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[Letter from Young John Allen to Dr. Myers, August 27, 1866]
Aug. 27 1866
My dear Dr. Myers
In a previous letter I promised you some particulars as to mission work in China- Since founding that [deleted] then we have received a communication from Dr. Lehow, the Secty of the Board of Missions [unclear] in which he assures us of increasing interest in the China Mission but says in which he [deleted] but [added] says "we are heavily pressed with debt and the future dark and gloomy- but I am determined to spare no effort [deleted] under the divine blessings to spare no effort for the full support of your mission, and will as soon as possible make you another remittance."
In view therefore of the pressing wants of this work and an earnest desire to arouse and encourage the church to meet them as far as possible, by yet greater zeal and liberality, I propose to give you some statistics as to what the native converts themselves, are doing to helpforward the great work which has been begun in their midst. By a reference to the statistics, forwarded you sometime since
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you will see that the whole number of converts to christianity belonging to the various missions here accounted in the aggregate to two thousand six hundred & seven (2607) and their contributions to the amount of two thousand nine hundred and eighty eight (2988) dollars, for the year 1864, or more than one dollar per each member.- Divided in full [unclear] Several missions did not report the amount raised by their converts, otherwise the sum might have been larger still.
Now when it is remembered that the class of people most generally represented in our churches are many of them poor indeed, and the most, if not all of them dependent on their daily earnings for the necessaries of life, their liberality is as surprising as larger, and viewed in reference to future operations and success here, is encouraging in the the extreme- Already several churches supply their own native pastor and support him by their own contributions.
Sometimes the converts express a willingness to give, to aid in support of
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the Gospel which has brought glad tidings without money and without price to them, and help extend it to others in their midst and even beyond them, but complain that they are not able, but [deleted] convince them however of the possibility of economizing and they readily make the effort, which [deleted] This statement [added] has been proven and beautifully illustrated in our own little church and as it may prove a valuable suggestion to some of our brethren and members at home, I will tell them how our poor, may [added] should I not call them rich too, church members managed to make a liberal monthly subscription for the promotion of the Gospel, by helping to sustain a native assistant during our severe trials which separated from you and all assistance from home- I had just been spending some time in conversation and prayer with two of our young men, one of whom we had just set to work as an assistant, and before separating the condition of this Mission at that time 1864 was mentioned, and I told them I thought it would be well to have for [added] them and the members generally to take more interest in its support and especially in sustaining the native agency which at that
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time I was very anxious should not feel the burdens that came upon us, that [deleted] lest it might cause faintness of heart or confusion of purpose- They mutually expressed themselves willing to make any contributions in their power, but were at a loss to ascertain their ability- After hesitating a moment, I inquired if either of them smoked, which I knew before, nearly all chinamen smoke, they responded in the affirmative, whereupon, I proposed to relieve them of this embarassment in reference to assisting the miss, by suggesting that I smoked also, having contracted the habit in 1862-3 as a sort of disinfectant during the cholera season, when I was daily in contact with it, but that I would be willing to leave it off now as not necessary or indispensable, as rice or tea, and asked if they would consent to do so also; they evidently had not thought of such a modus operandi as that, yet they consented cheerfully- and we immediately proceeded to enroll our names and the several amounts each was to pay per month- which resulted as follows- I smoked segars [sic] [cigars] though not constantly hence I headed the list with two dollars.