by Alice Belle Garrigus
CHAPTER 8. SEPARATION AND SACRIFICE
Six busy years spent together in God's service among the fallen, when the unexpected came!žOne day, while waiting on the Lord, He said: "I want you on lower State Street. This was in the worst section of the city, among the saloons and dives. It was not that which caused that great fear to grip my heart, but it was the emphasis on the word "You." Tremblingly, I said: "and what about Gertrude?" Just one word came back distinctly, "Africa." Could it be possible that we two, who had worked together for twelve years, were to be separated! We seemed so to supplement each other. What I lacked, she possessed, and we had come to think we were necessary to each other. God had a deeper thought. My sad countenance betrayed me, and I had to tell her what the Lord had said. It was no news to her, as she had been praying the Lord to show me.
Obedient to the heavenly vision I went to lower State St., and one day, never to be forgotten, my precious friend took her last meal with us,žthen the last look at all that was dear to her. Just before leaving she placed a little silver heart in my hand. On one side was the word "Jesus" on the other, "others"žno room for self. She had a duplicate for herself.
After long months a letter arrived from dark Africa, with words something like these: "The lions are roaring in the dis- tance, the hyenas are shrieking nearby, outside my tent which is leaking so I have to wear my rain coat day and night, the savages are yelling, but there is a little bird singing in my heart."
Short and sharp was the conflict, rough and steep the path she trod but the Lord soon took her where there are no partings and no tears. Do you say "a life thrown away"? Many did, but the Master said; "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die it abideth alone."
One day I was making calls and passing a lady sitting on some steps I spoke to her little baby girl playing around,and asked her name. "Gertrude Wheeler," replied the mother. "O," I said, "I had a dear friend by that name who went to Africa." "Yes," said the mother "that is the one I named my baby after. I read about her in the papers, and the desire came to me that my little girl might be like her."
A promising young man of well-to-do parents was drowned in the attempt to save others. After his death there was found in his diary, mention of the call of my friend to Africa. In substance, he said: "The papers are full of accounts of a young woman, named Gertrude Wheeler, who is leaving for Africa. Many say: `what a shame to throw away a life like hers.'" But he continued, "I do not see it that way. I would count it a privilege to lay my life down as she is doing"!
It is still true, "If it die it bringeth forth much fruit." Some said of the broken alabaster box "why this waste."
The Master did not call it waste.