Fourteen-year old Attie Bostick sat in rapt attention, listening as her older brother, a missionary to China, preached on Mary anointing the feet of Christ with the most precious thing she had. “She hath done what she could.” Attie could not forget those words and years later would say, “That day God spoke to me, and said that I would not be doing all I could unless I was willing to go to China, too.”
Attie was born in 1875 (the sixteenth of seventeen children) on a rural farm in the foothills of North Carolina. Despite “the humbleness and crowded conditions of the home,” her parents “still found time to take in and entertain preachers and missionaries whenever they were in the vicinity.” This early contact influenced the hearts of three Bostick children toward missions.
Attie arrived in China in the summer of 1900, when the Boxer Rebellion was at its height. Hundreds of missionaries were killed during this time, and many fled the country. Attie stayed unharmed in Shanghai with a missionary family until the danger was over, then joined her brother (G.P.) at Taian in Shandong Province. Later, she worked in Pochow with her brothers and then at Kweiteh. Attie served as a Baptist missionary with the Gospel Mission and the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board for a total of 43 years.
The church and school that was started in Pochow is still in existence today, and the number of souls who have come to Christ has multiplied greatly. She wrote of the work in Pochow: “The work for 1935 included holding revival meetings, instructing candidates for baptism, and teaching the Bible in several churches. Although muddy roads made travel difficult, many Chinese attended these meetings. Some women who still had bound feet walked as many as fifty miles to hear the gospel message.”
On December 8, 1941, at age 66, Japanese forces arrested Attie and interned her for two years before releasing and repatriating her to the U.S. In a farewell letter to a Chinese Christain, she wrote, “God’s grace has abounded and He who watches over the sparrow has abundantly cared for me.” Truly, God abundantly cared for Attie through all 43 years she served Him in China.
Quotations from: Called To China: Attie Bostick’s Life & Missionary Letters From China