In the spring of 1925, when my wife and I were visiting our churches on the upper Fu River District in China, we came back to our boat and found that a soldier of the 18th Revolutionary Army had commandeered it. Though I showed him the card of his captain whom we had met upriver, he would not give up the boat, and got angry when I insisted that he return it to us.
He even pointed his gun at me, and how big that muzzle seemed as I looked down it, not knowing if he would pull the trigger! Just then,
our Lichuan pastor, Tao Hsien-leo, stepped from the crowd and knocked up the muzzle and put his arms around the soldier and told him he would hurt himself and China if he shot the missionary. Except for this brave action, this story might never have been told.
Years later, in 1942, during the war with Japan, I was holding quarterly conferences on my Fu and Kan River Districts, and as I skirted a tank trap with my bicycle, the brakes failed, and I fell in, down, down into the black water, twelve or fifteen feet deep.
Chinese coolies had fallen into these big holes cut into the roads to stop the Japanese tanks from advancing, and no one dared to help them,
lest the same devil pull the rescuer in too, so they drowned. With clothes and shoes on, I didn t come up, as one usually does when diving, so I cupped my hands and pulled as hard as I could, and finally came to the top.
There was my old hat floating on the water. I immediately threw it out, as I had my big money (the equivalent of ten and twenty dollar
bills) in the lining, to save it from bandits, I hoped. Then I laughed at myself, there in the water remembering the story of Pat:
When the robber said, Your money or your life, Pat replied, Take me life; I want me money for me old age. This may have saved
my life, as it kept me from panicking. Then I swam around until I found a small gully washed out by the previous year s rains, and the root of a bush to pull myself out.
As I stood there, emptying water out of my shoes, and wringing out my pants, a young Chinese farmer came up and asked me if I had
swallowed any of the water. It is poisoned, he said, from a water buffalo which had fallen in the year before and never got out. My bicycle was pulled out with his three-pronged clod breaker, but my glasses could not be found. Soon my carrier came along with my dry clothes, into which I changed at an inn, and rinsed out my mouth with hot tea.
You may ask: Why does a person get himself into such fixes? Why not stay in America, where there are only influenza epidemics and automobile accidents? That is a long story, which goes back to my boyhood in Watts, and even further back to a befriended Indian who
saved the life of my mother s Huguenot ancestor in Virginia over 300 years ago.
If there is any moral in this story of my life, it is that though missionary work is not always easy, it is always interesting, at least to the missionary, and God s plan for one s life is always safest and best. After fifty years, I can recommend it to anyone whom God calls.
I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvelous works, Psalm 9:1, and 118:17: I shall not die, but
live, and declare the works of the Lord.
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WILLIAM E. SCHUBERT, 1893-1983
Will Schubert and his wife, Katherine, settled in
Pasadena, California in the mid-1970s. As he said, his wife (thirteen years his junior) was getting old. He continued an active speaking and writing ministry, and traveled frequently.
In 1979 he was discovered to have cancer of the
colon and underwent surgery. Following that time he was able to remain in their apartment at Providence Mission Homes, though that was the start of a long and debilitating illness. He remained as active as possible, in fact, was able to speak at an anniversary celebration at Shandon and Creston (his first two-point pastorate in the California cattle country.)
As his physical condition deteriorated, the family
noticed a marked change in his sense of humor as it seemed almost too much effort to joke. In January 1983 he became bed-ridden at home, and on January 29th he suffered a stroke and slipped into unconsciousness. His physical body died the next morning, January 30, 1983.
His Coronation Service was held February 2,
1983, at Wee Kirk O the Heather , Forest Lawn, Glendale, California overlooking Mission Road. Officiating were Cyril Faulkner (formerly of Kiangsi Province, China), Dr. Don MacInnis (formerly of China and Taiwan), and the Reverend Charles Woodworth (Glendale).
The service was a precious tribute to him and all he stood for. There was much humor, many of his stories, and a large number of his friends from China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Japan and America. Hymns included his favorites: Jesus Savior Pilot Me, How Great Thou Art, and O For a Thousand Tongues to
Sing. (In Shandon-Creston days, he had ridden his horse between the two churches singing the latter, never realizing that years later he would quite literally have a thousand opportunities to sing my great Redeemer s praise as he broadcast Gospel messages that were beamed repeatedly into Communist China).
Interment was private and his ashes were, fittingly, scattered at sea. He is survived by his wife, Katherine, and daughters, Lois, Mary, and Esther.
Esther Schubert Chambers, M.D.,
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Book Description Olive Branch Publications, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0692008926