Stories Worth Rereading: Light at Last

Dr. Kirkpatrick, with the Baptist Mission in the Shan States of Burma, tells in the Missionary Review of an aged woman whom he met on a tour in a mountain district, where no missionary had ever before set foot:—

“This old woman listened attentively, and apparently believed. She had never seen a white man, although, according to her birth certificate, she was one hundred and twenty-three years old. As she sat huddled together by the fire, she said: ‘Teacher, is it true that the Lord can and will save me, a woman? Do not deceive me; I am very old, and must soon fall into hell, unless this new religion is true. I have made many offerings, and made many long pilgrimages to the most sacred shrines, and still find no relief from the burden of sin. Please teach me to pray to this Jesus that can save.’

“I explained the plan of salvation, and God’s love for her, and taught her a simple prayer of a few words. She seemed very grateful. As I was about to leave her, she said:—

“‘Teacher, you come from the great American country, do you not?’

“‘Yes,’ I answered.

“‘Is your country greater than the Shan country?’

“I assured her that it was.

“‘Are the people there all Christians?’

“I had to confess that they were not, but that there were many Christians.

“‘Were your parents Christians?’

“‘Yes, and my grandparents, and ancestors for several generations.’

“‘My parents,’ she said, ‘died when I was young My brothers and sisters all are dead. I have been married three times, and my husbands are all dead. I had nine children, and they are all dead. I had many grandchildren, and they are all dead except this one with whom I am living. I have seen three generations fall into hell. Now I believe in Jesus, and hope to go to the heavenly country when I die. If there are so many Christians in your country, and you have known about this Lord that can save for so long, why did you not come and tell us before, so that many of my people could have been saved?’ With the tears running down her cheeks, she said: ‘I am so glad to hear this good news before it it too late; but all of my loved ones have fallen into hell. Why did you not come before?’

“That question still haunts me. I wish every Christian in America could hear it as I did.

“A few weeks later I saw some of the men from this village, in the bazaar at Namkhamm, and asked them about the ‘old grandmother of the village.’ They told me that she died the day before, and that they had come to buy things for the funeral. After much questioning, they said they were ashamed to tell me that she was crazy. As she grew weaker, she told everybody that she was going to die in a few days, and she was very happy about it. She was going to the heavenly country, and other such foolish things. When she was too weak to speak aloud, she kept whispering, ‘Yasu hock sung; Yasu hock sung‘ (Jesus loves me; Jesus loves me), with her last breath. The first and only time this woman ever heard the gospel, she accepted it. It is an exceptional case, but there are others like it.”