon scattered the fever, hence 
the name. The air of Tabriz is certainly delight- 
ful — dry, clear and cold in winter, and only for 
a short time uncomfortably hot in summer. There 
is almost always a pleasant breeze, which blowing 
down from the mountains or up from the lake is ac- 



AZERBYJAN 43 

ceptable and invigorating and carries away bad 
air and sickness. 

Tabriz is a very ancient city. It has wit- 
nessed many vicissitudes of fortune, at times very 
prosperous and again overwhelmed with earth- 
quake, war or pestilence. It was formerly sur- 
rounded by a moat and a high wall. There were 
seven gates which were kept locked at night. Now 
the city has outgrown its former limits, its sub- 
urbs and gardens occupying a space of more than 
sixteen miles in circumference, and the wall is so 
crumbled and the moat so filled that scarcely a 
trace of either may be found. Because of the 
great altitude of Tabriz water is very deep below 
the surface, some wells being ninety feet deep. 
The houses are built with basements and founda- 
tions lower than the street of sun-dried bricks 
made of the earth excavated right on the spot. 
They are low one or two-story structures with flat 
roofs. The better houses are faced with burned 
brick, thus having the appearance of solid brick 
houses. The streets are narrow and crooked, 
eight or ten feet wide, a few wider and many nar- 
rower. Walls arise on both sides of the streets 
to the height of ten or twelve feet, with openings 
through strong wooden doors into the yards, so 
that every house and yard is completely shut off 
from outside and is a little world in itself. Tabriz 
is cleaner than most Eastern cities and has many 
fine buildings. Many trees have been set out, 
giving shade and a pleasant, forest-like appear- 
ance as one looks over the city from the roof of 
some building higher than the others. The 
bazaars are long, narrow, close and uncomfortable, 



44 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

thronged with men, veiled women, horses, mules, 
camels and donkeys. The display of all kinds of 
produce, industry and merchandise is very fine 
and very abundant. 

The population of Tabriz is supposed to be 
about 200,000, of whom 3,000 or more are Ar- 
menian. There are a few foreign merchants, tele- 
graph operators and the Consuls of different Euro- 
pean nations and of the United States of America. 
There are said to be 3,800 shops in the bazaars, 
250 caravansaries, 100 schools, 210 mosques and 
2,000 turbaned men. There is an extensive rug 
factory where most beautiful Persian rugs are 
made, fifteen hundred boys being employed in 
weaving them. Three objects of special interest 
to visitors are the Blue Mosque, the Citadel, and 
the Prince's Palace. The Blue Mosque was built 
several hundred years ago and faced with blue 
tiles. It is now a crumbling ruin. The founda- 
tion walls of its inner apartment are inlaid with 
the beautiful Persian marble, resembling ala- 
baster. The Citadel, or Armory, is high and con- 
spicuous. It is the first object to be seen on ap- 
proaching the city. It is built very solidly of 
burned brick. There the guns, ammunition and 
cannon are kept. It has been a fine building but 
now it has an old look and its walls are cracked 
in many places by earthquakes. The Prince's 
Palace is the summer residence of the Heir Ap- 
parent, who is Governor of Tabriz until called to 
the throne. This palace stands in the midst of 
extensive gardens, and from its cupola one may 
have a fine view of the city and country. 



IV 

HOW WE LIVE IN PERSIA 

It is interesting in this strange land to study 
customs and learn how the people live. We find 
things funny, things sad, things odd, things old. 
So different are manners and customs, conditions 
of thought and living, and circumstances of life 
there from what they are in America, that I 
despair of clearly describing the one country to 
dwellers in the other. My sympathies are with 
the woman to whom I was trying to explain the 
changes of day and night. In amazement she ex- 
claimed "What strange people they must be over 
there to have night while we have day." In my 
first days in that land I saw so many things so 
queer, so funny, so laughable, that the natives 
dubbed me the " laughing lady." Living among 
these things helps one to understand many things 
mentioned in the Bible, for it is written that the 
"law of the Medes and Persians altereth not." 
So it is that we wonder at the changes that are 
taking place in these latter days. It is the cus- 
tom now, as in Bible times, to send a messenger 
before to prepare the way for the King or any 
important person. This makes it easy to under- 
stand Mark 1:2: "Behold I send my messenger 
before thy face, which shall prepare thy way be- 
fore thee." There are the dwellers in tents now 



46 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

as then, and when we pass them we think of the 
patriarch Abraham as he ' ' sat in the tent door in 
the heat of the day." Scenes like that of Abra- 
ham buying a "possession of a burying place' ' for 
his dead are enacted every day in Persia, when 
men in buying and selling are bartering over 
prices. In the fierce chiefs of the wild Kurdish 
tribes, armed to the teeth and carrying long spears, 
we see David and his band of warriors when pur- 
sued by King Saul, and we think of the ancient 
"kings of the nations' 9 making war one with an- 
other. The salutations of the East are lengthy, 
so as the business of Elisha required haste, he bade 
his servant salute no one by the way. The par- 
able of the sower is beautifully illustrated as we 
watch i the sower going forth to sow. Scattering 
the seed by hand, some seed falls by the wayside, 
some on stony ground, some among thorns and 
some into good ground. The threshing floor is 
the same now as then, the grain being heaped 
on threshing floor and trodden out by oxen, then 
tossed up by a wooden fork and the "wind driveth 
the chaff away." Implements used in farming 
are crude and old fashioned, as in the times of 
Moses and Elijah. The plow is a long stick sharp- 
ened and covered with iron at one end, fixed with 
a handle at the other and drawn by from two to 
eight or ten oxen or buffaloes, a man holding the 
handle and a boy sitting on the yoke of the first 
pair, whip in hand and riding backward. Wheat 
is ground into flour by being, crushed between two 
heavy round stones turned by water power. The 
house of mourning, with hired mourners and the 



HOW WE LIVE IN PERSIA 47 

wailing for the dead are the same. Now as then, 
hypocrites pray in the market places and on the 
street corners to be seen of men. There are sim- 
ilar multitudes of Wind, lame, halt, sick, palsied, 
lunatic and those taken with divers diseases, wait- 
ing to be healed. The women grinding at the mill, 
the leaven, the ceremonial purification, the flocks 
and herds, the sheep and goats, the "cattle upon 
a thousand hills," all the same. 

Other strange customs are there in that ' ' top- 
sy turvy land." The floors being of earth, it is 
necessary to cover them with matting and rugs. 
As a Persian does not consider it polite or cleanly 
to step on the rugs with the shoes he has worn in 
street or yard, he leaves his shoes at the door, 
but does not take off his hat. It is better that 
he does not because his head is shaven. Every- 
body sits on the floor, there being no chairs, and 
all rise when a guest or a person older or superior 
enters. The rooms are so arranged that there is 
a higher and a lower place, those older or super- 
ior in rank taking the higher, and the younger 
and inferior in rank the lower place. Extrava- 
gant are the greetings and expressions of welcome. 
i ' Peace be unto you. Your coming is pleasant — 
You come on my head — You come on my eyes — 
My house is yours — My sons are your servants — 
My daughters are your handmaidens — All I have 
is yours. ' ' Introductions follow after all are seat- 
ed, with polite bows from everybody to every- 
body. On the floor beds are spread at night. In 
day time the bedding is wrapped in large checked 
cotton sheets, and either leaned against the wall 



48 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

or stacked on a frame made for that purpose. 
Mattresses are made of wool or cotton. They are 
short, and a large round pillow filled with wool 
or cotton is laid on the floor at the end of the 
mattress, on the top of this a large feather pillow, 
and over all a heavy quilt. The poor have no 
sheets, and beds and bedding are washed once a 
year. Some of the wealthy use sheets. The floor 
serves as table at meal time. All eat with fingers 
from a common dish, men first, women afterwards. 
It is evident that it is necessary to wash the hands 
before and after eating. The giving and sending 
of portions is a token of respect and love, as 
Joseph to Benjamin in Egypt. We learn not to 
be shocked when the host or hostess tears a choice 
bit from the chicken and presents it to us with 
fingers. It is not good manners to talk while eat- 
ing. The smoking of tobacco, either with the com- 
mon pipe or the caleon (water pipe) is universal, 
by women as well as men. Cigars and cigarettes 
have become common. In some parts opium is 
smoked. I have seen mothers breathe opium 
smoke into the ears and nostrils of their babes. 
Tea and coffee have been introduced in later years 
and now the tea urn or samovar is in requisition 
in every house, poor as well as rich. Meeting any 
one by the way it is proper to turn to the left in- 
stead of to the right. Persian books begin at the 
end and are read from right to left. In knitting 
stockings they begin at the toe. The carpenter 
sits on the floor when using saw or plane. Water 
is carried on the shoulder in jugs or in skins. In 
the villages it is customary for the maidens to 




1 . Buffalo team drawing load of hay. 

2. Village Moslem women returning from the harvest field. 



HOW WE LIVE IN PERSIA 49 

bring the water, reminding us of the stories of Re- 
becca, Rachel and the seven daughters of the priest 
of Midian. Moslem women keep their heads cov- 
ered and are careful to veil their faces if a man 
appears, but they go barefooted. They are much 
exercised over our custom of having our feet well 
shod and our heads uncovered. Often would they 
ask me, ""Doesn't your head get cold?" I would 
laughingly reply "Don't your feet get cold?" 
One day in a village a poor, ragged, dirty, bare- 
footed beggar girl, with a rag tied on her head, 
stood gazing on me with wide open eyes. Pres- 
ently she broke out with the remark, i i Cover your 
head," and ran away. When according to our 
custom, in going out of the house I would put 
on my hat, they would exclaim, "She wears a 
basket on her head." When riding my side 
saddle I have often heard them saying to one an- 
other, ' ' See, she has only one foot. ' ' They always 
ride astride. The mother or an older sister car- 
ries the baby on her back. At a village a woman 
prepared for me a meal, her baby bound on her 
back, its little head bobbing this way and that. It 
is proper to ask any one you meet by the way, 
"Where are you going?" And Persians are very 
accommodating in giving directions to a stranger. 
Persians are very superstitious, fearing the 
evil eye and patronizing the sorcerer. If start- 
ing on a journey or to make a visit or begin any 
work, he consults the stars and omens. If he 
sneezes once, it is an unfavorable omen and he 
waits awhile. If he sneezes twice or more times 
it is good and he goes ahead. Some ladies came 



50 MY LIFE IN PEESIA 

to call. They came an hour late because just as 
they were starting some one sneezed once. That 
meant "wait awhile.' 9 A mother brought her 
daughter to the physician. After receiving in- 
structions as to medicines, etc., some one sneezed 
once. She got up, left the medicines and went 
away crying. A father fears a complimentary 
word about his child. He puts a bone of an ani- 
mal — say of a horse or a donkey — in the wall of 
a new house, has a sentence from the Koran writ- 
ten on a piece of board and hung over the door or 
on a tree for good luck. Thirteen is an unlucky 
number which in counting he skips. Many a 
mother will not allow her children to be counted, 
and if asked how many children she has will say 
she does not know, fearing they may become one 
less. Sometimes boys are dressed in girls' clothes 
and called by girls' names and vice versa, hoping 
thereby to cheat the angel of death. A dear little 
girl was named Ezekiel — and she lived. When 
she attended our Mission School for girls her name 
was changed to Estelle. A mother makes a vow 
over her boy that if he lives his hair shall not be 
cut for a certain number of years. Then after 
he has reached the age of her vow she takes him 
to a holy shrine, offers a sacrifice and cuts his 
hair. There are prayers and incantations to ex- 
orcise the evil spirit and striking with the needle 
to kill him. Charms are worn on head or arm or 
about the neck to protect from the evil eye ; such 
as a small copy or portions of the Koran — a 
double almond — the tusk of some wild animal — 
certain precious stones having efficacious power — 



HOW WE LIVE IN PERSIA 51 

written prayers — clippings of the nails or a lock 
of hair of some saint or of some one who has made 
the pilgrimage to Mecca, and other like things are 
sewed in a tiny pouch and worn to frighten away 
evil spirits, protect from the evil eye, ward off 
disease and bring blessings of various kinds. 
Sometimes the charm is a silver hand, or thin 
plates of silver cut in ornamental shapes with 
verses from the Koran engraved on them, or a 
silver coil worn around the neck. An eclipse al- 
ways brings fear and presages dire calamities. 
Occasionally in some barren part where there is no 
water and little rain, and the soil produces only 
thorn bushes and stones, a lone tree stands green 
and flourishing, doubtless drinking from some un- 
derground stream which the roots reach. The ig- 
norant people think that a good spirit dwelling in 
that tree keeps it green, and their reverence for it 
amounts to worship. In passing the tree they will 
tear a piece from their clothing and tie it on a 
branch with a prayer, hoping thus to leave their 
sorrows or get a blessing. I have seen such trees 
covered all over with such rags. No one will dare 
break off a branch for by so doing he would show 
disrespect to the good spirit and would be in dan- 
ger of contracting some disease or inheriting some 
distress left there. In an Armenian village north 
of Tabriz there is a large, fragrant and beautiful 
bush like a sweet scented brier. It is not near a 
stream and is only watered by the infrequent 
rains. It is considered holy and is covered with 
these sacrificial rags, and no one is allowed to 
touch it except with reverence. " Under such 



52 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

superstitions men pass their days in bondage 
through fear." A Moslem will never show dis- 
respect to a holy book. One day some American 
ladies were entertaining a company of Moslem 
ladies. Politely the rocking chair was offered. 
They did not know how to sit on it, so one sitting 
too much on the edge the chair tipped forward, 
another sitting too far backward the chair tipped 
backward. They were frightened and went away 
to tell that we had a machine for making chris- 
tians. At another time it was near the hour for 
sending letters to the postoffice when some women 
came to visit. One lady entertained them while 
the other finished her letters for the mail. They 
thought we were sending to America a list of their 
names as converts. 

Punishments in Persia are cruel and brutal; 
as, for instance, cutting off ears or hands — put- 
ting out eyes — whipping — the bastinado — bury- 
ing alive — stabbing — shooting — blowing from 
mouth of cannon. Parents punish their children 
in anger, beating and reviling them. Woman is 
degraded and the bride is a slave. There are few 
schools and those not of a high order. Reading 
and writing are looked upon as a trade, to be en- 
gaged in by some, not by all. It is sometimes 
quite inconvenient not to be able to read one's own 
letters. A woman received a letter from her ab- 
sent husband. She brought it to me to read. 
When she answered it she must go to a scribe and 
pay him to write her letter. At the other end of 
the line the husband must go through the same 
process of getting his letter read and answered. 



HOW WE LIVE IN PERSIA 53 

Not much privacy and not many letters written. 
It often happens that husband, brother or son die 
away from home, and for two or more years his 
family do not know it. If perchance others know 
it, the dislike of giving bad news prevents them 
from telling it. Trades and occupations are mer- 
chant, tailor, mason, carpenter, broker, butcher, 
grocer, jeweler, peddler, priest, teacher, rug weav- 
er, cloth weaver, maker of embroidery, soldiers, 
robbers, thieves, highwaymen, beggars, etc., all 
struggling, striving, grasping for money. Very lit- 
tle money is in the hands of the common people. 
The rich are overbearing, robbing the poor that 
they themselves may live in luxury. The children 
are naturally beautiful, with bright black eyes and 
rosy cheeks. More than half of them die in infan- 
cy. Of those who live most of the boys become 
fierce, coarse, forbidding men, and of the girls ugly 
old women. History tells us that the youths of the 
ancient Persians were taught to speak the truth, to 
shoot with the bow and arrow and to ride, and that 
in the last two of these arts they made more than 
common proficiency. They are still fine riders on 
fine horses, but the bow and arrow have given place 
to the gun, sword, pistol and dagger. Truth is 
lost, trampled in the dust, for " truth is fallen in 
the street, and equity cannot enter. ' 9 Lying, steal- 
ing, swearing, quarreling, blasphemy, and all the 
long catalogue of sins are universal. They are 
very artful and very successful deceivers. When 
they visit us in our homes they put on the garb of 
decency, and so nicely is it worn that we are al- 
most persuaded to forget their true character and 



54 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

are ready to believe that they are really quite sin- 
cere, good people. When we visit them in their 
abodes they receive us with extreme politeness and 
in every way make themselves so agreeable that we 
can scarcely imagine the mass of moral filth that is 
hidden behind the moral screen. There are no 
sins small or great that are not unblushingly prac- 
ticed by them. Even those things that we would 
blush to even think of are talked about by them 
openly and without shame. So wicked, so degrad- 
ed are they that they seem not to possess a realiza- 
tion of what is sinful and degraded. This is a 
dark picture. A brighter picture shows us the 
Persians as a genial, polite, hospitable people, 
kind and sympathetic in times of sickness, death 
or trouble of any kind. They are a complex peo- 
ple, fair and foul — good and bad — all mixed. 
Their sins bring their own punishment. Hot 
winds, burning sun and scarcity of water destroy 
the crops. Even when there are good crops 
grasping men hold them at exorbitant prices. 
Want and poverty dry up the very bones of the 
poor. Their flesh is gone and their skin is shriv- 
eled and yellow. They drown their sorrows in 
tobacco smoke and opium. The rich eat, drink, 
smoke and take their ease. If we warn them to 
prepare for eternity, they shrug their shoulders 
and say ' ' God is merciful. ' ' 

One of my early trips was to Geog Tappa, a 
Nestorian village four miles from Urumia. It 
was winter and, although we were warmly clad, it 
was difficult, on a side saddle, to sufficiently protect 
one's self from cold. We were more than an hour 



HOW WE LIVE IN PERSIA 55 

on the way, and when we reached the place I was 
thoroughly chilled. We entered what seemed to 
me more like an underground stable than like a 
living room. We were invited to sit by the fire. 
I looked for the stove and was guided to a hole in 
the ground about three feet in diameter. Could 
I sit down by that? I did, and hung my feet over 
the edge. Soon I was infused with a pleasant 
warmth. There the food of the family was cook- 
ing, having been prepared and put into an earthen 
vessel and well covered. Slowly and steadily for 
from six to ten hours it would simmer and cook 
and when taken out would be tasty and good, es- 
pecially the meat, which the Persians know well 
how to prepare. On the sides of this oven, or 
tanoor, the thin sheets of bread are baked. Over 
it, in winter, is placed a low square table, or kuri- 
see, covered with a large widely extending quilt. 
Around the kurisee the household sit, eat and 
sleep, on the floor. The process of firing the 
tanoor is anything but agreeable, as immense vol- 
umes of smoke arise, and what does not get out the 
hole in the roof or wall stays inside, blackening 
ceiling, walls, rafters and pillar supports of roof. 
Is it any wonder that many of the women who 
build these fires have sore eyes and headache? 
Well, while I was sitting by the tanoor warming, 
gazing and wondering, our hostess began taking 
up a meal. She reached down for it. Her arms 
disappeared in the depths, her head also and her 
shoulders. I was lost in amazement, when pres- 
ently she emerged with pot in hand. She brought 
a large round copper waiter and arranged on it 



56 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

several thin sheets of bread with cheese, curds, 
herbs, salt, pepper and buttermilk. Into a large 
bowl she poured some of the hot stew, putting the 
meat in a separate dish. It was indeed appetizing. 
We were warmed and fed and ready for our return 
trip. This meat stew is the universal evening 
meal. After eating, the beds are spread around 
the tanoor and all lie down to sleep. It is not 
necessary to undress, more than to take off two or 
three outside garments. The morning toilet is 
easy as there is no special dressing to do. Each 
one pours for another water on the hands for 
washing. As the caps and head-dresses are worn 
all the time there is no combing to do. That is 
done once in eight to fifteen days at the public 
bath. Brooms are made from a kind of weed and 
are not more than two feet long. Washing is 
done either at a stream where the clothes are beat- 
en with a paddle on a stone, or in the house or 
yard in a low tub, the washerwoman sitting on a 
cushion on the ground while washing. It is not 
necessary to iron the clothes. There is little dish 
washing, so few dishes having been used. 

In making a visit to the house of a friend we 
knock at the door in the outside wall instead of 
at the door of the house. The houses of the mis- 
sionaries are no exception to this rule. These 
adobe houses do not appear particularly inviting 
on the outside, but they may be made very pleas- 
ant and comfortable inside. The* homes of the 
missionaries are furnished tastefully while at the 
same time simply and plainly. Formerly chairs 
were imported, now native carpenters have learned 



HOW WE LIVE IN PEESIA 57 

to make chairs, tables, cupboards, desks, bedsteads, 
many necessary things and things ornamental, and 
many things are imported by merchants from Eu- 
rope. When we go from America we take with us 
many things that are to us indispensable. We are 
happy over our belongings and eagerly begin 
housekeeping. We proudly display our pretty 
china and glassware, our shining cook stove and 
utensils and kitchen furniture, as well as many 
pretty and useful gifts from friends. We soon 
find that we cannot do our own housework if we 
are to do missionary work. So we bring the na- 
tives into the house and kitchen. Then alas ! brok- 
en china and glass testify to their carelessness, 
tins become rusted and battered and soon our 
pretty things are old and spoiled. We would glad- 
ly do our own work, but we cannot carry wood and 
water, sweep with the short brooms, do our own 
washing, ironing and cooking, with lessons, meet- 
ings and visits crowding, more to do for the peo- 
ple than we can find time or strength for. We 
ladies cannot go on the streets without an escort. 
We cannot go to the bazaars alone, or do our own 
marketing. If we try to do so we are outrageous- 
ly cheated, for Moslems consider it legitimate for 
them to cheat Christians. And the jamming, hus- 
tling, the rude staring of rough men and boys, the 
crowding of mules, horses, camels and donkeys 
would be not only disagreeable and tiring but 
would take time and strength needed for mission- 
ary work. The butcher, the baker, the huckster, 
the grocer, the ice man and all the servants of 
civilization do not serve us there as here. So we 



58 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

commit our buying to cook or steward, even when 
we know that he will secretly charge a percentage 
or commission on what he buys — comforting our- 
selves with the thought that he will not cheat us 
as badly as the shopkeepers themselves would do. 
Once I wanted a pen case. Some were brought to 
the house. I chose one and asked the price. The 
price named was enormous. I jewed the man 
down to one-seventh, and afterwards learned that 
I had paid too much. If I needed a new dress or 
any such thing from the bazaar I would have the 
bazaar brought to me, i e., pieces of goods brought 
to the house. I must be careful not to show by 
word or look that anything pleased me, for that 
would instantly cause a rise in price. The year's 
supply of flour for the missionary's family is gen- 
erally laid in in the autumn. This is quite a pro- 
cess. Samples of wheat are brought. After it is 
decided which kind to take and the price is agreed 
on a man must go for it. When it arrives it must 
be weighed, then it must be washed and dried and 
picked over kernel by kernel. "Women do this. 
They too know how to cheat. Then it must be 
weighed again and put into bags to be carried on 
donkeys to mill. The man we trust must go with 
it to watch that none be stolen or an inferior kind 
be substituted. When the flour is brought home 
it must be weighed again before it is stored for 
use. 

We have nominally three Sabbath days — 
Friday, Moslem — Saturday, Jewish — Sunday, 
Christian. No one keeps the day holy. Many 
Moslems have their shops open on Friday, will 



HOW WE LIVE IN PERSIA 59 

work on that day as on any other day, or will take 
that day as a day of recreation and pleasure. Jews 
will not buy and sell or work on Saturday, but they 
make it a day of drunkenness and revelry, and 
they will hire Moslems on that day to buy some- 
thing they want from the bazaars and to build 
their fires for them. Armenians (who are nom- 
inal christians) in some districts, call Sunday the 
Bazaar day, because on that day they do more 
trading and have the greatest bazaar of the week. 
Some working women go out for work six days 
and clean house and do their own housework on 
the seventh. Also these nominal Christians make 
the day one of visiting, feasting and amusement. 
It is customary when a couple are engaged to 
be married to make a great occasion of the be- 
trothal, with tea drinking, music, dancing, feast- 
ing, and too often wine drinking and drunkenness. 
I was much interested in the betrothal and mar- 
riage of my young friend Hosein (Moslem). His 
mother was a widow. Her three older sons were 
heads of families and she was desirous that this, 
her youngest boy, should take a wife "before she 
died." She visited here and there looking around 
among the girls for some one she would like for 
daughter-in-law. When I inquired of the mother 
the age of her son she replied that she had him in 
her arms when bread was scarce the time before. 
So I calculated him to be about twenty-six. He 
said to his mother, "I cannot afford a wife. It is 
all we can do to live now." But she heeded not 
and went on with the hunt. One day she saw a 
pretty girl whom she admired and proceeded to 



60 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

do the courting. Hosein had not seen her, and 
she had no say about it, as all arrangements were 
being made by the mothers. Inquiries were being 
made by each family about the other, and negotia- 
tions were begun about dowry, outfit, presents, 
etc., when Hosein protested, and that marriage 
was not arranged. Another girl was recommend- 
ed, but she would require a dowry of $200.00, 
which was more than he could afford. Then it 
was discovered that there was another, with whom 
he had played when they were children, and though 
they had not seen each other since she was old 
enough to put on the veil, memories of childhood 
lingered. The mother visited the girl's mother, 
proposed and was accepted. Next followed the 
formal betrothal and arrangements about the dow- 
ry. This is the sum of money the man agrees to 
pay the wife should he divorce her. One day trays 
on which were arranged a mirror, a veil, a piece 
of silk, several loaves of sugar, heaping plates 
of candy and some other things were sent to the 
girl's house, where a company of women were as- 
sembled drinking tea, dancing and smoking. At 
the same time some men, including the priest, the 
girl's brother and Hosein 's substitute (for he was 
ashamed to be there) were assembled in a house 
near by. The girl was in the basement of the 
house where the women were being dressed, 
painted and ornamented. She sat on the floor 
in front of the closely curtained window. Un- 
der the window the mirror was leaned against 
the wall. In front of the mirror was spread on 
the floor an embroidered cloth, and on it were 



HOW WE LIVE IN PERSIA 61 

placed a Koran, two strings of prayer beads or 
rosaries, eye ointment, comb and case, and on a 
waiter little plates of wheat, flour, seeds of vari- 
ous kinds, and sweets, emblematic of the wish that 
her life might be full of goodness, plenty and 
sweetness. Several women were there with her. 
Hosein's mother put the ring on her finger. 
Others placed the veil and a piece of silk on her 
head. Two women stood behind her rubbing to- 
gether two pieces of sugar, collecting its fine dust 
in a handkerchief that was spread on her head. 
This last was to be kept and fed to the bride and 
groom at the wedding, that their married life 
might be sweet. The men from the other house 
came into the yard and stood on one side while an 
old man, uncle of the girl, lifted one corner of the 
curtain over the window and called out "In the 
name of God and His prophet Mohammed, do you 
take Hosein to be your husband ? ' ' This was mere 
form. There was no reply, for she must be mod- 
est. Again he called out the same words. No 
reply. After the third call she replied, "Yes," 
but so low as not to be heard. Again he called 
and she replied loud enough to be heard, "Yes." 
The word was passed on to the other men and 
they retired to make out the papers. The girl 
was then escorted to the upper room. She first 
bowed to the mother-in-law and received her kiss 
and blessing, then to the others and was seated. 
In the meanwhile candies were being thrown on 
the guests. After the necessary sewing and pre- 
parations were completed for the wedding the 
bride was escorted from her house and given to her 



62 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

husband. One day a girl saw from an upstairs 
window a young man coming into the yard to see 
her father on business. She admired him and said 
to her mother, "You must get that young man for 
me," and she did. A young man in the street 
passed an open door where stood a pretty girl. 
Before she could hide he saw her. There was love 
at first sight. He went to his mother about it and 
she secured the girl for him. In a village a young 
woman saw a young man from the city. She loved 
him but the fates were against her and she was 
given to another. A little girl was promised by 
her father to a man old and ugly. Bitterly she 
wept and pleaded with her parents not to give her 
to him, but they were inexorable for the man was 
rich. The night of the betrothal, during the feast- 
ing and merry making, she was curled up in a cor- 
ner on the floor asleep. After a few months the 
priest performed the marriage ceremony. She 
was put on a horse, completely covered with a red 
calico veil and carried to her future abode. 
Strange to tell, customs of bethrothal and mar- 
riage are changing even in Persia. The first 
wedding I attended in Persia was that of a Nes- 
torian girl, who stood by the wall enveloped in red 
calico while the guests were feasting. Some years 
afterwards I attended the wedding of her daugh- 
ter, dressed in white silk with white lace veil and 
orange blossoms on her head. Baby John was to 
be named. The most intimate friends and rela- 
tives were to be present, and I was favored with 
an invitation. After supper and a short time 
spent in conversation, the baby, all wrapped in 



HOW WE LIVE IN PERSIA 63 

swaddling clothes, was brought out from under 
some quilts to receive its name. It was a wee bit 
of humanity, the eighth son born to his mother, 
and he the only one living, so he was very precious 
to his parents, who naturally desired that his life 
might be spared. Numerous charms and prayers 
were hung around his neck and bound on his arms 
and body. The first day of his life he had been 
carried to the bazaar and mustachios and beard 
painted on his little face, with a prayer that he 
might live to be a man and do business in the 
bazaar. Faith was placed in those things, and all 
the laws of health were disregarded. Should he 
live they would think it was because of the charms. 
If he should die they would say, "It is the will of 
God." An old woman took him in her arms and 
holding his right ear near her mouth, she repeated 
the Moslem creed and said, "John, your father 
and mother have chosen this name for you, so 
now that is what you are to be called. John, may 
you be blessed and great and live a long life." 
Then another old woman repeated the same in his 
left ear. Then every one in turn took him, kissed 
him and blessed him. I pressed the soft little face 
to my cheek with a prayer that he might be kept 
pure and innocent and if he lived be a good 
man. But he died. After the naming an oppor- 
tunity was presented and I was glad to say a few 
words to them of how Jesus took the little ones 
in His arms and blessed them, and how He would 
have us all become like little children. 



* RELIGIONS 



Of the more than 200,000,000 Moslems in the 
world 9,000,000 are in Persia — all the inhabitants 
of the land except some one to two hundred thou- 
sand, who are either Jews, nominal Christians or 
Fire Worshippers. The Persians, once the fol- 
lowers of Zoroaster, kept the eternal fires burning 
on the mountains. Since the ascendancy of Islam 
only a remnant of them remains in Persia, said to 
be 5,000. Occasionally a few relics of their ancient 
worship are found in some deserted ash hill. 
Islamism is now the national religion and it is 
that which has degraded the land and keeps it in 
a state of darkness and ignorance. This religion 
began in Arabia, its founder and leader being 
Mohammed. He was born in Mecca, A. D. 570, 
belonging to the most distinguished of the Arab 
tribes, but he was poor and ignorant, having never 
learned to read or write. He was a camel driver 
but became a merchant. "Employed by the 
wealthy widow Khadijah, the chief lady of Mecca, 
as her business agent, he so won her gratitude and 
esteem that although fifteen years his senior she 
offered him her hand and became his wife." She 
encouraged him in his visions which he saw when 
under the influence of epileptic fits. The people 
about him thought he was being filled with the 




The azan, or call to prayer 



RELIGIONS 65 

Spirit and was receiving revelations, and they 
called him a prophet. From some Jews and 
christians, then in Arabia, he learned a little of 
the christian religion and that idolatry is wrong 
because there is only one God. He set out to turn 
his people from paganism, but he, himself, having 
failed to learn the truth of the Triune God so 
dwelt on the oneness of God that he did not accept 
the divinity of Christ, and taught a half truth, 
which is the greatest lie of all. The God of Mo- 
hammed stands alone, "unknown," " unknow- 
able," "unapproachable," "unbegotten and unbe- 
getting." Some of the names ascribed to God by 
the Moslems are the Merciful, the Gracious, the 
Holy, the Creator, the Faithful, the Pardoner, the 
All Wise, the Just, the Omniscient, the Omni- 
present, the All Powerful. Moslems reject the 
divinity of Christ, calling him a good man and a 
prophet along with Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham 
and Moses, and all the 124,000 prophets, of whom 
the last and greatest is Mohammed. They say 
that christians blaspheme when they speak of 
Jesus as the Son of God. Their "Holy Book" is 
the Koran. It is supposed to be made up of the 
sayings, teachings and revelations of Mohammed. 
They were not put in book form until after his 
death, when some of his followers gathered to- 
gether what they remembered of his words. It is 
so holy as not to be allowed to be read or touched 
by an unbeliever, i. e., one not a Moslem. But it 
has been translated into English and into Persian 
by English and American scholars. 



66 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

Their creed is " Allah akbar! la illaha ill* Al- 
lah ! Mohammed rasul Allah, ' ' which means ' ' God 
is great. There is no God but God. Mohammed 
is his prophet/ ' This creed is cried from the 
roofs of the Mosques three times a day, at early- 
dawn, at noon and at evening twilight. Then, and 
also in the afternoon and in the night, making five 
times a day, every good Moslem is supposed to 
perform his ablutions and say his prayers. The 
ablutions are performed in a prescribed manner, 
and they make much of ceremonial cleanliness. 
The prayers are vain repetitions from the Koran, 
which the Persians do not understand because it is 
in Arabic. Of the true nature of prayer they know 
nothing. A relic of idolatry still remains in their 
prayers as they use rosaries and small cakes of 
sacred earth from the tombs of "holy men," plac- 
ing them before them and bowing down until the 
forehead touches the sacred earth. One month 
in the year is a month of fasting, when no 
Moslem is allowed, under penalty of death, 
to taste a morsel of food or drink a drop 
of water from early dawn to evening twi- 
light. They eat in the night and have the best 
meals of the year in this month. It is easy for 
the rich, who sleep in the forenoon and spend the 
afternoon in the mosque, but for the poor who 
must work to earn a living it is very difficult. It 
is supposed that all keep this fast, laying up for 
themselves merit in heaven. But many do not 
keep it, and so the fast becomes a hypocrite and 
lie factory, those who do not keep it professing 
to do so. They eat secretly, behind closed doors, 



RELIGIONS 67 

fearing lest some one seeing them eat should for 
some reason during the year have a quarrel with 
them, and to injure them should report, "I saw 
so and so eating in fast," and thus be the cause 
of their death. There is no confidence or trust 
among them, and it has come to be in Persia that 
the law, although nominally existing, is virtually 
a dead letter, for who could accuse anybody when 
everybody knows that everybody could accuse 
everybody? Drinking wine and other intoxicants, 
although forbidden by the Koran, is very gener- 
ally indulged in. There is an immense amount of 
gambling. Greed of gain, a desire for luxurious 
living, has taken possession, so what care they for 
prayers, fasting and all that? They are fatalists. 
Their almsgiving is done to be seen of men and 
to lay up for themselves merit in heaven, and they 
fail to realize any other motive in any one who 
does an act of charity or benevolence. Every year 
large companies go on long, hard pilgrimages to 
their 'holy cities — Mecca, Kerbela and Meshed. 
These caravans of pilgrims are interesting, some 
on camels, some on horses, some on mules, some 
in takhtrawans, some in cajavas, some on foot. 
They suffer many hardships. Many sicken and 
die and are buried by the wayside. As I rode 
along the pilgrim road I saw many newly made 
graves. I saw a sick man tied on his horse where 
he died. He was buried at the first burial ground. 
Such deaths they think win for them high places 
in heaven, no matter how wicked may have been 
their lives. They camp for the night in some open 
place near some town, build camp fires, boil water, 



68 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

make tea, eat bread and lie down on a quilt on the 
ground with only the canopy of the heavens above 
them, and start on the next stage soon after mid- 
night. If one can accomplish a pilgrimage to 
Mecca, he or she becomes especially holy and is 
called Haji, that is, pilgrim. At Mecca there is an- 
other remnant of idolatry. It is the worship of 
the black stone in the temple of Ca'aba, "brought 
from heaven by the angels.' ' It is probably a 
meteor. These pilgrimages are supposed to atone 
for sin, but in fact the pilgrims become tenfold 
more the children of hell than before. One pil- 
grimage is good — two better — three make a man 
dangerous, for he has laid up so much merit that 
he can balance with any amount of wickedness. 
Of these pilgrimages Rev. Samuel M. Zwemer 
writes, "They are a public scandal, even to Mos- 
lem morality, so that the 'holy cities' are hotbeds 
of vice and plague spots in the body politic." 
Moslems claim that God gave four books to man, 
viz: The Law and the Prophets — the Psalms — 
the Gospel — and the Koran. The first three were 
good in their time but they have been superseded 
by the last and greatest — the Koran. They call 
themselves Mussulman, meaning True Believers, 
and christians they call infidels. Four wives are 
legal to a Moslem, and as many concubines as he 
finds convenient. Divorce is very common and 
for trivial causes. Lazy, selfish, sensual, fatalis- 
tic, the Moslem passes his life in the indulgence of 
sin, hoping by works of merit to strike a balance 
and gain a place in heaven, where he may continue 
to exist in blissful indolence, surrounded by black- 



EELIGIONS 69 

eyed houris. Many would rather lose hope of 
heaven than leave off their sins. A man said to 
me, when I remonstrated with him about his sins, 
"I would rather go to hell than change my life. ? ' 
It is said that "one-seventh of the earth's land 
surface feels the blighting effect of the teaching 
of the prophet of Arabia, and also one-seventh 
of the population of the globe. No doubt in Islam 
Christianity finds its sturdiest foe." Our Savior 
conquered by love and His kingdom is a kingdom 
where love and mercy reign. Mohammed made 
his conquests by war and bloodshed. We read 
that the streets of Medina ran with blood as he 
with his savage hordes slew all who would not 
repeat the creed. It was in this way that Persia 
became a Moslem land. And the Moslems of Per- 
sia do not now belong to the orthodox sect, but 
are Sheahs — a great division of Islam. They 
reject Omar as the rightful successor of Moham- 
med and adhere to Ali, his son-in-law. They curse 
Omar and keep the anniversary of his death as a 
day of feasting and rejoicing. They almost deify 
Ali, and celebrate the month of Moharrem every 
year as a month of mourning for the cruel deaths 
of Hassan and Hosein — sons of Ali. They again 
are all split up among themselves into many differ- 
ent sects. Although these sects wear the outward 
garb of Islam, there are thousands who secretly 
curse Mohammed and the Koran. A house di- 
vided against itself — how can it stand? 

The most evident of these sub-divisions are 
Babism and Ali-Allahism. Bab means door — 
the channel of grace from the unseen. This sect 



70 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

has arisen during the last century. It claims to 
be a new revelation — has many books, much writ- 
ing, many missionaries and many followers. Their 
leaders send letters into all parts of the world, 
propagating their religion and gaining adherents. 
It is not necessary to speak the truth, but any 
scheme, any invention, any deceit may be used to 
further their objects. Whatever doctrines they 
have that are good they have borrowed from Chris- 
tianity. They profess to accept the Holy Scrip- 
tures, but they do not follow the teachings of 
Christ. The influence of their teachings and of 
their lives is as harmful as is that of pure Islam- 
ism. They have no clear distinction between good 
and evil, no perception of sin, so they wander in 
fog, and their missionaries have a doubtful repu- 
tation for morality. The founder of this sect was 
Mirza Ali Mohammed, born in 1820. When a 
young man he made a pilgrimage to Kerbela — 
the center of theological thought among Sheahs. 
There he sat for a few months under the teaching 
of a noted and rather mystical instructor of Mos- 
lem theology and became his enthusiastic disciple. 
From long and earnest meditation he became con- 
vinced that he received special communication 
from the supreme Fountain of all Truth, and that 
he himself was an inspired prophet. He an- 
nounced himself the Bab. He had many followers, 
but persecution arose and he was put to death. 
Persecution and martyrdom only served to in- 
crease their numbers. It is impossible to estimate 
how many there are because outwardly they con- 
form to Moslem usages, and break the law and 



KELIGIONS 71 

practice their own religion secretly. One writer 
says, "The rise of the Babi faith in Persia is in 
large measure due to the spread of the Gospel. 
The best of their doctrines are borrowed from it. 
They treat with respect our Holy Scriptures and 
profess to reject any opinion they may hold when 
once proved contrary to the Bible. The rise and 
spread of such a faith is in itself an indication that 
the people of Persia are in large measure wearied 
with Islam and anxious for a higher, a more holy, 
a more spiritual faith." 

The Aii-AUahees are an interesting people 
who are outwardly Moslem, contorm to many of 
their customs, and are generally known as a sect 
of Moslems, but are really not Moslems at all. 
Many of them dwell among the Kurds, live like 
them, wear their dress, speak their language and 
are supposed to be Kurds. Chameleon-like, they 
adopt the manners and customs of the people 
among whom they dwell, "accommodating them- 
selves to their surroundings, provided they are not 
able to overcome them. ' ' They are found in Per- 
sia, Turkey, Russia, China and in Africa. In 
places where they are more numerous they are 
quite free and independent, possessing little of 
that fear which they have where they are few in 
number. In Tabriz and in some other large cities 
they appear somewhat civilized and refined, while 
in many villages they are scarcely above the ani- 
mals, eating, sleeping and existing in the same 
enclosure with them. Of the men there are those 
who can read, but women readers among them are 
rare indeed. Some of the men hold high positions 
in government and army and some have acquired 



72 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

wealth. Their religion is a strange combination 
of truth and falsehood, mostly falsehood. Their 
origin is obscure. They are thought by some to 
be descendants of ancient Persian Christians, who 
had grown cold and indifferent, so that when the 
armies of the false prophet conquered the land 
they became easy prey. Fearing for their lives, 
they substituted the name of Ali for Jesus, saying, 
"Ali is God" instead of " Jesus is God." Hence 
they are called Ali-Allahees. I saw in one of their 
books a name so written that it may be read either 
Ali or Jesus. They say they have a holy book of 
their own which takes the place of the Bible and 
the Koran, but it is too sacred for profane eyes, so 
no one ever sees it. They hold to the traditions 
of their ancestors, and these traditions, handed 
down from father to son, they call a M White Book 
written on our hearts.' ' Thus their book is a 
myth. They call themselves "The People of the 
Truth. ' ' A more appropriate name would be ' ' The 
People of Lies." Hiding their light under a 
bushel, it has gone out. All lie and deceive, swear 
and revile. Many of them are wild men, high- 
waymen and robbers. There is one Benyamen 
(Benjamen) for whom they have a profound rever- 
ence and whom they call a prophet. He lived a 
long time ago in a town called Khoraman, and was 
buried in Kerind, where there is a shrine over his 
grave which they consider sacred. The history 
of this man is shrouded in mystery. He taught 
them many secret signs and passwords by which 
they know one another when they meet even as 
strangers. They believe in the transmigration of 




A Dervish, or wandering holy man, Moslem. 



KELIGIONS 73 

souls. After a man dies his soul wanders about 
for a thousand and one years, after which time it 
may again enter a human body. If he was a 
wicked man he may be punished by becoming one 
of the lower animals. If he had lived a devout 
and holy life he might become a manifestation of 
the Deity. So God appears at different times in 
different forms in different human beings. Thus 
Moses, Gabriel, Jesus Christ, Ali, Benyamen, 
Henry Martin, David Livingstone and others were 
one and the same — God manifest in the flesh. 
Many of them are Pantheists. Some worship 
Satan. Some worship fire. One evening I wit- 
nessed a service of their fire worship. A fire had 
been built in a fireplace and was now one mass 
of bright coals. A company of men sat around the 
sides of the room. Half a dozen dervishes were 
breathlessly waiting. One of the men was playing 
on a stringed instrument. Others were chanting. 
As the leader entered the room he cried out in a 
loud voice, "Ya Ali! Ya Hak!" (Oh Ali! Oh 
Truth!) Then all the assembly began clapping 
their hands, continuing the chanting and crying 
out "Ya Ali! Ya Hak!" the instrumental music 
also continuing all the time. The waiting dervish- 
es jumped to the fire, clawed out the red hot coals 
with their hard hornlike hands (hard from expos- 
ure for they live much like beasts). They played 
with the coals, throwing them around on the carpet 
and putting them in their mouths. All the while 
the clapping of hands and the noise was going on. 
When the leader thought it was enough he called 
out to stop and all was quiet. The panting 



74 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

dervishes were on their hands and knees be- 
fore the fire that still remained in the fire- 
place. The leader patted them on the back, 
saying, "He has entered/' meaning that the 
Spirit of God had entered them. I could only 
think of Hell. They thought they were worship- 
ing God. One of them afterwards told me 
that they were filled with the Spirit and that 
was why the fire did not burn them. After this 
part of the performance was over they had a sacra- 
ment, which this time consisted of portions of 
quince, and after that a supper of meat and rice 
was served. 

As they do not keep the Moslem fast or make 
the Moslem prayers, they are often called upon 
to practice deceit when thrown among Moslems. 
A friend told me how that once when on a journey 
he put up for the night at a Moslem village where 
the people were very bigoted. They would not 
give him shelter so he camped under a tree. When 
the time of prayer arrived he performed the pre- 
scribed ablutions and went through all the forms 
of prayer. The people seeing him thus engaged 
took him to be a very devout Moslem, went out to 
him with extravagant professions of hospitality, 
invited him into the house, entertained him with 
honor and gave him everything for his comfort. 
They hold their meetings in secret, at night in 
cellars or in darkened rooms with closed doors. 
This they do from fear, and this gives occasion 
to their enemies to report that they observe ob- 
scene rites. They have the rite of circumcision, 
and a sacrament which seems to be a relic of the 



RELIGIONS 75 

Lord's Supper, also another which may be called 
a love feast. They are all divided among them- 
selves into different sects. The different sects 
may intermarry, but no bride can be given from 
them to a Moslem. If a Moslem bride be taken 
into their midst she must accept the religion of 
her husband, and ceasing to be Moslem she be- 
comes an Ali-Allahee. They do a great deal of 
proselyting secretly, and there are said to be large 
numbers yearly won over to them from Moslem 
ranks. Plurality of wives is forbidden them, but 
such is the influence of their surroundings that 
many of them do have more than one wife. They 
are very hospitable and" not forgetful to entertain 
strangers. They receive the missionary with love 
and kindness. Some call themselves Christians. 
Some acknowledge their sins and long for a better 
life. They received me with warm friendship, 
with open doors and with confidence. With one 
whom they trust they talk freely and like Chris- 
tians. But let an orthodox Moslem enter and 
instantly the "curtain drops," and to all outward 
appearance they are Moslem. They say "There 
is a curtain." There is much religious discussion 
going on among them, which must be an influence 
felt for their enlightenment. The missionaries 
are meeting with them, becoming acquainted with 
them, and the way is opening up more and more 
for Gospel work among them. 

Of the Kurds it is said that there is almost 
infinite variety in their religious beliefs and super- 
stitions. They are known as Sunis (orthodox 
Moslem, the same as the Moslems of Turkey). 



76 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

Many of them are robbers and highwaymen, and 
many are quiet and peaceable. They have no lit- 
erature in their language, and those few who are 
educated read Persian. The Jews are the same 
as Jews everywhere, and are despised and op- 
pressed in Persia as in other countries. The wan- 
dering tribes are Moslem. Persians, like the 
Athenians of old, are "very religious,' f and fond 
of religious discussion. This gives the missionary 
opportunities for presenting to them Gospel truth. 
Armenian history presents their nation as 
ancient, rich and powerful. They were idolators 
and were converted to Christianity in the fourth 
century by Gregory, the Enlightener. Accepting 
Christianity as a national religion, it was not with 
them a heart religion, but a religion of outward 
forms and rites and ceremonies. They have the 
Bible in all purity but in the ancient language. 
Thus it is virtually a sealed book, for although 
there is liberty allowed in reading it, there are 
few who care to read it, few who understand the 
ancient language, and few who can read any lan- 
guage. In their worship there are fasts which 
occupy half the year when they abstain from all 
animal food. They also have burning of candles, 
offering incense, the sign of the cross, pictures of 
saints, of the Holy Virgin and Christ, holy oil, 
reverence for relics, pilgrimages, sacrifices, pray- 
ers for the dead, prayers to Mary — "Mother of 
God," confession to the priest, mediation of saints, 
baptism of infants on the eighth day by triune 
immersion, transubstantiation, communion to the 
dying. They are industrious, energetic and enter- 



RELIGIONS 77 

prising, but proud and quarrelsome. Lack of true 
heart Christianity and contact with Islam have 
greatly affected their morals and we find them in 
common with their neighbors, lying, stealing, 
swearing, Sabbath breaking, drinking, etc. They 
know they are sinning and will exclaim, "Oh my 
sins !" One of them said "We are steeped in sin, 
we steal, lie, cheat, slander, extort and what not. 
No one goes truly in the right way. ' 9 On the other 
hand, it is very common to find them self-satisfied 
and trusting in their own good works for salvation. 
Their need is true, living Christianity, with 
changed heart and changed life. They are widely 
scattered in these Eastern lands, and when truly 
christianized will be a power for good. 

It was for the Nestorians, in the city and plain 
of Urumia and in the mountains of Kurdistan, that 
the first mission in Persia was established in 1835. 
They were an ancient Christian people with whom 
had been the true light and life of Gospel truth, 
but they had lost all vital Christianity, and having 
kept nothing but dead forms, were almost as 
wicked in their lives as the Moslems among whom 
they dwelt. In China a tablet has been found 
which shows that they were a missionary people. 
The tablet is described as a granite slab about 
eight feet high, three feet wide and nearly a foot 
thick. Its title is "A Tablet Eulogizing the Pro- 
pagation of the Illustrious Eeligion in the Middle 
Kingdom." On the face of the tablet is found 
"The Lord's Prayer" in Syriac, an outline of the 
doctrines taught by the Nestorians and a sketch 
of the fortunes of Christianity in China. The Nes- 



78 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

torians took their name from their leader Nes- 
torus, who was Bishop of Constantinople in the 
fifth century. He was orthodox in his christian 
beliefs and teachings, and refused to call the Vir- 
gin, "Mother of God." The missionaries found 
the Nestorians miserably oppressed by the ruling 
race. No one dared wear a new garment unless 
covered by one old, ragged and dirty, lest it be 
taken from him. Their only books were in the 
ancient Syriac — a dead language. There was 
only one woman among them (she the sister of 
the Patriarch) who could read, and only a few of 
the priests, and' that not understandingly. They 
received the missionaries with warm enthusiasm. 
Dr. Perkins, their first missionary, wrote, "Our ar- 
rival to reside among them was welcomed with the 
strongest demonstrations of joy. In some villages 
they marched out in masses to meet us, with their 
rude trumpets and drums, to express their glad- 
ness." Their leading men were gathered into 
schools to learn to read. As there were then no 
books in modern Syriac, letters and words were 
written on cards and they were used as text books. 
After ten years there was a great awakening 
among them and many became truly converted. 
The good work begun grew steadily ever after, and 
now the Nestorians of Urumia are a reading evan- 
gelical Christian people. They are again becoming 
a missionary people. They now command the res- 
pect of the Moslems, dress well, have good homes, 
own vineyards, are many of them scholars, preach- 
ers, teachers. There have been and are among 
them Bible women, noble mothers and many men 



RELIGIONS 79 

occupying positions of trust and honor. The Bible 
and many other books, religious and educational, 
have been translated and written in modern Sy- 
riac. There is a Syriac paper — "The Bays of 
Light." There are schools and churches in the 
city and in most of the villages. At the great 
meeting in the Jubilee year celebrating the first 
coming of the missionaries, the request was made 
that all the women present who could read should 
stand. Instantly all were on their feet, several 
hundred of them. 



VI 

TABRIZ FOR CHRIST 

In those first years there were German mis- 
sionaries residing in Tabriz under the auspices 
of the Basil Society. It is recorded of them that 
they sowed some seeds of truth, but were unable 
to do open and direct missionary work and did 
not remain long. In October, 1835, Mr. Merrick 
arrived in Tabriz, having been sent out by the 
A. B. C. F. M. as a missionary to Moslems. He 
had with him some copies of the Persian Testa- 
ment and Psalms and Proverbs, but the German 
missionaries did not think it prudent or advis- 
able to distribute them owing to the excitable 
prejudice of the population. In 1836 he started 
on a tour through the country, partly to ascertain 
the best place of residence for the missionary and 
partly to study the Persian and Arabic languages. 
He spent seven months in Sheraz and returned to 
Tabriz in May, 1837. His observations of the 
Moslems of the country greatly dampened the en- 
thusiasm with which he had gone to Persia. He 
concluded that Islamism was a "masterpiece of 
skill and power, and at the same time a bottom- 
less pit, not easily fathomed or filled up." He 
wrote "Public preaching to the Persians is not 
only inexpedient, but impracticable." As to ed- 
ucation among the Persians, he pronounced Tab- 




1 . Tabriz. 

2. Women grinding at the mill. 






TABRIZ FOR CHRIST 81 

riz the most promising field for the missionary. 
He was so discouraged, however, by the result of 
his efforts to establish Christian schools, or in any 
way to evangelize the Moslems, that in 1842, after 
a seven years' residence, the Board discontinued 
this mission to Islam and transferred Mr. Merrick 
to Urumia. Tabriz was thus abandoned as a mis- 
sion station and so remained until 1864, when it 
was occupied as an out-station by settling there 
Deacon Ishoo (Nestorian). It was also from that 
time on occasionally visited by missionaries. In 
the autumn of 1860 Rev. S. A. Rhea had gone 
there on business. He wrote from there in refer- 
ence to the inhabitants of the city, "They are in 
the blindness and bigotry of Mohammedanism, 
which still reigns with unbroken sway in all this 
empire. All is silent as the grave, no spiritual 
movement, no inquiry about the soul and its 
breathless interests. It has been my privilege to 
pray for this city and that is all I can do." He 
again went to Tabriz in 1865, and the last sermon 
he ever preached was while there at that time. 
It is recorded that "he conducted the services of 
the communion, the baptizing of Deacon Ishoo's 
child, and preached in Turkish before an audience 
of thirty-five persons, who listened with breathless 
attention and beaming eyes. The Spirit of the 
living God was in the midst and the interest at- 
tending the services was something not of earth, 
but imparted from on high." In 1868 Eev. Ben- 
jamin Labaree went there with his family to spend 
the winter, with the hope of becoming more thor- 
oughly acquainted with the field and of being able 



82 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

to more intelligently urge the Board to send mis- 
sionaries to occupy it. He remained there six 
months. Eegular preaching services were held 
in his hired house. He wrote, "These services 
were attended chiefly by Armenians and by a few 
Moslems. The congregations were very variable, 
and no deep impression seems to have been made." 
How little any one knows of the results following 
faithful, earnest and consecrated effort. All 
these first beginnings were preparing the way for 
permanent and persistent labors in this darkest 
of dark regions. 

Such were the preparations for the perman- 
ent establishment of a Mission Station in Tabriz 
by American missionaries. In the meantime mis- 
sion work in Persia had been transferred to the 
Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian 
Church. A meeting was held in Urumia in Sep- 
tember, 1873, when the expediency of the immedi- 
ate occupancy of Tabriz was discussed. Eev. 
P. Z. Easton, then just from America, argued that 
special preparations had been made for this work. 
He hoped that the "Nestorians, like the Walden- 
ses, might be a beacon light to the nations, but it 
is not enough that we teach the Nestorians. The 
door is wide open to others. The Armenians are 
ready to hear. There is a spirit of inquiry. One 
openly confesses Christ. Let us take another step 
forward and enter upon this work. God has given 
this world to His Son, and this field among the 
rest." Rev. H. N. Barnum of Turkey being pres- 
ent said, "Tabriz is a good field for work among 
Moslems. No doubt there will be persecutions, 



TABRIZ FOR CHRIST 83 

even to missionaries, bnt Tabriz is near the boun- 
dary and the English Consul is there. Those are 
the best workers who enter upon the work hope- 
fully. Those who make the first inroads upon 
Mohammedanism will do the greatest work for 
Christ in this generation." Rev. W. L. Whipple 
reminded us that "Mohammedanism is all honey- 
combed with many sects ; the country is ripe for 
the entrance of the Gospel, many quietly inquiring 
and many receiving the truth.' ' Rev. G. W. 
Coan, D.D., said, "There is no question as 
to the desirability of occupying it if we look 
at it is as a strategical point. The question 
is do we hear the voice 'Go forward.' I 
think we do. Preparatory work has been 
done. Mr. Rhea's and Mr. Labaree's works 
there were not without results. As a point of in- 
terest the way is open. As a point of legality the 
way is not open. The death penalty hangs over 
every Moslem who turns from his faith. Even in 
view of this we must follow the voice of the Lord. 
The way is open to the Armenians, but the Arch 
Bishop is bitterly opposed. Some defy him. One 
man has boldly spoken of the rottenness of the 
Armenian Church and will not retract. If we 
wait for obstacles to be removed we will wait a 
long time. Great care and prudence are neces- 
sary, for we have wily and powerful foes. The 
question of religious liberty was brought to the 
attention of the Shah and he replied encouraging- 
ly.' ' 

It was decided to establish the new station. 
Mr. and Mrs. Easton and myself were set apart 



84 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

as pioneers in this work. So I packed my few be- 
longings and prepared for the journey of one hun- 
dred and fifty miles from Urumia to Tabriz. Our 
company consisted of Dr. G. W. Coan (going to 
help start the work), Mr. and Mrs. Easton and 
baby boy (she with baby in takhtrawan) and my- 
self, two Nestorian preachers and the wife of one 
of them, some Armenians and several Moslem 
men who furnished the horses. The latter walked, 
all the others were mounted. We were seven days 
by the way, including a Sabbath day, when we rest- 
ed. Never was rest sweeter than it was that day. 
It was in the latter part of September and the days 
were hot. The caravan moved very slowly. Ev- 
ery afternoon, when we would have finished the 
stage for that day, it would seem as if every bone, 
muscle and sinew of my body had been pulled, 
jerked, twisted, pounded. I would sink on the 
floor exhausted. The natives said I was not 
" cooked.' ' But the night's rest would build me 
up and I would be ready for another day's ride. 
It was an interesting journey. We rode along the 
shore of Lake Urumia, resting our eyes on its 
deep blue waters lying tranquil in the bright sun- 
shine and keeping its secrets locked in its own 
bosom. We rode around several points of moun- 
tains extending down towards the lake. We 
crossed a mountain pass, long and winding in its 
ascent and steep in descent. This pass is danger- 
ous because robbers prowl around. At the very 
top there is a guard house, which is but a low mud 
hut. As we approached it we saw men coming 
out of it, like ants from an ant hill. As we drew 



TABRIZ FOR CHRIST 85 

near they demanded a present for making it safe 
for us to pass. Probably some of them were very 
robbers themselves. After they had received a 
present of a few cents they retired into their 
stronghold and we went on our way unmolested. 
We crossed the beautiful plain of Salmas, bound- 
ed on three sides by mountains, the other side ex- 
tending down to the lake. This plain and the 
mountain slopes are dotted all over by villages 
and towns, and the continuous trees, gardens, 
orchards and vineyards make a very attractive 
landscape. A river, like a silver thread, runs 
the entire length of the plain and artificial water- 
ways carry the water in every direction. Persian 
skies are very blue, stars very bright, moon as 
beautiful as in our own land, and the sun shines 
nearly always. Studying the people we met along 
the way, I wondered what would be my experi- 
ence with them in the coming years, and I lifted 
my heart in prayer for God's blessing on this 
great work to which He had called me. We 
reached Tabriz September 30th, 1873, and took 
possession in the name of the Lord. 

October 1st, 1873, is the date of the establish- 
ment of the station. We find on record the fol- 
lowing: "Besolved: That we record our sense 
of the goodness of God in permitting us to open 
a Station of the Persia Mission at Tabriz, October 
1st, 1873, and that we invoke the Divine blessing 
upon our labors; observing a day of fasting and 
prayer in connection with the inauguration of our 
work here." 



86 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

On the first Sabbath of October, 1873, a 
preaching service was held in a room of the house 
rented for the residence of the missionaries. 
There were present thirty persons, of whom seven 
were Moslem. On the second Sabbath there were 
forty present, of whom four were Moslem. 
Preaching was begun in Turkish by the Nestorian 
preachers, Mr. Easton not yet having learned the 
language. Turkish was understood by all and 
was the medium of communicating the truth to 
the Moslems. These Sabbath day services have 
been continued ever since. A mid-week prayer 
meeting was also begun, which has been continued 
all the years. Other services in both Turkish and 
Armenian were afterwards begun and have been 
carried on at different times and places as the way 
has opened. There were two men who had be- 
come converts to Protestant Christianity through 
the reading and study of the Scriptures. One 
was a Moslem, who afterwards died a peaceful 
death, which greatly impressed his friends and 
neighbors. They said "He died with a smile 
on his face like a child going to sleep. We never 
saw anything like it." The other had been a 
very stiff Gregorian Armenian, keeping the fasts 
with all punctiliousness, making pilgrimages to 
sacred shrines, offering sacrifices and strictly 
observing the rites and ceremonies of the Old 
Church. He was very generous, giving large gifts 
to the Church. A large costly picture of the Holy 
Virgin and the Child Jesus still remains in the 
Armenian Old Church which he put there. He 
was a wealthy merchant in partnership with 



TABRIZ FOR CHRIST 87 

his brothers. The brothers had a quarrel 
and he was thrown out of business. One 
day alone in his room, anxious and troubled, he 
was pacing back and forth, when he espied a Bible 
lying on a shelf, unused and covered with dust. 
Merely as a pastime he took it up and began to 
read. It was in the ancient language, but he was 
a scholar. He became interested and read on and 
on. As he continued reading and searching he 
exclaimed, "If this be true, we are wrong.' ' He 
found the truth and became a devoted student of 
the Bible and an humble, true Christian. 

On Friday, April 9th, 1875, the Evangelical 
Church of Tabriz was organized with six mem- 
bers. On Sabbath April 11th, the sacrament of 
the Lord's Supper was administered. In October 
of the same year a convert from Islam was re- 
ceived on confession of his faith in Christ, pub- 
licly baptized and admitted to the communion. 
He had been led to think about this new faith by 
the disturbance of 1874, and said he had no use 
for a religion that must keep its adherents by 
whipping. He was Tabriz's first martyr, for he 
fled from the persecutions of his family and ac- 
quaintances to Constantinople. There he was 
thrown into the Bosphorus, and drowned, because 
he was a Christian. Next Isaac, a Nestorian, was 
received into church membership, and soon after- 
wards Mariam, an Armenian woman. She be- 
came a teacher and a helper in gospel work for 
six years, when she died "faithful unto death." 
There were many hindrances to the progress of 
the work and the building up of a flourishing 



88 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

church in Tabriz. Yet, in spite of all obstacles, 
it gained steadily and the little band of believers 
increased year by year. Some who were received 
proved unworthy; some died witnessing for 
Christ; some removed to other places; and still 
the work grew. It is impossible to estimate in 
figures the membership and influence of this 
church. It is a beacon light sending out its rays 
in all directions, not only in the city, but all around 
about. Tabriz being the metropolis and center of 
trade and travel, many coming for a short time or 
passing through would learn of the Protestant 
preaching and would come to hear. Thus many 
heard the preaching and would go away with seeds 
of truth lodged in their hearts, and so a great and 
widely extended influence was exerted. There 
has been aroused much reading of God's word, 
much inquiry and discussion, and there are many 
secret believers. Some we know, but all are only 
known to Him who is the searcher of hearts, and 
only at the last great day shall the true reckoning 
be made manifest. 

In the first years a Kurd was baptized. He 
went away and was never heard from. There was 
one Alaskar, a village man who came one Sabbath 
day to the missionary, and weeping, threw himself 
at his feet, asking advice. He had gotten posses- 
sion of a Testament, had read and become a be- 
liever. One day as he read Matt. 5 : 15 he felt that 
he ought not to hide his light under a bushel but 
ought to confess Christ. When he did so his 
father in anger snatched the book and threw it in- 
to the fire. His wife left him. He was beaten 



TABRIZ FOR CHRIST 89 

and so persecuted that he fled and came to Tabriz. 
The missionary talked and prayed with him, gave 
him another Testament, and advised him to re- 
turn to his village and try again. He did so, 
but soon his life was threatened and he again fled 
to Tabriz. There he remained some time, faith- 
ful, humble, consistent. When it was known in 
Tabriz that he was a Christian he was there per- 
secuted and he fled to Eussia, where he was able 
to live a quiet, undisturbed, Christian life. The 
story of Sheikh Baba, the Kurdish chief, is very 
interesting. He was converted through the read- 
ing of the Bible and the faithful efforts of some 
of our evangelists in conversation, explaining and 
exhorting. He was baptized, lived a Christian life 
and was known and recognized among his people 
as a teacher of truth. His sayings were quoted 
and his influence was wide spread. His wife and 
brother, coming more personally under his influ- 
ence, also accepted Christianity. In 1890 I visit- 
ed his headquarters in a mountain village in Kurd- 
istan, and spent one happy night there sumptu- 
ously and lovingly entertained by his wife. The 
sheikh was a fine appearing man of open counte- 
nance and noble bearing. He said "It was love, 
the love of God and the love of these, his children 
(referring to the evangelists), that constrained me 
to be a Christian." Sayid KhaleePs story is of 
thrilling interest. He was a leader of dervishes. 
Through the reading and study of the Bible he 
was convinced of the truth of Christianity and he 
became an humble devoted Christian. He suf- 
fered persecution and lost all his earthly posses- 



90 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

sions, while he spent the last years of his life in 
proclaiming the glad tidings of salvation. He 
died poor and needy and his body was refused bur- 
ial by his acquaintances because he was a Chris- 
tian. In 1879-80 there was a famine, which gave 
the missionaries an opportunity of manifesting 
the spirit of Christ in feeding the hungry and 
clothing the naked. Large sums of money from 
Europe and America were sent for disbursement 
and thousands were thus saved from starvation. 
Great numbers were in this way brought under the 
sound of the Gospel and there were many con- 
verts. 

The history of Tabriz Church might almost 
be called a recital of persecutions, for all along 
there has been bitter opposition. Sometimes the 
attendance upon Sabbath day services has been 
small, sometimes the chapel has been crowded, 
sometimes the numbers and regularity of attend- 
ance of Moslems has attracted attention. Just 
then the police would be needing some money. So, 
during time of service, they would place them- 
selves in the street, watching the gate, and after 
the service was over, they would pounce on those 
who would come out from the meeting, and beat- 
ing them along the way, would drive them to the 
Chief of Police, where they would be cast into the 
dungeon, beaten and robbed. Then for awhile no 
one would venture to come to the meetings. The 
first outbreak occurred about the first of Febru- 
ary, 1874, less than five months after the beginning 
of the station. There was a remarkable interest 
among both Armenians and Moslems. There were, 



TABRIZ FOR CHRIST 91 

in addition to the regular meetings, some Friday 
meetings with large companies of men at Moslem 
houses. Both nationalities were attending the 
Sabbath day services and there was much dis- 
cussion on religious themes. It was some Armen- 
ian priests who stirred up the commotion. They 
were afraid of the truth as taught by the mission- 
aries, and powerless themselves to hinder the 
work, they took advantage of this growing interest 
among Moslems by complaining to the Moslem 
Ecclesiastical Head that we had come to turn not 
only Armenians from their faith but Moslems as 
well. They told lies about us, saying that we 
preached that there is no God, no prophet. They 
said to the Chief Ecclesiastic, "We must unite to 
get these people away from here." Moslem auth- 
orities became excited. Spies were sent to the 
meetings, police were stationed in the street, and 
one Sabbath day some Moslems were taken up, 
put in prison and whipped. One man was beaten 
nearly to death, and actually did die soon after 
from the effect of the beating. He had not be- 
come a Christian, but was the leader of a sect 
obnoxious to the orthodox Moslems and they took 
this opportunity of wreaking their hate on him. 
Mullah Abdul Hassan was known to be a Chris- 
tian. He remained firm and faithful, crying out 
in agony when they were beating him, "Oh, God, 
oh King of Heaven, do thou show judgment.' 9 
They plied him with questions and they said "Oh, 
Mullah (priest), isn't it a shame for you a Mullah 
to go to those people and to let your son be a gate 
keeper for them for ten cents a day. ' ' One Mirza 



92 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

Ibrahim, a scribe in the employ of the Mission, 
was one of those taken to prison. He had in his 
pocket a small book of hymns that had been trans- 
lated into Turkish, which he was copying for use 
in the meetings. They saw the book and com- 
manded him to read. He read. They exclaimed 
"Bah! bah! what good words.' 9 They took the 
book and his cloak and sent him away with cuts 
and bruises. When the missionary and the two 
Nestorian preachers interviewed the Secretary of 
Foreign Affairs about these things, he asked, 
"What have you come to Tabriz for? Are you 
merchants I" "No, we preach." "What do you 
preach?" "We preach God and Christ, we do 
not teach the people to lie and steal, but to be 
honest and truthful." "To whom do you 
preach?" "To all who will listen." "But your 
business is unripe. It is not cooked. You should 
get permission. Wait awhile. I will write to 
Teheran, and when I get permission for you you 
may preach." That permission never came, but 
preaching went on, not being even once discon- 
tinued. There came a telegram from the Shah, 
demanding quiet in Tabriz, and it was astonish- 
ing how quickly all the excitement passed away. 
The Governor said to the missionary, "We know 
you are right, and your religion is true, but we fear 
our priests, we must do something.." This per- 
secution, at the time so terrible, had good results 
in this way, that by it knowledge of our being 
there was published all over the city, and people 
began to inquire, "Who are these preachers? 
Why is it necessary to whip people to keep them 



TABRIZ FOR CHRIST 93 

from leaving their religion?" Though fear kept 
them away for awhile, afterwards larger numbers 
than before came to see and hear. Our own lives 
were in danger, and the great day of mourning 
for Hassen and Hosein, when Moslems are always 
very excitable, coming in March, soon after the 
disturbance, the English Consul invited us to 
spend the day at the Consulate, ostensibly as 
guests, but really for protection. 

In 1881 an order came from the Persian Gov- 
ernment to the effect that our work for Moslems 
should cease. The missionaries were united in 
the feeling that we could not desist from teaching 
and preaching to all classes of Persians as the 
Lord should give opportunity. Had He not called 
us there, and should we not go forward trusting 
in Him? Is it not His work and cannot He pro- 
tect it? After prayer and consideration a care- 
fully prepared answer was returned as follows: 
"Though we cannot close our doors to any who 
wish to visit us in a friendly way, and while we % 
endeavor to treat politely any persons who come 
to us, and occasion offering, entreat them to good 
works and higher morals, we shall use no undue 
persuasion for any to attend our meetings or visit 
our homes, and we shall endeavor to avoid any- 
thing that would disturb the peace of this land 
or cause any one to become religious. ' ' The work 
did not cease but was carried on a little more cau- 
tiously. 

There were petty persecutions from time to 
time. One Mullah was the terror of all. After- 
wards, in 1894, he was found poor and destitute 



94 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

and sick nigh unto death. He was visited and 
ministered unto by the missionary physician and 
the native evangelist. He died professing him- 
self a convert to Christianity. It was in 1885 that 
an outbreak came that for a long time closed 
doors. Mirza Ali was a Moslem convert and a 
member of the church who stood high in the es- 
teem of the missionaries. His family life did not 
run smoothly, and as the result of a family quar- 
rel his wife and daughter went to the Chief Ec- 
clesiastic and reported him a Christian. This was 
just the spark that was needed to ignite the com- 
bustible material. The city was in an uproar. 
Mirza Ali fled to the missionary for protection 
and was hidden in his house several days. When 
it was no longer safe there, one evening at dusk, 
dressed in American clothes, wearing American 
hat, spectacles and muffler, carrying a cane and 
leaning on the arm of an American gentleman, he 
passed by the armed police, who were watching 
for him, and entered another missionary's house 
in safety. That night he left the city and went to 
Russia. 



VII 

HOW WE WORK 

I. Schools. Teaching, teaching, teaching! 
The missionary is always teaching — teaching the 
people, large and small, old and young, men and 
women; so little do they know and so much is 
there to tell them. We have schools for boys and 
young men and for girls and young women. We 
have boarding schools, kindergartens, preparatory 
schools, high schools, colleges, seminaries, theo- 
logical classes, industrial schools for boys and 
training of girls in sewing and all kinds of hand 
work and embroidery and in housekeeping. There 
is an extensive curriculum of studies. The Bible 
is taught daily. All the influence is for truth, 
purity, uprightness. Eefined and earnest Chris- 
tian young men graduate from our Boys ' Schools, 
and taking unto themselves lovely, devoted, intel- 
ligent Christian wives from our Girls' Schools, go 
out in different directions, forming Christian 
homes which are centers of light. 

We find on record the following, dated Octo- 
ber 10th, 1873: "Judging from all we see and 
learn, such is the thirst for knowledge among the 
Armenians, and such also their dissatisfaction 
with their own schools, as now carried on, that we 
should find no difficulty in establishing two 



96 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

schools — one for boys and another for girls. 
The great drawback in both cases is the want of 
teachers.' ' On the part of the Girls' School a 
beginning was made. Two day schools were start- 
ed during the first year, one in each of the two 
Armenian quarters. An old woman who could 
read in a chanting, sing-song style, was found to 
assist in one of the schools ; and another who was 
herself learning to read took charge of the other. 
It was soon discovered that the "want of teach- 
ers" was not the only drawback. It was con- 
trary to custom for girls to learn to read. There 
was much suspicion of this new movement, and 
there was a very strong mercenary spirit. A 
father would sell his two daughters to me for thir- 
ty dollars. A mother would give her daughter if 
she should be fed and clothed. Another wished to 
be paid for sending children to our school, and so 
on. The first school began with twelve girls, of 
whom five were Armenian, one Nestorian, two 
Moslem and four French. The second school be- 
gan with eight — all Armenian and some of them 
were boys. The attendance fluctuated from five 
to twenty, as the school would be popular or un- 
popular. It was the day of small things, but not 
to be despised. Furrows were made in the virgin 
soil and influences were started which have been 
going on ever since. Little Antoine, one of the 
first pupils in the second school, was taken ill and 
died. During his illness, and as long as he could 
speak, he kept repeating verses of scripture he 
had learned. Each of these schools was a center 
for evangelistic work, and every now and then in 





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Matron and boarding pupils in Girls' School, Tabriz, in 1 908 



HOW WE WORK 97 

after years we hear of first impressions for good 
then and there received. 

These two day schools straggled on with many 
ups and downs for six years, when they were 
merged into the boarding and day school for Ar- 
menian and Moslem girls, which was started in the 
Autumn of 1879. At first there were only three 
girls who could be persuaded to become inmates 
of the missionary's house, but in February, 1880, 
there were ten, seven Armenian, two Moslem and 
one Nestorian. The first year of this new depart- 
ure one of the Moslem girls made a public pro- 
fession of Christianity and was received into 
church membership. She afterwards fell away. 
The other did not profess Christianity, and one 
day ran away from school and did not return. 
But she had received impressions which could not 
be obliterated and which influenced her in her 
married life. In 1881 the first Armenian school 
girl united with the church. It was said of her 
by her neighbors, "We are sure that Horepsema 
is a Christian because she does not swear and 
revile and get angry and say bad words any 
more.'' She was married to one of our teachers 
and together they have worked for Christ in Khoi. 
The accommodations for the school were poor, 
and in 1882 ground was purchased and a commodi- 
ous building was put up. We opened school in 
the new building about the middle of November, 
1882, with nineteen in attendance, two of whom 
were from Maragha. We gave instruction in Ar- 
menian, Turkish, Persian and English — in read- 
ing, writing, grammar, Bible study, catechism, 



98 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

arithmetic, geography, singing, fancy work, plain 
sewing and housekeeping. We held the closing 
exercises that year in the church. One hundred 
and fifty invited guests were present. The girls 
did well, and their friends were surprised and de- 
lighted. In 1883-4 forty-two names were enrolled, 
of whom four were Moslem. Three of the latter 
remained but a short time. The other one con- 
tinued in the school a year, when she was taken 
by that dread foe diphtheria and died. She gave 
beautiful evidence in her life and on her death- 
bed that she had become a child of God. Her 
mother was a widow and very poor. Their room 
was very small. She said, "Mother, can't we take 
a wide room?" Then she closed her eyes a few 
moments, and soon after opening them she said, 
"I have taken a wide room," and her spirit took 
its flight. That year, through the enthusiastic ef- 
forts of Mrs. Holmes, a kindergarten department 
was introduced. We now find the school estab- 
lished on sure foundations, going on and prosper- 
ing year by year, and with a higher course of study 
instituted. In 1888 a Band of King's Daughters 
was organized. This organization was very pop- 
ular among the school girls and a great help in 
their Christian life and work. Later a Society of 
Christian Endeavor was organized. Christian in- 
struction is daily given. The spiritual influence 
is steady and faithful towards leading the pupils 
into the fold of the Good Shepherd. This Prot- 
estant Girls' School has reached out beyond the 
city of Tabriz and taken under its care pupils 
from Maragha, Mianduab, Suldus, Urumia, Sal- 



HOW WE WOKK 99 

mas, Kara Dagh, Muzhumbar, Suhril, Alcha 
Mulkh, Ilkhichee and Zenjan and from Russia. 
Its daughters are now living and witnessing for 
Christ in most of these places. It is a recognized 
institution and a power for good. 

In 1876, so great was the pressure from Ar- 
menians for us to teach their boys, that we did 
attempt teaching a few, even though our equip- 
ment was so poor we were unable to do the work 
well. Stephen, an Armenian young man from 
Khoi, had so thirsted for knowledge that he had 
sought a place in the school in Urumia, where he 
was being taught in the Syriac language. He was 
called to Tabriz to be trained as a helper in gos- 
pel work. This was the beginning of the Train- 
ing Class. Afterwards others were added to this 
class, both Armenian and Moslem. There were 
many hindrances to the progress of this Boys' 
School so that it was not fairly launched until 
February, 1880, when a day school with thirty-five 
boys in attendance began to be a success. In 1882 
more commodious quarters were provided and in 
1883 an excellent teacher, Armenian, from Har- 
poot College, Turkey, was secured, and a Board- 
ing Department was the next forward movement. 
The attendance that year was fifty-two, of whom 
thirteen were Moslem, thirty-eight Armenian and 
one Nestorian. The curriculum of study was en- 
larged. Six languages, Turkish, Persian, Ar- 
menian, English, Arabic and Eussian, were taught 
and used in the school. In 1884-5 we find record- 
ed seventy-one Armenians and fifteen Moslems. 
"A good religious sentiment prevailed, with five 



100 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

church members, four probationers, and others 
showing signs of true Christian life — the week of 
prayer attended by a spirit of revival, a weekly 
prayer meeting carried on and sustained by the 
scholars — good progress in outward gifts and in 
the inner graces of the Spirit." 

In 1884 bitter opposition broke up the Mos- 
lem department. But it could not destroy the in- 
fluence of the religious teaching already given. 
Then the school was named "The Normal and 
Training Class for the Armenians of West Per- 
sia, ' ' with the hope in time of gaining an influence 
over the Moslem population and making the school 
an evangelizing agency for them, but chiefly a 
training school for evangelists and teachers. 

The first commencement was held in June, 
1889, when seven young men were honorably grad- 
uated and presented with diplomas. There were 
present at the closing exercises the "English, 
French and Turkish Consuls, the General of the 
Persian army, the Principal of the Persian Gov- 
ernment Schools, the Tutor of the children of the 
Heir Apparent, and others, who expressed them- 
selves as highly gratified." The next year an- 
other class of seven was graduated. From these 
fourteen young men four were selected and organ- 
ized as a theological class, who were afterwards 
ordained as evangelists. The school kept grow- 
ing and soon outgrew its accommodations. A 
gift of $12,000 by Mrs. William Thaw of Pitts- 
burg enabled the Mission to secure grounds and 
build a new school building, including assembly 
hall, recitation rooms, dormitories, teachers' 
dwellings and missionary residence. The name 



HOW WE WORK 101 

was changed to the ! ' Memorial Training and Theo- 
logical School of Tabriz. * 9 

Bright was the outlook. But trials and trib- 
ulations were not yet over. "In the Autumn of 
1892, with encouraging prospects, the wheels were 
set in motion, when, on the 28th of October, no 
intimation of their purpose having been given to 
the missionaries, both church and Boys' School 
doors were closed and sealed by government offi- 
cials. This was probably the outcome of intrigue 
by the Armenians." But on the very day that 
the missionaries and native Christians had set 
apart as a day of fasting and prayer the seals 
were officially removed and work went on again. 
"And it shall come to pass that before they call 
I will answer, and while they are yet speaking 
I will hear." Isa. 65:24. The influence of 
this school is not by any means confined to 
Tabriz but reaches out over all parts of the 
country. Our "boys" teach in Maragha, Mian- 
duab, Souj Bulak, Khoi, Ilkhichee, Zenjan, 
in villages on Urumia and Salmas plains, 
occupy posts of honor in business houses, and 
do evangelistic work, influencing Armenians, Nes- 
torians, Jews, Persians, Tartar Turks and Kurds, 
not only in Persia but also in Russia. 

This story would not be complete without an 
extract from the report of the Memorial school 
in 1907. "In the midst of the startling political 
events which are occurring in Persia, it may seem 
prosaic to record the simple annals of school life. 
In spite of all the agitations and revolutions, pro- 
mulgations of constitution and election campaigns, 
patriotic processions and drilling of volunteers, 



102 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

plottings of Eoyalists and Nationalists, closing 
of bazaars and suspension of business, riots, 
mobs and murders, rumors of Kurdish raids 
and of invasions by Turkish Hamidiehs and 
Russian Cossacks, the Memorial School has 
gone on regularly. The Persian pupils in- 
creased to eighty, of whom fifty were over 
sixteen years of age. There were one hun- 
dred and thirty-five Armenian and Syrian pupils. 
Some of the Persians were from the families of 
Hadjis, Sayids and Mullahs, but more were from 
the ranks of the nobles. It is curious to call a 
roll in which more than half of the pupils answer 
to the title of Khan (Lord), and whose fathers 
are the honorary ' Regulator of the State, ' ' Glory 
of the Court,' 6 Prosperity of the Kingdom,' 
1 Splendor of the Country,' \ Pride of the Army,' 
1 Sword of the Physicians,' etc. Our primary 
teacher is a Khan and a General. Our Arabic is 
a descendant of Mohammed and son of the ' Noble 
of the Mullahs. ' Though their fondness for titles 
amuses us, yet the fact that we are training the 
ruling class has a marked significance in this new 
era of Persian development. It is an encouraging 
fact that the Persians show an increasing desire 
to pursue a course of sound learning. Formerly 
a smattering of languages satisfied them. Eng- 
lish is now fully introduced as the language of 
higher instruction. This has given prestige to 
the school." 

II. Missionary work naturally falls into 
three great divisions — educational, evangelistic, 
medical. The one great object of all efforts in all 




Persian Gentleman 



HOW WE WORK 103 

departments of work is the advancement of the 
Kingdom of God and the building up of the true 
church on earth by the saving of souls. The 
specially evangelistic work is carried on by the 
direct preaching of the Gospel, "for it pleased 
God by the foolishness of preaching to save them 
that believe." I Cor. 1:21. So, on mission 
ground, the Gospel is preached from the pulpit, 
in Sabbath school, in the houses of the people, 
in our own homes, everywhere that a listener 
may be found, be that audience one or many. 
It is the story of the cross and it is ever the 
same, whether proclaimed in the churches, or 
told by the wayside, in the house, on the roof, 
in field, in garden or vineyard, on threshing 
floor, down by the. mill, under the almond tree, 
to rich or poor, sick or well, man, woman or child, 
in hovel or palace, to Moslem or Christian, to wan- 
dering tribes and dwellers in tents, to Kurds and 
robbers, anywhere, everywhere, at all times, in 
season and out of season, here a little, there a 
little, line upon line, precept upon precept, ever 
the story of the cross, sometimes accepted, some- 
times rejected. 

In the cities we do much house to house visita- 
tion. We always carry with us the Bible. We 
read, explain, exhort, pray and invite the sinner 
to repent and give himself or herself to Jesus. 
Meetings are held on the Sabbath and on week 
days. We are encouraged to preach the word 
boldly, sowing the seed beside all waters, because 
God hath said, "So shall my word be that goeth 
forth out of my mouth; it shall not return unto 



104 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

me void, but it shall accomplish that which I 
please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto 
I sent it." Isa. 55:11. Sometimes our hearers 
seem hard and unresponsive, but we know that 
even then impressions are made. We have the 
commission ' ' Go ye into all the world and preach 
the Gospel to every creature.' ' Mark 16:15. 
It is ours to labor on, leaving results with 
Him whose we are and whom we serve, study- 
ing not only the language and the customs 
of the people, but the people themselves, enter- 
ing into their very thoughts and feelings and 
their way of looking at things. An aged mission- 
ary once said to me, after he had been convers- 
ing with a man who seemed unimpressible, "I 
wanted to look right into his heart and see what 
was there.' 9 We thus strive to become thorough- 
ly acquainted with them, their surroundings and 
the influences that enter into their lives, putting 
ourselves as much as possible in their place, so 
that we may be able to sympathize with them and 
exert a greater influence upon them for good. We 
strive to be earnest, faithful students of the Bible, 
getting clear views and right ideas, and to so pre- 
sent them in an attractive manner that we may 
through the power and indwelling of the Holy 
Spirit reach the heart and win souls. 

The necessity of having the Bible ready for 
use in the vernacular of the people, also the need 
of books in the schools and for distribution, such 
as dictionaries, commentaries, hymn books, tracts 
and religious books, demands a great and exten- 
sive literary work. The native converts to Chris- 



HOW WE WORK 105 

tianity also assist greatly in all these grand divi- 
sions of work. The Bible in whole and in por- 
tions and much religions literature have been scat- 
tered very extensively over the land by colpor- 
teurs, by native evangelists and by missionaries. 
Seed has been sown and impressions made that 
are permanent and are steadily increasing. A 
spirit of inquiry has been aroused among the peo- 
ple; Bibles are bought and asked for; old Bibles 
are brought out from dark closets, dust wiped off 
and read. I went with the physician to a house 
where a little child was ill. I was much interested 
in the father. He was ill also. He sat propped 
up in his bed reading the Bible. He died, but I 
could not but have hope of his soul. And there 
are many such. The other day a man died in 
Tabriz who had been a very wicked man. He gave 
good evidence of being prepared, having become a 
changed man, reading his Bible, desiring religious 
conversation and enjoying religious tracts. 

There is much sickness in Persia. The peo- 
ple, not understanding the laws of health, do not 
know how to take care of themselves and are taken 
with all the ills flesh is heir to, acute and chronic. 
Our physicians, walking in the footsteps of Jesus, 
go about doing good, carrying with them healing 
for body and soul. Thousands all over the land 
rise up to bless the missionary physician. Per- 
sians have great respect for a doctor, the name by 
which they call him or her — Hakim — meaning 
learned. Thus dispensaries and hospitals are a 
very prominent and very important feature of our 
missionary work. 



VIII 



There was a time when Persia was one of the 
mighty nations of the earth. It has been said of 
the Persians that ' ' they were ever the firm friends, 
liberators and protectors of God's chosen peo- 
ple — the first to welcome and worship the new- 
born Messiah — the first among those who re- 
ceived the baptism of the Holy Ghost — the first 
among those who began to preach the gospel which 
is to be proclaimed in every land and in every 
tongue, until all nations shall have become evan- 
gelized.' ■ We cannot say that of Persia now. 
With the degradation of woman has come the fall 
of the land. What could we expect from such a 
religion, such a government, where woman is un- 
educated and cast down, " whose desire is unto 
her husband," who looks upon her merely as an 
animal — a chattel or machine — a piece of prop- 
erty — where she is one of many wives who may 
be divorced at his pleasure. Oh woman! hard is 
thy lot. I have visited the Moslem lady of rank 
and wealth in the harem. Passing the outside 
entrance, which is kept guarded by soldiers, I have 
been escorted through a long, dark, narrow, wind- 
ing passage to the inner court, where the heavy 
curtains would be lifted and I would there be met 
by eunuchs or women of inferior rank, and by 



WOMAN'S WORK FOR WOMAN 107 

them conducted into the presence of the lady. She 
would be found reclining on elegant cushions, at- 
tended by her maids, herself bejeweled, painted 
and dressed in gorgeous silks and velvets with 
gold and silver embroidery; and surrounded by 
all sorts of pretty and costly things, and spending 
her time in gossip and idleness. So she fritters 
her life away, doing a little needle work, eating, 
drinking, smoldng, counting her rosary, repeating 
her meaningless prayers. Perhaps she reads a 
little ; but that is in the Koran and as meaningless 
to her as her prayers. Occasionally enveloped in 
overalls, mantle and veil, attended by a train of 
men servants and maid servants, she goes to the 
bath to spend a day, or to visit a friend or neigh- 
bor, just as secluded and with a life as aimless as 
her own. What thought has she of training her 
children for a life of usefulness or the glory of 
God? What pure and exalted motives has she in 
the ordering of her own life, what mental train- 
ing, what preparation for eternity? None what- 
ever. Oh, my sister, my poor blind sister! my 
heart aches for thee ! 

A great contrast in social standing is the vil- 
lage poor woman, bare-footed, but head and face 
covered, rude, noisy, dirty, quarrelsome, degraded. 
Pitiable indeed is her condition. The women of 
the middle class have much more freedom than 
those of the higher class. They may visit more 
often, may go to the bazaars and walk the streets 
unattended. In this class too there is less polyg- 
amy, because the men of this class cannot afford to 
support more than one wife. There is also among 



108 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

them a certain degree of intelligence, self respect 
and independence. 

Moslem women expect to be beaten by hus- 
band and mother-in-law. Is she not their prop- 
erty, their slave? She knows no other way and 
has no redress. She may revile and curse and 
hate, but she still continues to drag on her weary 
existence. She may fret because she cannot have 
all the things she wants. She may be wearing out 
her life in jealousy and hatred of her husband's 
other wives, spending her energies in inventing 
ways of making them miserable, and of making 
herself so attractive to the husband that she may 
always be his favorite wife. If, perchance, she 
is the only wife, she is in constant dread of the 
time when another may be taken. Knowing that 
at any time her master may divorce her, she often 
secretly gathers together all the jewelry and val- 
uable things she can get possession of to take with 
her when she is sent away. The one wife of a 
wealthy Moslem confidentially unlocked a box and 
showed me the contents — gold and silver orna- 
ments and precious stones, which she was thus 
secretly hoarding for such an emergency. If she 
should become poor she would have them for sale 
for her living. Having children of her own, whom 
she loves with all the natural passion given to 
mothers, it often happens that in some secret way 
a woman manages to destroy the life of the chil- 
dren of the other wives, in order that her own 
children may be heirs of all the property. While 
there is rejoicing over the birth of a boy, there 
are expressions of sympathy and resignation to- 



WOMAN 'S WORK FOR WOMAN 109 

the will of God if the baby is a girl. The ordinary 
greeting to the mother from her friends when a 
boy is born is "May God bless him," for the baby 
girl ' ' May God forgive you. ' * This is not without 
reason, for do they not know that the future of the 
little girl is a dark one? It is not necessary that 
she learn to read, but she must be an adept in all 
the proprieties and assumed modesty. A man was 
teaching his daughter to read. I suggested that 
he also teach her to write. He replied, "Oh, no, 
that would never do. It would be a shame for a 
girl to learn to write." We are glad to know, 
however, that in these later years many girls are 
learning to write as well as read. Such a one 
earns a title and is called "The reading woman." 
A father is responsible for the sins of his daugh- 
ter until she is twelve years old; after that her 
husband assumes the responsibility. Few women 
are brought to judgment, because the husband an- 
swers for her misdeeds, and he inflicts the punish- 
ment on her, and with interest too. "When she is 
but a child she must be married. If there can be 
found for her a suitable husband, well and good, 
if not she must take what she can get. As a rule 
she has nothing to say as to the one to whom she 
shall be given. From twelve to sixteen is the most 
acceptable age. From twenty to twenty-five it is 
considered a calamity if she is unmarried, and 
with shamefacedness she stands while it is an- 
nounced that she is only a girl. Harriet Mar- 
tineau wrote of Moslem women as "the most 
studiously corrupted women she ever met. ' \ 



110 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

Such are the women in whom we are inter- 
ested and for whom we labor in Persia. We make 
many visits to them in their own abodes. They 
always receive us politely, cordially, gladly, and 
always entertain us with the best they have. The 
rich entertain sumptuously, with sherbets, tea, 
coffee, sweets, fruit, lettuce, cucumbers, melons, 
pomegranates, etc. The very poor will find some- 
thing to set before us, it may be a dish of nuts and 
raisins. 

What a break in the monotony of the Persian 
ladies' life, what a refreshing treat from the out- 
side world, is the visit of the missionary lady to 
the harem! Like little children, they are full of 
curiosity and ask many questions. They want to 
know about our world and all our life in it, our 
habits, our dress, our home land and our friends 
and relatives. How could we leave home and 
loved ones so far away? Did we come to learn a 
new language, to learn their religion or something 
of them? Or were we laying up for ourselves 
merit in Heaven? Then we seize the opportunity 
of telling them of the love of Christ constraining, 
and that we came to tell of Him, how He loves 
them so much that He left His glorious home 
above, to suffer and die for them. As we tell of 
Jesus, frequently they exclaim, "Oh, yes, we love 
Jesus too. He was a good man and a prophet." 
" Yes, indeed," we reply, "He was a good man and 
a prophet, but he was more than a prophet, He 
was and is our Savior." Then they say, "He is 
your Savior and Mohammed is ours." Then we 
tell them over and over the story of Jesus and 



WOMAN'S WORK FOR WOMAN 111 

His love, His life on earth, His works and words, 
His death and resurrection, and how He is now the 
risen Lord and our and their Savior and Interces- 
sor. Sometimes they will be politely indifferent, 
sometimes refuse to listen at all and make inter- 
ruptions. Sometimes they will argue and oppose, 
and accuse us of blasphemy if we speak of Christ 
as God or the Son of God. Sometimes they listen 
eagerly, exclaiming, "What good words, tell us 
more." We must tell the story simply as to a 
little child, and over and over. We may speak 
plainly to them of their sins. They are always 
ready to acknowledge that they are great sinners, 
often crying out — "what shall we do? We don't 
know any better. We are beasts." Or with a 
shrug of the shoulder they say, "God is merciful," 
and go on in the same way. Every opportunity 
thus improved is one more stroke in undermining 
and battering down the mighty structure of Islam. 
It impresses them favorably for us to open 
the Bible and read from its pages. All the Word 
of God is profitable, but I found some portions 
more especially adapted to our woi;k. It is often 
expedient to begin with the "Sermon on the 
Mount;" there is the beautiful story of the mirac- 
ulous birth and the appearance of the Shepherds ; 
there are the parables and miracles; the healing 
of the sick, raising the dead, the Creation and the 
Fall, when we show them how woman was degrad- 
ed by the Fall and is exalted by the Savior. There 
are Bible stories, the Commandments, lessons on 
cleanliness, not outside and ceremonial, but true 
purity of heart and life. At a Moslem village they 



112 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

would not let the woman who was with me use a 
vessel of theirs in which to cook for me a chicken 
because she was a Christian and consequently un- 
clean. Later, as a crowd of them, dirty and re- 
pulsive, gathered around me, I improved the op- 
portunity of giving them a lesson on true cleanli- 
ness and purity, putting the truth right home to 
them. They listened and exclaimed, "It is true, 
it is true." At another place, sitting on the grass 
in an orchard, some women asked me to tell them 
a story. I told them the story of Joseph. How 
interested they were. The story was called for 
again and again by different companies of women. 
And such experiences are of frequent occurrence. 
The home life of the missionary impresses them 
as they see the courtesy and love shown by the 
husband to the wife, her security of position 
and her happiness and content, with no fear of 
ever being divorced and how she is loved and hon- 
ored by her children. They say "Your prophet 
was good to you, but our prophet gave us a hard 
life. ? ? 

In working with nominally Christian women 
we have much in common to begin with. We have 
the same Bible, the same belief in Jesus — the Son 
of God and Savior of sinners — the same Sabbath 
day, and the same views of the sacredness of the 
marriage relation. We find much superstition 
with them and many errors — and it is our priv- 
ilege to show them where they are making mis- 
takes, and bring home to them their duties and 
responsibilities as Christians, so leading and guid- 
ing them to higher and holier living, and in all our 



WOMAN'S WORK FOR WOMAN 113 

intercourse with them striving to turn their 
thoughts from things worldly and trivial to things 
higher and better. We can sympathize with them 
in their trials and temptations as much as pos- 
sible, bridging over the chasm between us caused 
by their lack of culture and education as well as 
difference of race and country. We may give 
careful and loving answers to their innumerable 
questions, many of them frivolous. All this re- 
quires tact, patience, perseverance, prudence, wis- 
dom, consecration and the presence and indwell- 
ing of the Holy Spirit in our own hearts. It may 
be that some little kind word or act may find lodg- 
ment in some mind, awaken thought and lead to 
further inquiries. We must not become discour- 
aged, even when we are misunderstood and our 
efforts seem to fail. When we remember the long 
patience of our Heavenly Father with us, we may 
learn to bear with the poor, ignorant women to 
whom He sent us. Then we must not expect too 
much from them, even after they have become con- 
verted, for the fetters of custom are strong and 
they often fall. The work is not altogether easy, 
the ignorance is so great, the darkness so dark, 
the superstitions so powerful, the attachments to 
the old ways of belief and habits of life so bind- 
ing, Satan's stronghold so strong and his hold on 
the hearts of the people so firm, that it is only by 
a miracle of grace that any woman is rescued from 
her lost condition and brought from death to life. 
It will take more than one generation of mission- 
ary toil in preaching and teaching and pleading 



114 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

and praying to lift them up to light and truth and 
pure Christianity. 

With the hope of bringing the women of all 
classes and races under the influence of refined 
Christian homes, we do much entertaining. We 
arrange our homes as nearly as we can like Amer- 
ican homes, and there is much for them to see 
and wonder at — and question about. Very true 
is it that only a partial report can be written, 
the daily routine, the weariness, our own short- 
comings, the seemingly fruitless efforts, the little 
annoyances, the frequent interruptions, the many 
times that our hearts are wounded by the coldness 
and indifference and ingratitude of those for whom 
we labor and pray. How long is the seed sowing ! 
When shall the harvest be? The great work of 
the missionary lady is to carry the Gospel to the 
abodes of the people, to teach the women and 
children of Christ and the way of salvation, to 
influence the entire family toward righteousness 
and true living. This evangelistic work among 
the women of Tabriz was all along, even from 
the beginning, attended with difficulties. At first 
no woman of self respect would come near us. 
They were very secluded and very suspicious of 
strangers. They were especially suspicious of us 
because of the false impression they had received 
as to our moral character, and they believed we 
had come to set aside the right religion and estab- 
lish in its place heresy and infidelity. Our not 
keeping the fasts and feasts, not going through 
the prescribed forms of prayer, not performing the 
required ablutions before and after meals, not 



WOMAN'S WORK FOR WOMAN 115 

hiding our faces if a man appeared, and many 
things that we did or did not do, shocked the Mos- 
lems. Among the Armenians it was reported that 
we spat upon the image of the Holy Virgin, that 
the reason for our closing our eyes in prayer was 
that we might not see the Virgin if she should 
pass by, and that we trampled on the cross of 
Christ because we did not wear the crucifix or 
make the sign of the cross in our devotions. And 
they called us unbelievers. The priests and ec- 
clesiastical rulers, being afraid of our teaching, 
forbade the women to come to us, and those who 
did venture to come or to receive us into their 
homes were called to an account and threatened 
thus, "If you go there we will not bury you when 
you die." Gradually, however, doors began to 
open and an entrance to be obtained in many 
houses in different parts of the city, both Armeni- 
an and Moslem. 

It was the Bible that opened these doors. 
There were two young men, Moslem, who came 
asking to be taught English. That work fell in- 
to my hands, and through them I obtained an en- 
trance to their dwellings. I read the Bible to the 
women assembled. With astonishment and de- 
light they heard the new and wonderful words. 
After that first visit I was repeatedly invited to 
visit them. Neighbors and friends would as- 
semble, would listen and would invite me to visit 
in their houses. So the visiting work grew and 
grew until there were more places to visit than 
time or strength for visiting. The entrance to 
Armenian houses was effected in a similar manner. 



116 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

Simply with Bible in hand, doors were opened 
everywhere, among high and low, rich and poor, 
of both nationalities, and we were, called "The 
People of the Book." These visits have become 
a prominent feature of our work. It is the en- 
deavor of the missionary ladies that they shall be 
occasions of making spiritual impressions. They 
vary in length from ten or fifteen minutes to three 
or more hours. Occasionally there is no oppor- 
tunity presented for religious conversation, but 
almost always we can speak a word for the Mas- 
ter, and most frequently a visit becomes a Bible 
meeting. 

Very soon after the establishing of the new 
station I began a regular weekly Woman's Meet- 
ing. At first there were very few who would at- 
tend. But the numbers increased, and when other 
missionary ladies were added to our little band 
they also took part in this work. These meetings 
have been kept up all the years with varying 
interest and attendance. In the first years they 
were often noisy and disorderly, the women not 
yet having learned how to conduct themselves — 
a marked contrast to many precious meetings held 
since. Many would come from motives of cur- 
iosity or hope of worldly gain. Many would stay 
away from fear of consequences, saying, '"It is 
not safe to go to those meetings, because there 
we are reminded of our sins and become uncom- 
fortable. M So we go among the women of Persia, 
knowing nothing but Christ and Him crucified. 
Our Captain rules over all and in His own good 
time and way He will "bring it to pass." We 



WOMAN'S WORK FOR WOMAN 117 

believe that Persia will become an enlightened 
Christian land, and that her women will rise to 
that position of honor and purity and freedom 
which is only attainable by the Gospel truth and 
the power of God. "I have sworn by myself, the 
word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness 
and shall not return, that unto me every knee 
shall bow, every tongue shall swear.' ' Isa. 45 :23. 
During the first winter of my sojourn in 
Tabriz I counted all who might be considered 
true spiritual Protestant Christians in the city, 
and the number was sixteen. Af ten ten years the 
number of our Protestant women was sixteen. 
And the character of our women's meetings was 
wonderfully changed. We had been observing 
the week of prayer in the Church. There was 
a spirit of revival in our midst — a solemnity, 
earnestness, spirituality never before so manifest. 
I called a special meeting of the "sisters" who 
were church members. Nearly all present volun- 
tarily took an active part in the exercises. We 
spent together at that meeting one hour and a 
half, and the time seemed too short, so great was 
the interest felt and the joy experienced. There 
was no excitement but deep calm and peace. At 
our next regular meeting there were fifty present. 
Several of the leading ones were kept away from 
that meeting by sickness, and I feared the timid 
ones would not have courage to speak before 
such an audience, but what was my joy to find 
that the spirit of our week of prayer meetings 
was still with us and more abundantly. One sur- 
prise followed another as a voice was heard in 



118 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

one part of the room, then in another, one reading 
a portion of scripture and making a few remarks, 
one reading some thoughts she had composed and 
written down, another leading in prayer and so 
on. One whose voice I had not before heard in 
prayer found courage to pray. Her voice was 
scarcely above a whisper, but the effort was a 
blessing. The meeting continued two hours with- 
out interruption or abated interest. This marked 
a new era in woman's work for woman in Tabriz. 



IX 



TOURING 



Tabriz is the center of a large and interesting 
tract of country, dotted all over with villages and 
towns, where there are hundreds of thousands of 
deluded ones, sitting in the darkness of the Val- 
ley of the Shadow of Death, into whose hearts 
the light of the Gospel has not yet penetrated. 
Some missionary work has been done in this 
region, but little compared with the great need. 
Colporteurs travel over the country trying to sell 
Bibles, but owing to the fact that so few read, the 
sales are comparatively small. Missionaries and 
native evangelists go on tours preaching, teach- 
ing, sowing the seed. We do not always know the 
results or see the fruit, but we do know that as 
God's Word is true there shall be a harvest. 

As we go south from Tabriz, after riding 
twenty miles we reach Ilkhichee — a large village 
of Ali-Allahees. For many years we have been 
acquainted with them and they have always been 
friendly. They would gather around us when- 
ever we visited them, and would listen attentively 
as we read and preached to them. We knew they 
would steal, beg, lie, swear, and that their best 
motives were all mixed with deceit and supersti- 
tions. Still our hearts would go out to them in 
love and sympathy, and we were glad to be with 



120 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

them to do them good. I find among my papers 
a report of a Sabbath day spent there, as fol- 
lows: " After breakfast a little company of men 
and women gathered in the room where I was stay- 
ing and we had a meeting. On the wall I hung 
some pictures of Bible scenes, told the stories, and 
taught the lessons from them. Then some men 
came for religious conversation which lasted until 
noon. Then I rested. After lunch I took my 
Testament and went to a neighbor's and had a 
meeting there. When I returned to my room 
some women came in to see the pictures, and again 
there was a talk. After dinner, in the evening 
there was again a meeting." Was it not a priv- 
ilege to spend the whole day working for Jesus? 
Much good seed has been sown in Ilkhichee. The 
son of the spiritual leader became a Christian. 
He lived and died "faithful and true," by his 
life influencing the lives of others. Going on 
from Ilkhichee, our road passes through Moslem 
towns, leaving many to right and left. We stop 
at the different places. We preach and there are 
many hearers. There are the wayside, the stony 
ground, the thorny choked hearers, and we trust 
some seed finds a spot of good ground. 

Touring is not easy but it is interesting. To 
go out on a pleasant day in an inhabited, civilized 
land for an exhilerating horseback ride with good 
roads and pleasant surroundings is very delight- 
ful. It is quite another thing to ride for hours in 
the burning heat of summer over desert and sandy 
plains — no trees — no grass — no habitation — 
or miles and miles over steep, rocky, barren 



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1 . Armenian women in Maragha spinning, knitting and winding thread. 

2. Moslem village women spinning, combing and knitting wool. 



TOURING 121 

mountain passes, or in winter over snow, ice and 
mud, or in a storm of wind, rain or snow, aching 
and tired, parched with heat or wet and cold, to 
reach a dark, dirty, uninviting stopping place 
where to spend the night. A towel dipped in cold 
water placed on the head under the hat with white 
cheese cloth wrapped about the hat are some pro- 
tection in heat; warm clothing, arctics, leggings, 
wool gloves or mittens, and fur cap are very ac- 
ceptable in winter ; in a rain storm the waterproof 
raincoat is indispensable. All these things, and 
whatever else may be invented for comfort, fail 
to make the ride easy. Quite a contrast to an 
elegant Pullman! After such a ride of several 
hours almost any kind of shelter is gladly wel- 
comed. A broom is brought and half-inch thick 
dust that has been quietly resting now begins to 
fly. A piece of carpet is spread. If it is winter 
a fire is built in the fireplace. Possibly smoke 
fills the room on account of defective chimney. 
The camp bedstead is put in place. We lie down 
a few moments. The steaming samovar is 
brought. Tea is steeped. How refreshing it is! 
We drink and feel rested. The cook proceeds to 
prepare a supper. If there is time a chicken will 
be nice, but most often there is not time for that. 
Generally a piece of mutton can be procured. We 
can have bread, rice, cheese, herbs, onions, pota- 
toes, fruit, nuts, sweet milk, buttermilk, butter, 
honey. Eggs can always be obtained. As the 
butter to fry them in is not always unobjection- 
able we usually prefer boiled eggs. While supper 
is being prepared we engage in gospel work. 



122 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

Perhaps a crowd of curious women have already 
come to see the show, for we are a great show to 
them. They are just as interested in studying us 
as we are in studying them. We have with us 
our knife, fork and spoon. We are amused by 
overhearing the remarks of the women watching 
us eat. Nothing escapes their notice — the nap- 
kin, the eating even rice with a fork, all come in 
for remarks. We carefully put our traps out of 
the way of light fingers. We try to give our mes- 
sage in a way that shall reach the understanding 
and the heart. We think we are talking simply, 
plainly, convincingly ; surely they will immediate- 
ly and gladly accept the truth, when to our con- 
sternation some one calls out, "How many chil- 
dren have you?" "You are not married !" 
"You are a girl!" "Why?" "Didn't any one 
want you?" and we hear all sorts of incongruous 
questions and remarks. Our hearts sink within 
us. We think of America, of home and friends, 
of the privileges we enjoyed there, the quiet 
lofty, solemn churches, the reverent assemblies, 
the enthusiastic meetings, the clean, nicely 
dressed, orderly congregations — how much good 
we might have done there. We are tempted to 
say " What is the use of it all — the isolation and 
loneliness in the midst of these unappreciative, un- 
thankful people, and all this trouble and ex- 
pense?" So Satan tempts. Then we cry to God. 
He helps and comforts and strengthens, and we 
begin again. We remember the commands and 
the promises, "I will not fail thee nor forsake 
thee." "Have not I commanded thee?" "Be 



TOURING 123 

strong and of a good courage. Be not afraid, 
neither be thou dismayed, for the Lord thy God 
is with thee wherever thou goest." "And, lo! I 
am with you always.' 9 We must "go tell," be it 
difficult or easy, "whether they will hear or 
whether they will forbear." Many a time have I 
had the same experience as Miss Fiske when try- 
ing to preach to a crowd of village women. She 
would request them to be still and listen. Then 
every one would tell every one else to be still, 
thus making more noise than before. 

But we do not by any means always have 
noisy meetings. Time and again would these 
companies of women listen with breathless at- 
tention, drinking in the precious words and with 
sighs exclaiming "If what you say is true, we 
are all lost." "We will die in our sins for no 
one has taught us any better." Or we may hear 
a remark from a self-satisfied Moslem woman, like 
the following, "What a pity such a nice, refined 
lady as you are is going to Hell." Or we may 
hear an encouraging word, as when I entered a 
room where sat a woman alone. Looking up she 
recognized me and exclaimed, "I know you, you 
have been here before." Then to prove that 
she knew me she repeated a verse I had taught 
her eight years previously. It was this, "Wash 
me and I shall be whiter than snow." She said 
she had been praying that prayer all the years. 
Yes, they do understand and remember much that 
we tell them, as I have often experienced when 
afterwards revisiting a place where I had thought 
nothing was accomplished, I would hear my own 



124 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

words repeated, and some would tell me they were 
trying to do as I had taught them. In one of my 
reports, speaking of a village I had visited, I find 
these words : ' ' The women there seemed hungry 
and thirsty for the truth, and they listened most 
attentively as we spoke to them. Our opportun-' 
ities were not confined to the hour while we were 
holding a meeting, but at all hours they were with 
us, and we had much religious conversation with 
them. * f Again, speaking of a tour, i ' Everywhere 
the women listened attentively and eagerly to the 
words we spoke. * ' A tour of forty-five days made 
by Mrs. Van Hook and myself in the Kara Dagh 
mountains north of Tabriz was full of interesting 
experiences. Sabbath day as we rested at a 
Kurdish village we held a meeting in the morning 
on a low roof. There were men on the right, wo- 
men on the left, and boys and girls in front. All 
listened quietly and attentively as we sang, read, 
preached and prayed. Companies thronged us 
all the day, coming to our room or gathering 
around us when we stepped outside our room, and 
we endeavored to improve the opportunities. At 
the Armenian town, Khaniga, where we rented 
rooms and made our headquarters for six weeks, 
there were daily efforts for the people of the 
town. From there I visited a Moslem village. 
After climbing a mountain up and down, much of 
the way on foot because it was so steep I could 
not sit on the horse, I reached the village in a 
narrow valley. Quickly the room where I put 
up was filled with a crowd of curious women and 
men, and the windows too were crowded with on- 



TOURING 125 

lookers. For an hour or more I talked and read 
to them. Then I begged them to go away and let 
me have a little chance for rest and lunch. I only 
had a little bit of rest for they were back again 
and more than ever, not a foot of space in the 
room to spare. I stood and preached to them 
two hours. Some listened eagerly, some got 
angry, some said "She speaks truth." Some said 
"We don't want anything to do with Jesus. Ali 
is our prophet." There was an uproar, and the 
man of the house drove them all away. But 
seeds of gospel truth were scattered, and 
they will remember. A man who was a read- 
er called, and I gave him a Testament, which 
he gladly received. In other towns which we 
visited we were glad to sow the seed. Once 
when on a tour with one of our native evangel- 
ists we visited an Armenian village. The priest 
was not willing that any place be given us. The 
evangelist told him we "wanted a place to sit." 
Said the priest "But you don't sit still." On 
another tour, as I talked with a sweet-spirited wo- 
man, a convert from Islam, I asked her what her 
profession of Christianity meant. She replied "It 
means that I've gotten tight hold of Jesus." 
Sometimes women have begged me to send them 
a teacher. And my heart has bled for them as I 
knew we had no teacher to give them, not nearly 
enough workers for the great work to be done, and 
not money enough to pay expenses in carrying on 
the work, and realized how inadequate are all our 
equipments. 



126 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

I have had all sorts of experiences and ad- 
ventures while on tours. Onee when making 
preparation for a tour I had taken special pains 
to have my wardrobe in good condition, nothing 
expensive or extravagant, only simple, plain ap- 
parel, clean and whole, washed and ironed. Well, 
one day in crossing a stream the horse that carried 
my baggage fell and rolled over and over in the 
muddy water. Imagine the condition of my cloth- 
ing, my Bible, books, papers, envelopes, stamps, 
medicine case, sugar, tea, coffee, bread, butter, 
etc. Some Moslem men came along that way and, 
seeing the predicament, wanted to know why I 
did not swear. Always the Angel of the Lord did 
encamp around. God protected and verified His 
promises. I rejoiced over the possession of a 
strong constitution, and the power to endure and 
laugh at adventures. If my horse fell and I rolled 
over in the dust I would get up and mount again, 
thankful that no bones were broken. Always I 
rejoiced that I was permitted to engage in this 
grand work. There would be singing in my heart 
as I helped to sow the seed, not knowing "whether 
shall prosper either this or that; or whether they 
both shall be alike good. ' ' Eccl. 11 :6. In touring we 
combine medical with evangelistic work, for every- 
where we find the sick and suffering. Here the mis- 
sionary physician has a grand opportunity. If we 
are not physicians, a little knowledge of medicines 
and simple remedies helps, as often a dose of qui- 
nine and a little advice as to how to care for the 
sick, wins friends and prepares the way for gospel 
work. Indeed, the missionary on tours as well 



TOURING 127 

as at home utilizes every incident, every oppor- 
tunity, to advance the kingdom. Once on a tour 
the physician had with him an extra pair of spec- 
tacles that he did not need. An old man came in. 
He was a reader, but he mourned that by reason 
of age his eyes had become dim so that he could 
no longer see to read. A present to the old man 
of the spectacles and a Testament made him 
happy. Eeal joy it is to find at out of the way 
places a reader and to give such an one a Testa- 
ment, the whole or portions of the Bible or a 
hymn book. 

We expect to meet in heaven redeemed ones, 
saved because we went to them in the Spirit of 
Christ, in obedience to His command, and carried 
to them the Bread of Life. Else why called to 
the bedside of a dying woman to tell her of Jesus 
and pray with her? Why the opportunity of 
speaking to a crowd of women, who with clasped 
hands and tear-stained faces listened to the story 
of the cross? Why permitted to teach the true 
way of prayer to those who come begging for 
written prayers to use as charms? Why led to 
speak so earnestly to one in apparent health who 
died suddenly a few days after? Why so often 
constrained to listen to tales of woe and helped 
to point out the only true source of peace and 
comfort? 

In riding over the rough, hilly country how 
vividly would come to mind the words of the 
prophet, "Every valley shall be exalted and every 
mountain and hill shall be made low, and the 
crooked shall be made straight and the rough 



128 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

places plain." Isa. 40:4. Surely the glory of the 
Lord shall be revealed, when in every village and 
town and city in Persia there shall be Christian 
churches and school houses ; when instead of ignor- 
ance and superstition there shall be light and 
knowledge; when the family altar shall be set up 
in the peaceful homes and the whole land shall 
become an enlightened Christian land. 



SOME TOTJES I HAVE MADE 

Biding south by a circuitous route about sev- 
enty-six miles from Tabriz we reach Maragha. 
In a direct line the distance is only about thirty- 
five miles. But as the Sahend mountains extend 
between Tabriz and Maragha nearly to the lake, 
and the mountain pass is difficult and dangerous 
and infested with robbers, the traveled road leads 
around the foot of the mountains. Looking down 
from the last height just before reaching the city, 
a picturesque view is presented. The large col- 
lection of adobe houses, extending lengthwise for 
about six miles up and down the valley, and up 
the slopes of the hills, resembles a huge scorpion. 
The Sufi river runs like a silver thread the entire 
length of the valley. This river, together with 
the melting snow from the mountains, furnishes 
the water supply. And we find the valley very 
fertile, with many villages surrounded by trees, 
fields, gardens and vineyards. The antiquity of 
the city of Maragha is very great, far exceeding 
that of Tabriz. It was once a Nestorian town 
and the abode of the Nestorian Bishop, Mar-Agha 
(Bishop Agha), hence the name. It was at one 
time the capital of Azerbyjan and one of the mag- 
nificent cities of the East. But it has undergone 
many vicissitudes of fortune, and having lost its 



130 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

former splendor, is now a miserable, dirty, un- 
healthy, uninviting place. The present popula- 
tion is supposed to be about 25,000. Of these 
perhaps one thousand are Armenians, and the re- 
mainder Tartar Turks. 

Three towers and two bridges, all built of 
solid masonry, have stood for several centuries as 
monuments of the wealth and glory and enter- 
prise of Hulaka Khan, grandson of the conqueror 
Ghengis Khan. One of these towers is said to 
have been built for the use of the great Persian 
astronomer, Haji Nasir, as his watch tower while 
he studied heavenly bodies. The ruins of this 
tower stand just outside the city. The other two 
are in the heart of the city, side by side. In one 
of these twin towers is the tomb of the mother of 
Hulaka Khan, and in the other that of his wife. 
His own tomb is on a mountain not far distant. 
There is a tradition that for many years treas- 
ures have been hidden in one of these towers. 
Once a year they cry out begging to be found, 
but no one has yet found them. There are on the 
towers inscriptions in strange characters, and 
the remains of tiling in blue and green and black. 

At the time of the famine of 1871-3 Urumia 
Mission sent two Nestorian evangelists to Mara- 
gha with help for the starving. In 1878 Mr. and 
Mrs. Ward made a tour there of several weeks 
duration. They were thronged with visitors, some 
of them earnestly inquiring the way of life. 
Afterwards an evangelist was stationed there per- 
manently. There was much encouragement in the 
work and a church was organized. Opposition 



SOME TOURS I HAVE MADE 131 

and persecution arose. The majority of the in- 
habitants are worldly and bigoted, preferring 
darkness rather than light, and many who would 
come to hear the preaching are kept away by fear. 
Many times have I visited Maragha, trying 
to do something for the spiritual good of the 
people there. One of the most interesting tours 
I ever made was in that direction, going by the 
short road over the Sahend mountains. It was 
the 20th of July, 1895, that Dr. Mary E. Bradford 
and I started together on this tour. We "fell 
on the road" on a Saturday, purposing to spend 
the Sabbath day at Lewan, a mountain village 
about twenty-five miles from the city. We got 
possession of some rooms in an old mansion, high 
above the village, where we could breathe the pure 
mountain air. Our first work was to remove 
prejudice, after which we found the women friend- 
ly and teachable. Monday we made an excursion 
to some hot springs eight miles distant. Tuesday 
morning we went on our upward climb. At 
noon we lunched by a mountain spring. Then 
after riding several hours in the rain, towards 
evening we reached a village of black tents of one 
of the wandering tribes. The tent we entered was 
a large one and we found quite a company of 
people there. The patriarch of the establishment 
was lying ill on a pallet on the ground. This af- 
forded the doctor an opportunity of conferring 
healing benefits. The women were exceedingly 
friendly, helping us off with our wet wraps, hang- 
ing them up to dry, placing cushions for us to re- 
cline on, and sitting by us lovingly and pleasantly 



132 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

as though we had been old friends. Women from 
other tents also came and sat with us. And they 
brought their sick to the physician. A corner of 
the tent was curtained off for a private room for 
us, and who could wish for better milk, butter, 
curds, cheese, bread and stew than they gave us. 
The night was cold. I drew over me my extra 
blanket and slept soundly. Perhaps my sleep 
would not have been so peaceful had I known then 
that the two fierce-looking men whom I had seen 
there, also guests and sleeping in the same tent, 
were professional robbers. In the morning we 
were delayed in starting, and were further hin- 
dered by our horses being poor, and the muleteers 
still poorer. It was late when we reached another 
collection of tents, where we again found friendly 
people and lunched and rested a little. Then as 
we started on in the afternoon there was a long 
stretch of uninhabited country. We rode on and 
on over hills and valleys. The sun set. The 
moon went down. The stars disappeared behind 
clouds. The muleteers were growling, reviling 
and threatening to throw down the loads. Final- 
ly we reached a wheat field on a high plain and 
the horses turned aside to eat the grain. We were 
all walking by that time. The muleteers then did 
throw down the loads, and there on the dry sandy 
bed of a mountain stream our beds were spread 
and we lay down to wait for morning. The wind 
blew and some rain fell, but there was no other 
sound and no other happening. Bobbers were 
prowling around but none came near us. Early 
dawn revealed to us that we were not far from 



SOME TOURS I HAVE MADE 133 

habitations. For a couple of days our roads 
parted, the doctor taking one and I another. I 
entered the near village to find the inhabitants 
just awakening from sleep. With generous hos- 
pitality they received and entertained me. I 
spent several hours there preaching, teaching, 
answering questions and winning them. When in 
the afternoon I moved on I felt as though I were 
leaving not strangers but friends. There our 
muleteers left us. I obtained donkeys to the next 
village, two miles farther on, where I spent the 
night. Again the cordial, warm-hearted hospital- 
ity of the people amazed me. There was a nicely 
carpeted room and plenty to eat. Every woman 
in the village came to see and hear. Some men 
also came. I preached and pointed them to a 
higher life. They frankly acknowledged their 
sins and accepted my words as true. Late in the 
night they left reluctantly and early in the morn- 
ing they were again present. An old man, the 
village scribe and a school master, called. He 
asked to see my book. He began to read. An- 
other man came. They both read for some time, 
every now and then asking for explanation. 
When reading Luke 11 :9-13, as I told them of the 
nature of prayer and spoke of the Holy Spirit, 
they turned to each other exclaiming, "Bah, bah, 
she speaks true words.' ' I gave them the book. 
After they had been gone some little time the older 
one returned, saying "Haven't you a book for me 
too? He took that one." So I gave him a Book 
of Psalms. He began to read and then went away 
hugging it to his breast like a happy child with 



134 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

a new toy. At the next village six miles further 
on the doctor again joined me, and together we 
met crowds of women in our room, in the yard, 
on the roof. The next day we reached a village 
where we spent the Sabbath, literally in the midst 
of crowds. The sick and afflicted came to the 
physician for healing. Monday we moved on, and 
on Tuesday I turned my face homeward via 
Mianduab. The doctor remained two days long- 
er and returned via Maragha. I spent two days 
in Mianduab, and came for the Sabbath to Goigan, 
a large town along the way. There a Persian, 
Moslem, telegraph operator called. He was well 
dressed and came in style with four attendants. 
After a few commonplace remarks he said ' ' Lady, 
I am not satisfied with our religion. It is only 
outward meaningless forms and ceremonies. I 
am seeking something better. f ' I opened the Tes- 
tament at the 3rd chapter of John and handed it 
to him to read. We conversed awhile, and some 
one came in. Nicodemus like, he seemed afraid. 
Soon he was called away. I marked a few pas- 
sages and gave him the book, praying that the 
Holy Spirit would enlighten the pages for him. 
I afterwards learned of his conversion to Chris- 
tianity. I reached Tabriz on Monday, August 5th, 
thankful that in my experience the words of the 
91st Psalm had been verified. 

Thirty miles in a westerly direction from 
Maragha, and directly south of Lake Urumia, is 
the town of Mianduab. My first visit there was in 
the Autumn of 1884 in company with Eev. S. G. 
Wilson. I find on record these words: "Each 



SOME TOURS I HAVE MADE 135 

evening a company of eagerly listening men and 
women gathered in the room occupied by the mis- 
sionary to hear the good news, and our days 
were spent in conversations with them. On Sat- 
urday I talked most of the day to Jewish women. 
Had not our time been limited we would gladly 
have remained there to continue the blessed work 
much longer." So promising was the work, so 
encouraging the prospects, so eager the people to 
be taught, that we felt something should be done 
for them. But it was not until in 1885 that we 
were able to send a man with his wife to dwell 
among them, to teach and to preach. Mianduab 
means between two waters, and this place is so 
called because it lies between the Jagati and the 
Titivi rivers, which flow into Lake Urumia. The 
population of Mianduab is said to be 11,000. Of 
these only seventy are Armenian, one thousand 
are Jews, five thousand Persians from Kirman, 
called Kirmanlees, and the rest Tartar Turks. 
The Kirmanlees arQ a brave, bold, independent 
people, victorious in war, revengeful and greatly 
to be feared by those who offend them, but gentle 
and kind to those whom they love. They were 
brought from Kirman, a province in the southern 
part of Persia, populated by a wild, fierce, free 
spirited people. So lawless and ungovernable 
were they that more than a hundred years ago 
the government transported several thousand of 
them, exiles and prisoners, and settled them in 
Mianduab with the hope that being settled near 
Kurdistan they would be a check to the ravages 
of the Kurds in that region. They were some- 



136 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

what subdued by the change, but were far from 
anything like civilization. A Christian teacher 
who labored there many years ago reported them 
as savages, and savages they were. Bobberies 
and murders were frequent among them and fights 
a daily occurrence. At the time of the Kurdish 
war in 1880 the Kurds got the upper hand in 
Mianduab. They robbed, burned houses, car- 
ried off helpless women and children and mur- 
dered many of the men. Pretty women and 
girls smeared and blackened their faces and 
dressed themselves in rags for self protection. 
Families fled, leaving everything they possessed, 
if only they might save their lives. Tales of woe 
and suffering I heard from them were heart rend- 
ing. My interest in these people continued and 
increased until in the summer of 1896 I went there 
to sojourn for awhile, hoping that by being right 
among them I might the more successfully give 
to them the light of the gospel. More than eight 
months I dwelt in peace and safety among those 
wild and lawless people. Let us "publish with 
the voice of thanksgiving' 9 and "tell" of the 
"wondrous works" of the Lord. At the begin- 
ning of my stay there, there was a frightful scene 
of murder and robbery within three miles of my 
headquarters. All the town was in an uproar and 
the excitement continued many weeks. The men- 
tal and nervous strain to myself during that time 
was considerable, but the Lord sustained and 
afterwards it was plain to me that this was His 
opportunity, for while the people were all wrought 
up over the disturbances and the coming to town 




1 . House in a mountain village where we dwelt six weeks. 

2. Miss Jewett and traveling companions in front of a tea house. 



IC IV, 



SOME TOURS I HAVE MADE 137 

of government officers and soldiers, those who 
might have opposed my being there were other- 
wise occupied and did not notice that a Christian 
had moved in and settled among them. During 
this time I was startled one day towards evening 
by a great noise in the near vicinity — unearthly 
yells and screams of women. Looking out I saw 
a company of soldiers running away. They had 
come into that neighborhood to be quartered 
there. The women told them there was a Frank 
lady living in that street and no soldier would be 
allowed to remain there, so the women drove the 
soldiers away. They considered me as belonging 
to them and had taken me under their protection. 
My life in Mianduab was like a kaleidoscope, 
no one day being like any previous one. Each 
morning I wondered what the day would bring 
forth, and each evening recorded new experiences. 
Every day there were opportunities of doing 
something for the Master, either in my own home 
or in the abodes of the people — in vineyard or by 
wayside, sometimes with one or two, sometimes 
with a crowd, sometimes conversational, some- 
times a lesson, sometimes quiet, orderly meetings, 
sometimes noisy ones. By the help of God I 
read and taught them the pure gospel, at first with 
a good deal of apprehension. After a while I 
felt that I was too cautious, and I determined to 
be fearless in declaring the whole Word of God. 
I took up in course the gospel of John, following 
with the other gospels. How the truth sparkled ! 
How clearly shone out the divinity of Christ! 
The only way of salvation through Jesus Christ 



138 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

was plainly declared. I endeavored to present 
these truths in an acceptable manner, by reason- 
ing with the people from their own beliefs and 
showing them that they did not follow their own 
teachings, or by simply reading to them select pas- 
sages from the Bible, or by giving with the read- 
ing full and careful explanations. Naturally op- 
position followed. I was warned not to say that 
"Christ is God." I replied that I must preach 
the Word of God just as I found it. When one 
man said to me, "I am a Christian" and I asked 
him "Why then do you not confess Christ open- 
up?" he said "I am afraid." One said "I dare 
not confess Christ, for if I did in four days my 
children would be fatherless." Another, after 
listening awhile, said, " If we should practice that 
our heads would be cut off." But they were not 
afraid of gambling, smoking, lying, reviling, blas- 
phemy, swearing, drinking, quarreling, fighting, 
and worse things which they practiced. More 
than once was I carried off to some house to recon- 
cile a quarreling husband and wife. More than 
one was made ashamed of his or her evil practices 
by the Christian teachings given them. And as I 
endeavored to teach by precept and example the 
sacredness of the Sabbath Day, they called that 
day "The Lady's Holy Day." 

I wish I could give a picture of some evening 
talks and meetings which we occasionally held in 
the yard of moonlight evenings and the sweet ' ' old 
story" was the theme, of tea drinking at different 
places when the "Book" would be opened and 
read, of evening visits where again the "Book 



71 



SOME TOURS I HAVE MADE 139 

would be the center of interest. Often the men 
would come with hard questions and arguments 
and the Spirit would teach the answer. There was 
also a kind of a school. It was not possible to at- 
tain real order or regularity, but contrasted with 
their own schools, it was excellent, and it was an 
opportunity of getting hold of the young people. 
We had no school room. On the floor sat the child- 
ren in my one small room, which served as sitting 
room, dining room, bed room, guest room, meeting 
room, school room. We had the primer and all 
the Bible in Turkish, and there were lessons in 
Turkish and English reading, oral instruction in 
geography, arithmetic, indeed in a variety of sub- 
jects, in right living, in whatever manner circum- 
stances seemed to call for. Every morning we 
would have a Bible lesson and prayer. Hymns 
and portions of Scripture were memorized and 
the children became familiar with Bible stories. 
Some days there would be sewing and miscellan- 
eous employments. Then we called the room the 
" Workshop.' ■ It was interesting to see the girls 
sewing and knitting, and the boys engaged in kin- 
dergarten employments, writing, etc. What was 
lacking in many ways was made up in love and 
enthusiasm and much was accomplished. Seed 
was sown and lessons were learned that can 
never be lost. The influence of these lessons 
reached out to parents and friends, many of whom 
would be present at the morning opening exer- 
cises and Bible lessons. Mothers, sisters, aunts 
and cousins were helping at home with the patch- 
work and taking patterns. All friends were in- 



140 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

terested in the teachings, so my pupils could be 
numbered by the hundreds instead of twenty-five. 
My Sabbath days were the busiest of all. 
Early in the morning my pupils and others would 
assemble and we would have Sunday school for 
the Moslems. Then I would attend the Armenian 
Sunday school. At noon I would have a rest and 
all the afternoon would be occupied in evangelis- 
tic work. The Sabbath afternoon congregations 
were very varying, sometimes women, sometimes 
men, sometimes children, sometimes all together; 
sometimes one or two, sometimes my room full; 
sometimes one meeting, sometimes half a dozen. 
The evenings would find me tired but glad. Week 
day evenings too were generally full, with much 
instruction given, most often conversational, on a 
great variety of subjects, and closing with read- 
ing, exhortations and prayer. I might tell of 
reformations, of special efforts for individuals; 
of a bad, troublesome, disobedient boy who was 
changed to a quiet, gentle, manly, obedient boy; 
of increasing order and good behavior in my little 
group; of many of the women learning to leave 
off swearing, lying, quarreling, etc., and becoming 
enlightened; of good sister Khan Bajee, who so 
let her light shine that they said of her "Khan 
Bajee is a good Christian"; of girls who were 
learning to comb their hair every day ; of precious 
meetings when the Holy Spirit was with us ; of a 
dying man's testimony as I sat by his side, the 
room full of people, who said "I have made my 
peace with Jesus.' ? 



SOME TOURS I HAVE MADE 141 

Mianduab is a center for hundreds of thous- 
ands of needy and accessible peoples, presenting 
amazing opportunities for the missionary. I 
could not visit in the country as I wished, but I 
did go out to many neighboring villages, and only 
wished I had time and strength for more. The 
friendliness of my friends in Mianduab was shown 
in many kindly ways, such as the sending to me 
of portions of food on some special occasion, a 
bowl of cream or curds, baskets of grapes and 
other fruit, a baked squash, raisins, nuts, etc., with 
frequent invitations to tea or to dine. When I 
was ill and suffering with a severe cold the kind 
acts and expressions of sympathy were cheering 
indeed. 

About the middle of March the weather be- 
came springlike, and in all the Moslem dwellings 
there were active preparations for Noo Boos (New 
Year's day) which fell on the 21st of March. 
Houses were cleaned, sweets were prepared, new 
clothes were made, all thoughts were of the com- 
ing holiday. The morning of the day all — fath- 
ers, mothers, children, dressed in their best, were 
sitting waiting. A little before noon guns were 
fired announcing that the sun had crossed the 
equator and the new year is begun. Instantly all 
were on their feet. There were mutual congrat- 
ulations, hand shakings and good wishes for the 
New Year. Then everybody started out to see 
everybody. The streets were scenes of gaity and 
rejoicing. My room was crowded with callers and 
well wishers. I, too, went out to see my friends, 



142 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

going from house to house, visiting and feasting 
many days. 

The morning of April 27th, 1897, when I was 
starting on my return to Tabriz, my yard was 
full of my friends among the men — Armenian 
and Moslem — who had come to see me off. My 
room was full of my women friends and my boys 
and girls. To those in the room and standing by 
the open windows I read from the Blessed Book 
one more lesson. All hearts were touched and 
many tears were shed. When at last everything 
was ready and I "fell on the road," the crowd 
of men, women and children accompanied me to 
the river bank with loving farewells. When since 
I have visited Mianduab, I have rejoiced to see that 
my tarrying with them had not been in vain. It 
was plain that lasting impressions had been made. 
Much of the teaching had been remembered, and 
there were signs of improvement. A woman said, 
"We have so learned that now we seldom swear, 
even among ourselves. ' ' Some asked to be prayed 
for. Many are reading the Bible and there is 
much discussion. "The Kingdom of Heaven is 
like unto leaven which a woman took and hid in 
three measures of meal, till the whole was leaven- 
ed." Matt. 13:33. My visit to Mianduab in 1898 
was especially a cheering one, with a hearty wel- 
come from all. There were daily opportunities 
for work, and the joy of the work drove away all 
weariness. The governor and his wife showed 
themselves unusually friendly and favorable to 
Christianity. 



SOME TOURS I HAVE MADE 143 

In villages dotting the plain all around Mian- 
duab there is a wide open door for the evangelist 
in work for Armenians, Jews, Moslem, all these 
peoples being friendly and accessible. One day's 
ride south from Mianduab is Sein Kalla, where 
lived a woman who became a sweet lovely Chris- 
tian. In the midst of poverty, temptation and 
ostracism she clung to her faith in Jesus. She 
said, "I cannot read and I cannot learn, but I can 
love Jesus.' ' She told me how that after she had 
been deserted by her husband, she and her little 
ones had been kept from starvation. A little 
work here, a little help there, and generally there 
was at least dry bread for the children. Once 
they were six days hungry and they had become 
so weak they could scarcely move when help came. 
In harvest time, like Euth, she gleaned in the fields. 
She said, "I know Jesus will take care of me some 
way." 

Twenty-four miles westward from Mianduab 
is Souj Bulak, a city of 10,000 inhabitants, mostly 
Kurds, some Armenians, a few Nestorians and 
three hundred Jews. Light has shined in the 
darkness there through the instrumentality of 
missionaries, native evangelists, a day school and 
a Nestorian pastor stationed there. Some have 
confessed Christ and a church has been organized 
there. One of those who embraced Christianity 
was a Kurd, a man of wealth and influence. He 
was fearless in his profession, and was ostracised, 
ridiculed and called an infidel, but he remained 
firm and was teaching the Bible to his son. Not 



144 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

being able to speak Kurdish, I was not able to do 
much in Souj Bulak. 

From Souj Bulak we turn northwest and 
crossing the Suldus plain we come to Urumia. We 
tarried on the plain of Suldus, visiting villages 
here and there. In some of them evangelists have 
been stationed, who keep up regular services on the 
Sabbaths and teach day schools on the other days 
of the week. I spent a night, between Suldus and 
Urumia, at the village Shatan Abad (The Abode 
of Satan) . There we found a community of nom- 
inal Christians who had forgotten their Christian- 
ity and their own language. They received us and 
our message with real gladness, and we were busy 
late and early preaching to them. One of the 
women, bewailing their fallen condition, said "We 
are not in our own religion. We deny our faith. 
We are like Kurds. How do we know that our 
faith is better than theirs ? We have no preacher, 
no meetings.' ' Sad indeed such spiritual dark- 
ness, and sad that we have no one to send to them. 

In the city and on the plain of Urumia are 
hundreds of thousands of interesting and accessi- 
ble people, among whom some of my missionary 
life was spent. The last winter of the nineteenth 
century I spent there touring in Armenian and 
Ali-Allahee villages. Volumes could not tell of 
all the grand work done by American missionaries 
in Urumia since 1835. And that good work still 
goes on. 

North and east from Urumia we come* to 
Salmas. There much gospel work has been done 
by missionaries and native evangelists. I have 




1 . Mountain Moslem women churning outside the tent. 

2. Tent in the mountains where Mrs. Van Hook, Miss Jewett, two Christian 
women, and six others, spent a night. 



SOME TOURS I HAVE MADE 145 

done some touring on that plain. One day while 
there I was exhorting some women to "watch and 
pray," one of them exclaimed, "Oh, lady, I sleep 
so soundly, how can I watch?" Going up into a 
mountain village, off the plain where no evangelist 
had ever yet been, we were surprised to find from 
twenty to thirty enlightened Christian families. 
The village priest informed us that when he was 
a boy he studied in one of the Protestant schools 
in Turkey and was himself a Protestant. They 
had a teacher and a boys' school. One of the 
women, a reader and enlightened, was taught in 
our school in Urumia. Who knows into what 
other out of the way places rays of light may have 
reached from centers where we have our schools 
and churches? 



XI 



KHOI 



From Salmas we make a detour to Khoi. 
This is a city of some 40,000 inhabitants including 
suburbs, and with the exception of about five hun- 
dred Armenians they are all Moslem. Khoi lies 
about one hundred miles from Tabriz in a north- 
westerly direction. It is a strongly fortified town, 
being enclosed within a double wall and a wide and 
deep moat, and entered by four strong, double, 
stone gates, all kept in good repair. A succession 
of batteries are built in the inner wall, and this 
wall is wide enough to allow a road on the top for 
dragging cannon. Wide avenues lined with trees 
lead to the gates of the city. The streets in the 
city are comparatively wide and straight. Through 
the middle of the streets run artificial streams of 
water with trees planted on each side the streams. 
The bazaars are extensive. When approaching 
the city from a distance we have a fine view, look- 
ing down from the overhanging mountain over the 
fertile basin-like plain, watered by two rivers and 
all under cultivation. 

I was the first American lady to visit this 
interesting city, and have had varied experiences 
there. At one visit we were having a fine work 
among Armenians, crowds coming to hear. But 
we were too popular for the approval of the old 



KHOI 147 

church priests, who set themselves to hinder. 
They stood in the streets and threatened with 
dire calamities any who would come near us. The 
ignorance and superstition of those priests is dis- 
tressing. They fast, offer sacrifices, burn candles 
and incense in the churches, make pilgrimages and 
do works of merit, but are loose in morals. Lying, 
stealing, drinking, swearing, Sabbath breaking 
are common among them, and some of them have 
indistinct ideas about the marriage relation. Like 
priest, like people. A woman whose husband had 
been absent seven years was asked in marriage by 
another man. The priest gave her to him to keep 
and to care for until her husband should return, 
when she should be restored to him. As I was 
speaking of the necessity of a change of heart, 
some of the women exclaimed, "Why! What shall 
we do ? We are Christians now. Do you want us 
to leave our faith for another f " When I exhorted 
them to refrain from the use of bad words they 
said, "What shall we say when our husbands whip 
us?" One said, "What do you mean by i Christ 
the way?' " Another asked, "Who is Jesus !" 
These were nominal Christians. They are very 
strict about keeping their fasts, and have many 
ingenious and palatable preparations of seeds, 
herbs, beans, lentils, nuts, etc., to take the place 
of meat, milk, eggs and butter at that time. Dur- 
ing fast they are faithful in attendance at church. 
The pictures in the church are kept veiled so that 
sinners may not look upon them. One day during 
fast penitents knock before the veiled altar, beg- 
ging admittance. A voice from within replies, 



148 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

"You are not worthy." "What shall we do to 
become worthy f " " Repent of your sins. M " We 
repent." Then the veil or curtain is removed. 
They build fires on the church roofs, run through 
them, then gather the ashes and treasure them as 
charms. In a village formerly Armenian but now 
Moslem there is an old church which is crumbling. 
Its ruins are held in superstitious awe by both 
Armenians and Moslems. The sick are carried 
there for healing. The very stones and timbers 
are sacred, and no one dares lay sacrilegious hands 
on them. One day a Moslem carried away one of 
the stones for use in his stable. That evening he 
accidentally ran a hot poker into his eye. This was 
considered a punishment for taking the sacred 
stone and he hastened to restore it to its place. 
An old bishop brought an arm of St. Stephen, 
presented it for adoration, preached the duty of 
ministering to the saints, and raised money for 
building a church. In one old church I looked 
upon the head of St. Titus kept there for adora- 
tion. 

The appearance of Khoi and vicinity presents 
a decided contrast in winter and in summer. On 
one of my summer tours I remember a gentle 
breeze wafted from mountains and lake. Along 
the way there were wheat fields, some harvested 
and gathered in great heaps on threshing floors, 
and some not yet harvested, hung full and heavy. 
In winter the damp, chilly air penetrated through 
warm clothing, and wading through melting snow, 
mud and sheets of rotten ice, the ride was not 
pleasant. But there was sunshine in my heart and 



KHOI 149 

thankfulness for the privilege of going. Always as 
I rode through the streets there I was a great curi- 
osity. Timid children would scream and run. 
Bolder ones would stare and call their companions 
to come to see the sight. Men and women would 
be exercised over my appearance. I would over- 
hear them saying to one another, "Is it a man or 
a woman ?" "It is a woman, see how she gathers 
her hair in a coil, see how she sits on the saddle 
with both feet on one side. ' ' To the women in the 
houses I would explain my style of dress and 
think I was doing missionary work. 

It was nearly nine o'clock of a winter morn- 
ing when I started on my last and most eventful 
tour to Khoi and beyond. Our party consisted of 
Dr. Wright, Mr. Brashear and myself, and our 
two men — Meshedy, Moslem and Nicholi, Armen- 
ian. The roads were bad, and we made slow pro- 
gress, only at sundown reaching the end of that 
day's journey of twenty-four miles. It was the 
month of the Moslem fast. The people of the 
house where we stopped, not having eaten any- 
thing since early morning, were hungry and were 
just beginning their evening meal. They laughed 
when I told them I was hungry, too, and good- 
naturedly helped us get something for our supper. 
I was too weary to work that night, but the gentle- 
men had a long talk with some men. Early in the 
morning we were on our horses and after a long 
wearisome ride of ten hours we reached a stopping 
place, too tired for anything but rest. The next 
day we crossed a rocky mountain pass so steep 
that we dismounted and slowly climbed, panting 



150 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

for breath, and resting on the huge stones and 
looking down on the calm, blue lake and the plain 
beyond gradually rising into a background of 
mountains. The next day we reached the mission 
house in Khoi. 

There are two centers of work in Khoi, one in 
each of the two Armenian quarters. In one a 
Nestorian native preacher lived and held meetings 
on Sabbath and week days ; in the other an Armen- 
ian teacher drilled a crowd of restless Armenian 
boys and girls in the rudiments of science and 
Christianity. He and his wife were graduates of 
our schools in Tabriz. There was a little com- 
pany of communicants in Khoi and the work 
seemed encouraging. 

After a few days Dr. Wright went on to 
Salmas and Mr. Brashear and I remained some 
time working in the city and in adjacent villages. 
An extract from my journal shows how the days 
were occupied. "Sunday was a busy day with 
continuous meetings all day. Monday we rode 
ten miles to Var, formerly a large and prosperous 
town, but being near the border was almost de- 
stroyed during the Armenian massacres in 1897. 
Some Kurds from Turkey came down from the 
mountains across the border and slaughtered the 
Armenians living there. They left behind them 
destruction, desolation and sorrow. How our 
hearts ached as we listened to their tales of woe 
and saw the marks of the destroyer. In some 
places entire families were slain, in others one or 
two were left to mourn. Orphaned children were 
there, destitute of food and clothing, sleeping at 



KHOI 151 

night on the ground with no covering. We tried 
to speak to the poor, bereaved people of Jesus — 
the only source of comfort — but it seemed as if 
no word could reach them in their utter, abject 
grief. We could only be silent and mourn with 
them. Tuesday I visited a Moslem lady. Wed- 
nesday I received visitors and held meetings in 
my room. Thursday I went to a Moslem house 
and had a good work. Friday at the teacher's 
house we had a meeting. Saturday I visited an- 
other Moslem lady. Sunday was again a busy 
day. Monday we entertained the two families of 
the preacher and the teacher. Tuesday we went 
to another village and preached there. Wednes- 
day I received callers. Friday there was a snow 
storm and we were snow bound. Saturday we 
were mud bound, for the snow melted and the 
streets were impassable. Again a busy Sunday. 
Monday there were meetings in Armenian houses. 
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were filled 
with calls made and received, and preparations 
for a tour to Maku." 

Maku is the district occupying the extreme 
northwest corner of Azerbyjan. It is a region 
inhabited by wild and barbarous people and in- 
fested with robbers. We left Khoi on the after- 
noon of Friday, March 11, and rode six miles to 
a small village. Accommodations were very poor 
and we were content to camp down in a room 
which the family vacated for us. In a corner cur- 
tained off for me my camp bedstead was set up. 
Mr. Brashear and the two men took possession of 
the rest of the room. The oven in the ground 



152 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

floor gave some heat. Fresh air from the skies 
came down through the hole in the roof. After 
we had been refreshed with tea, eggs and bread, 
Mr. Brashear read and talked long into the night 
to a few interested men. The next day's ride 
was a delightful one. The weather was pleasant 
and the panorama of snow-clad hills rising one 
above another on all sides was grand indeed. 

Saturday afternoon we reached a large town 
where we were to spend the Sabbath. We were 
glad to find two comfortable rooms. I enjoyed 
sitting before a bright clear fire in a fireplace and 
talking to the companies of women who came to 
see and hear. The message was all new and 
strange to them, for no missionary had ever be- 
fore visited them. So utterly ignorant were they, 
and so full of their degrading superstitions, that 
it seemed almost as if they could not understand 
what I said, even though spoken in the simplest 
and plainest language. They thought I was a 
physician and brought their sick for healing. 
They beseiged me with entreaties for written 
prayers to be used as charms, and I tried to teach 
them how to pray. Monday there was a heavy 
snow storm so we were detained that day. Tues- 
day morning was clear and at an early hour we 
were again on our way. After an exhilerating 
ride in the pure mountain air we found ourselves 
for the night in a village of Ali-Allahees. They 
received us cordially, treated us well and listened 
attentively. Wednesday afternoon we reached 
another Ali-Allahee village on the top of a moun- 
tain. Our hosts there were old friends. Our op- 



KHOI 153 

portunities were splendid and we remained over 
another night. We enjoyed the hospitality of 
those simple, kind hearted mountain people. As 
we talked of Jesus with the aged patriarch his 
hearty "amens" and frequent exclamations of 
"Oh, beloved God" and "thousand praises" in- 
terested us much. He seemed sincere when he 
said he was done with the world, and for the rest 
of his life would care for the things of eternity. 
I read and talked to the women and taught hymns 
and Bible verses to the children. Not the eldest 
son, as is usually the case in Persia, but in this 
house the second son, being the more clever of the 
two, had become the head of the establishment. 
It was a large household consisting of sons, sons' 
wives and their children and grandchildren — 
four generations, from the aged great grand 
parents to the three months old babe — twenty- 
eight in all. One large room was where they 
lived. There, too, the household stores were kept. 
Besides the human inhabitants there were cats and 
chickens. A calf, a sheep, a lamb, a donkey or a 
dog might be seen coming in at any time. Camels, 
horses, buffaloes, cows and donkeys filled the 
roomy stables. Three fierce dogs acted as sen- 
tinels. We stood on the roof and gazed on grand 
old Ararat towering toward the sky, all white with 
snow and sparkling in the bright sunshine. 

Friday morning the 18th we again started 
northward through one of the most \mcivilized 
regions of Persia. The day was fine and we en- 
joyed the ride. At noon, because we did not have 
any time to spare for dismounting and lunching, 



154 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

we were eating a bite as we rode along. A little 
ahead of us we saw some twenty horsemen 
stopping by the wayside, apparently resting. 
Some of them were sitting on their horses, 
some were standing, some were sitting on the 
ground. They did look fierce indeed as we 
rode past and through their midst. Mr. Bras- 
hear had a piece of bread in his hand. One 
of the men snatched it saying, "I'm hungry." 
We laughed and rode on, but we began to realize 
that we were among savages. No man travels in 
that region without a loaded gun on his shoulder 
and pistols in his belt. About two hours later, 
as we were riding over a barren uninhabited 
plateau, and not anticipating danger, we heard a 
loud voice behind us calling out "Stop." Not 
knowing any reason why any one had any author- 
ity or need to stop us, we did not stop. Presently, 
hearing some rough voices behind me, I looked 
back and beheld the fiercest, ugliest man I ever 
saw holding his gun pointed at Mesheddy 's head. 
He had first aimed at Mr. Brashear's back, think- 
ing that the saddle bags on his horse contained 
money. But when Mesheddy called out to him, 
"What are you doing? Stop," he turned on 
Mesheddy with the threat "I'll shoot you right in 
your eyes." Only a movement of the robber's 
thumb and Mesheddy would have been killed. But 
that thumb could not move because the Lord held 
it. Mesheddy looked him steadily in the eye with- 
out moving a muscle or uttering a sound. We 
sat silent and motionless on our horses, and lift- 
ing up our hearts in prayer. The muleteer stepped 



KHOI 155 

up to the robber and, taking hold of his arm, 
pulled it and the gun down and said, " Don't 
shoot.' ' Again we moved on. The robber, after 
some words with Mesheddy demanding money, ac- 
cepted twenty cents and galloped off and we saw 
him no more. We were somewhat frightened and 
decided to stop for the night at the next village. 
As we rode into the village and asked for a place 
to stay we were surrounded by a crowd of fierce, 
wild, noisy men, women, boys and girls and bark- 
ing dogs. The situation was not reassuring, es- 
pecially as at first they refused us a night's lodg- 
ing. After awhile a somewhat civilized looking 
man came forward and guided us to a house where 
they took us in. We were a great show in the 
town. The host's two wives proceeded to fire the 
oven in the same room where we were and to bake 
the daily batch of bread. Smoke filled the room. 
Crowds came to gaze on me, as they had never 
before seen such an object. I smiled, spoke pleas- 
antly to them and assured them that I was a 
human being like themselves. Mr. Brashear and 
I were eating our supper of fried eggs and bread 
from the same dish and one of the young men 
sitting by and intently watching exclaimed (much 
to our amusement) "The man is getting the big- 
gest share." We also had tea, milk and cheese. 
Our hunger was appeased and we were thankful. 
Then Mr. Brashear read a portion of Scripture 
and prayed. They listened attentively and were 
favorably impressed. Next there were prepara- 
tions for sleeping. A corner was curtained off 
for me. "I laid me down and slept, I awakened; 



156 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

for the Lord sustained me." Ps. 3:5. Besides our 
party of four there were eight other occupants of 
the room that night. In the morning we took with 
us as an escort an armed footman, to whom Mr. 
Brashear presented a copy of the Testament — 
for he was a reader. Our ride was up a narrow 
gorge — grand, magnificent Mt. Ararat in front 
of us, and ever varying mountain scenery on each 
side. We reached the fort early in the forenoon. 
It is substantially built, right under a mighty 
over-hanging rock. We only tarried there a short 
time and hastened back to reach a village sixteen 
miles distant where we might spend the Sabbath. 
They said some Kurds were following us with 
intent to rob. But they did not overtake us for 
we reached the village and were safely housed 
before they came up. They hung around all that 
Sabbath day but did not venture to commit any 
depredations while we were in the house. It was 
a time of anxiety, driving us to the Lord as our 
refuge and our deliverer. Never were the psalms 
of David so precious as they were that day, espec- 
ially the forty-sixth Psalm. We could say with 
the psalmist, "What time I am afraid, I will trust 
in thee." Ps. 56:3. We gave ourselves to prayer 
and trusted and waited. Wonderfully were we sus- 
tained. Some men called on Mr. Brashear. Crowds 
of women came to see me, as they had heard that a 
lady had come to town who had died and come to 
life again. I assured them that I had always been 
very much alive. I had occasion to comfort a ten 
year old boy who was frightened at my appear- 
ance. I read our Turkish Book of Gospel Hymns 



KHOI 157 

with an interesting young man and gave him the 
book and a Testament. It rained all day and 
towards bed time the roof began to leak. I spread 
my waterproof sheet over my bed, and with water 
dropping inside and danger outside I slept well. 
In the morning we hired two armed horsemen to 
act as escort. It was in answer to prayer that a 
fellow traveler joined our party. He was armed 
and military looking and added greatly to our 
little force. God sent the beautiful snow as a 
curtain. So thick was it that we could see only a 
little ways in any direction and no one could see 
us. Our escort guided us over the hills, off the 
main road, until we had passed the dangerous 
places, and we made the day's journey in safety. 
That night we were with our friends the Ali-AUa- 
hees. So kindly was our reception and such a 
feeling of rest and security had we that we slept 
nine hours of unbroken sleep. We were out one 
more night, and at the last place we left another 
Testament. Wednesday the 23rd we reached the 
Mission house in Khoi. 

We remained in Khoi a few days. On the 
Sabbath the sacrament of the Lord's Supper was 
solemnized and five new members were received 
into the church. On the first day of April, with- 
out farther incident, we reached our homes in 
Tabriz. 

This completes the circuit of Lake Urumia, 
touching and traveling over the most interesting 
territory of the West Persia Mission. Several 
times I made this circuit, one of the times occupy- 
ing forty-six days, during which time I rode four 



158 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

hundred and forty miles and visited twenty vil- 
lages, towns and cities, * * sowing the seed. " l ' Oh 
when shall the harvest be ? f 9 It is sure we know, 
but only in eternity shall the results be made man- 
ifest. Our Tabriz field also extends north and 
east, taking in the mountainous region from Maku 
eastward through Muzhumbar and Ahar, on to 
Ardabil — where there are thousands and thou- 
sands of people, wild, fierce and quarrelsome, 
whose spiritual darkness is like that of Egypt. 
Then on the King's highway, between Tabriz and 
Teheran is Zenjan, a post that was at one time 
occupied as an out station by a native evangelist. 
It is also a center of an interesting and important 
field of labor. 



XII 



MAHMUD 



Very precious in my memory is the sweet 
story of Mahmud. He was one of the poor, miser- 
able sinners in Tabriz who was brought from the 
dense darkness of ignorance and sin to the bright 
light of the truth, and a joyously blessed life in 
Christ Jesus. When I first became acquainted 
with him he was twenty-six years of age. He had 
been well, strong and active, able with ease to walk 
forty miles a day. An incurable disease took hold 
of him so that he was no longer able to work, 
and he became dependent on charity for his liv- 
ing. Long years he lay a cripple, his hands bent 
and crooked, and he was unable to move his ema- 
ciated body, but his mind was bright and clear. 
When I first visited him I found him not only sick 
in body but soul sick too — absolutely ignorant of 
the Bible and the Savior. He had become un- 
happy and peevish, fretting and complaining of 
God because of his sickness and poverty. As I 
read to him he listened with wondering curiosity. 
Again I visited him and again I read. He had 
been thinking about what he had heard and was 
eager for more. After that I visited him often, 
always reading, explaining what I read and pray- 
ing with him. In his lonely hours, as he lay on 
his pallet, he would meditate on the wonderful 



160 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

words. His friends and neighbors too, both men 
and women, would gather to hear what the lady- 
had to read and tell from the Christian's book. 

One day I suggested to him that he learn to 
read. Most eagerly did he fall in with the sug- 
gestion, and a twelve year old boy was hired to 
give him lessons. How quickly he learned ! Soon 
he was able to read the Bible, and how he loved 
it ! It was his constant companion, under his pil- 
low while he slept, and by his side, or open in his 
hand while awake. He would never tire of read- 
ing to those who would gather around him, which 
occasioned no little interest and discussion. He 
became a true, humble, earnest Christian. Many 
precious hours have I spent sitting by his bedside. 
A glad day it was when God's messenger went to 
him, baptized him, received him into the mem- 
bership and communion of the church and ad- 
ministered to him the sacrament of the Lord's 
Supper. His mother said, "Mahmud is not 
sad any more — now he is happy because he 
loves his book so much, and he reads it all 
the time. He does not get angry and swear 
and revile any more, and he is teaching me 
too." Often as he read on late in the night his 
mother would say to him, "My son, it is time now 
to put out the light and sleep." He would say 
"Let me finish this chapter, mother." Then he 
would forget and read on and on. When she 
would speak to him again he would exclaim, ' ' Oh, 
it is so sweet I cannot leave off." Wondrous 
visions had he in the night watches, when the Lord 
Jesus seemed to appear to him, and how his face 




us > 



Mahmud, his mother, and niece 



MAHMUD 161 

shone as he told them. It seemed as if one were 
looking into the face of an angel, so lifted above 
earth was he. He used to say "I know there is 
a place for me up yonder," and his face would 
glow with joy and peace. 

One day a friend visiting him saw his book, 
and on learning that it was the Bible said, ' ' They 
will come and choke you as they did Mirza Ibra- 
him.' ' Mahmud replied, "Let them come; I am 
not afraid." Indeed, he longed to die that he 
might be released from the prison house of pain 
and suffering here below and go to dwell in his 
mansion above. But he became resigned to stay 
as long as the Lord willed, that he might preach 
to others. 

Because of his poverty he had no home of his 
own and must often be moved from one place to 
another. There being no conveniences for carry- 
ing a helpless cripple, some men would lay him 
on a board and carry him so. This moving al- 
ways caused him great pain. When once I visit- 
ed him after one of these removals, he passed 
lightly over his physical sufferings saying with a 
joyful countenance, "I had a good congregation 
last evening. Jesus wanted me to preach to the 
people in this neighborhood, and that is why He 
brought me here." Afterwards friends bought 
him a little home, and there he lay patiently bear- 
ing his cross, nay, forgetting it, because of the 
love, joy and peace in his heart. At last the 
angels came and took him home to Heaven, but 
the fragrance of his holy life remains fresh. It 
was ten years from the time he first heard of 



162 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

Jesus until he went to dwell with Him forever. 
During that time he suffered much, learned much, 
rejoiced much, and lying on his lowly bed, 
preached to many, and thus the lives of many 
were influenced by his example and teaching. 
Could it be possible that such a transformation 
should take place and not be felt by those around 
him? Cast a pebble into the water. It does not 
sink without displacing circles of water all around 
it, and the circles increase in ever widening areas. 
The influence of Mahmud was felt. The good 
work begun in that little room of suffering is a 
link in a chain that has gone on lengthening ever 
since. The boy who was engaged to teach him 
became himself interested in the reading and 
study of God's word, was converted, grew up a 
Christian man and studied medicine with one of 
our missionary physicians in the hope of becoming 
a Christian physician for his own people. Mah- 
mud 's mother became deeply impressed and the 
gentle, lovely character she developed was re- 
freshing to one's soul. 

This influence reached out beyond Mahmud 's 
circle of friends and neighbors in the city of Tab- 
riz and was felt in other places. When in the 
autumn of 1893 I was about to go on a tour to 
Mianduab and vicinity Mahmud told me of his 
brother and an uncle who lived in Three Hills, a 
village six miles from Mianduab, and requested 
me to visit them. Giving me a letter of introduc- 
tion to them he said, "They will treat you well." 
I went and was treated well — royally. I was a 
guest at the uncle's house several days. Crowds 



MAHMUD 163 

of women, crowds of boys and girls, and men too, 
came to see me. Ragged, dirty, noisy, uncouth 
were they, but we had a blessed time. Tears ran 
down the soiled cheeks of women as they listened 
for the first time to the story of Jesus and His 
love. The brother of Mahmud was already a 
reader, and he began to teach a little school. 
After a year I again visited that village. There 
was a manifest change. There were the same 
eager crowds, but all more orderly in behavior 
and neater in appearance. Again we had precious 
meetings. One evening this brother told me that 
he had accepted Jesus as his Savior. His study 
of the Bible had been the means of his conversion. 
Another year passed and he was baptized and re- 
ceived into the church. Often did I visit Three 
Hills after that. On each visit I was glad to see 
that the good work was still going on, the same 
crowds gathering, but greatly improved in appear- 
ance and behavior, some of the children learning 
to read, women repeating lessons and Bible stor- 
ies which had been taught them, and evidently 
trying to practice what they had learned. Sev- 
eral men professed to believe in Jesus as their 
Savior. One of them was learning to read that he 
might be able to read the Holy Book for himself. 
On my last visit there I was with them over 
Sabbath, and it was a busy, busy day, with a most 
interesting work and a large number of most at- 
tentive hearers. Before noon there were two ser- 
vices with men and boys, and the time of a service 
was not limited to one short hour. At noon there 
came crowds of women. Many were " coming and 



164 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

going," so that I had no leisure "so much as to 
eat." About two o'clock I slipped out into an- 
other room for a little food and rest. Afterwards 
I started out for a walk and quickly I was 
thronged with a crowd of boys and girls and 
women. I sat down on the ground and taught 
them. One of the women said "Will you come to 
my house?" I arose and went with her. Im- 
mediately a company gathered there. While I 
was talking to them a call came to return to the 
house where I was lodging. Some men had come 
there to see me. After talking with them for 
awhile I went out to the yard and sat on a low 
wall. There a crowd assembled. The bright eyed 
boys interested me and I spoke especially to them. 
How they listened as I talked of the Lamb of God 
and exhorted them to be lamblike. One of the 
men said "You have won those boys." I was ex- 
pecting that from that same crowd of boys should 
grow up a company of true, Christian, God fearing 
men. The change in them had already been very 
great since the first time I saw them. My experi- 
ence with them was interesting. One evening 
after a busy day I went out for a walk. A troop 
of them, ragged, dirty, noisy, followed me. They 
were rather annoying, but I thought "What would 
Jesus have me do?" So I turned, sat down by 
the side of the road, talked to them kindly, told 
them stories and gave them some good advice. 
Among other things I asked them if they could 
not wash their faces and hands and feet. They 
were surprised that they were not reviled and 
driven away, and they became subdued and quiet. 



MAHMUD 165 

The next time I saw them it was evident that ef- 
forts had been made towards cleaning up. After 
that I had no better friends or more appreciative 
listeners than those boys. They were won for 
Christ, and were growing to manhood upright and 
respectable. An American musician would be in- 
terested to hear them sing. One of them, nearly 
grown, had the gift of a sweet voice. He would 
sing our gospel hymns to Persian tunes and a 
hush would fall upon the listeners. Were they 
not as truly worshiping God as if they had been 
trying to sing American tunes? The improve- 
ment in the women too was great. On my last 
visit I rarely heard the profanity, reviling and 
quarreling everywhere so common. 

One morning as I sat in the room at Three 
Hills a Moslem gentleman called. Soon the con- 
versation turned to religious subjects. I handed 
him a Testament and three hours quickly passed 
as we read. In answer to his intelligent questions 
I would refer him to passages of scripture. Other 
passages I marked and gave him the Book to 
take with him. A year later, one day as I sat 
in my sitting room in Tabriz, a caller was an- 
nounced. He was a brother of the one I had met 
in Three Hills. He informed me that they were 
eight brothers living in Eock Spring, a village in 
the mountains south of Tabriz, and that all of 
them were readers. He said, "We have been 
reading the book you gave my brother," and he 
related stories of Jesus' life and work as he could 
not have done had he not read them. I took up 
two Persian Testaments and handed him one. 



166 MY LIFE IN PEBSIA 

We read for several hours. Next day he came 
again. And again the next day he came and one 
of the brothers with him. They were in Tabriz 
on business, and during their stay they came al- 
most daily for the Bible readings. I afterwards 
visited them in their mountain village and found 
them there with their widowed mother, and a 
teacher for the younger boys, an exceedingly in- 
teresting family. I gave them Bible, Hymn Book, 
Pilgrim's Progress and some other books, all 
which they accepted as valued treasures. "The 
entrance of thy word giveth light." 

If there is joy in Heaven over one sinner that 
repenteth, is there not manifold rejoicing over 
these precious ones plucked from the burning? 
Shall we not rejoice to meet them when we have 
all reached the golden city? Is this good work 
ended? "Will it ever end? No, it goes on and on 
and will continue to increase in ever widening 
circles as each one, who by Mahmud's life has 
been brought to the Savior, shall in turn become 
a center of influence and light, reaching out and 
bringing in others to the fold. Eternity alone 
shall reveal the results of work for Christ done 
by the bedside of the poor, ignorant cripple — 
Mahmud. 



XIII 



EABBI RACHEL 



We had not many Bible women helping in 
work for women in Tabriz. One Eabbi Rachel, 
Nestorian, was so earnest, so faithful, so con- 
secrated, so devoted in her Christian life and work 
that I think she is worthy of especial mention here. 
For a number of years she labored among the 
women in Tabriz until she became ill and was 
taken to the home of her daughter in Urumia to 
die. That terrible disease, cancer, had poisoned 
her whole system and death came as a glad release 
from pain and suffering on earth to joy and rest 
in heaven. When she left us there was only the 
voice of regret from those whom she used to visit 
in Tabriz — "Why doesn't Rabbi Eachel come 
any more?" "She was our teacher and preach- 
er. We loved to have her come for she taught 
us good words." For many years I have pre- 
served a copy of a letter she wrote to a Christian 
woman in America. It is translated from the 
Syriac. "To my Beloved Sister in Christ: I 
have peace and love for you. With a handshake 
I wish to pour my peace upon you, and ask a share 
in your sisterhood and an opportunity for a few 
minutes talk. I wish to bring before your hon- 
ored presence the condition of the church in Tab- 
riz. Thirteen years before this, I, with my fam- 



168 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

ily, was invited to work here. With willingness 
we came, hoping that we might work in this ready- 
field for many years, but by the will of the Lord 
it was not to be. Before one year had ended my 
husband, son and daughter in one month died. 
Like Naomi, I returned empty to Urumia. This 
is the fourth year now since again the will of 
the Lord has brought me here. I am rejoicing 
that I have the opportunity. At that time only 
two houses I visited for prayer. Now there are 
more than sixty houses that I can enter with per- 
fect freedom. Doors that at that time were locked 
are now by the grace of our Lord and Savior 
opened, although there are many against us. 
Ajnong the Mohammedan people there are many 
who receive our gospel, yet because there is no 
freedom our hearts burn for them. Many times 
as we go to their houses, or they enter our houses, 
we hear them say, l Indeed this religion is true, 
but what can we do ? We are afraid for there is 
no freedom for us.' Pray ye that our Savior 
himself with free grace may quickly open the door 
for them. Our work is more with the Armenians, 
a lofty and proud people who think that all the 
other people in the world are people of only one 
eye, and they the possessors of two. Working 
for them is very difficult that they might throw 
away their false hopes and their belief in their 
good works. Through all from day to day it is 
the word of the cross, the word of the cross. 
Like a hammer it must strike upon their hearts. 
Many receive the truth. When we go into their 
homes they ask many questions, especially about 



KABBI RACHEL 169 

Mary,, the i Mother of God/ who they think is 
their Intercessor. First they bow the head to 
Mary, then to Christ. We give answer as far as 
possible from the Bible by the help of our Savior. 
Those against us are mighty and many but the 
word of our God is mightier." 

I want to tell of four young native mission- 
aries who met in our parlor one evening, two Nes- 
torian, two Armenian, earnest, consecrated, in- 
telligent young men, with their devoted young 
wives. The Nestorian was an ordained preacher, 
trained and set apart for the Lord's work by Uru- 
mia Mission. His wife was one of the first girls 
honorably dismissed from the Tabriz Girls' 
School. After her graduation she taught for 
some time in this same school. With zeal and en- 
thusiasm they started on their four weeks' jour- 
ney to Eesht to labor there in that, to them, for- 
eign land, counting it all joy that they had been 
found worthy to be thus sent. The other couple 
came from Harpoot in Turkey, graduates from 
College and Female Seminary there. On account 
of difficulties by the way they were a month in mak- 
ing the journey to Tabriz. Then they must be- 
come acclimated, learn the differing customs of 
people in Persia and the different idioms of their 
language. For many years he was an honored 
teacher in the Boys' School and by his simple un- 
assuming piety and steady Christian walk and con- 
versation was having a felt influence for good up- 
on the young men under his care. 

Of the brave Christian martyr, Mirza Ibrahim, 
who languished a year in a Tabriz dungeon and 



170 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

was buried in a Tabriz grave-yard, Dr. Benjamin 
Labaree wrote, "Well worthy was this brother, 
Mirza Ibrahim, of a place in the noble army of 
martyrs. His brief life as a Christian convert, 
full of suffering and contumely on earth, was it- 
self a moral triumph to which the world pays its 
tribute of respect. Imagine the agony of that 
long year of bodily want and pain and satanic as- 
sault on the soul, when a word of recantation 
would have opened his prison doors and given him 
freedom. Yet the temptation was steadfastly re- 
sisted ; to the very last his testimony was clear and 
bold. His entrance into the presence of his Mas- 
ter must have been a blessing indeed and jubilant 
with the joy of victory. Such a record of martyr 
faith on the part of a Persian Moslem marks a 
new era in the progress of the gospel in that king 
dom. What hopes and possibilities it opens be- 
fore us for the triumphs of Christian truth over 
Mohammedanism. ' ' Mirza Ibrahim had been con- 
verted in Khoi through the instrumentality of the 
native evangelist there. His conversion had been 
thorough, with no lingering friendliness to Islam 
or love for the world. He spoke openly and boldly 
and thus brought upon himself persecution. It 
became unsafe for him to remain in Khoi and he 
fled to Urumia. There for awhile he lived in 
peace, but he could not keep quiet. His friend 
and companion (also a Moslem convert) said to 
him, as they were one day walking together, "If 
you speak so openly they will kill you." He re- 
plied, "I can't help it. I must speak. Oh the 
love of my Savior! I love him so I must tell 



RABBI RACHEL 171 

others of this wonderful love." Sure enough, he 
was taken up and put into prison. As his apos- 
tasy was so great he was sent to the dungeon in 
Tabriz. There he preached to his fellow prison- 
ers, they having been justly imprisoned for crimes 
committed. Who knows but that some even there 
were saved by the preaching of this noble martyr? 
After a year some ruffians were cast into that dun- 
geon. One day they tried to force Mirza Ibrahim 
to deny Christ. When he would not they choked 
him until he died. The Crown Prince permitted 
his body to be given for burial to Moslems who 
were friends of the missionaries. When they 
struck the spade in the ground to dig the grave 
they found it to be hollow. It was where the body 
of a rich man (Moslem) had been laid until it 
was carried to one of the holy cities for interment, 
and they buried him there. Like the Jesus whom 
he loved, he made his " grave with the wicked and 
with the rich in his death." 

Now let me mention here a couple whom I 
knew and loved. He was one of the Mianduab 
Armenian boys. He longed for an education, so 
he was received into the Boys' School in Tabriz, 
and there sincerely converted. At the same time 
in the Girls' School was one who was making good 
progress in her studies and growing in Christian 
experience. They became acquainted and loved. 
Both graduated the same week and they were mar- 
ried. They went as missionaries to Mianduab, 
and there they established a home, clean and at- 
tractive. Such a home as it was ! — a bright light 
shining in the darkness. Sixteen years they lived 



172 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

there faithful and true, standing firm for right 
and godliness. She taught the women to be clean 
in their homes, in their bodies, in speech. Moth- 
ers learned to bathe and comb their little children. 
Swearing, quarreling, reviling ceased among the 
little band of Armenians there, and they began 
to command the respect of the Moslems, which they 
had not done previously. Together these two 
taught a school and did evangelistic work. His 
steady, unflinching integrity and granite-like ad- 
herence to what was right and true and Christ-like 
won for him the respect of all, Armenian, Persian, 
Turk, Kurd, Jew. Conscientious in the use of any 
funds entrusted to his care, he established a char- 
acter for uprightness. Faithfully did he labor for 
Christ, teaching, exhorting, discussing. The re- 
sult of their combined labors in the conversion of 
souls and in elevating and purifying society can- 
not be estimated by man, and is only known by the 
Lord of the harvest. Seven children — six sons 
and one daughter, were born to them. Two of the 
sons and the sweet little daughter were taken from 
them to join the angels. The daughter's name 
was Bytzar — Brightness. After her death the 
stricken mother wrote to me the following" pathetic 
words, "The joy of my heart is gone. The sor- 
row of my heart is very bitter. How can I bear 
the sorrow of my heart? How easily she gave up 
her spirit, I cannot tell you. Not a foot she 
moved, not a hand she moved, not a lip she moved. 
After she had given up her spirit you would think 
she was asleep. After her death she was so beau- 
tiful as I cannot tell you. Oh Bytzar! oh Bytzar! 



RABBI RACHEL 173 

how can I be comforted? How can I forget? 
Sweet Bytzar! darling By tzar! beloved Bytzar! 
her sweet words, her loved words, when I remem- 
ber them, a little remains that my heart is broken. 
Oh my beloved, yon don't know my Bytzar, how 
lovely she was to me, how sweet to me. Always 
I was hoping God wonld hear my prayer and spare 
my Bytzar to me. But as His will is, so let it be." 
The father wrote "On the human side we are very 
sad about her, but spiritually we are glad that our 
Lord took her to Himself. He did not wish that 
she should remain in this wicked world. He has 
claimed His own." Truly theirs was a model 
Christian home. Many happy hours have I spent 
there. So I might go on and on, mentioning case 
after case of blessed results of our labors where 
the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ has been the 
means of saving souls, producing pure and lovely 
homes, and building up His Church on earth. Not 
all our efforts have been so successful in grand 
results. Often have we been deceived and our 
hearts have bled over those who proved unworthy. 
Still the promises have been verified and we have 
rejoiced. 

One day an incident came under my observa- 
tion that beautifully illustrated one of our Lord's 
parables — the good Shepherd and the lost sheep. 
It was in a mountain village. In the evening after 
a busy day I walked on a low roof for fresh air 
and exercise. Below me lay the village; lower 
down the narrow stream of water that ran along 
at the foot of the high hill. On the other side the 
stream another hill arose mountain high. Way 



174 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

up on that mountain height the villagers pasture 
their flocks and herds. As I looked I saw a flock 
of sheep running down the way towards the vil- 
lage, for it was time for them to be in fold for 
the night. The shepherd was going before and 
the sheep following after, "for they know his 
voice.' 9 One of the sheep lingered behind nib- 
bling a little longer at some pleasant pasturage 
he found by the wayside. Presently he realized 
that the other sheep had gone on after the shep- 
herd and he was left alone. He started on at full 
speed. Soon he came to an obstruction in the 
road which he could not pass over. He turned 
another way. He wandered here and there in a 
frightened, excited manner, not knowing where to 
go. The shepherd called but he was too far away 
to hear. He went back up the mountain, farther 
and farther away. Poor lost sheep! How like 
many professing Christians who linger among 
worldly pleasures and get so far away from the 
Good Shepherd that they do not hear his voice. 
After the shepherd had guided the other sheep 
each to its place he went back and brought the 
wandering one home. It was well that he did for 
there were wolves in the mountains. 



XIV 

DOES IT PAY? 

One day a friend in conversation said to me, 
" After all your life in Persia and all your experi- 
ences in missionary work there, can you now say 
that it pays?" Enthusiastically I replied, "Yes, 
it pays ; it pays all the time, one hundredfold, one 
hundred times a hundredfold, yea a thousand, ten 
thousand times a hundredfold, infinitely more than 
mind can grasp." Then I began to think of my 
life in the East. I do not forget that there were 
hard things, that there were hills of difficulty, but 
the trials are buried 'neath the joys. I remember 
being so happy, so enthused in my work, so glad 
in telling the "old, old story" that it seemed as 
though I were too highly favored, having a good 
time rather than doing hard work. 

Now I think of the millions on millions of our 
fellow men who are sitting in the "valley of the 
shadow of death," knowing nothing aright of the 
true God, or how to serve him as they ought; 
bound by the bands of heathenism and bowing 
down to idols of wood and stone; or enslaved by 
the degrading example and teachings of the false 
prophet ; or going on in the broad way to destruc- 
tion by clinging to the lifeless forms of the effete 
religion of an old dead church ; or lost as the Jew- 
ish haters of the Nazarene. Do not our hearts go 



176 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

out to them in pity and longing to do them good, 
to carry or send them the gospel, to raise them 
from the depths of degradation? As we med- 
itate on the condition of these multitudes, do we 
not feel like saying with the Apostle Paul that 
"necessity is laid upon me; for woe is unto me 
if I preach not the gospel." It is our duty and 
privilege to cause to reach to them the glad tid- 
ings of salvation by telling them of Jesus and 
His love and thus gather them into the kingdom. 
It is not ours to count the cost, but following 
our leader, go on conquering and to conquer, from 
victory unto victory. Can we estimate the worth 
of even one soul? In an old church in the East 
I saw pictured on the wall an angel standing be- 
tween earth and heaven, holding in his hand a bal- 
ance. On one side the scales was the soul of one 
human being; on the other side the world. As 
the angel held the balance the soul side went down, 
down, low down, with a weight beyond reckoning ; 
the world side flew up light as a feather. A Hindu 
child was taught in a Mission School, was con- 
verted, grew to womanhood and came to America. 
On hearing her speak, watching her ladylike, 
graceful bearing, noticing her intelligence and 
lovely Christian character, an eminent divine ex- 
claimed that if Christian missions in foreign lands 
had accomplished nothing more than the bringing 
up and sending forth of that young woman they 
had paid. So we believe that if one may be the 
means of saving even one soul, he or she will not 
have lived in vain. If the value of one soul is 
more than that of all the world, what shall we say 



DOES IT PAY 177 

of the multitudes that have been saved and that 
shall be saved ; of many who have lived true lives 
and gone to their home in heaven, many who are 
still living and by their exemplary lives adorning 
the religion they have found. Not only thus in a 
spiritual point of view, but intellectually, socially, 
temporally are Foreign Missions a blessing to man- 
kind; in the thousands who having been found in 
degradation and misery have been gathered into the 
mission schools and have become intelligent, influ- 
ential citizens ; in lands of darkness opened up to 
commerce, enterprise and improvement. The mis- 
sionary can travel in China where the merchant can- 
not go. In Thibet where no other white person had 
ventured the missionary went. What but mission- 
ary enterprise brought about the wonderful chang- 
es in India, Japan and Korea? In Persia we are 
seeing the influence of the work of the missionary 
in the widespread desire of the people for a bet- 
ter government ; a better condition of society and 
religion ; for schools and education for their young 
men and maidens ; in the parliament with new laws 
and a constitution. "Missions are not a weak 
effort. They are a prevailing force. They trans- 
form where they touch. " They everywhere Chris- 
tianize and elevate. They are a power in religion, 
society, education, merchandise, commerce and en- 
terprise of every kind. Yes, "it pays," spiritual- 
ly, morally, intellectually, universally. We were 
riding over the desert plain outside the city of 
Tabriz. All the country was dry, hot, burning, 
and the travelers were weary and thirsty. Ahead 
of us we espied a line of mounds of the irrigation 



178 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

wells, and on the other side of them green fields 
and trees. We knew that water was there, and 
soon we were dismounted and slaking our thirst 
by the cool, refreshing spring. As the barren 
land of Persia becomes fertile by irrigation, so 
by the gospel hard hearts are softened, sinners 
are converted, and the people become a changed 
people. "Whosoever drinketh of the water that 
I shall give him shall never thirst ; but the water 
that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water 
springing up into everlasting life." — John 4:14. 
Like oases in the desert, like green villages dotting 
the arid plains, are the native churches, schools 
and Christian families where the Sabbath is kept, 
the Bible read and loved, the family altar estab- 
lished and the children brought up in the fear of 
the Lord; and many individual converts who are 
lights shining in the darkness. What care we 
for toil, weariness, loneliness, separation from 
home and friends, exposure, hardships and such 
things when we can realize such glorious re- 
sults, — the "glory of the impossible," for "the 
things that are impossible with men are possible 
with God." 

Is it not true that beyond and above their 
preaching, teaching and active labors the lives of 
the missionaries are a power in any land? I can 
truly say it is so in Persia. Standing like mon- 
uments of light and purity and truth, firm in 
righteousness and integrity, courageous and un- 
daunted, their character is respected. They are 
looked up to as examples of what is right and God- 
like. Many desire to imitate them and many are 



DOES IT PAY 179 

following in their train. Surely the efforts of our 
missionaries during these many years have made 
powerful and lasting impressions on the Moslems 
of Persia. Why else was it that the Shah some 
years ago in moving his harem to Teheran com- 
mitted them to the care of the American Christian 
physician, because he could not trust his own? 
Why did Dr. Cochran on his return to Urumia 
after a visit to America receive remarkable hon- 
ors from Persian officials? Why is it that the 
word of the missionary is always believed while 
there is no trust or confidence among themselves? 
Why is it that Moslem men will listen with respect 
to American women, when they have it in their 
nature to look down on woman, saying of their own 
women ' ' She is a donkey ? ' 9 Why is it that many, 
and they too of the higher classes, are passing 
by their own schools and patronizing our schools ? 
Why is it that they are even now modeling their 
schools after ours ? Why is it that so many come 
to the missionary to learn the truth and confess 
even with fear and trembling that they are Chris- 
tians? Is it not that already Christian integrity 
is triumphing over Moslem infidelity? True it is 
that Persia is emerging from the darkness of ages. 
The influence of the gospel is telling on the people 
and on the whole face of the country. Not less than 
twenty-five thousand individuals yearly come un- 
der the direct influence of the mission in Tabriz 
alone in its various departments of work. In the 
province of Azerbyjan there are more than one 
and a half million souls, for whom our Presbyter- 
ian church is directly responsible. For all this 



180 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

multitude we have not more than thirty mission- 
aries on the field, making at least fifty thousand 
persons for one missionary. 

Christians have long prayed for open doors. 
Now the doors are open everywhere, in all lands. 
Nowhere is there a spot where the missionary can- 
not go with Bible in hand and preach to eager, 
listening multitudes. Formerly came the call for 
more workers. Now the workers are ready, wait- 
ing, eager for service, but there is not money 
enough to send them and to carry on the work. 
So now we must pray for money. "Will not our 
church arise in her power and privilege and from 
her abundance bring, every man and woman a will- 
ing offering unto the Lord until there shall be more 
than enough for the service of the work which the 
Lord commanded? 

" There is a call from the far-off heathen land, 
Oh what can we give for the great demand ! 

"If we have not wealth, the rich man's store, 
We will give ourselves, if we have nothing more. 

"We will give our feet; they shall go and go 
'Till the heathen's story the world shall know. 

"We will give our hands, till their work shall turn 
To the gold we have not, but can earn. 

"We will give our eyes the story to read 

Of the heathen's sorrow, the heathen's need. 

"We will give our tongues the story to tell, 
'Till Christian hearts shall with pity swell. 



DOES IT PAY 181 

"Though we have little to give, by and by 
We may have a call from the voice on high — 

"To bear my gospel o'er land and sea. 
Into all the world 'go ye, go ye'." 



XV 



JUST A WORD MORE 



I was on a long wearisome caravan journey. 
Our bridle-path lay between hills and through 
valleys. Because of the intense heat we would 
take only a short sleep, rise in the wee small hours, 
eat a bite of breakfast and mount our horses long 
before sunrise. The moon was just hiding away 
for the day, casting parting gleams which softly 
lighted hill tops and threw dark shadows in the 
valleys. Presently dawn began to appear. A mild, 
gentle light was spread over the land, which, as 
it gradually increased, marked the lights and 
shadows more intensely. Through a gap in the 
hills the light shining would cast its brightness on 
our pathway. Then as we would pass 'neath a 
high hill the shadow thrown would be intensified 
in its darkness by contrast with the light we had 
just passed through. Again there would be light 
and again darkness, until the sun in all his splen- 
dor appeared above the hills and all the country 
was flooded in his glory. We thought of the Son 
of Eighteousness, as He shall arise with healing 
in His wings and shall shine to dispel the moral 
darkness of that dark land. Will the darkness 
disappear all at once? No, it does not go away 
even quickly. Long and slow is the dawning. 
The lights and shadows chase each other. Often 



JUST A WORD MORE 183 

clouds intervene and we are ready to exclaim 
" There is no light.' f But we do know that the 
light is there beyond the clouds, and that some 
time it will shine forth gloriously, illuminating 
all hearts. Do we weary of the darkness ? Do we 
long for day without clouds, without shadows? 
Dense indeed is the darkness, the midnight dark- 
ness. Here and there we see a glimmer of light, 
but the stains of centuries of sin and uncleanness 
cannot be cleared away in the service of one life 
time. 

Mine was a pioneer work — years of grubbing, 
clearing away rubbish, digging up stumps, carry- 
ing and throwing stones, helping make ready the 
ground for the plow, seed sowing here and there, 
hard work that shows not much in the eyes of men, 
only fully known to the Master. He has heard 
the prayers, has known the longing desires, has 
seen the efforts, the failures, the tears, has sym- 
pathized in the weariness and oft disappointments. 
Lights and shadows have chased one another all 
along the way. But oh! it was joy to be able to 
tell to those who knew it not the glad tidings of 
salvation. 

"I love to tell the story of unseen things above, 
Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love. 
I love to tell the story because I know it's true; 
It satisfies my longings as nothing else could do. 
I love to tell the story, 'tis pleasant to repeat 
What seems each time I tell it, more wonderfully 

sweet. 
I love to tell the story, for some have never heard 



184 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

The message of salvation from God's own holy 
word." 

"I love to tell the story; 
'Twill be my theme in glory 
To tell the old, old story 
Of Jesus and His love." 

I have told the story to high and low, to rich 
and poor, to men, women and children, to Per- 
sians, Turks, Jews, Nestorians, Armenians. Some 
have heard gladly. Some have scoffed. Some, 
because of hearing the old, old story have become 
heirs of glory. There have been bright days when 
all went well, with grand opportunities, heart 
bursting with love, great energy and enthusiasm in 
presenting the truth, exhorting and pleading with 
the sinner to repent and come to Jesus for for- 
giveness and salvation, the Holy Spirit present 
and working with power. Then there was light. 
There have been dark days — no life — no power 
— no eager listeners, but bitter opposition, weari- 
ness and disappointment. Then the shadows 
hung heavy. 

In the beginning of our work in Tabriz 
we were unknown and unloved, and we were treat- 
ed with opposition, suspicion and indifference. 
Then we had only a hired house, no school, no 
church, no Bible in the vernacular of the people 
(the translation and publication of that having 
been completed later) really no books of any kind 
which we could use in the work. From those small 
beginnings already there are great results. And 
what of the still greater progress in the future? 



JUST A WORD MORE 185 

Then we were only three missionaries ; now there 
are twelve and the work demands more. Now, 
in the city, there is a commodious church build- 
ing with a good membership, a large number of 
adherents with a strong sentiment in our favor, 
two flourishing schools, many friends and many 
visiting places, everywhere eager listeners, many 
searching the scriptures and seeking the truth, 
two medical plants (male and female), with each 
plant a hospital and dispensary connected, crowds 
coming to the missionary physician for healing 
and at the same time hearing the Bible read and 
the gospel preached. All over the surrounding 
country the gospel work is being carried on as 
missionaries and native evangelists go out from 
Tabriz, north, south, east and west, from town to 
town sowing the seed. 

With the Apostle Paul, we can say, in journey- 
ings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, 
in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, 
in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, 
in hunger and thirst, in fastings, in cold and in 
heat, by pureness, by knowledge, by long suffering, 
by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, 
by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the 
armor of righteousness on the right hand and 
on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil re- 
port and good report, as unknown and yet well 
known, as dying and behold we live, as sorrowful 
and yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many 
rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things. 
For we preach, not ourselves but Jesus Christ and 
Him crucified. For God, who commanded the 



186 MY LIFE IN PERSIA 

light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our 
hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the 
glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. I count 
it an honor to have been called to be one in the 
beginning and development of this wonderful and 
difficult work in this, one of the most bigoted of 
Moslem cities. 

Implanted in the hearts of all men, in all 
climes, be they never so ignorant and degraded, is 
the idea of the worship of a Supreme Being, and 
the hope of Heaven. Truly do we find this to be 
the case among the different nationalities and peo- 
ples in Persia, be they Christian or Moslem. I 
once saw this exemplified, as on a tour I was 
spending the night in a Kurdish village. A com- 
pany of the women gathered, but we had no com- 
mon language and I could not read or talk to them. 
I managed by signs and a few words we had in 
common to make them understand when I asked 
them how and whom they worshiped. All with 
one accord raised both hands toward heaven and 
looked up. May it not be that they were sincere, 
and may it not be that God, who searcheth the 
heart, could find in their hearts that which He 
could own and honor in blessing? 

Strange things are coming to pass in Persia 
today. Watching the progress of events, we won- 
der how in His overruling providences God will 
bring order out of chaos. Missionaries for many 
years have been praying for religious liberty in 
Persia. We hoped for a revolution without blood- 
shed, but such is not history. The forces of the 
Evil One are marshaled against the right. The 



JUST A WORD MORE 187 

kingdom of the Shah is divided against itself, and 
the whole land has been torn with dissension and 
civil war. Even as we write, and before the ink is 
dry, we learn of wonderful events and progress and 
changes that make us stand still and say, "It is 
the Lord, He reigns." Dress, customs, thoughts, 
purposes, are changing. It can no longer be said 
that the "customs of the Medes and Persians 
change not. * ' It will take volumes to recount the 
progress and the change. There shall arise a new 
regime, a new and civilized government over an 
enlightened people, a Christianized nation. 



r* f ****** J tfi l a \> U Uj 

John 3:16, in Persian. 



GLOSSARY 



Afghanistan (af-ghan-is-tan') 
Alaskar (al-as-kar') 
Alcha Mulkh (al-cha, mulkh) 
Ali-Allahee (al-i-al-lah-hee') 
Ardabil (ar-da-bil') 
Ardelan (ar-de-lan') 
Azan (a-zan') 
Azerbyjan (a-zer-by-jan') 

Bajee (ba-jee') 
Beluchistan ( bel-u-chis-tan' ) 
Bytzar (bite-zar') 

Cajava (ca-ja-va') 

Farsistan (fax-sis-tan') 

Haji Nasir (h'a-ji na-seer') 
Hakim ( ha-kim' ) 
Horepsema ( ho-rep-see-ma/ ) 
Hulaku ( hu-la-kii' ) 

Ibrahim (ee-bra-heem') 
Ilkhichee (il-khi-chee') 
Irak Ajam (ee-rak a- jam') 
Islam (is-lam') 

Julfa (jul-fa/) 

Kara Dagh (ka-ra dagh) 
Kazvin (kaz-veen') 
Kerind (ke-rfnd') 
Kerman ( ker-man' ) 
Khadija (kha-di-ja/) 
Khan (khan) 
Khoraman (kh5-ra-man') 
Khorasan (kho-ra-san') 
Koran (ko-ran') 



Kurd (kurd) 
Kurdish (kiird'-ish) 
Kurisee (ku-ri-see') 
Kuzistan (ku-zis-tan') 

Lalan (la-lan') 
Laristan (lar-is-tan') 
Lewan (lee- wan') 

Madina (ma-dee-na/) 
Mahmud (mah-mud') 
Maku (ma-ku ; ) 
Maragha (mar-a-gha/) 
Mariam (ma-ri-am' ) 
Mesheddy (me-shed'-dy) 
Mianduab (mi-an-du-ab) 
Mussulman (mus-sul-man') 
Muzhumbar (mu-zhum-bar') 

Omar (6-mar') 

Salmas (sal-mas') 

Shatan Abad (sha-tan-a-bad') 

Sier (Seer) 

Souj Bulak (souj-hu-lak') 

Suhril (suh-ril') 

Suldus (siil-dus') 

Sunis (su-neez') 

Tabriz (tab-reez') 

*Takht Eawan (takht-ra-wan') 

Tanoor (tan-oor') 

Teheran (teh-ran') 

Urumia (u-ru-mi-a/) 
Zen j an (zen-jan') 



* Takht Rawan means a "moving throne" It is a box from 
five to six feet long, three feet wide, four feet high, with a window 
door on each side. It is hung on two long poles, extending like the 
shafts of a buggy both in front and behind. It is carried by two 
horses or two mules, harnessed in the poles, one in front and one 
behind. 



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