Despite facing economic hardship because of the rubber slump, the Rev E. Simpson Baird, Missionary-in-charge, said that the early Christians in Perak maintained a positive attitude which led, among other achievements, to a …
‘…THE colony [Sitiawan], which was opened in 1905, was the foundation upon which the work has been built.
Dr Leuring in that year brought down some three hundred Christians from Foochow, China, and to these, Government gave grants of land.
The task of clearing and planting the land was by no means easy: it was almost entirely jungle and the whole district was overrun by wild beasts such as elephants, tigers and panthers.
Wild pigs also added to the difficulties which had to be faced. One of the latter once attacked the missionary, and he only escaped by climbing a tree, where he was compelled to remain until Dr Shellabear came to his rescue and shot the boar. Tigers still frequent the district and one recently killed several head of cattle belonging to one of our members.
… the work, begun so well by the pioneer missionaries, has developed until the present missionary in charge finds himself responsible for the oversight of five congregations and half a dozen schools, in addition to such details as the Sitiawan Mission Planta-tions Ltd, fifty acres of land belonging to the Orphanage (as well as the Orphanage), and the church lot.
Rev W. E. Horley (District Superintendent) recently spent five busy days on the circuit. Arriving on Saturday August 13, he saw the Anglo-Chinese School sports in progress…
On Sunday the DS visited the English Sunday school and was pleased to notice that the attendance had recently trebled. After Sunday school we started off for Ayer Tawar, some ten miles away. Here the Church is built in the middle of a Chinese colony opened by the Mission in 1919. Government placed about three thou-sand acres of land at the disposal of Mr Horley and this he distributed to the colonists in three-acre lots.
To show their appreciation of his efforts on their be-half, the sum of about $1,300 was collected, and it was proposed to give the money towards the purchase of a motor-car for his use. However, he declined the car and gave the money to the building fund, with the result that there is now a fine church in which the colonists may worship.
On arrival, we found the church packed to the doors and Mr Horley conducted a love feast and preached a sermon. Naturally many of the colonists were delighted to see and hear their old friend.
Returning to Sitiawan we were entertained at tiffin by the Orphanage boys, who cooked and served the meal in first-class style. Most of the boys are converted, and a good percentage of them expect to devote their lives to the ministry. It is worthy of note that three out of the four graduates from the Jean Hamilton Training School last year were old boys from Sitiawan.
… There was just time to swallow a cup of tea … before start-ing out for the final service of the day at the Tamil Church where the District Superintendent preached. The Tamil congregation has suffered very seriously on account of the rubber slump and many of our members have had to return to India, but the Rev L. A. Samuel, the pastor who has worked in this church for the past eleven years, is doing faithful work, conducting cottage meetings and open-air services in the various estates in the district.
… On Wednesday, the new church at Sungai Wangi was dedicated. The church is situated about four miles from the Government road in a new clearing on land given to the Mission for the purpose. It was beautifully decorated by the Chinese members and full to overflowing …
The Sungai Wangi brethren are to be congratulated on the splendid effort they have made in regard to their church. When the writer first visited it he found only the pillars and an attap roof had been erected, yet he counted 130 people present. Since then, the members have completed the building in their spare time and the church is a credit to the labour which they have put into it … In addition to the church a school has been opened, and there is now an enrolment of thirty pupils…’ – MM September 1921, pp.54-55.
Earnest Lau, the Associate Editor of Methodist Message, is also the Archivist of The Methodist Church in Singapore.
ELEPHANTS, TIGERS, PANTHERS
‘ The task of clearing and planting the land was by no means easy: it was almost entirely jungle and the whole district was overrun by wild beasts such as elephants, tigers and panthers.’