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Stella Girard VeenschotenChrist in Chinese Artists' Eyes

Rev. John Van Nest Talmage

J. V. N. TALMAGE, D. D., 1847-¡¯92. (Adapted from "Fifty Years in Amoy--the Story of the Amoy Mission," by Rev. Philip Wilson Pitcher, 1893).
Very modestly, yet so characteristic of the writer of the "Sketch of the Amoy Mission," China (1888), the author closes up the biographies of those whom he called the founders of the Amoy Mission with these words: "So there is no need in this paper to mention the names of those succeeding them."
As it was said of Dr. Abeel, so it could be said of Dr. Talmage: "The crowning beauty" of this man's life was "his humility." If Abeel and Duty and Pohlman laid solid and deep the foundations upon the bed-rock of sound orthodoxy, Dr. Talmage builded no less sagaciously, strongly and solidly thereon. For nearly the entire history of the Amoy Mission (up to 1892) he has watched and guarded sacredly the trust committed to his care. His faithfulness and wisdom and love are written ill indelible characters on dome and spire, on "walls and columns, on cornice and entablature, on chancel and nave of the structure we behold this day.

¡°When he was taken away, if it was not one of the great stones in the foundations, surely it was one of the strong pillars of the super-structure.

Dr. Talmage was born at Somerville, N. J., August 18th, 1819. Consecrated to God at his birth, he was early led to give his heart into His keeping. The name in old English used to be spelled Tollemache, and Dr. Talmage used to jokingly say he was a descendant of Telamachus.

"There was a pathetic scene fifty years ago in a New Jersey farm-house. A tender, loving, Christian mother was giving warm welcome to her son, who had just graduated from college with high honors (1842). Only a mother's heart can realize the joy and pride she felt in her boy, who had distinguished himself and done credit to the family name. He was her boy and inexpressibly dear to her. What then must have been her emotions when he told her, gently but firmly, that he had been led to consecrate his life to service for Christ in China. China was a long way off in those days, and its people hostile to missionaries; how could she bear to hear of her dearly beloved son going into peril even in such a cause. 'Oh, John!' she exclaimed. 'Maternal love had its way for a moment, and then the higher nature in her triumphed, and she said: 'I prayed to God for this, and He has answered. How can I object?' They were brave words, which no mother could have uttered but one in whom love of God held the highest place. They remind one of another mother who long ago heard with joy the blessings which would come to the world through the babe she held in her arms; but heard, too, that 'a sword should pierce through her own soul also.' With faith like that of Abraham, she would not withhold her son when God called for him." ("Christian Herald.")

Graduating from New Brunswick Seminary in 1845, he immediately offered himself to the Board of Foreign Missions of the Reformed (Dutch) Church, but on account of lack of finances, he was obliged to wait two years before he was commissioned. In the meantime, he served the Middle Church of Brooklyn.

In April, 1847, he sailed away for the far off coasts of China, where he arrived after a four months' voyage.

His life was one of ceaseless activity. "Preaching and teaching in the theological seminary, long tours into the interior, the preparation of books,¡± and sought by all foreigners and natives for counsel, direction and sympathy¡ªall made his life an intensely active and useful one. Chinese officials, the literati, merchants and common people, Europeans and Americans, not only confided in him, respected him and loved him, but held him in high honor for his eminent scholarship, his intellectual force and his Christian character. His home was always opened to all comers, and all received a kind and hospitable welcome. So whether they came seeking social enjoyment or the solution of some vexing problem, they found just what they sought-none ever sought in vain here. And up and down that extended coast line of China, perhaps there was not another home so well known as his.

He began his literary work early in his career and kept it up until the very end. Five years after his arrival he produced a primer (pp. 30, 1852). Next followed a first reader (pp. 17, 1853). In the same year (1853) he also made a translation of Burn's "Version of Pilgrim's Progress." Then followed translations of Luke¡¯s Gospel, all the Epistles to the Galatians, Ephesians and Philippians, and the epistles general of John and Peter. These translations were all rendered in Amoy Romanized colloquial-a system of writing the Chinese language (in use only the past thirty years) that has not only made it possible for old and young alike in that region to read and write, but has done more toward the spiritual enlightenment of that people than whole centuries of the old, but more literary, method could or can hope to accomp1ish.

He gave his best efforts toward the development and use of this Romanized colloquial, so all his works are in this style. Perhaps it made him appear less scholarly, and received less applause, but it brought light and knowledge to the very homes of thousands, who would never have had either without this system. That was all the reputation and applause that this man sought. He crowned his life-work (completing it at Bound Brook) with a work entitled "The Amoy Colloquial Dictionary"¡ªa scholarly work which will be of great service to all missionaries who may labor in that district, as well as to the native Christians of Amoy and Formosa.

Few indeed have been permitted to see how great things God hath' wrought, what changes have taken place, in their appointed lifetime, as was granted unto this good man. He went to Amoy in the first bloom of manhood, and from start to finish he threw into the work a consecrated zeal and a devoted enthusiasm. When he arrived in Amoy there were no churches, no schools, no Christian homes, no hospitals, and only three converts. When he left there were 2,000 converts, seventeen churches, and as many pastors under Presbyterian order alone, a theological seminary, a training school for women and boys' and girls' schools and hospitals scattered throughout that district.

In July, 1889, after a period of forty-two years of service, in consequence of an enfeebled and broken body, he was compelled to relinquish all active participation in his chosen work, and returned to the land of his birth, seeking rest and strength, with the expectation of thus being able to take up the work he so reluctantly had to leave.

Until the very last that star of hope never set. Even when he was fast sinking into the blessed rest, the last beams of that hope were faintly gleaming. He said then: "It seems now as though I may never get back to Amoy." It was still only "seeming"¡ªnot a settled fact with him. It shows how intently his heart was set on his life-work. And if there was one unfulfilled wish in his life, it was only this, that he might die and be buried among the people for whom he had given all¡ªhis best. But it was not to be. His work was done, fully and well done¡ªall done.

At Bound Brook, N. J., on the 19th of August, 1892, he fell asleep, and rests from his labors.

In that building in Somerville, N. J., where he was baptized and gave his heart to God, was his body taken on August 2nd. 1892, "for the services with which believing friends committed the precious dust to the earth in firm hope of a glorious resurrection."

Silently, yet gloriously, his sun went down behind the hills of time, and for many a day its splendor will adorn the skies before it has entirely set beyond our view¡ªits memory, never.

Mrs. Abby P. (Woodruff) Talmage, 1850-'62; Mrs. Mary E. (Van Deventer) Talmage, 1864¡ª. Rev. J. S. J oralman, 1855-'58; Mrs. Martha B. (Condit.) Joralman, 1855-'58.

May 2007 Reunion of RCA China Missionaries Row 1 (L-R) Joann (Veenschoten) Hill ,Jack Hill, Ellie (Veenschoten) Moerland, Virginia Muilenburg, Jean Walvoord, Vi Renskers  Row 2 (L-R) Adeline Sybesma, Joann Koeppe, Abe Moerland, Gloria Brandli, Wilbur Brandlie, John Muilenburg, Linda DeVelder, Joyce VanderMeer, Rebecca DeVelder, Jack Renskers Row 3 (L-R) Gerard Veenschoten, Margaret (DeVelder) Hoagen, Owen Koeppe, Gartha Angus, Dave Angus, Paul VanderMeer, Jim DeYoung, Ruth (Koeppe) DeYoung, John DeVelder, Canute VanderMeer,Renske Karsen, Wendell Karsen Note:
This photo of the May, 2007 RCA China Missionary Reunion (courtesy of Wendell and Renske Karsen) show that some RCA folk are still around--and we need their help!
John Otte Memorial on Gulangyu Islet finishes with, "This stone may crumble, his bones may become dust, but his character and deeds are imperishable.”  But too many characters and deeds will be forgotten if we don't record them while those who remember are still with us.  Please E-mail to me stories and photos for the Amoy Mission site (and planned book) so present and future generations can appreciate the character and deeds of those who served in the Amoy Mission.

Cartoon of Amoy Missionary with Bible in one hand and piano in the other
Dr. Bill   Xiamen University MBA Center
Snail Mail: Dr. William Brown 
Box 1288  Xiamen University, Xiamen, Fujian  PRC   361005

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Click to help Amoy MIssion Project with photos, text, donations
The Reformed Church of China (Amoy Mission, started by the Reformed Church of America (Dutch)  in Amoy Hea-mun (aka Ameouy )A.M. Main Menu
List of Amoy Mission Reformed Church of America (Dutch) Missionaries in ChinaRCA Miss'ry List
Reformed Church of China's Amoy Mission 1877 Report by DuryeaAmoyMission-1877
Fifty Years in Amoy Story of Amoy Mission by Philip Wilson Pitcher Reformed Church of ChinaAmoyMission-1893
David Abeel Father of the Amoy Mission, and China's first education for girls and women
Abeel, David
Henry and Sarah Beltman, Amoy Mission  1902-1928?Beltman
Boot Family of the Amoy Mission,South Fujian ChinaBoot Family
Ruth Broekema Amoy Mission 1921 1951Broekema, Ruth
Henry and Sarah Beltman, Amoy Mission  1902-1928?Bruce, Elizabeth
William Burns, Scottish Missionary to China, visited Amoy Burns, Wm.
John Caldwell China Coast Family Caldwells
Henry and Kate Depree Amoy Mission  1907 to 1948DePree
Dr. John Otte and Hope Hospital Develder, Wally
   Dr. John Otte and Hope Hospital Wally's Memoirs!
Douglas CarstairsDouglas, Carstairs
Elihu Doty RCA Missionary to Amoy ChinaDoty, Elihu
Rev William Rankin Duryea, D.D. The Amoy Mission 1877Duryea, Wm. Rankin
Joseph and Marion Esther
Esther,Joe & Marion
Katherine Green Amoy Mission  1907 to 1950Green, Katherine
Karl Gutzlaff Missionary to ChinaGutzlaff, Karl
Stella Girard Veenschoten
Hills,Jack & Joann
. Stella Girard Veenschoten
Hill's Photos.80+
..Stella Girard VeenschotenKeith H.
Dr. John Otte and Hope Hospital Homeschool
Richard and Johanna Hofstra of the Amoy MIssion ChinaHofstras
Tena Holkeboer Amoy Mission, Hope HospitalHolkeboer, Tena
Dr. Clarence Holleman and his wife Ruth Eleanor Vanden Berg Holleman were RCA missionaries on AmoyHolleman, M.D.
Hope Hospital Amoy  on Gulangyu (Kulangsu, Koolongsoo, etc.)Hope Hospital
Stella Girard Veenschoten
Johnston Bio
Rev. and Mrs. Joralman of the Amoy MissionJoralmans
Wendell and Renske Karsen
Karsen, W&R
Edwin and Elizabeth Koeppe Family, Amoy Mission ChinaKoeppes, Edwin&Eliz.
Dr. Clarence Holleman and his wife Ruth Eleanor Vanden Berg Holleman were RCA missionaries on AmoyKip, Leonard W.
William Vander Meer  Talmage College Fukien Christian UniversityMeer Wm. Vander
Margaret Morrison, Amoy Mission  1892-1931Morrison, Margaret
John Muilenberg Amoy MissionMuilenbergs
Jean Neinhuis, Amoy Mission Hope Hospital Gulangyu or Ku-long-sooNeinhuis, Jean
Theodore Oltman M.D. Amoy Missionary DoctorOltman, M.D.
Reverend Alvin Ostrum, of the Amoy Mission, Fujian ChinaOstrum, Alvin
Dr. John Otte and Hope Hospital Otte,M.D.Stella Girard VeenschotenLast Days
Henry and Mary Voskuil Amoy MissionPlatz, Jessie
Reverend W. J. Pohlman, Amoy MIssion, Fujian ChinaPohlman, W. J.
Henry and Dorothy Poppen, RCA Missionaries to Amoy China Amoy Mission Project 1841-1951Poppen, H.& D.
Reverend Daniel Rapalje, Amoy Mission, Fujian ChinaRapalje, Daniel
Herman and Bessie Renskers Amoy Mission  1910-1933Renskers
Dr. John Otte and Hope Hospital Talmage, J.V.N.

Lyman and Rose Talman Amoy Mission  1916 to 1931Talman, Dr.
Stella Girard VeenschotenVeenschotens
. Nelson VeenschotenHenry V.Stella Girard VeenschotenStella V.
. Dr. John Otte and Hope Hospital Girard V.
Jeanette Veldman, Amoy Mission ChinaVeldman, J.
Henry and Mary Voskuil Amoy MissionVoskuil, H & M
Jean Walvoord Amoy Mission  1931-1951Walvoord
A. Livingston WarnshuisWarnshuis, A.L.
Nellie Zwemer Amoy Mission  1891-1930Zwemer, Nellie
"The MIssion Cemetery of Fuh-Chau" / Foochow by Rev.J.W. Wiley , M.D. (also mispelled Wylie )Fuh-chau Cemetery
Dr. John Otte and Hope Hospital City of Springs
   (Quanzhou, 1902!!)
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