Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 67 > Page 71 - Duncan "Korea" MacRae, Missionary from Baddeck

Page 71 - Duncan "Korea" MacRae, Missionary from Baddeck

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1994/8/1 (285 reads)

Duncan "Korea" MacRae, Missionary from Bad(jeck from a new book by Helen Fraser MacRae Haslam A Tiger on Dragon Mountain is Helen Fraser Mac? Rae Haslam's reconstruction of her parents' mis? sionary life in Korea. Starting with his first voyage in 1898, Duncan MacRae and his wife Edith Su? therland devoted their lives to bringing their Christian vision to Korea. The stamina, courage and commitment of these people is absolutely staggering. Worldng from her parents' letters and some published articles, plus research in Canada and Korea, Helen has reconstructed a great deal of their physical and spiritual adventure. Here is a selection from the boolc, plus some re- markable photographs. A Tiger on Dragon Moun? tain is an insight into another kind of pioneer en? ergy fundamental to Cape Breton Island. (It should be noted that the punctuation and spelling In the letters below are true to the originals.) Their arrival in Wonsan was a milestone in Dun? can's Ufe in Korea. The more Duncan became in? volved in a maelstrom of adjustments, relation? ships, language study and mission work, the more | his mind became centred on his need for Edith beside him, with her happy disposition and gifts of clear thinking and intelligence. It took only ten days following their arrival in Wonsan for him to take a decisive step. Duncan & Edith Sutherland MacRae on their wedding day, August 13,1900, in Yokoha? ma, Japan. He bought this rickshaw as her wedding present. She did not like men do- For the past few years he had restrained his desire ing that kind of work, so she tried a donkey. Rutted roads put an end to that. Edith to ask Edith Frances Sutherland to become his gave it up and used a bicycle her father sent from Cape Breton. wife out of consideration for her parents, Mr. and ' Mrs. A.H. Sutherland. Edith was their only child and to take her so far away from them would have seemed cruel. However, a change had subsequently developed in this situation. Edith had, in the meantime, made a decision to become a missionary on a foreign field. The seriousness of her intent was evident since she had joined the Volunteer Movement for Missions and had become the leader. She had also been appointed chairwom? an of the Mission Committee of the YWCA. The most difficult task for her was writing her parents of her decision. The barriers were down. Duncan was free to allow himself to dwell on the prospect of having Edith for his wife. Duncan, from then on, gave expression to his feelings when writing his beloved. At first it was in a tentative manner like a swimmer dipping a toe into the surf to test the temperature before making the plunge. Among lengthy accounts of his work there ap? peared a tender comment. "...[Y]our sweet soul is a treasure," came impulsively from his heart only to be followed hastily by a quick reconsideration: "what its worth would be in this land it is hard to say." Edith seemed to have understood such a hesi? tant approach. His next letter expressed his feelings more confi? dently: "You dear precious bit of humanity I believe it would be possible for us to live together and be happy in the Lord with everything consecrated to Him." At that point his mind evidently became concerned over the prevalent dangers to which he would be exposing Edith, should she come to Korea. His pen travelled along with his thoughts: This climate seems to be hard on women... Malaria and aU the diseases of the Catalogue along with the "divers diseases" seem to rage in this country, and yet the climate is good, but oh! my it is the filth, the filth that breeds so many of the diseases. However disturbing such a thought had been, he was not to be EXPLORE SYDNEY'S PAST ST. PATRICK'S MUSEUM • 87 ESPLANADE • OPEN: Mid-June to Labour Day 9:30 - 5:30 Daily CAPE BRETON CENTRE FOR HERITAGE & SCIENCE • 225 GEORGE STREET* (OPEN YEAR ROUND) Summer: Mid-June to Labour Day 10-4 Mon-Sat Operated by the Old Sydney Society For information call (902) 539-1572 JOST HOUSE • 54 CHARLOTTE STREET • (OPEN YEAR ROUND) Summer: 10-4 Mon-Sat For information call (902) 539-0355 COSSIT HOUSE 75 CHARLOTTE STREET • OPEN: June 1 to October 15 9:30 - 5:30 Mon-Sat 1:00 - 5:30 Sunday A branch museum of the Nova Scotia Museum Complex
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