Women’s Missionary Work in India and China

Cover: Glimpses of Women's Missionary Work in India and China.

Written shortly after the Jubilee of the Baptist Missionary Society (1867-1917), this book aims to provide a series of snapshots of the work done by female Baptist missionaries. It is illustrated by six photographic plates from India and China.

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

George Hawker [1857-1932], Open the Window Eastward. Glimpses of Women’s Missionary Work in India and China. London: The Carey Press, [1917]. Hbk. pp.170. [Click to visit the download page for this title]

  • Preface
  1. Pioneers
  2. Zenana Echoes
  3. Zenana Schools
  4. Women’s Influence
  5. Village Itineration
  6. Boat-Tours in the Beels
  7. “Going-a-Plaguing”
  8. Famine Relief Work
  9. “Doctor Sahiba”
  10. An Industrial Settlement (Salamatpur)
  11. Education: Dehli, Entally and Ballygunge
  12. India: Review and Outlook
  13. Country Work in Shantung
  14. Bessie Campbell and Her Biographer
  15. Certain Women and their Stories
  16. In the Days of the Second Revolution
  17. The New Opportunity

Chapter 2: Zenana Echoes

When our missionary sisters entered the grudgingly opened doors of the zenanas, they were constrained, more markedly in some districts than in others, to make haste slowly. In a speech delivered in London in 1881, when the Mission was just fourteen years old, the Rev. R. F. Guyton described the evolution of zenana work proper in the city of Delhi, the scene of his own memorable labours. At first our sisters could attempt little more than the establishing of friendly relations by means of conversation on general topics. Later they were able to give lessons in reading, writing and secular subjects. Then they taught lace-work and other, feminine employments, which provided new interests and relieved the monotony of seclusion; and finally, when confidence had been secured and minds opened, they were able to introduce the Scriptures and urge the claims of Christ.

Mr. Guyton was of opinion that this policy of patience was entirely justified, and that more precipitate evangelism would have resulted in exclusion. Since that time zenana doors have been opening ever more swiftly and widely, and if the missionary staff were immensely increased, the members of it and their native assistants would find more than enough to do of actual gospel work.

In reading this address of Mr. Guyton’s, and relating it to other records, one is driven to reflect upon the appalling amount of inane and trivial talk which must have afflicted our women missionaries, taxing their patience to the point of exhaustion, in those early days, and, indeed, all the way along. Of course small talk is not peculiar to any race or to either sex, and if the conversation of the world were stenographed for a single day, and the, volume of it appraised by some commissioned angel of adequate endurance, it is gravely doubtful whether the talk of women would be adjudged to be vainer or more wearisome than that of men. That men think lightly of women’s matters is irrelevant. The angel critic, superior to masculine limitations and unbiased by masculine conceit, would weigh with equal scales….

Pages19-20.