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Tuesday, October 02, 2007


They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. – Revelation 12:11.

By way of encouragement, I would like to devote Tuesdays to classic testimonies which have brought great blessing and glory to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. These are of men and women, who have faithfully served for the Kingdom of God. My prayer is that you will be blessed, encouraged, and inspired by these testimonies as I was. Enjoy…

With “toiling beasts and bulging baggage,” laden with hundreds of Bibles, books and tracts in local languages, nine months later at the edge of the vast expanse of nothingness that was the vast and perilous Gobi, Mildred was asked by the young city-gate keeper: “Must you go into the Gobi?” “Yes.” They quietly replied. “We must. For we seek the lost, and some of them are out there.”

By the end of the decade, their decision to go had been vindicated. The country was ablaze with forest fires of revolt. Descent into anarchy, brutal civil war and feudal warlord-rule, closed all doors to the Gospel. But by that time, after 15 years of crisscrossing the most inhospitable desert known to man in a donkey cart, thousands had heard the gospel who would never again have a chance to hear it from human lips.

“Only a fool crosses the great Gobi without misgivings,”
she was to write later. But with every painstaking step she took she was to see parables for life … a life that embraced the message she had come to bring. “In this trackless waste, where every restriction is removed and where you are beckoned and lured in all directions …. one narrow way is the only road for you. In the great and terrible wilderness, push on with eyes blinded to the deluding mirage, your ears deaf to the call of the seducer, and your mind un-diverted from the goal,” she urged the reader while writing of the Gobi Desert.

The vast network of trade routes crisscrossing the area to spread gossip and political intrigue, captured Mildred’s imagination. In her mind’s eye she saw trade routes “captured for Him.”

From their first base in Suchow, the City of prodigals, she wanted to see the Good News catapulted out to every untouched crevice of this remote land. “With such a glamorous task ahead,” wrote Mildred later, what mattered torrid heat, revolting flies and the accumulations of stinking oasis filth? For them, the “terms of service” for the master included not only suffering, but deep joy.
“For Christ’s sake it is worth it a thousand times over.”

Mildred and her companions were uniquely placed to reach Chinese women whose homes and heartaches had been barred to male missionaries. Traveling slowly they stayed in filthy inns and caves, frequented by opium addicts. They made a point of visiting the lonely, the rejected and the poorest of the poor, feeding orphans, healing the sick, and educating girls. Given haunted houses to live in, because no-one wanted to host the “foreign devils,” their children’s meetings attracted suspicious mothers, who wooed by the message of love found their prejudices melting as they “crept out at dusk to join the throng.”

They were soon privy to family confidences and sharers of family sorrows. Countless women and girls were rescued by the Trio. Some had been male playthings, discarded in old age. Others were forced to give sexual favours in the Temple, and there were many driven by marital unfaithfulness or cruelty to opium overdoses. Others had narrowly escaped being sold to opium lords, one, so tortured and underfed looked more like a sick monkey than a child, and the most famous of all, a deaf and dumb beggar girl “Little Lonely,” was renamed Topsy and eventually adopted by the Trio. All were launched into new lives where they were valued and respected.

At the mercy of psychopathic bandits and generals at whose whims they could have been annihilated, prey to cholera and typhus, tormented often by questions and doubt, and with paralysing fear lurking in the crevices of every ravine and mountain pass, the strain often proved intolerable and the task hopeless. But their calling to open a window in the darkness, through which Jesus would shine as the Light, spurred them on, and the feeling that the “night when no-one could work,” would soon be upon them, gave them the urgency they needed to complete the task.

1936 saw the hated “foreign devils ” chased out of China and with them of course Mildred, Francesca and Eva with Topsy in tow. They laboured tirelessly until their dying day writing, spreading the needs of China’s millions around the world from their base, a little stone cottage in Devon where “baths, beds, good lighting and an easy chair” were theirs for the taking. Mildred Cable and her friends pushed back the frontiers for women pioneer missionaries of the day. Treading where no white woman had ever trod to bring the gospel to those who had never heard, they trampled the fears and suspicions that made male missionaries a threat to local people.

Their impact on conditions for Chinese women and children was incalculable and the value of their educational work became a pivotal building block in the China of the day. They were often misunderstood by their own, and criticised for their decision to stride out into uncharted territory. Single and celibate, they embraced loneliness, sacrifice and hardship with a vigour and single-mindedness impossible for married men with families. They shattered every stereotype of dowdy spinster missionary-hood with their fun, their zest for life and love of the absurd.
When Mildred Cable died at the age of 74 in 1952, Francesca said at her funeral: “Was her death the end? No rather the beginning, for the hand of God can never lead those who follow to anything but life, growth, expansion and attainment beyond human imagining.” “We have been gloriously happy,”

Mildred had written on returning to London. “We have proved the truth of Christ’s words “Lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the world. We have known joy unspeakable as men and women came from darkness into light and from the power of Satan unto God.”

"In one house we found an old lady of 70, trembling with excitement at the prospect of seeing us for the news had reached her that we were preaching the forgiveness of sins…tell me how my sins can be wiped out. I have kept all my vows, and made many pilgrimages; now tell me what more I can do?…With an interest into which the whole endeavour of a lifetime was concentrated, she listened as we spoke to her of a Saviour, who has taken upon Himself the sin of the world.”

A lama came towards us who had traveled barefoot from the sacred mountains of Shansi, prostrating himself at every few steps…..we handed him a copy of St John’s Gospel in which he at once read aloud the opening words: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God..”…he listened with profound attention while we preached unto him Jesus. “I know about this,” he said. “This Jesus of whom you speak has been greatly troubling me late-ly in my dreams. I know I shall have to believe in Him!” - Through Jade Gate and Central Asia by Mildred Cable and Francesca French

"It looked as though all that was required was the courage to step into the unknown for whenever they did so, doors seeming-ly shut yielded to a touch. Perhaps they were marked with the word “push”. " - Something Happened by Mildred Cable and Francesca French

“On a beautiful May morning, when the lilac was in bloom, there was put into my hands a letter in which was written that which made a goblin of the sun….unless I was to deny my vocation, I must pursue my pathway alone…In one hour the high-est things of life burned themselves to ashes.” - Mildred Cable wrote this when her deter-mination to continue to China even after the Boxer massacres, caused her fiancé, a fel-low candidate at mis-sionary school, to break off their engagement.

Are you willing to do whatever it takes and give your all to win the lost to Christ? Then like, the Mildred Cable, put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled the water, and dare to follow Jesus wherever He leads you?

Loving Father, I thank you for the life of Mildred Cable and her companions, and I pray that anyone reading this may be inspired by their testimony to give their life to you, and that you would use them in the same way, as you used the Mildred. By the power of the Holy Spirit, help me to be a person of like faith, that I may bring glory to your name. In the wonderful and mighty name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Be encouraged.

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