Regarding Hugh Hubbard, let me refer to a book which I quoted from in a thesis of mine on Watchman Nee - Paul A. Varg "Missionaries, Chinese and Diplomats" 1965


            Varg describes the Fan Village Experiment undertaken by Hugh Hubbard of the American Board Mission in north China.  "He had long been moved by the condition of the Chinese peasantry - hungry, illiterate, subject to disease, famine, floods and their sufferings of war".  Hubbard, his wife and a Chinese Christian carried out an experiment in rural reconstruction in a village of 1,400 inhabitants in an area near Baoding.  In contrast to the prevalent missionary approach they agreed beforehand to come only to the village by invitation to find solutions to the problems: they would only undertake proposed projects if requested by the villagers; they would only give religious instruction if requested; they would move into simple Chinese homes, and let the Chinese leaders have the better accommodation; they would assume no posts of authority; they would take no American supplies, but would live on the local diet; they would wear only Chinese clothes.


         In the community to which they came by invitation 80% of the men were illiterate, only one girl had received as much as a primary education, 92% of the schoolboys had trachoma; smallpox and TB were prevalent, the infant mortality rate was high, and there were unsanitary conditions.


        During their time in Fan village they established a school.  The people were taught hygiene.  Wells were dug making it possible to water the newly planted cotton crops; co-operative marketing was organised; trees were planted.  Christian instruction was requested and given.


        Three years after they launched the project they found "real changes in lives, a new sense of the value of the personality, an appreciation of nature and nature's God, new motivation and a gradual development of Christian character".


by Norman Cliff,

April, 2006