Among the Red Indians: Chapter 5

ABOUT sixty miles from Beaver Lake a band of heathen Indians had encamped. Gospel work among them had been more than usually difficult and discouraging. By far the greater number would not even listen to the glad tidings the missionary had traveled so far to bring them, and the few who did, heard the story of redeeming love in sullen silence, unmoved by the earnest pleadings of God's faithful servant. And yet to reach them had taken Mr. Young and his two faithful companions a journey of eight days from the mission station. The wilderness had been dreary; for days they had not met a fellow creature, and as game was scarce, when the supply of food they had been able to take with them was exhausted they had more than once known what it was to suffer from hunger. Heavy rain fell day after day. With dripping garments and chilled bodies, they had longed for a little bright sunshine.
When at last the Indian camp was reached, the welcome the missionary received was anything but a warm one. The Indians were sad and silent. Only a short time before scarlet fever had broken out among them, and nearly all their children, of whom they were very fond, had died. They did not want to hear about the Lord Jesus and His love, but said, "As our fathers lived and died, so will we." Tired and sad at heart, the missionary could only turn to God in silent prayer and ask that some message that might be guided by the Holy Spirit to their hearts might be given him.
Standing in their midst, he said in a loud, clear voice, "I know, yes, I know most surely where the children are whom death has taken from you. You have laid them in the cold grave; their hammocks are empty; their little bows and arrows are idle, and your hearts are very sore for the children that death has taken from you.”
At once there was a movement of interest and attention. The Indians had sat with their faces covered with their blankets, but they uncovered them, and showed by their manner that they wished to hear more, so he continued: "Yes, I can tell you where the children are you have lost. You weep for them, for they come not at your call; but I am so glad that the great Spirit, the good God, has given me authority to tell you where your children are, and that you may meet them again. But you must listen while I read to you out of His great book what Jesus the Son of God said about the little children, for there is only one way to the beautiful home where He has gone and where He has taken the children, and where He wants you to meet them again and be happy with them forever. But if you will not listen to His words and let them enter your hearts, you cannot go to that home. You must learn how to serve and please Him.”
While he was still speaking a tall, powerful man sprang to his feet from the far side of the wigwam and rushed towards the missionary, saying, "Missionary, my heart is empty and I am sad, for not one of my children is left among the living. I am very lonely in my wigwam. Tell me, oh, tell me how I can serve the great Spirit, that I may go where my children are, for I long to see them again." He was quickly followed by others, and from that hour a deep and far-spreading work of God began in that tribe; many were converted, and showed by their changed lives whose they were and whom they served.