The Seed of the Church: A Story from China

By Robert Menzies –

The Bernheim’s Memorial Stone

Recently I was privileged to visit a church near the city of Qujing in Yunnan Province. This church was established by Pentecostal missionaries, Max and Emily Bernheim, in the 1930s. The Bernheims, along with one son, were murdered by bandits in 1940. This tragic event left their five remaining children orphans. The bodies of Max, Emily, and their son, David, had not been found until late in 2015. The church discovered the site of their burial and moved their bones to the church’s current location in 2016. In June of this year (2017) a Chinese Christian brother notified me of this more recent development. So, along with a group of friends, I visited the burial site and found a beautiful memorial stone marking the Bernheim’s grave. More significantly, I found that the church they planted (there were about 50 believers in 1940) is vibrant and thriving. The local Chinese believers repeatedly expressed their thankfulness for the Bernheim’s ministry and sacrifice. The church now numbers over 700 and the church leaders were deeply aware of their rich legacy. They noted with thankfulness the truth of Tertullian’s words, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”

Inside the Church Planted by the Bernheims


  1. Becky Bernham Croasmun says:

    Interesting article. The oldest child, Mark was my father. In 2011 I published a book titled “Legacy of Faith” which is a compilation of letters, my grandparents wrote regarding their time in China.

  2. Faith says:

    Wonderful, Becky. Thanks for posting.

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