“In the slums of Shanghai, there were cases in which dogs would devour baby girls who had been thrown into garbage cans. When the newspapers announced this, Archbishop John told Mrs. Shakhmatova to go and buy two bottles of Chinese vodka-at which she cringed in horror. But her horror increased when he demanded that she accompany him into these very slums, where it was common knowledge that grown-up people would be murdered.
Fearless as ever, the young Bishop insisted on going there, walking through dark alleys in the worst neighborhood. She recalled what horror seized her heart when they, in the darkness of night, walked and encountered only drunkards, shady characters, and growling dogs and cats.
She held the bottles in her hands, following him with trepidation, when suddenly a growl was heard from a drunken man sitting in a dark doorway and the faint moan of a baby was heard from a nearby garbage can. When the Bishop hastened towards the cry, the drunkard growled in warning. Then the Bishop turned to Mrs. Shakhmatova and said, "Hand me a bottle." Raising the bottle in one hand and pointing to the garbage can with the other, Blessed John, without words, conveyed the message of the proposed sale. The bottle ended up in the hands of the drunkard, and Mrs. Shakhmatova saved the child. They say that that night he returned to the orphanage with two babies under his arms. This fearlessness, however, had not been acquired without a deep inner struggle.”