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Missions and World Christianity


In April 1938, under Japanese bombers, hundreds of wounded Chinese soldiers sang army songs at Kaifeng railway station in Henan Province, China. This was the only way left for the soldiers to show their gratitude to the approximately seventy missionaries from the United States and Europe who were treating their wounded, burying their dead, and caring for their weak. From April to June 1938, these missionaries treated over 50,000 wounded Chinese soldiers. In the winter of 1941, with the onset of Pearl Harbor, these missionaries were deemed as "enemy nationals" by the Japanese army and put into concentration camps. Amidst aggression, destruction and death their songs became a voice of courage, compassion, and hope for the suffering. Among all the sounds of occupation, these international missionaries struck a unique tone that transcended the boundaries of personal welfare, political entanglements, and nation-states.


Published version: Geng, S. (2020) “Songs of Courage: Missionaries in Occupied China during World War II,” American Benedictine Review, 71(1).