All these things are changed, or in process of change. For several years there have been no cannibal ovens, no desire for skulls. Tribes that could not formerly meet but to fight, now meet as friends, and sit side by side in the same house worshipping the true God. Men and women who, on the arrival of the mission, sought the missionaries’ lives, are only anxious now to do what they can to assist them, even to the washing of their feet. How the change came about is simply by the use of the same means as those acted upon in many islands of the Pacific. The first missionaries landed not only to preach the Gospel of Divine love, but also to live it, and to show to the savage a more excellent way than theirs. Learning the language, mixing freely with them, showing kindnesses, receiving the same, travelling with them, differing from them, making friends, assisting them in their trading, and in every way making them feel that their good only was sought. They thought at first that we were compelled to leave our own land because of hunger!
Teachers were placed amongst the people; many sickened and died. There was a time of great trial, but how changed is everything now! Four years pass on, and, in 1882, we visit them. We left Port Moresby, and arrived at East Cape on a Sunday. Morning service was finished, and, from the vessel, we saw a number of natives well dressed, standing near the mission house, waiting to receive us. The teachers came off, and with them several lads, neatly dressed. After hearing from them of the work, and of how the people were observing the Sabbath, we landed, and were met by a quiet, orderly company of men, women, and boys, who welcomed us as real friends. The first to shake hands with us was a chief from the opposite side of the bay, who in early days gave us much trouble, and had to be well watched. Now he was dressed, and his appearance much altered. It was now possible to meet him and feel he was a friend. We found Pi Vaine very ill, and not likely to live long; yet she lived long enough to rejoice in the glorious success of the Gospel of Christ, and to see many of those for whom she laboured profess Christianity. We were astonished, when we met in the afternoon, at the orderly service—the nice well-tuned singing of hymns, translated by the teacher, and the attention, when he read a chapter in Mark’s Gospel—translated by him from the Rarotongan into the dialect of the place. When he preached to them, all listened attentively, and seemed to be anxious not to forget a single word. Two natives prayed with great earnestness and solemnity. After service all remained, and were catechised on the sermon, and then several present stood up and exhorted their friends to receive the Gospel. Many strangers were present, and they were exhorted to come as often as possible and hear the good news. Then, again, others offered prayers. We found that numbers came in on the Saturday with food and cooking-pots, and remained until Monday morning. They lived with the teachers, and attended all the services, beginning with a prayer-meeting on Saturday night.