Missions and Famine Relief

Timothy Richard was a Welsh-born missionary to China in 1870. He found it effective to immerse himself in Chinese culture to gain credibility for the Gospel message. He was also influential in bringing humanitarian relief to the Chinese during regular famines and taught the Chinese ways of avoiding future famine.

China was regularly subjected to famine. The missionary-led attempt to relieve the famine in the winter of 1876/7 was one of the first major programmes of humanitarian relief in modern history. Richard became the most important organiser and administrator of the famine relief and funds that arrived in several provinces from overseas.

In response to the severe famines that had ravaged the land, Richard believed that modern science was needed to avert similar future catastrophes. He spent four years writing and holding a series of lectures to the educated classes on apologetic and scientific issues. He also firmly believed in the importance of education for the spread of the gospel and dreamed of establishing a Christian college in every province in China.

He's been characterized as one of the greatest missionaries ever sent to China.


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Melinda Penner