Stories from the Archives

The archives hold many stories of what God has done.

Telling these stories gives God the glory.


Victory in Weakness

In the winter of 1924, the Vancouver Daily World carried the headline, “Bride-Of-Day Sails Away to Mission Field.” That bride, Dorothy Wade Bell, had bid a reluctant farewell twenty-eight months earlier to her husband, George Bell when he left to join his brother and sister-in-law for missionary service in China. George and Dorothy would see the first-fruits of their Tibetan work after almost three decades. Read on to find out how they learned to persevere in faith.

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Theo Sorensen: A Pioneering Literature Evangelist in Tibet

Long sealed off from the surrounding world, the kingdom of Tibet, for geographical and religious reasons, had long posed a formidable challenge to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Theo Sorensen was one of the pioneering missionaries who faithfully faced the challenge. He served for about two decades (1899 to 1920) in Tatsienlu, the place traditionally known as China’s gateway to Eastern and Central Tibet. Read on to find out how Sorensen was able to persevere in spreading the gospel among Tibetans.

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William Soutter—“All he did was in the strength of God”

William Soutter helped to build the China Inland Mission premises in Tatsienlu in 1898. But he left a legacy that far exceeds those foundations. Soutter had given himself to mission work to Tibet in 1893 when he responded to Annie Taylor’s appeal for men to take the gospel to Tibet. Read on to find out about William Soutter’s work to reach Tibetans and his prayer for others to follow in his place.

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Beloved Highland

In a special programme broadcast on 10 November 1935, the BBC interviewed Frank Doggett Learner and listeners were captivated as he introduced them to the Tibetan mission work of the China Inland Mission. Unknown to them, they were listening to a man who was welcomed by people in Sining (Xining today) from all walks of life. Read on to find out how Frank Learner witnessed the unfolding story of God’s work in the Tibetan frontier.

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Wang Lae-djün—A Man after God’s Heart

“Wang Lae-djün [was] one of China’s great, if unsung, Christians. . . . After Pastor Hsi (Xi) Shengmo of Shansi he was perhaps the most notable Chinese connected with the China Inland Mission.”[1] His faithful work as pastor, evangelist, and church leader laid strong foundations for the early churches in Ningpo, Hangzhou, and their surrounding areas.

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The Prayer for The Eighteen

It was the point at which the tide of all mission to China turned. Highlights such as the Cambridge Seven have blinded us to this more significant event. Taking place in the shadows of personal weakness and public indifference, a movement began which quickly led to the gospel reaching the far corners of China.

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James Cameron—the Livingstone of China

Conversations were abuzz in response to the news in the Shanghai Mercury that August 1892 morning of the passing of Dr. James Cameron in Chongqing at 47 years of age. Readers felt a heavy sense of loss as Cameron was well-known in China. He was indeed, as some have called him, the Livingstone of China. What enabled Cameron to press on doggedly to make arduous journeys for almost seven years to prepare the way for countless others to reap where he had sowed? Read the fuller story below to find out.

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George William Clarke—Unswerving Servant

Many would have considered George Clarke as unlikely missionary material. But he became a fluent Chinese speaker, an indefatigable pioneer, and a leader whom Hudson Taylor and many others appreciated. From 1875 to 1888, George Clarke travelled over 20,000 miles through 12 provinces. He persevered in pioneering work despite adversity and sorrow. What enabled him to stay the course in circumstances that would have caused others to give up?​​​​​​

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​​​​​​​Extract from China’s Millions (1877): Plan of the Operations of the China Inland Mission

This article from China’s Millions (April 1877) describes the CIM’s plan to move into the nine inland provinces lacking missionary witness. The journeys made by these young men covered thousands of miles. Traveling by foot, horseback, and boat, they faced danger from the terrain, bandits, and illness.

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The First North American China Inland Mission Party

David Michell recounts the stirring story of God’s work through a fascinating interweaving of lives and events that birthed the missionary movement to China from Canada and New York State. The story traces back to 1885 when Jonathan Goforth received a copy of Hudson Taylor’s China’s Spiritual Need and Claims.

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Beyond the Cambridge Seven: The Rev. Arthur Twistleton Polhill and the Dazhou Fú Yīn Táng

The article by John Usher tells the story of Arthur Polhill, the youngest of the Cambridge Seven, the young men who became famous for giving up what could have been the good life in England to share the gospel in China. The careers of these men remain largely unknown—a partial remedy is found here as we learn about the major landmarks in the many years that Arthur Polhill served in Sichuan.

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This excerpt from Leslie Lyall’s inspiring account of the Bethel Bands—a significant indigenous evangelistic movement in China in the first half of the twentieth century—recounts the evangelistic work in Manchuria in 1931 by Andrew Gih, John Sung, Frank Ling, Lincoln Nieh and Philip Lee when the political tension was at breaking point.

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A Description of CIM Missionary Workers to the Tibetan Highlands Prior to 1950

Zi Yu presents the sociodemographic characteristics of early CIM pioneers who sought to take the gospel to the Tibetan plateau prior to the withdrawal of CIM from China in 1952.

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Pioneering in Nosuland by A. J. Broomhall

This stirring article by Dr. A. J. Broomhall from the Australian edition of China’s Millions in 1950 provides a vivid account of the pioneering work among the Nosu in turbulent times of the Communist revolution. He reviews the Lord’s faithful guidance and provision amidst immense challenges faced before and after he moved to Chaokioh (Zhaojue).

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First missionaries sent by Korean Home Council

The year 1965 opened a new chapter in the history of Overseas Missionary Fellowship when work began to set up Asian Home Councils in East Asian countries where OMF had been working. In Korea, the Home Council was formally launched in June 1980. Byun Jae Chang and his wife Byun Cho Eran were the first missionaries sent by the Koean Home Council.

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“God’s guidance for me meant commitment to OMF”

Doh Moon Gap, who was formerly working for Korean Air Lines, joined OMF Korean Home Council in 1980 and became OMF Home Secretary for Korea. In that role, he not only represented OMF in Korea, but also recruited and trained Korean missionaries to help them prepare to serve overseas.

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Mission Research: Connecting People Today with Their Personal History

“Who influenced my grandfather’s spiritual journey?” That was the gist of the question asked by a Chinese national who contacted our colleagues in Australia. The old family photographs attached to an email included brief inscriptions of names and places written in Chinese and English. When asked “Can you tell me about these people?” the mission research team started working.

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Mission Research: Responding to Requests from OMF Leaders

In 2020 the Korean Home Council will be celebrating its forty-year history of sending missionaries to serve with OMF International. As senders, they know the encouragement that comes when one can see what God has done over the years—story by story. And sharing these stories helps mobilize more people for missions.

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