In the middle of February Chengchow got its first storm of fire. Twenty-four Japanese planes came over at dawn and rained about two hundred bombs on the city. The destruction of lives and property was terrific, over twelve hundred being killed and wounded. Four bombs landed on the [Baptist] hospital compound, damaging some of the buildings and slightly wounding four patients. That was a day that will long be remembered by the staff here as we labored all day caring for the wounded. …
The first bombing was the worst, but many followed – so many that we lost count of the number. Twice the hospital compound has been hit, with the complete destruction of one Chinese doctor’s residence, and damage to other buildings and walls. We now have very few window-panes as glass cannot be bought here. The windows are pasted with oiled paper to keep out the cold and rain. We had a patient in one of our mat sheds killed, one nurse slightly wounded, and several patients wounded.
One problem has been that of the refugees, that ever flowing, never ending stream of hopeless humanity that has continually come through Chengchow. …
Since the Sino-Japanese war started, Chengchow has … received more refugees than any city in the Lunghai and Peiping Railroad areas. Literally millions of these unfortunate people have passed through or stayed here. At present about three-fourths of the Chengchow population is refugees.
The government has done a great deal to care for these unfortunates, but a large part of the work has fallen on missionaries. A refugee committee with representatives of all the missions working in Chengchow was formed. Evangelistic and medical work has been done in all camps, and much food and clothing distributed.
As the year closes the missions have one camp with over a thousand refugees, and are contemplating two more camps and a school for children. The finances have been furnished by Baptists at home through the Foreign Mission Board, through funds from the American Advisory Committee in Shanghai, International Red Cross, the National Council, and a grant from the Chinese government.
There are still thousands uncared for and almost every day and night people starve or freeze on the streets. We pray for ability, funds, and personnel to meet the situation in a more adequate way.
Excerpted from “Praises for Triumph in the Midst of Terror in Interior China!” written in part by Dr. Sanford Emmett Ayers, Foreign Mission Board Ninety-Fourth Annual Report, May 17, 1939.
Dr. S.E. Ayers and two Chinese doctors stand at the gate of Chengchow Hospital on its opening day in 1936.IMB Photo
Missionary nurse Thelma Williams talks to village refugee children.IMB Photo
Dr. Hugh Humphrey and Nurse Thelma Williams examine the Yellow River, where dykes were broken during the war.IMB Photo
During the overcrowded conditions of wartime, the tuberculosis ward of Chengchow Hospital was used as a women’s ward.IMB Photo
A boy begs for alms as patients enter the main gate of Chengchow Hospital. Some days, the clinic cared for more than 200 patients in one afternoon.IMB Photo
Dr. Hugh Humphrey and a Chinese nurse examine a patient with artificial legs after his injuries from a war bombing necessitated amputations.IMB Photo
Dr. Hugh Humphrey and an interpreter speak with a refugee patient while many other refugees wait in line.IMB Photo
Dr. Hugh Humphrey examines a patient brought by stretcher to Chengchow Hospital.IMB Photo
Many people were killed at this location in Chengchow during bombings by the Japanese.IMB Photo
Dr. S.E. Ayers points out pits in the hospital wall, damage from bombs dropped by the Japanese on Chengchow on Feb. 14, 1938. Dr. Ayers narrowly escaped death, and the hospital received 154 patients that day.IMB Photo