Hainan Mission (1935–1951)

By Milton Hook

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Milton Hook, Ed.D. (Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, the United States). Hook retired in 1997 as a minister in the Greater Sydney Conference, Australia. An Australian by birth Hook has served the Church as a teacher at the elementary, academy and college levels, a missionary in Papua New Guinea, and as a local church pastor. In retirement he is a conjoint senior lecturer at Avondale College of Higher Education. He has authored Flames Over Battle Creek, Avondale: Experiment on the Dora, Desmond Ford: Reformist Theologian, Gospel Revivalist, the Seventh-day Adventist Heritage Series, and many magazine articles. He is married to Noeleen and has two sons and three grandchildren.

First Published: May 11, 2022

The Hainan Mission 海南区会 covered the territory of Hainan Island, off the southern coast of China, and the lower portion of the Leizhou 雷州 Peninsula, Guangdong Province. It was a sub-division of the South China Union Mission.

Beginnings

Church members in Guangdong Province took an early interest in evangelizing Hainan Island. In 1919 a national colporteur crossed to the island and “met with good success selling our books and papers.”1 Years later, in 1932, a self-supporting colporteur named Tso Wing Kei took his family and settled in the main city of Haikou 海口.2 In the northern summer of 1933 a national evangelist conducted a crusade in Haikou, resulting in six baptisms as first fruits. The youth society at the Guangzhou church school on the mainland raised funds to support these efforts.3

Mission Officially Organized

Tso Wing Kei transferred to the interior of the island at Nanfeng to establish another small community of converts and Wong Tack Shan and his wife, natives of the island, entered deeper into the mountains to organize another group in the Pak Sah district. An elementary school of thirty-five pupils was opened in Haikou, five advanced students going on to the Guangzhou mission school. Prospects of mission success were evident so in May 1935 the Hainan Mission was officially recognized as a separate entity within the fold of the South China Union Mission.4 Woo Tak Shun 胡德純 (Hú Déchún) was nominated as the director.5 The first statistical report, published in July 1935, spoke of one organized church, four out-stations and a total baptized membership of thirty-seven.6 By the end of December 1936 the membership had increased to eighty-five7 and 143 at the end of 1938.8

Wartime

Military factions in the country began to seriously affect mission progress in 1939. Woo Tak Shun organized his team so that if conditions deteriorated further they would retreat to the mountains and concentrate their efforts in those communities. The island population in general, he wrote, were “panic stricken.”9 Throughout the Second World War membership numbers remained steady10 but dropped afterwards.11 The elementary school in Haikou had to close during the Japanese occupation. Some mission stations were destroyed. Woo Tak Shun did not flee to the mountains but instead moved west from Haikou to the coastal town of Danzhou 儋州. He purchased an abandoned retail shop and refurbished it as a chapel for evangelism and church services.12

Post-war

Some re-building took place after the hostilities ceased. The most prominent project was a new chapel in Haikou, acquired late 1948, in which approximately thirty members met regularly for worship. It also served as the headquarters office for the mission.13 An organizational change occurred in 1949 when the South China Union Mission was divided into three sections. In the process Hainan was included with Hongkong, Macao and Taiwan to form the South China Island Union Mission with headquarters located in Hongkong.14 The move had very little benefit because within a few months the communist hold began to sweep across the nation. By January 1950 the South China Island Union Mission was the only territory unaffected by the takeover15 but Hainan soon fell. The last statistics available about the Hainan Mission, 1951, spoke of three organized churches with a combined membership of 120 baptized members.16 After 1951 there were no more reliable reports or statistics available.17

Directors of the Hainan Mission: Woo Tak Shun (胡德純, Hú Déchún) 1935-1941; Tso Chiu Nam (acting) (曹昭南, Cáo Zhāonán) 1942; Kang Kedian (康克典, Kāng Kèdiǎn) 1943-1944; Y.T. Chue (acting) 1945-1946; Tshi Tsok Phien (徐卓鵬, Xú Zhuópéng) 1946-1951.

Sources

Branson, William H. “Change in Division Headquarters.” China Division Reporter, January 1950.

Davis, Clarence H. “Hainan Mission Advance.” China Division Reporter, December 1949.

Hall, Orrin A. “The South China Union.” China Division Reporter, February 1933.

Hall, Orrin A. “The South China Union Mission-1933.” China Division Reporter, March 1934.

Ham, Allen L. “The Hainan Island Mission.” China Division Reporter, January 1939.

Ham, Allen L. “The Hainan Mission.” China Division Reporter, February 1936.

“Literature has pioneered the way…” Asiatic Division Outlook, February 15, 1920.

“Re-organisation of South China Union.” China Division Reporter, September 1949.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C. Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1936-1952.

“Statistical Report.” China Division Reporter, July 1935.

“Statistical Report.” China Division Reporter, May 1937,

“Statistical Report.” China Division Reporter, July 15, 1939.

Wu Chook Ying. “The Cause of God on the Island of Hainan.” Chinese SDA History, n.d. Accessed April 5, 2022. https://www.chinesesdahistory.org/the-cause-of-god-on-the-island-of-hainan.

Notes

  1. “Literature has pioneered the way…” Asiatic Division Outlook, February 15, 1920, 5.

  2. Wu Chook Ying, “The Cause of God on the Island of Hainan,” Chinese SDA History, n.d., accessed April 5, 2022, https://wwwchinesesdahistory.org/the-cause-of-god-on-the-island-of-hainan.

  3. Orrin A. Hall, “The South China Union Mission-1933,” China Division Reporter, March 1934, 3.

  4. Allen L. Ham, “The Hainan Mission,” China Division Reporter, February 1936, 4.

  5. Wu Chook Ying, “The Cause of God on the Island of Hainan.”

  6. “Statistical Report,” China Division Reporter, July 1935, 13.

  7. “Statistical Report,” China Division Reporter, May 1937, 10.

  8. “Statistical Report,” China Division Reporter, July 15, 1939, 11.

  9. Allen L. Ham, “The Hainan Island Mission,” China Division Reporter, January 1939, 6.

  10. E.g., “Hainan Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1945), 96.

  11. E.g., “Hainan Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1950), 105.

  12. Woo Chook Ying, “The Cause of God on the Island of Hainan.”

  13. Clarence H. Davis, “Hainan Mission Advance,” China Division Reporter, December 1949, 2.

  14. “Re-organization of South China Union,” China Division Reporter, September 1949, 6.

  15. William H. Branson, “Change in Division Headquarters,” China Division Reporter, January 1950, 1.

  16. “Hainan Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1951), 109.

  17. “China Division,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1952), 104.

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Hook, Milton. "Hainan Mission (1935–1951)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. May 11, 2022. Accessed May 24, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=18E2.

Hook, Milton. "Hainan Mission (1935–1951)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. May 11, 2022. Date of access May 24, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=18E2.

Hook, Milton (2022, May 11). Hainan Mission (1935–1951). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved May 24, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=18E2.