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    CHAPTER I.
  --  Call to Service.   Table of Contents     CHAPTER III.
  --  Commissioned by the Board of Directors of The Bible and Normal Institute.

Broughton, V.W.
Twenty Year's Experience of a Missionary

- CHAPTER II. -- Virginia's First Missionary Journey.

CHAPTER II.
Virginia's First Missionary Journey.


Upon invitation of a certain pastor, Virginia started on her first missionary journey up the Mississippi river. She was naturally afraid to travel on water and needed special encouragement as well as preparation for that first trip. Accordingly after much hesitation on her part amidst doubts and fears, she was assured that God was on the water as well as on the land, and with the following song ringing within her soul she began the journey:


"Oh, for a closer walk with God,
A calm and heavenly frame;
A light to shine upon the road
That leads me to the Lamb."

On this first trip she visited Hales Point, Tenn., Cooter, Mo., Hickman Bend and Osceola, Ark., and a few other points in that immediate vicinity. Perils on land and water were experienced. She crossed the Mississippi river twice in a skiff. The first time some

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one was obliged to constantly bail out the water that came in through a leak to keep from going under, while only one other man remained to perform the strenuous task of rowing the skiff across the stream. Having crossed the river, she pursued her journey that same winter's night in an open ox wagon. Although a small fire had been kindled in an ill-provised heater in the wagon, the smoke made the journey quite as uncomfortable as the cold would have been. Finally, about midnight, she reached her destination and was cozily tucked to bed in one of the old-time typical high soft beds that prosperous farmers have an our southern plantations. The house was a clean one-room log cabin, with its one door, large fireplace and no window at all, but sufficient crevices for air and sunlight. Monday Virginia visited all the neighbors and encouraged them to live the beautiful Christian life. After dinner, in company with the minister, she took a trip through the country on horseback to Cooter, Mo., a place where few Negro men dared to go to preach, and a women missionary of no race had ever gone. The road lay through a low, flat, marshy country near the Mississippi river, much of it being under water at the time of this trip. The preacher would ride on ahead through the water and bid Virginia to follow him, which she did with much fear and trembling, the water often coming up to her saddle skirts. Virginia,
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being an inexperienced rider and unaccustomed to such hardships, heaved a sigh of relief when one again dry ground appeared. It was cotton-picking time and the people were having a merry time weighing their cotton when Virginia rode up to the settlement. The news of a woman missionary being in town soon spread, and the small church house was filled to overflowing; both white and colored people came out. Evidently God used the missionary to give the right message, from the many expressions of joy and God bless you, heard from all sides. The white and colored people stood on the roadside to bid us farewell, as we began our return trip the next morning. Throughout this section Virginia was received warmly and the messages she bore were heard gladly. When she planned to make her next point it was difficult to get any kind of conveyance. Finally a good brother said that he had one mule, and if the missionary could ride behind him, he would carry her. Bears and wildcats were common through that river bottom and it was quite dangerous to travel through it unprotected. God protected our missionary and her escort, and Virginia made that journey safely riding, as she did, behind the brother on his mule. The people were awaiting her. She held a meeting with the people which all seemed to enjoy. While she was singing the closing song, "Steal Away to Jesus," all at once a whistle blew that announced
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the near approach of a boat, and Virginia did steal away from those happy people, went aboard the vessel and pursued her journey. Much of her fear of water was now gone; the experiences of the trip had greatly increased her courage and zeal. Rev. Aaron Ware, one of the fathers of the gospel in West Tennessee, was a great leader in this Mississippi river district, and it is just to say that he was friendly to the woman's missionary work in those early days when few ministers were.

Virginia had a warm reception at Osceola, Ark. She spoke acceptably to Rev. J. Owen's congregation. Tangible expression of their appreciation was given in a liberal contribution to our missionary. All expenses were covered on this first trip, and Virginia returned home rejoining, with the assurance that God was on the water, as well as on the land, and that He would provide for his servants according to his riches in glory, through Christ Jesus.

For several years Virginia taught five days of the week in the school room and gave the other two to missionary work in the rural districts as far as fifty miles away. She often returned to the school room Monday morning directly from the railroad station, often without having slept Sunday night or breakfasted Monday morning. Those were days when great

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sacrifice was necessary to establish the woman's missionary work, but no service for Christ seems so wondrously blessed as that which requires great sacrifice, so the rich spiritual blessings that came to Virginia in those days nerved and energized her to suffer and endure all things that came to her without murmuring or complaining.
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    CHAPTER I.
  --  Call to Service.   Table of Contents     CHAPTER III.
  --  Commissioned by the Board of Directors of The Bible and Normal Institute.