James A. L. Trice went to the Missionary Training Institute in Nyack, New York, (now Nyack College). He was appointed in 1890. He served his first term in Soudan as a single man and returned on furlough in 1893.
Upon his return, James reported the following:
“Twenty days after landing in Sierra Leone, two out of the party of eight missionaries died of African fever. In a few days another died, and the survivors felt sorely stricken. It would be impossible to tell all that the missionaries go through. Personally, I got most of my training on the field and found the hard experiences a means for growth in grace.
“The plan was to take a journey into the Soudan and establish a new station, but God afterward led us to settle nearer the coast. Much was learned from the failures and mistakes as well as from the successes. Sometimes the food gave out, and for several days there was no rice supply. Then I turned to my Bible for something to feed on, determined that God should be glorified through me, even if it was by my death, and I never failed to find strength and refreshment.“One day I found this verse in turning over my Bible: ‘There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God,’ and I lived in that rest many days. I came again to my Bible when in sore distress, and this verse was given to me: ‘He shall dwell between his shoulders.’”
While James was thinking on these words found in Deuteronomy 33:12, and especially the words “between his shoulders,” he heard a baby begin to cry. Just then the mother came and took the child and bound him upon her back, according to their custom. The child confidently laid his head between her shoulders and stopped crying.
James responded, “That is just what my Father wants me to do this morning.” He then sat down and composed these lines:
Between His shoulders sweet rest is found,
A safe retreat for all;
And there perpetual joys abound.
Then hear the blessed call.
Chorus: Hear Him say, Come unto Me,
And I will give you rest.
To three remaineth a Sabbath;
Come, weary one, come, and be blessed.
Between His shoulders glad joy is found
To cheer us on the way,
And there triumphant shouts resound—
There’s everlasting day.
Between His shoulders sweet peace is found,
From every care set free;
A thousand years, with glory crowned,
We’ll reign in royalty.
Between His shoulders, Oh blessed balm,
I find an everlasting calm
All glory to the Son.
James married while on furlough, and his new wife accompanied him on his return to Soudan in 1894. They ran the school in Ro Bethel and had charge of 13 orphans in their home—11 girls and 2 boys. The Trices also had two daughters of their own, Naomi and Ednora, who both spoke the language proficiently.
The Trice family returned to the States in 1899 and resigned in 1900.