Chinese Christian
Image by schotti highland from Pixabay

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. Psalm 18:2a

A group of China Inland Missionaries from Great Britain and their Chinese Christian servant were brutally murdered by soldiers on 16 July 1900. They were travelling to Ho-tsin in a bid to escape the Boxers, who were rampaging through the country killing foreigners and Christians. After a band of men stopped the group and stole their possessions, mounted soldiers overtook them and led them to understand that they had been sent to escort them to safety. The soldiers directed them along a quiet road, promising that a ferry boat would be provided for their escape. But when the Christians arrived, they discovered that they had been deceived.

The soldiers said that they had not in fact come to protect them but to murder them unless they stopped worshipping God and preaching against idolatry. George McConnell was dragged from his mule and killed with a sword, his wife Isabella and their young son Kenneth meeting a similar end. Annie King pleaded with the soldiers to stop, saying, “We have come to do you good”. But seeing they were relentless, she held on to Elizabeth Burton and the pair were put to death in one another’s arms. At the same time, a man and his wife, believed to be John and Sarah Young were also killed as they embraced. Their Chinese servant, K’eht’ien-hsuen, refused to deny his Christian faith and also met a violent death.

The winds may blow, and the waves may roll high; if we keep our eyes off them to the Lord we shall be all right.

Sarah Young, from one of her last letters, dated 5 July 1900

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