SPECIAL CARE FOR CHILDREN.
From the first day of my mission work I've taken special interest in the children, and I think all my helpers followed my example. When I entered a home the mother would usually say, "Children run and play." But I said, "Oh! no. Please don't send the children away." Hence the children watched for my coming. Often I found no one at home but the children so I sometimes carried needles and thread and showed the girls how to mend the baby's dress, sew on buttons, and other things, meanwhile having a quiet mother talk with them. A large number of children were converted in meetings held in the homes.
I met a young man about five years ago, I cannot now give his name, who said, "Sister Moore, you don't know me, but when I was a little boy I was converted during a visit you made in my home." He is only one of many. I mention this that other missionaries may give more attention to the children in the homes, as well as in meetings.
Parents often say to me, "I can't let my child join the church. If he is converted he is sure to backslide." This sounds very much like a mother saying, "I must not feed my baby till he grows strong." Is it any wonder that he dies? There is not one pastor in fifty who knows how, or who does cut up the food fine enough to feed the children. He might know that the parents can eat the food prepared for the children, so that the whole congregation could eat with the children. My heart aches for the poor neglected children, even in rich, intelligent Christian homes; hungry little hearts with nothing to eat. Because of this fact we have been anxious to get good books into all homes. Part of our parents' pledge reads as follows: "I promise, with God's help, that I will pray with and for my children and daily teach them God's word and expect their early conversion."
I got my first foreign mission money in Louisiana from a children's band in New Orleans in 1874. It was given to Rev. Perry, of New York, and used for a mission in Haiti. We had the children in many parts of the state raising vegetables, picking cotton, running errands, etc., getting money for missions. But the parents often discouraged them, saying, "It is foolishness." So few have learned that the best way to make children happy is to teach them to give rather than to receive. But how can parents teach what they do not know?
Notwithstanding so few parents agreed with me in teaching their children to give by self-denial, yet the seed did grow in some hearts, because of our continued sowing and hoeing.
SOME ENCOURAGING RESULTS.
I wrote to our Fireside Schools in "Hope" for December, 1898, requesting them to give no presents to each other on Christmas, nor to prepare extra dinners for that day, and send what they would have thus used for the heathen in Africa.
Many did not like the plan, but a few tried it, and as a result we received up to February 1, $70.50, from 25 families, 12 Bible bands, 41 individuals, 17 Sunshine Bands of children.
We know that most of these donors are poor; had they been rich the gift would have been greater in earthly coin, but no greater on heaven's record.
This money represents about 300 persons, we cannot give the exact number.
Some did not tell us how the money was saved. Several children told how they gave up dolls and firecrackers, and money given them for Christmas was gladly sent to the heathen children. Families gave up the usual Christmas dinner, etc. We learned enough by this experiment to know that with thought and with self-denial a great amount of money could be thus raised, and each donor would be healthier if they would thus save from unnecessary food and raiment.
I do testify that the few self-denials that I have made added more to my happiness than all my many indulgences.
But best of all we have the testimony of our blessed Savior who said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive," and who did deny himself the joys of heaven for the sorrows of earth. Read Phil. 2:5-7.
I was present at the organization of the Colored Baptist Foreign Mission Convention, which was formed at Montgomery, Ala., in 1881, and was one of the committee that framed the constitution. At its fourth annual session, at Meridian, Miss., the following was offered:
Resolved, that we condemn the raising of money for this convention by fairs, suppers, etc.
This resolution led to considerable discussion, but brought out the fact that our best men all over the South were opposed to these unlawful schemes. This greatly encouraged me. I was made a life member by the convention at this meeting. I also brought to this convention seventy dollars for foreign missions, the gleanings of the women and children of Louisiana, and money obtained largely by self-denial.
We are glad to report that this good work still goes on slowly, and yet considering the opposition, great things have been accomplished. From 1899 to January, 1902, we have received $367.75, which has been used to support a school in South Africa. This has not all been given by the children, but the children's request that the parents would allow them to do without presents on Jesus' Birthday would often lead the parents to give as well as the children. We are quite sure this is the proper way to train our children in Christian giving. Strange that self-denial is not popular with those who follow Jesus.
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