Chapter 13 - The Land Occupied
But Kai Bok-su had no
sooner returned than he was off again. He
was not one of that sort who could settle down after an
achievement, content to rest for a little. He seemed to forget
all about what had been done and was "up and at it again." If he
"did not know when he was beaten," neither did he seem to know
when he was successful; and like Alexander the Great he was
always sighing for new worlds to conquer, yes, and marching off
and conquering them too.
But every time he
returned to his work at Tamsui from one of
these tours, it was borne in upon him more forcibly every day
that his faithful assistant who was left in charge, could not
long shoulder his work. Mr. Jarnieson was fighting a losing
baffle with ill health. The terrible experiences
war year, the hard work, and the trying Formosan climate had all
combined against him. His brave spirit could not always sustain
the body that was growing gradually weaker, and one day, a dark,
sad day, the devoted soul was set free from the poor pain-racked
body. He had given eight years of hard, faithful work to the
study of the language and to the service of the Master in the
mission. Mrs. Jamieson returned to Canada, and once more Dr.
Mackay faced the work, unaided except by native preachers. But he
was not daunted even by this bereavement, for he always lived in
the perfect faith that God was on his side.
And then, he had by this
time three new assistants in the
mission-house on the bluff. They did not even guess that they
were any help to him, for they could never go with him on his
mission tours. But by their sweet merry ways and their joyous
welcome to father, when he returned, they did help him greatly,
and made his home-comings a delight.
"How many did you
baptize, father?" was baby George's inevitable
question on his father's return. For already the wise toddler had
learned something of the bitter enmity of the heathen world, and
knew that converts meant friends. Then father's home-coming meant
presents too, wonderful things, bows and arrows, rare curios for
the museum in the college, and, once, a pair of the funniest
monkeys in the world, which proved most entertaining playthings
for the little boy and his two sisters. Another time the father
brought home a young bear to keep the monkeys company, but they
were not at all polite to their guest, for they made poor bruin's
life miserable by teasing him. They would torment him until he
would stamp with rage. But he was not always badly used, for when
the three children would come out to feed him, he was very happy,
and he would show his pleasure by putting his head between his
paws and rolling over and over like a big ball of fur. And he
always seemed quite proud of his performance when his three
little keepers shrieked with laughter.
The next year after Mr.
Jamieson's death the empty mission-house
was once more filled. In September the Rev. Mr. William and Mrs.
Gauld sailed from Canada, and with their arrival Dr. Mackay took
The new missionaries had
learned the language and their work was
well under way when the time came round once more for Dr. Mackay
to go back to Canada for a year's rest. This time there was quite
a little party went with him: his wife, their three children, and
Koa Kau, one of his students.
Among those left to
assist Mr. Gauld, there was none he relied
upon more than A boa. Mr. Gauld, at the close of his second
year's work, wrote of this fellow worker: "The longer and better
I know him, the more I can love him, trust his honesty, and
respect his judgment. He knows his own people, from the governor
of the island to the ragged opium-smoking beggar, and has
influence with them all."
There were many others
besides A Hoa to render the missionary
faithful help; among them Sun-a and Tan He, the latter pastor of
the church of Sintiam; and just because Kai Bok-su was away they
worked the harder, that he might receive a good report of them on
The separation was longer
this time, for Dr. Mackay wished to
send his children to school, and he decided that they would
remain in Canada two years. He was made Moderator of the General
Assembly, too, and the Church at home needed him to stir them up
to a greater desire to help those beyond the seas.
While he was working and
preaching in Canada, his heart turned
always to his beloved Formosa, and letters from the friends there
were among his greatest pleasures. A Hoa's of course, were doubly
welcome. Pastor Giam, the name by which he was now called, was
Mr. Gauld's right-hand helper in those days, and once he went
alone on a tour away to the eastern shore. While there he had an
adventure of which he wrote to Kai Bok-su.
"The other morning while
walking on the seashore I saw a
sailing-vessel slowly drifting shoreward and in danger of being
wrecked, for there was a fog and a heavy sea. I hastened back to
the chapel and beat the drum to call the villagers to worship. As
soon as it was over I asked converts and heathen to go in their
fishing-boats as quickly as possible and let the sailors know
they need not fear savages there, and if they wished to come
ashore a chapel would be given them to stay in. The whole crew
came ashore in the boats at once. I gave your old room to the
captain, his wife and child, and other accommodation to the rest.
I then hurried away to a mandarin and asked him to send men to
protect the ship."
When Kai Bok-su read the
story and remembered that, twenty-five
years earlier, the crew of that vessel would have been murdered
and their ship plundered, he exclaimed with joy, "Blessed
where'er He reigns!"
A Hoa had another tale to
tell. One afternoon he had a strange
congregation in that little chapel. There were one hundred and
forty-six native converts and twenty-one Europeans. These were
made up of seven nationalities, British, American, French,
Danish, Turkish, Swiss, and Norwegian. Their ship was from
America and was bound for Hongkong with coal-oil.
They were amazed at
seeing a pretty, neat chapel away in this
wild, remote place, which they had always supposed was overrun by
head-hunters, and indeed it was just that little chapel that had
made the great change. These men now entered it and joined the
natives in worshiping the true God, where, only a few years
before, their blood would have stained the sands.
A Hoa told them something
of the great Kai Bok-su and the
struggles he had had with savages and other enemies, when he
first came to this region. The visitors were very much interested
and did not wonder that the name "Kai Bok-su" was held in such
reverence. When they left, the captain presented the little
chapel with a bell, a lamp, and a mirror which were on board his
The long months of
separation were rolling around, when something
happened that brought Kai Bok-su back to his island in great
haste. Once more war swept over Formosa. This time the trouble
was between China and Japan. The big Empire proved no match for
the clever Japanese, and everywhere China was forced to give in.
One of the places which
Japan set her affections on was Formosa.
She must have the Beautiful Isle and have it at once. China was
in no position to say no, so the Chinese envoy went on board a
Japanese vessel and sailed toward Formosa. When in sight of its
lovely mountains, without any ceremony he pointed to the land and
said, "There it is, take it." And that was how Formosa became a
province of Japan. At noon on May 26, 1895, the dragon flag of
China was hauled down from Formosan forts and the banner of Japan
Of course this was not
done without a struggle. The Formosans
themselves fought hard, and in the fight the Christians came in
for times of trouble. So Kai Bok-su, hearirig that his
"valuables" were again in danger, set sail for Tamsui.
When he arrived the war
was practically over, but everywhere were
signs of strife. As soon as he was able, he took A Hoa and Koa
Kau and visited the chapels all over the country. Everywhere were
sights to make his heart very sad. The Japanese soldiers had used
many of the chapels for military stables, and they were in a
filthy state. At one place the native preacher was a prisoner,
the Japanese believing him to be a spy. At another village the
Christians sadly led their missionary out to a tea plantation and
showed him the place where their beloved pastor had been shot by
the Japanese soldiers. Mackay stood beside his grave, his heart
heavy with sorrow.
But his courage never
left him. The native Christians everywhere
forgot their woes in the great joy of seeing him once more; and
he joined them in a brave attempt to put things to rights once
more. The Japanese paid for all damages done by their soldiers
and in a short time the work was going on splendidly.
"We have no fear," wrote
Dr. Mackay. "The King of kings is
greater than Emperor or Mikado. He will rule and overrule all
His faith was rewarded,
for when the troublous time was over, the
government of Japan proved better than that of China, and on the
whole the trial proved a blessing.
Oxford College had been
closed while Dr. Mackay was away, and the
girls' school had not been opened since the war commenced, for it
was not safe for the girls and women to leave their homes during
such disturbed times. But now both schools reopened, and again
Kai Bok-su with his cane and his book and his crowd of students
could be seen going up to the lecture halls, or away out on the
He had conquered so
often, overcome such tremendous obstacles,
and faced unflinchingly so many awful dangers for the sake of his
converts, that it was no wonder that they adored him, their
feeling amounting almost to worship. "Kai Bok-su says it must be
so" was sufficient to compel any one in the north Formosa Church
to do what was required. Surely never before was a man so
wonderfully rewarded in this life. He had given up all he
possessed for the glory of his Master and he had his full
A few happy years sped
round. The time for him to go back home
again was drawing near when there came the first hint that he
might soon be called on a longer furlough than he would have in
At first, when the dread
suspicion began to be whispered in the
halls of Oxford College and in the chapel gatherings throughout
the country, people refused to believe it. Kai Bok-su ill? No,
no, it was only the malaria, and he always arose from that and
went about again. It could not be serious.
But in spite of the fact
that loving hearts refused to accept it,
there was no use denying the sad fact. There was something wrong
with Kai Bok-su. For months his voice had been growing weaker,
the doctors had examined his throat, and attended him, but it was
all of no use. At last he could not speak at all, but wrote his
words on a slate.
And everywhere in north
Formosa, converts and students and
preachers watched and waited and prayed most fervently that he
might soon recover. Those who lived in Tamsui whispered to each
other in tones of dread, as they watched him come and go with
slower steps than they had been accustomed to see.
"He will be well next
month, "they would say hopefully, or, "He
will look like himself when the rains dry." But little by little
the conviction grew that the beloved missionary was seriously
ill, and a great gloom settled all over north Formosa. There was
a little gleam of joy when the doctor in Tamsui advised him
finally to go to Hongkong and see a specialist He went, leaving
many loving hearts waiting anxiously between hope and fear to
hear what the doctors would say. And prayers went up night and
day from those who loved him. From the heart-broken wife in the
lonely house on the bluff to the farthest-off convert on the
Ki-lai plain, every Christian on the island, even those in the
south Formosa mission, prayed that the useful life might be
But God had other and
greater plans for Kai Bok-su. He came back
from Hongkong, and the fist look at his pale face told the
dreaded truth. The shadow of death lay on it.
Those were heart-breaking
days in north Formosa. From all sides
came such messages of devotion that it seemed as if the
passionate love of his followers must hold him back. But a
stronger love was calling him on. And one bright June day, in
1901, when the green mountainsides, the blue rivers, and the
waving rice-fields of Formosa lay smiling in the sun, Kai Bok-su
heard once more that call that had brought him so far from home.
Once more he obeyed, and he opened his eyes on a new glory
greater than any of which he had ever dreamed. The task had been
a hard one. The "big stone" had been stubborn, but it had been
broken, and not long after the noontide of his life the tired
worker was called home.
They laid his poor, worn
body up on the hill above the river,
beside the bodies of the Christians he had loved so well. And the
soft Formosan grass grew over his grave, the winds roared about
it, and the river and the sea sang his requiem.
Gallant Kai Bok-su! As he
rests up there on his wind-swept
height, there are hearts in the valleys and on the plains of his
beloved Formosa and in his far-off native land that are aching
for him. And sometimes to these last comes the question "Was it
well?" Was it well that he should wear out that splendid life in
such desperate toil among heathen that hated and reviled him? And
from every part of north Formosa, sounding on the wind, comes
many an answer.
Up from the damp
rice-fields, where the farmer goes to and fro in
the gray dawn, arises a song:
I'm not ashamed to own my
Or to defend his cause.
Far away on the
mountainside, the once savage mother draws her
little one to her and teaches him, not the old lesson of
bloodshed, but the older one of love and kindness, and together
Jesus loves me, this I
For the Bible tells me
And up from scores of
chapels dotting the land, comes the sound
of the old, old story of Jesus and his love, preached by native
Formosans, and from the thousand tongues of their congregations
soars upward the Psalm:
All people that on earth
Sing to the Lord with
These all unite in one
great harmony, replying, "It is well!"
But is it well with the
work? What of his Beautiful Island, now
that Kai Bok-su has left for a greater work in a more beautiful
land? Yes, it is well also with Formosa. The work goes on.
There are two thousand,
one hundred members now in the four
organized congregations, and over fifty mission stations and
outstations. But better still there are in addition twenty-two
hundred who have forsaken their idols and are being trained to
become church-members. The Formosa Church out of its poverty
gives liberally too. In 1911 they contributed more than
thirty five hundred dollars to Christian work. "Every year,"
writes Mr. Jack, "a special collection is taken by the Church for
the work among the Ami--the aborigines of the Ki-lai plain." This
is the foreign mission of the north Formosa Church.
A Hoa lately followed his
pastor to the home above, but many
others remain. Mr. Gauld and his family are still there, in the
front of the battle, and with him is a fine corps of soldiers,
comprising fifty-nine native and several Canadian missionaries,
inchiding the Rev. Dr. J. Y. Ferguson and his wife, the Rev.
Milton Jack and Mrs. Jack, the Rev. and Mrs. Duncan MacLeod, Miss
J. M. Kinney, Miss Hannah Connell, Miss Mabel G. Clazie, and Miss
Lily Adair. Miss Isabelle J. Elliott, a graduate nurse, and
deaconess, will join the staff shortly, and a few others will be
sent when secured, in order that the force may be sufficient to
evangelize the million people in north Formosa.
Mrs. Mackay and her two
daughters, Helen and Mary, the latter
having married native preachers, Koa Kau and Tan He, are keeping
up the work that husband and father left. A new hospital is being
built under Dr. Ferguson, and plans are on foot for new school
and college buildings.
And the latest arrived
missionary? What of him? Why his name is
George Mackay, and he has just sailed from Canada as the first
Mackay sailed forty-one years earlier. He has been nine years in
Canada and the United States, at school and college, and now with
his Canadian wife, has gone back to his native land. Yes, Kai
Bok-su's son has gone out to carry on his father's work, and
Formosa has welcomed him as no other missionary has been welcomed
since Kai Bok-su's day.
But these are not all.
From far across the sea, in the land where
Kai Bok-su lived his boyhood days, comes a voice. It is the echo
from the hearts of other boys, who have read his noble life. And
their answer is, "We too will go out, as he went, and fight and
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