This is the day that … Miss Mildred Cable, and two sisters, Misses Evangeline and Francesca French, set out from Suchow, China, to cross the Gobi desert! They would push westward through Mongolia, Chinese Turkistan and Siberia.
Four months later, on 12 October, 1926, these three middle-aged women arrived in London. They had travelled over 6000 miles on a route almost unknown to civilization (God’s Adventurers, by M. Tiltman, page 31).
During the previous 20 years these remarkable missionaries had lived in wayside inns and peasant’s dwellings, everywhere presenting the gospel to Tibetans, Mongols and Chinese.
And more than once they faced incredible danger… like the time they were captured by a brigand chief! (Three Women, by W.J. Platt.)
Ruth Tucker writes, “It was through the amazing pioneer work of these three single women that the Great Northwest (of China) was initially opened to the Gospel. They did not found churches or theological learning centres, they simply obeyed the command to take the Gospel to every creature” (Guardians of the Great Commission, page 88).
These and many other women were prepared for missionary endeavour by a faith-filled woman of God in England, Henrietta Soltau. Her role as part of the China Inland Mission was to determine the suitability of women who sought to go into missions. In thirty years Miss Soltau prepared 547 women for ministry and rejected as many.
In 1934 Mildred and Francesca wrote a book about Henrietta, which they titled, ‘A Woman Who Laughed: Henrietta Soltau Who Laughed At Impossibilities And Cried: “It Shall Be Done”’. Their book says of Soltau, “There is one unforgettable image of Miss Soltau and the dingy Liverpool Street station saying Good-bye to a part of timid Swedish and English women. She is of heroic type with a magnificent soprano voice, singing above the clatter, “Stayed Upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest”.”
These three brave women became famous for their travels and their writings.
This post is based on the work of my late friend Donald Prout whose love for books and Christian history led him to collate a daily Christian calendar. I continue to work with Don’s wife, Barbara, to share his life work with the world. I have updated some of these historical posts and will hopefully draw from Don’s huge files of clippings to continue this series beyond Don’s original work. More of Don’s work can be found at www.donaldprout.com.