CCD Exlusive Interview with Samuel Pollard's Grandson Stephen Pollard: His first trip to China and His Origins between Grandfather and Miao

By Yang Yi, September 22, 2015 08:09 AM

Stephen Pollard with his family

Decendants of Samel Pollard in the Miao's Church

100 years ago, Samuel Pollard brought Gospel to the Miao, who living at the buttom of the society in Yunnan and Guizhou mountain area, and raised the quality of local people's lives and culture. It was an amazing miracle that Shimenkan was changed from a remote and desolate area to a culture highland and living paradise in Southwest China. 100 years after the death of Samuel Pollard, his grandson Stephen, with his wife Marcia and their children Blake and Stephanie visited China first time. They came to Shimenkan and Zhaotong to memorize their ancestor, and shared the origins between his grandfather and Miao. 

After the ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of Samuel Pollard's death in Kunming, earlier this Sep, Stephen Pollard accepted an interview with CCD reporter. He shared his feelings about the visit in Shimenkan and Zhatong and Miao script left by his grandfather. He thought that Miao script was the most precious wealth for Miao, which assisted to broaden their cognitive area.

When visiting Shimenkan and Zhaotong: shocked by the love and goodness of Miao Christians

Stephen was wearing an aqua sweater and a brown scarf with a bag over his shoulder. The memorial bag was a gift sewed by a Miao sister. He said that grandfather's book was the only channel to learn about Shimenkan before this visit. He had knew how tough the condition in Shimenkan could be and how much help Miao people were seeking for. But just the moment he got off the coach, he was touched by the singing and dancing Miao Christians extending warm welcome.

"Shocked" was used to describe his visiting and feeling in Zhaotong and Shimenkan. "I was shocked by the strength, love and goodness come from their hearts." Stephen said. Marcia used similar words to describe Miao Christians, such as: generous, kindness, joy...

They also had a deeper experience on the love Samuel Pollard to Miao during this visit.Who shall tell of what sort was the love he offered to Miao at the button of the society 100 years ago.

Zhaotong church was a small mud house, where Samuel Pollard was once lived. As to Shimenkan, Stephen thought that the natural condition and living standards were much better than that 20 years ago. There was lots of trouble when his sister came there.

Stephen: Miao script was the most precious wealth Samuel Pollard left for Miao

Samuel Pollard came to Miao, not only preached the gospel, but also created Miao script, founded schools, established leprosies and built swimming-pools and football grounds. What he did not only gave spiritual strength to Miao, but also improved Miao's culture and living standards based on the power of the gospel. It would be a long list of wealth he left for Miao, from history to culture, from education to faith.

Stephen thought the most precious wealth was Miao script. It was hard to measure the meaning to Miao who did not know Han at that time. Samuel Pollard created Miao script and broadened their cognitive area.He expressed his appreciation and wishes to those people who were working for Shimenkan Christians on improving the educational standards. He prayed for Miao Christians at the end of anniversary ceremony and hoped that Miao Christians were forever with God, their education standards improved, their economics developed, their spiritual grew.

Descendants of Pollard remembered great Emma and rethought about the reason why religious passion gone away nowadays

A Christian sister accompanied Stephen families' visit and revealed that they often mentioned another person: Samuel Pollard's wife Emma. It was said that she lived till 90 and she was a remarkable woman. She companied with her husband to Shimenkan and gave love to people around her in the first half of her life. And she brought up four sons on her own in her latter part of life. Though Methodism provided help, she had to work out tosupport her family. And her children must study hard and win a scholarship to the university. What's the stories behind it?

Samuel Pollard had raised four sons. The second was a merchant, and the third was an English teacher. The child of the third lived in hometown Cornwall and founded a museum with large sum of Samuel Pollard's collections.

Stephen's sister and her husband worked in Shanghai for half a year in 1997. She was aShakespeare expert, while her husband was a physicist. She once wrote a story about Americans in China. This couple came to Shimenkan at that time, and the journey was pretty tough.Besides, Stephen thought that the contribution of Samuel Pollard was deified by Chinese, while American tended to assess him as an ordinary man. European regarded him as one of the greatest missionaries in twenty century, standing with James Hudson Taylor and David Livingston.

As to what Samuel did in Shimenkan, Stephanie said humbly that it was Miao themselves who were seeking Samuel Pollard for truth and inviting him to Shimenkan to build churches and schools. The miracle was belong to both her grandfather and Miao ancestors.

Stephen said Samuel Pollard's father was a strict Puritan and his mother was tolerant and practical. This family influence on his childhood to some degree leaded him to become a practical Methodist missionary. However, most of descendants become scientists rather than religious missionaries as Samuel Pollard. Although Stephen's father believed in God, he believed in science more than in God. Stephen thought that if Samuel Pollard's religious passion came from the family, why the religious passion gone away from his family?What would descendants of Samuel Pollard evaluate this missionary's work after coming to Shimenkan personally, following the footprints of love, reading grandfather's diaries and witnessing Miao's changes?

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