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Dr Margaret MacKellar
Chapter IX - Later Years


ONE of Dr. MacKellar's vacations was spent in company with several others of our mission in visiting Ceylon and South India. The party nearly lost their lives crossing from Ceylon to India in an open boat. The Moonsoon burst and they were nineteen hours instead of five in making the trip.

The visit to the old established missions of South India, where Christians sat down in hundreds to the Lord's Supper, was a great inspiration to Dr. MacKellar. Full of this subject, she sought an opportunity on her return to tell the little Christian community of Neemuch of God's work as she had seen it and to draw from it the great lesson that what God had done for South India He was able to do for Central India. The daughter of an Indian Catechist present at the meeting on hearing what God had wrought yielded herself to God for His service. She subsequently took a four years' course in the Ludhiana Medical College and became a helper in the medical work at Neemuch, where she worked until called to "higher service."

A privilege missionaries have on visits to the hills in India is that of attending conferences for the deepening of the spiritual life. One of these, four years after she came to India, stands out in Dr. MacKellar's memory as a time of great blessing, when she was able to say fully, regarding a matter of controversy with God,

"Renew my will from day to day,
Blend it with Thine and take away
All that now makes it hard to say,
Thy will he done."

There is, too, at such conferences, the opportunity of coming in touch with other missionaries. Two of these, Rev. R. P. Wilder and the late Mrs. Jennie Fuller, were means of special help to Dr. MacKellar. Intercourse with the latter, during some weeks at the hills, was one of the very happiest experiences of Dr. MacKellar's life.

In 1899 and 1900 Central India was visited by a severe and widespread famine, and many of our missionaries dropped other work to attend to the relief of the sufferers. Dr. Mac- Keller was indefatigable in her efforts at this time, and like the Good Shepherd, she would go to any trouble to rescue even one child. The plague epidemics which have occurred from time to time gave her further opportunities of relieving suffering, and it was in .recognition of her services in these epidemics that her name was in the honors list at the time of the King- Emperor's Coronation Durbar, and the Kaiser-i-Hind Medal for public service in India was conferred upon her. She was an honored guest—the only missionary—in the camp of the Political Officers in Central India, at the great Delhi Durbar in December, 1912.

A few months later, just before her furlough, the new hospital at Neemuch, the crown of Dr. MacKellar's twenty years' service there, was opened, and at that time the medal was pinned on her by the Honourable the Agent to the Governor-General in Central India.

Dr. McKellar's relationships with the representatives of H. M. Government in Central India have always been most happy, and more than once her suggestions for helping the people whom she loves have been welcomed by them.

Shortly after the outbreak of the war the Medical Missionary Association of India placed their services at the disposal of Government to relieve, where possible, Government medical officers who might be needed for service abroad.

On June 29th, 1917, Dr. MacKellar received from the Director-General of Medical Service in India the following telegram: "Are you willing to accept employment in a Government hospital in India so as to set free medical officer for active service." The F.M.B. and W.M.B. cabled their willingness and the Council in India set her free for war work. On August the 4th, the 3rd anniversary of the war, she received a call from Simla to act with three others on a committee of selection to choose for service in military hospitals units of medical women from among the many who had offered their services.

One of the helpful ministries of Dr. MacKellar's life is her letter-writing. Often at great expenditure of time and energy, and curtailing the time for necessary recreation, she sits at her desk answering letters. Anyone in need of help who appeals to her can be sure of a sympathetic and prompt reply. Many letters reach her—from missionaries, Indian Christians, and from persons of whom she has never heard, for she is widely known in India. Letters to the church papers, at one time frequent, have been fewer of late, because of the pressure of other correspondence, but there are many persons in the homeland who have felt the heart-beat of her sympathy and have treasured letters she has written. One of the labors of love which she has added to her list involving a good deal of correspondence is that of the Secretaryship of the Bible Success Band. The motto of this Band is found in Josh. I: 8, and the members promise to memorize one verse of Scripture daily. Through Dr. MacKellar's ardent advocacy it has—in two years —spread widely in India.

Akin to the ministry of letter-writing is that of sending out tracts or booklets. Dr. MacKellar has posted thousands of these. Some years ago she sent out a hundred copies of "A Spiritual Awakening" to her friends. One copy was sent to Rev. J. Goforth, of China, and was the means used to lead him out into a line of thoughtful study that resulted, as we know, in a great work of revival.

One of the annual reports Dr. MacKellar wrote years ago began with the words: "What we long for most, we see least of"—that is, the conversion of souls.

Mass movements are only beginning in Central India, if indeed they can be said to have begun. As yet the joy is over the one sinner repenting—for, as a rule, they come singly. But in her nearly twenty-seven years in India Dr. MacKellar has seen a goodly number of souls brought to Christ through her medical missionary work, and "saved to serve" Christ in India. Others she has seen dragged back to heathenism when they were on the point of open confession, but among them also will there not be found some in the number of the redeemed?


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