W. Austin Gardner
United to fight for Jesus
But when Pastor Shi arrived, they asked him to institute an open-air meeting outside their own door. He agreed, and the first open-air meeting was held in that city.
“He preached, and we four girls got on our knees. It was March, and was sleeting and snowing. The street was running with water and melted snow; we had on our padded cotton trousers, and prayed while Pastor Shi preached the Gospel.
Having given us the courage to do so ourselves, when he went away, two of our number carried on with the singing, for they had lovely voices and played the guitar. We two did not yet know the language.
I never saw tears in a Chinaman’s eyes except in those days when we girls knelt and prayed for their souls; but on those occasions I saw the tears coursing down their cheeks, and I had heard nobody report such a thing before.”
But the result to Miss Stewart of kneeling in the snow was an attack of pneumonia. She was so seriously ill that the other workers decided to send for her fiancé. He himself had been at death’s door for weeks with pleurisy in both lungs, typhoid, and then pneumonia, being devotedly nursed back to life by his brother G.B.
But he had recovered just in time to respond to the call and go to Miss Stewart. She turned the corner, and when she began to get better, the Chinese said that as her fiancé had come all that way to see her, they must be married at once. Mr. Studd agreed with them!
So they had a sham marriage. Pastor Shi was not a licensed man, but they let him “marry” them in order to please the Chinese and settle their minds. Pastor Shi insisted on Mr. Studd being rigged out in a new hat and a pair of shoes which the Pastor produced. The shoes got so uncomfortable that during the wedding he had to slip out of them.
He was also exceedingly tired after the strain of nursing his bride, and so fell asleep during his own wedding address. The bride wore a long white sash and on it these words, “United to fight for Jesus.”
At the end of the ceremony they both knelt and made a solemn promise to God, “We will never hinder one another from serving Thee.” Then they travelled down to Tientsin, where they were married by the Consul.
“Tientsin. Scilla is now staying with a Dr. and Mrs. Irwin, they are so kind. I am in a Chinese inn by myself at any rate until Saturday, when we go to the Consul. We are going to be married in our ordinary clothes, just common native calico ones: the people cannot quite understand and were horrified when it first came out that we had not got any wedding garments and didn’t intend to get any.”
Norman Grubb, C T Studd