I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last. John 15:16b

Born to American missionary parents in the border country of Tibet and China, William followed in his father’s footsteps as an evangelist to the Tibetan people.

He travelled 4,000 miles a year on horseback, going from camp to camp, sharing the Gospel with the Tibetans.

He built a small school on the Tibetan border, where he taught the Bible to children. It was here that he was martyred one day in June 1932, when a horde of Muslim army deserters attacked the Christian school. William was 29 years old.

News of the incident was sent to his father who lived nearby, and he immediately rushed to the school, where he found his son’s mangled body on the floor. Under William’s body he found a note smeared with blood that said, “In remembrance of Me.”

William’s father, who was also called William, remained in China until 1949. He continued to evangelise widely and also focused his efforts on the training of Chinese clergy.

Are not all the trials, the loneliness, the heartache, the weariness and pain, the cold and fatigue of the long road, the darkness and discouragements, and all the bereavements, temptations and testings, deemed not worthy to be compared with the joy of witnessing to this “glad tidings of great joy”?

William Simpson (martyred 1932)

Dr Patrick Sookhdeo is the International Director of Barnabas Fund and the Executive Director of the Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life.