Towards the end of the 19th Century three young ladies were growing up in very comfortable middle class homes in England or other parts of Europe. Two were sisters of very contrasting temperament and the third, like the other two, was very gifted. Circumstances turned out that they each received and accepted God's call to become missionaries. Eventually they formed a 'Trio' in far away China under the auspices of the China Inland Mission. They believed God directed them to the far north-west of China ‑ where living conditions were very different from their adolescent days. They established a school and a Bible school and the ethos must have reflected their home life.
Mildred Cable and Francesca French, describe their experiences (along with big sister Evangeline) in a book called 'Something Happened' (Hodder and Stoughton 1954) Pages 117-118 are reproduced here because it is felt that they describe an exemplary ethos for any Christian family or Church.
"Gradually, and without any spoken arrangement, the different parts learned to fit in and make the best use of any resources of talent, equipment and money which were at their disposal. The work was far too important to be held up, or even enfeebled, because of some rigid or artificial rule of procedure, and the communal basis on which the three lived finally prevented any one from looming larger than the other, as the talents, gifts and qualifications of each were a common possession of all. Concerning money, there was never a question. It was a trust to be used as directed by, and for, the Lord Who gave it.
They were all tough fighters for a measure of their own way, but when any one of them saw the other deliberately yielding her right, it so emptied victory of pleasure, that she only coveted in having an equal share in yielding too. The harmony which has existed for more than a quarter of a century, and the joys of friendship, have been Christ's "hundred-fold more in this present," for the Trio. "They have often seen themselves depicted in the similitude of the mule team, which has drawn them over so many mountains, through such dangerous rivers and across such burning desert plains. The alert beast in the traces gets the first flick of the whip when there is difficulty ahead. She responds with a bound, but before the impetus of her pull has slackened, the driver has touched the steady reliable mule in the shafts, which can be counted on to brace itself to bear the strain. Then the two pull together to one purpose and one end, but without the third mule, hitched so as to get an equal share of the weight, the mountain pass would never be crossed, nor the exhaustion of the wearisome plain endured. The beasts of the team do not select each other, that is the driver's business, as it is his also to give the signals." (Reproduced by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Limited).
The book makes wonderful reading in Christian discipleship ‑ if it can still be obtained. Look out for a second hand copy