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First Missions
People's Republic of China (PRC)
Rev March 20, 2024

People's Republic of China (PRC)

When did the workers first arrive? 1926

Who were the first brother workers? Willie Jamieson from Scotland/US; Max Bumpus from US

Who were the first sister workers? Unknown

Who were the first converts (first fruits), what year and where? Possibly Mr. Wong, Jamieson an Bumpus' language teacher; and his son and daughter in 1934, in Nanking

Who were the first native workers to go in the work and When?

irst Native Brother Worker:
First Native Sister Worker:

When & Where was the first Gospel Meeting?
When & Where was the first Sunday fellowship meeting?
When & Where was the first baptism?

When & Where was the first convention? 
Where have subsequent conventions been held?
Where is the convention now held? 

Who have the Overseers been? Jamieson was the Asian Overseer until 1939, based in China, during which time he made several visits out of the country, so he went to the Philippines where he was interned.

Read his Diary of time spent in Los Banos Internment Camp in the Philippines.

Read more about Willie Jamieson and his family

View photos in TTT Photo Gallery

See also: Charles Preston's Account: Spreading the Good News in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan (1930-1962)

NOTE: For safety reasons, China does not publish a Workers List.


In 1921, Mao Zedong founded the Chinese Communist Party in China. Brother Workers William "Willie" Jamieson (from Scotland) and Maxwell "Max" Bumpus (from US) arrived in China in 1926. Workers increased to about six from 1926 to 1939, including Tom Fowler and Jim Pascoe (from New Zealand); and Alfred McLeod, Charles McKeown and Charles Preston (from US). The first
Sister Workers arrived at least by 1927.

Workers increased to about six during 1926–1939, including Tom Fowler and Jim Pascoe (from New Zealand); and Alfred McLeod, Charles McKeown and Charles Preston (from the U.S.) When the first Sister Workers arrived is unknown. In 1934, in Nanking, the Workers' language teacher, Mr. Wong, his son and daughter professed. Jamieson was the Asian Overseer based in China until 1939, during which he made several visits out of the country. In 1939 after returning to Shanghai from a home visit, he was refused ermission to stay, so went to the Philippines, where he was interned by the Japanese with three other brother workers.

In 1927, the Chinese Civil War began. The Nationalist Party leader, Chiang Kai-shek, launched an anti-communist purge. Nationalist forces began firing March 21–25, 1927 in Nanking where Workers were living. Jamieson stated that on March 24, 1927, several soldiers burst into the home where they were staying, demanding money, discharging their rifles and threatening to kill them.

Bumpus was not there, having spent the night at the Y.W.C.A to protect the Sister Workers. The soldiers left after abusing Jamieson and amassing all the loot they could carry. Outside, a Chinese mob enjoyed the scene. Jamieson wrote from Shanghai, "We were cleared out to the last penny and lost all our clothes but those we wore. Max had even his coat and vest taken off his back. The experience none of us will ever forget."

Jamieson continued, "Max … was stopped by a soldier and tied up to a pole and the soldier intended to shoot him. Some other Chinese gathered around, and the soldier was showing them how his gun worked. While this was going on, an officer came along and asked him why he had Max tied to the pole, and he said, 'I am going to shoot him.' The officer said, 'He hasn't done anything to harm you, so you let him go.' So he untied Max and let him go. Max had trouble with his nerves after and wasn't able to continue in the Work" (to Jack Carroll, April 1, 1927, TTT).

Jamieson's servants urged him to flee and hoisted him over a wall into a neighbor's yard where he hid behind some barrels for nine hours. A neighbor boy found him and returned with officers who escorted him to safety where other foreigners had collected, including Bumpus. The next day the foreigners were escorted to a gunboat headed for Shanghai.

In self-defense American and British warships fired at Chinese forces and used armed landing parties to evacuate foreign residents into three American, two British and four Japanese gunboats headed for Shanghai. The Workers were on board. Fearing a repetition of Nanking in Shanghai, the Workers were anxious to leave China. By April 1, they had received "remittances" from Carroll and were able to leave the country, a very good move, since the Shanghai Massacre took place shortly thereafter, on April 12, 1927.

Jamieson went to the Philippines nearby. Bumpus (age 36) returned to the US aboard the SS Empress of Russia, arriving in January 1928. He married Bertha E. Johansson Lindberg in 1934; they adopted a daughter, Edith Gertrude, born in 1934. He passed away at the Newry, Pennsylvania Convention in 1970. Sadly, his 2x2 widow and daughter were brutally murdered on May 5, 1998, in Pelahatchie, Mississippi, US, by his 2x2 son-in-law, Elbert Walters, (aged 72) who then killed himself, leavng behind four grown children.

1926. Willie Jamieson, from Scotland, professed, started in the Work and went to California all in the same year, 1905. He went to Canada about 1915, and it was in Manitoba in 1925 while holed up in a snowstorm he wrote the hymn "I've a Friend".  In 1926 he and Max Bumpus were the first workers to China

Willie was based in China until 1939, during which time the number of workers had increased to about six. He made several visits out of the country in the period. In 1939, after returning to Shanghai from a home visit to the US, he was refused permission to stay, so went to the Philippines.

1929. Tom Fowler was a New Zealander who went to the USA in 1922, then in 1929 went to China with Willie Jamieson.  In 1937 he evacuated from Nanking to Hong Kong due to the political situation, and continued to preach there until 1959 when he returned to New Zealand.  He and Jim Pascoe another New Zealander who had also gone to China, were interned by the Japanese in Honk Kong from 1942 to 1945.  He had several home visits and this convention was during one of them.

1930. Charles Preston from the USA started in 1925 and in 1930 went to Nanking in China. In 1937 he was forced to evacuate to Hong Kong with Tom Fowler (from NZ).  He was on a home visit to the USA when the Japanese entered the War in 1941 so escaped internment.  In 1947 he returned to Honk Kong, and in about 1956 went with Dellas Linaman to Taiwan where they pioneered the Work in that land.  He continued to labour there until after 1990 when he was 91 years of age.

1932. Jim Pascoe, from New Zealand, entered the work in 1926, went to Canada in 1927, to China in 1932 then to Hong Kong in 1938, where he was interned with fellow New Zealander, Tom Fowler, from 1942 to 1945 by the Japanese. After a visit home to New Zealand in late 1945, he returned to Hong Kong in 1946, where he remained until 1984 when he returned to New Zealand and continued preaching until 1987. 

Jack Carroll remarked: Two weeks ago today, I went up to Vancouver, British Columbia, with two of our brothers, Alfred McLeod and James Pascoe, and saw them on board the "Empress of Canada." They left us for China with the fullest confidence and hearty fellowship of all God's servants and saints that knew them.  I believe I understood a little better than some just exactly what it meant for them to go to China. I knew better than they the difficulties they would have to face during the years that lay ahead and, because of that, I could appreciate perhaps a little more than others their sacrifice.
[Jack left his homeland Ireland in 1904 for US] (Workers to Foreign Fields, Hayden Lake, Idaho, US 1932]

Missionary Home
Quinan Road
Shanghai, China
April 1, 1927

My dear Jack, [Jack Carroll in USA]

This is my first attempt at writing for over a week. Things have been lively enough for us, as you will have learned through the papers and the fate of our wiring for help. We were cleared out to the last penny and lost all our clothes, but those we wore. Max [Bumpus] had even his coat and vest taken off his back. The experience none of us wilt ever forget.

The majority of women and children had been gotten out of Nanking on the 22nd, something over a hundred men and women were left. No one had thought that the foreigners would be molested; in fact, we all were in a sense looking forward to the entry of the Southern soldiers, as those from the North had been ill behaved, especially among the Chinese women.

On the outside of the city, the fighting between the two armies for the possession of the city began three days before the day of the looting, continuing all the time until the entry of the Southerners very early on the morning of the 24th. About five in the morning we were awakened by heavy gunfire very near the home. This was the beginning of the raid on the Catholic Church just about two blocks from us. About eight Mr. Drummond and I were sitting in the dining room just after breakfast when we saw about a dozen soldiers enter the compound and distribute themselves in the three houses therein (Max had been asked to stay in the Y. W. C. A. the night before to give the girls needed protection.)

Without any courtesy, they ran into the room and demanded our money, acting like fiends and unwilling to use reason of any kind, discharging their rifles in all directions as well as leveling them at us, threatening to kill us. I had my eye on what was going on in the next home as well, as there were two foreign women there for whom we had taken some responsibility. Before our gang got any money, I saw one of the women fall, having been shot twice. This opened my eyes to see what would be done to us if we offered any resistance, and we were glad to give up anything. They slapped me over the face several times and hit me with the butt of the gun more than once and made me go all through the house while they were taking what they wanted. Mr. Drummond had made his escape before they had been in the home, when the next girl was shot. In trying to reach her they shot at him also, but missed. He took refuge in a neighbor Chinese home.

I was detained in the home for the entertainment of the lot for over an hour, when they had decided they had gotten as much loot as they could carry away at once. All this time the yard was filled with a Chinese mob, who were enjoying everything thoroughly. The street without was filled with soldiers and people. Finally the soldiers left the house with their plunder and gave me a few threatening looks, as if to inform me that I had better not try to escape while they were gone. On leaving the yard the mob followed them, and left the servants of our own home who warned me to flee for my life. All the other foreigners in the compound had by this time found hiding places, the wounded women having been carried by faithful Chinese friends.

The servants hoisted me over the wall into the backyard of the neighboring Chinese home, and the safest place of concealment I could find was behind some tar barrels where I lay for 9 hours. All the time, more or less they were searching for me right around. That was one time when being small was a decided advantage. Several times I thought it was all up and was decided for the worst. About an hour after in hiding, the rabble entered the home and literally tore it to pieces.

My fear for the worst was made all the more keen when about 3:30 in the afternoon I heard the guns from the destroyer on the river open fire. I was sure there must be a very strong reason for such actions and could think of nothing but that all were being massacred. But the fire proved to be what was needed because very soon I could hear bugles blowing in various directions and very soon all the shooting that had been going on continuously since the morning ceased. About this time a neighbor boy found my hiding place, but he was true blue and said he would not give me away but if possible get in touch with some of the others and let me know. He also told me that there were over 30 soldiers making their headquarters in his home, so this did not make things took any more hopeful. About 7:30 he came back and said that the officers had now offered to come to escort me. I followed him, still with much doubt as to whether he was betraying me or not. To my great relief on getting to the home the first man I met was Roy Pryor; soon others were brought and seven of us spent the night there.

In the early morning, others were brought in and from there an escort of soldiers was given us to the University Building where the majority of the foreigners also had been accounted for. Only one American had been killed, but another five foreigners also had lost their lives and several wounded. About 6 o'clock on the second day we secured an escort to conduct us safely to the gunboat and by 8 all were safely on board. Then there was trouble, for aver 40 of us got ptomaine poisoning from sausage which was bad. I was very sick and just now able to be on my feet again. Others were worse than I and are still in the hospital. Max was not so very bad.
In Shanghai, things are warlike and it would seem the wisest to get out for a season. So far it seems impossible to continue our studies. Perhaps we could do some mission work in the Philippines. Hope we may be guided by the Lord in all we do anyway. We are still hoping it may be possible to get some tuition returned; this is very improbable at present. All the foreigners are anxious to get out of here, fearing a repetition of Nanking, or something worse.

Now, I've said about as much as I can today. Max will need to tell his own story. He has been out with a private family in the city and I'm at the Y. W. C. A. Many thanks for the two remittances, which were never more welcome or more gratefully received. We even lost our hymnbooks.

Love to all in Christ,
Willie Jamieson

PS Re: Max Bumpus Maybe I [author unknown] could add a note and tell you a little about Max, as I've heard Willie tell about him a couple of times when he visited Korea. Max's last name was Bumpus. Max was a preacher and professed in mtgs. Willie and his companion had in Ontario, Canada. Max had just built a new church and was having some special services as an opening of the church. Willie and his companion had just closed their mission in a nearby place, so they went to a couple of his services.

Word came that Max' father had passed away in the U. S. and Max went to the funeral, and asked Willie and his companion to have some services while he was away. He expected to be back in a couple of weeks. A couple of weeks went by, and he sent a telegram saying it was taking awhile to settle up the will and he would be delayed but asked them to continue until he returned.

He was away for over two months, and when he returned, he found that his best elder and a number of others had decided, and a Sun. a.m. mtg. had been started in the elder's home. He visited that former elder and said, "We can work out something. One Sunday we can meet in your home and the next Sun. we can meet in the church." But he replied, "Bumpus, we just don't believe in you anymore." He was quite upset then.

Willie and his companion had started mtgs. in another area by now, and Max started going to each mtg., trying to find some fault. He sat on the front row, and every time Willie would quote some scripture, Max would quickly look it up, and then a perplexed look would come across his face. After a few weeks, one night at the end of a mtg. he asked Willie if it would be all right if he said a few words, and Willie consented. He stood up and told all who were there, that he realized now that he had been leading them astray and realized what Willie and his companion were preaching was the Truth, and he wanted to have a part in that from now on. He went in the work and went with Willie to China.

Willie mentions in his letter that Max had stayed at the YWCA the night before, and maybe he was returning to the compound where Willie and the others were. Anyway, he was stopped by a soldier and tied up to a pole and the soldier intended to shoot him. Some other Chinese gathered around, and the soldier was showing them how his gun worked. While this was going on an officer came along and asked him why he had Max tied to the pole, and he said, "I am going to shoot him." The officer said, "He hasn't done anything to harm you, so you let him go." So, he untied Max and let him go. Max had trouble with his nerves after and wasn't able to continue in the work. He married and had a mtg. in his home until he passed away.

New York Times
September 5, 2000
[Nothing stated about the size of the church or workers from California]

The Chinese authorities have filed formal charges against 85 of the 130 evangelical Christians (Friends & Workers) arrested during an illegal home worship service nearly 2 weeks ago in central China, a human rights monitoring group in Hong Kong said Monday. All those detained at the Aug. 23 service in Henan province were members of the home churches, with its claim of over 500,000 members, is now one of the largest of the house churches. The house churches refuse to join with the Chinese government running the Protestant Church.

Beijing, China.
Three Taiwanese-American evangelicals [Workers] from California, on a covert, short-term mission, were arrested along with the Chinese worshipers [the Friends] and deported soon afterward. These leaders of the house churches told Chinese authorities that God and the Bible are their masters, and they cannot accept guidance from the official atheist Chinese Communist party, which cause religious persecution.

Agence France-Press (AFP)
carried a similar short release around the same time:

AFP reported the Communists have filed formal charges against 85 of the 130 Protestants arrested last month. The prisoners, all followers of the Fangcheng Protestant church, were charged with “forming a sect to break as and regulations.” As previous updates reported, three American missionaries had also been arrested; they have since been released.

TTT Editor's Note: In the absence of a written account, the above information has been compiled by the TTT Editor from various sources. Corrections or additions are most welcome; as well as other historical accounts for this country Email TTT

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