|Grace Methodist Church, |
Edmonton, Alta., Sept. 8th, 1921.
Special Congregational farewell to Mr. and Mrs. Leonard and family on their return to
missionary labors at Chengtu in the province Sz-Chuan, China.
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Leonard:
Fellow workers in Christ to the Chinese; we are assembled together to-night to bid you God speed ere you embark upon the long Journey to the home of the Celestials, whom you desire to bring to a saving knowledge of the truth in Christ.
While all are sincere in prayer for you and yours, not all present are aware of your past relationship with Grace Church that gives added significance to the present moment.
Some of us remember you, Mrs. Leonard, when as Miss Weeks [sic] you labored among the Wahstao people here, under the auspices of The Women's Missionery [sic] Society and did a noble work, "you did what you could" seeking no favors.
We also remember your active work here, Mr. Leonard, when as President of the League, you so ably directed the young people and as in other spheres of the Church's work, your efforts were crowned with success.
Just how you and Mrs. Leonard came together we know not, but this we do know, you make a splendid team of efficient workers for God and His Kingdom, and when eight years ago you both left us to labor in Chengtu, China, we felt that the Master's work was safe in your hands and would be nobly executed.
Our faith in you has been justified and our prayers answered, for God has blessed you, Mr. Leonard, as Superintendent of our Building operations over there, and you too, Mrs. Leonard, in the various duties performed.
Seven years you toiled among our yellow friends, experiencing a life that many of us would shrink from; you forfeited all the comforts, facilities and advantages of our happy Canadian life, that you might be "all things to the Chinese, lest haply some might be saved", for Christ's sake you endured many things and scarce ever breathed a word of what you have passed through, save the pleasant features; we are not ignorant, however, of life in China, for we have a number of Chinamen in our Sunday School and through them are wise to many things; with the result, that we are compelled to admire noble souls like yourselves, who, in the spirit of the martyrs, utterly efface yourselves, gladly and literally laying down your lives for Christ's sake and the Chinese.
It is such noble self-sacrifice as you manifest, done without the inspiration of martial music or cheering throngs, some almost in utter obscurity with no eye beholding save the Master's, that is laying a sure and solid foundation in Christ upon which a new and glorious Christian China shall be built, when in truth and deed "the Kingdom of God will tabernacle among the despised Chinese".
We cannot go ourselves to do such magnificent work, but you, Mr. and Mrs. Leonard, have dedicated your lives to the salvation of China and we can go with you in constant prayer and active co-operation by our practical support.
Take then this message to Chengtu:- Tell our Chinese brethren, that we hear of their salvation and faith with gladness, and rejoice in their work and steadfast loyalty to the Christ; that Grace Church is prayerfully interested in them, and in their relatives who are in our midst; we pledge ourselves to labor more abundantly in their behalf.
Mr. and Mrs. Leonard, you labored seven years in China and have now concluded your year's rest at home; your faces are once more turned to that old land of mystery, of idolatrous religion, of a people benighted; insistent comes the call to you across the broad Pacific: "Come over and help us" and although you know not what awaits you, you both unfalteringly respond to that call, taking your little ones with you; in your hearts is the longing to see those Chinese, who you have loved and lost for a year, and upon your lips is the prayer, "God save China", we echo that prayer, and also plead, "God save you".
Go sisters and brothers, and may the God of peace go with you ever keeping you in perfect peace, 'neath the shadow of His all protecting wing; may He richly reward your labors and bring you back to our midst once again; when at last your labors are o'er, we shall meet you on that other shore and rejoice with the angels, over the many Chinese brethren brought into the fold.
|In behalf of the Congregation of Grace Methodist|
Church, we wish you God speed and sign ourselves