Magazine article International Bulletin of Mission Research

China Interrupted: Japanese Internment and the Reshaping of a Canadian Missionary Community

Magazine article International Bulletin of Mission Research

China Interrupted: Japanese Internment and the Reshaping of a Canadian Missionary Community

Article excerpt

China Interrupted: Japanese Internment and the Reshaping of a Canadian Missionary Community.

By Sonya Grypma. Waterloo, Ont.: Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press, 2012. Pp. xxi, 305. CA$85 / US$76.50.

By the author of the excellent Healing Henan: Canadian Nurses at the North China Mission, 1888-1947 (UBC Press, 2008), this book explores the end of the missionary era in China by investigating the experiences of a small group of Canadian missionary kids (MKs) who returned to North China in the late 1930s as missionary nurses and often also became missionary wives. As war loomed between Japan and Canada, they were caught in the dilemma of either leaving their work to return home to safety or staying to face inevitable hardships and probable internment. Some, like Florence Liddell, the Canadian wife of legendary Scottish missionary doctor Eric Liddell (who would die in captivity), wisely in hindsight, returned home, but other MK nurses chose to stay.

Drawing on letters and private diaries, Grypma focuses on the career of Betty Gale (nee Margaret Thomson), the daughter of United Church of Canada missionaries, who returned as a missionary nurse to China in 1937 and soon married a British Baptist missionary doctor teaching at Qilu Christian University. Even though she had a baby daughter, Betty chose to remain with her husband in China. Betty's wartime experiences after December 8,1941, began by first being under house arrest on the Qilu campus, then waiting uncomfortably in Shanghai for a place on an exchange ship (a place that never materialized because a less-deserving Shanghai British queue jumper took it), and eventually being held, along with her husband and daughter, in squalid conditions at an internment camp in the Pudong district of Shanghai. …

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