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Mary Andrews: Australia Missionary to China, Witness of Chinese Church Revival

Mary Andrews: Australia Missionary to China, Witness of Chinese Church Revival

The Bible and a woman. The Bible and a woman.
ByCCD contributor: Paul Wu April 30, 2020
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Mary Andrews was an Australian Anglican missionary who came to China. She taught in Linhai, Shaoxing in Zhejiang Province and other places for more than ten years, promoting the spread of the gospel.

Mary Andrews was born in Australia in 1915. Her mother was a devout Christian believer. In 1890, James Hudson Taylor went to Australia to share with believers there the spiritual needs of China. Mary’s mother wanted to go to China to spread the gospel, but she was stopped by her family. So she often prayed to the Lord and promised that she would dedicate her first child to Chinese gospel ministry.

Mary Andrews was her first child. At the age of 16, Mary Andrews heard the Lord's call to go to China. After her mother learned of Mary’s call, she was very excited and strongly supported her daughter's decision. Mary Andrews joined the Anglican Mission and received training in theology and nursing.

On September 14, 1938, the 23-year-old Mary Andrews set out from Sydney to China alone. She landed in  Shanghai when the Anti-Japanese War was in full swing. According to her recollection, “At that time, more than 300,000 people were homeless in Shanghai; food was scarce, and an average of 100 people died on the streets every day.” She went to Beijing to learn Chinese language and Chinese culture. At this time, Beijing was controlled by Japanese invaders. Although Westerners were able to move freely, they were always under the surveillance of the Japanese, and the living environment was also very bad. It was common for food to be cut off, and she suffered from hunger with the Chinese people. There she made many Chinese friends. Her Chinese name, which means “quiet and beautiful jasper,” was given to her by a friend in Beijing.

After initially learning Chinese, Mary Andrews was sent to Linhai, Zhejiang to serve. She learned the local dialect so she could serve the community better and soon was able to communicate with the locals.

War makes many people feel that life is short, leading to people thinking more the meaning of life, so the gospel spread quickly, and the number of believers increased. In addition to preaching, Mary Andrews also taught  school. She was responsible for teaching English and the Bible, and introducing the gospel of Christ through her contact with students.

In 1945, the Japanese invaders made their last stubborn attack. They invaded Linhai, and following the instructions of the mission, Mary Andrews and her colleagues left the area. They walked or took a sedan chair, or took a military vehicle or a truck, and traveled for more than 3,000 miles from the east coast of China to Kunming in the southwest. She then took a U.S. military aircraft to Kolkata, India, where they sailed to Australia by ship.

After the Anti-Japanese War, Mary Andrews returned to China to teach in a middle school in Shaoxing. She preached the gospel to students, led many young people to believe in the Lord, and many of them also felt called to serve the church. In 1951, due to the political situation at that time, Mary Andrews returned to Australia and left this beloved land.

Soon after returning to Australia, she became a clerk (deacon) in the Anglican Church in Sydney and served as the dean of the Anglican Church’s Deacon Training Institute. She trained a lot of ministers for the church and who helped spread the gospel around the world. In recognition of her contribution, the church named the school "Mary Andrews College."

After she retired from the college in 1975, she still did not stop serving. She served on several church committees. Of course, she never forgot the Chinese church and often prayed for people who were suffering.

In 1985 and 1986, Mary Andrews, who was more than 70 years old, once again came to this land. She came to visit churches in Fujian, Zhejiang and other places. Every time she saw a crowded chapel, she was excited.

In 1991, Mary Andrews came to China for the last time. She was pleased to see the renaissance of the gospel in China. Many young people have grown up and shouldered the heavy responsibility of the church. At the end of 1996, Mary Andrews rested in the arms of God. She was 81 years old.

- Translated by Kevin Feng

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