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Manchester University Archives & Brethren Historical Collection

Church of the Brethren China Relief
E. Joseph Wampler & 
D. Eugene Wampler

Members of the Church of the Brethren rely on the New Testament as their guide, with the belief that Jesus intends a life based on peaceful action, simple and compassionate living, and a shared search for truth. These beliefs led the Brethren to respond to international need through the development of foreign missions.

Work in China began in 1908. By 1920, the Brethren had constructed large western-style hospitals and schools in four primary Chinese mission stations and did their best to assist the Chinese people who struggled for survival through famine, disease, war, and political unrest. After more than forty years of service, the last Brethren missionaries left Shanghai, China in February of 1951. Their work has been generally forgotten by the Chinese government, yet their legacy lives on. Illustrated with personal family photographs, this book is a story of empathy, dedication, and love.

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Church of the Brethren China Relief

Two Years in Guerrilla Relief
Howard Sollenberger's Diary, Journals,
Letters and Recollections

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Plowboys in China:
The story of the Brethren Service
Commission’s Tractor Unit

In 1938, the Chinese government broke a levy of the Yellow River in an effort to slow the advance of the Japanese army.  The resulting flood inundated 21,000 square miles of land, killed over half a million people, and changed the course of the river.  Eight years later, after the war, the Chinese Office of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) contacted M. R. Zigler, executive secretary of the Brethren Service Committee, and requested assistance with a project to reclaim the flooded land for agricultural use.  In August of 1946, Howard Sollenberger arrived in Shanghai with 2,000 tractors and fifty tractor specialists, nicknamed “Plowboys,” who came to train local farmers.  This is their story.

Photography by Howard Sollenberger.
Produced by Brethren Service Commission, General Brotherhood Board, Church of the Brethren.
Narration by Eugene Wampler.
Transferred from 16mm film by David Sollenberger, 2007.

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