China | Missions

Robert and Louisa Stewart, Missionaries to China

Mary E. Watson, Robert and Louisa Watson. In Life and Death.

Robert & Louisa Stewart served in China’s Fujian province with the Church Missionary Society (C.M.S.), where they developed a number of innovative evangelistic techniques.

… Using Christian materials as a major part of the curriculum in day schools for boys and girls, education became their major means for establishing indigenous churches. The employment of single women missionaries to open many inland stations was another distinctive strategy. In addition, Louisa was a pioneer in training mature Christian women to become indigenous missionaries called “Bible women.” Convinced that illiterate women could be taught to read more quickly through a romanized colloquial text. Louisa was also a major figure in the translation and publication of the romanized New Testament in the Fuzhou dialect.

Lauren Pfister, “Stewart, Louisa,” Evangelical Dictionary of World Missions, page.908

My thanks to Redcliffe College for making a copy of this public domain title available for digitisation.

Mary E. Watson, Robert and Louisa Stewart. In Life and Death. London: Marshall Brothers, 1895. Hbk. pp.243. [Click to visit the download page for this title]

Contents

  • Preface
  1. Some Reminiscences of Robert Stewart
  2. Ambassadors For Christ
  3. The Whirlwind
  4. The Joyful Sound
  5. Native Boys and Girls at School
  6. Christ Magnified
  7. “Possessions”
  8. Hands Clasped
  9. Strong Consolation
  10. “Called, and Chosen, and Faithful

Chapter 2: Ambassadors For Christ

Various proposals have been made as to writing a Life of Robert and Louisa Stewart; but they have all been declined.

Lives so truly lived in secret with God are not easy to record. And even if the attempt were successfully made, is there not a danger of exalting the human and losing sight of the fact that ” all things are of God?”

It has been thought, therefore, that it is sufficient for God’s glory, to print some letters lately received, and supply a few details of the earlier times. Their letters were not kept, at Mr. Stewart’s earnest request.

Feeling that anything too personal would have been repugnant to the feelings of our dear brother and sister, we refrain from writing their biographies; but we know their wish would be that we should write and print anything that would awaken love and sympathy for China and the Chinese-anything that would show the friends who have helped through prayer and by their gifts that the need now is not less, but greater. Their voices seem to plead with us from the glory, “Fill up the ranks.” Who will be baptized for the dead?

They went out to Foochow in September, 1876, just after their marriage.
Learning the language was of course the first work.

Then Mr. Stewart was given charge of the school for native catechists belonging to the Church Missionary Society.

Mrs. Stewart, after a time, opened a school to train native Bible-women.
The money to build it was given by personal friends.

Then came the pressing need of English ladies to teach and superintend their Chinese sisters.

After eight years abroad Mr. and Mrs. Stewart came home, and the matter was taken up by the C.E.Z.M.S., who agreed to send ladies to China, arranging that the funds for India and China should be kept separate.

The all-absorbing thought was, “How can the Gospel be preached to this generation of the Chinese?” And visions rose of devoted English ladies residing in every one of the many cities of the Fuhkien province, superintending hundreds of native Bible-women.

Pages 17-18.

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