The caring and sharing of just one person with a little Chinese boy, several years ago, resulted in the following tremendously momentous events of which “Eternity alone can disclose the ultimate issue.”
A little Chinese girl, in 1880, entered a Christian mission school in Shanghai. This mission school was established and supported by Americans. In this very year a rollicking harum-scarum Chinese boy, whose name was Charlie Soong, came to Wilmington, N.C., on the United States cutter Colfax. The captain of the Colfax, Charles Jones, became very much interested in the Chinese youth.
Captain Jones found a home for the boy with some Christian friends, and young Soong became a Christian. A Methodist minister was instrumental in interesting the great philanthropist, General Julian S. Carr, of Durham, N.C., in Charlie Soong. General Carr took the boy into his home and became very much attached to him. Charlie developed into an earnest student and a splendid Christian. General Carr sent him through Trinity College (now Duke University), also giving him the course in theology at Vanderbilt University.
When we remember that only one out of every nine adults in China can read, and about 50,000,000 Chinese children in school age are not even in school, we may understand how fortunate was Charlie Soong, who fulfilled every expectation of the one who “cared” for him and “shared” with him. With this splendid Western education and knowledge of American business, Charlie Soong returned to China.
Arriving in China, he became a teacher of English and theology, a Southern Methodist missionary, a Y.M.C.A. organizer, and a printer of Bibles, and later engaged in several other kinds of business from which he amassed an enormous fortune and became one of China’s wealthiest men. Young Soong met the girl who had entered the mission school in Shanghai, and who had also become a Christian. They were married. Among the children born to them were three girls, Ching-ling, Eling, and Mei-ling. Born in a Christian Chinese home, they were not considered “worthless girl babies.”
Between 1908 and 1915, Dr. W. N. Ainsworth, president of Wesleyan College, a Methodist college for women in Macon, GA., received these three girls as students. Ching-ling, the eldest, after graduating from Wesleyan, returned to China and married Dr. Sun Yat Sen, who became the first president of the Chinese Republic, and who has been called “The George Washington of the Chinese Republic.”
Eling, the second daughter, also graduated from Wesleyan College, and later married Dr. Kung, Minister of Commerce and Industry in the Government.
Mei-ling, the youngest, who came over last, was three years at Wesleyan.
The two sisters, having returned to China, left Mei-ling a little homesick. A brother entered an Eastern college, so Mei-ling came to Wellesley to be near him. From Wellesley she graduated. Returning to China, Mei-ling married General Chiang Kai-shek, who is now leading China’s defense against Japan. The Japanese promise to behead him, if he is captured.
When Dr. W. N. Ainsworth, former president of Wesleyan, was ordained bishop in the Southern Methodist Conference, he was sent to China. Mei-ling and President Chiang Kai-shek were at their summer home. They sent an auto over two hundred miles to bring the bishop for a visit. Upon leaving, he told Mei-ling how glad he was to see her so happily married, to which she replied, “Only one thing, Bishop, is needed to complete my happiness.”
“And that?” asked the Bishop. “I am praying,” she replied, “that my husband will become a Christian.”
On October 23, 1930, Chiang Kai-shek, the president of China, became a Christian and was baptized in the Southern Methodist Church in Shanghai. The message to Bishop Ainsworth was, that under the influence of his Christian wife, he had “Come to feel the need of a God such as Jesus Christ.”
General Carr, we pay tribute to your memory, for the Christian home from whence these Christian Chinese girls came, was the result your “caring and sharing.” The influence of Charles Soong’s three daughters may be instrumental in shaping the destiny of nearly 500,000,000 persons.
The Malaysia Message
Vol. 48 No. 6