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They That Sat in Darkness
An Account of Rescue Work in Japan in the Words of the Rev. Yoshimichi Sugiura

New York: Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, [1912]

Chapter VII. The Key to Open the Obstinate Hearts of the Poor Laborers.

It is truly hard work to raise the debased hearts of poor people to such a high spirit of self-help and self-respect--much harder than to see the mere nodding of their heads by the simple charity of giving. I have decided, however, to abstain from such fruitless charity, and bend my whole energy to convert their hearts at first for many years. But in case of necessity I used to give in such a way as the receivers could not feel it, and I got at last a splendid result in the hearts of few men. Among them are Mr. Gonda and Mr. Kikuchi; and he was this last one, whom I have mentioned in last chapter.

They served me as the key to open other obstinate hearts, and afford me a great facility to push my work on, making first one and then another a key to another in turn. The whole number of the members of the Union is about one hundred at present (August 17, [28/29] 1910). And as the Union became known rapidly thus among the poor people the number of those who come to ask our help has increased month after month, and I am endeavoring to give the proper work to each when I have found that he is worthy in his spirit to receive it. The urgent necessity has made me start a boarding house for those who have no home in July 1, 1909. As I did not have money enough for it I have borrowed a very small house in a slum, and very soon it was filled with fifteen bodies. The house is too small and too dirty, but I have no power to improve it in any way at present. They are crowded in a small space, and their miserable condition is beyond description. Yet their number is swelling day by day, and it seems to demand me to enlarge it endlessly.

To them we are supplying many kinds of articles to sell easily every morning, and when they come back at the evening they make an account, and take their interest. I am making Mr. Gonda direct this business, which is going on very well. They are holding prayer meetings in the house with other members who live in the vicinity to receive their spiritual salvation as well.

[30] When they could save some amount of money in this way, I am making them start their own business in a small scale independently. Some of them have succeeded very well in it already, and made their own home.

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