Tongren,Guizhou missionary history 贵州铜仁传教士历史: Local Girl Braves Danger of Bandits and Jap Attack- Life of Missionary in China Is Far From Being Dull- Local Girl in China -Zimmer Dec 5 1939 article

Tongren,Guizhou missionary history 贵州铜仁传教士历史:  Local Girl Braves Danger of Bandits and Jap Attack- Life of Missionary in China Is Far From Being Dull- Local Girl in China -Zimmer  Dec 5 1939 article, , see larger image:

Photo caption: Six weeks away by mail, when it gets through, Mrs. Silvia Zimmer will be spending here Christmas in Tungjen with her husband, Gerald, and their 18-month-old baby Sherwood

[copy of the original newspaper article supplied by Zimmer Foundation, , via former English teacher in Tongren, Guizhou and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Sky Lantz-Warner (now at the University of Dayton, in Ohio), ]

The Morgantown Post, Morgantown, W. Va., Tuesday, December 5, 1939

text of news article:

“When a plane flies over Morgantown, one rarely notices it.
When an airplane buzzes over the horizon toward Tungjen [Tongren铜仁], China, a former Morgantown girl picks up her baby boy and runs for the hills.
Now that the Japanese have pointed the nose of their war machine into Southern China to rivet shut the backdoor through which supplies have been coming to the Chinese, the war is closer to Mrs. Gerald Zimmer, the former Sylvia Zinn.
Her mother, Mrs. Josephine Zinn of 160 Fayette street, pointed out Tungjen on a detailed map of China. It is located in Kweichow [Guizhou贵州] Province.

Located in Interior

This former University co-ed lives six weeks away by mail in the hinterlands of China, 1,400 miles west of Shanghai. Starting at Peking, she and her husband, Gerald Zimmer, kept one jump ahead of Jap bombers in their move in the interior.
“Tunjen is thirty miles from the nearest road,” Mrs. Zinn explained. Everything must be shipped in by boat to this city of 24,000 persons located in a region of mountains.
Raiding the river boats is a lucrative source of income to the bandits. The Zimmers just missed having their belongings fall into bandit hands. [missing text] … enough to meet their I.O.U.’s by the first of the year.

Bandits Beheaded

Telling of measures taken against the bandits, Mrs. Zimmer wrote in her last letter:
“Bandits aren’t bothering us now, Thank goodness! They (the soldiers) have been tracking them down and killing them. Friday four of them were beheaeded outside the North Gate. We had to come past there and there were two bodies and four heads still there…an awful sight.”
High walls completely surround the city and the residences of the missionaries are walled in also. Yet despite this, the bandits make raids on the city.
A raid on the North Gate near where the Zimmers live caused a bit of an uproar what with bullets zipping close to the house. The noise wakened the Zimmer’s baby boy before he could be taken to a safe place on the first floor.

Help One Another

The bandits made off with some loot and a couple Chinese women after killing several of the city’s residents.
Missionaries stick together in China, regardless of denomination or creed. If some difficulty arises, word of it travels fast and far.
The supply of powdered milk for the Zimmer child was low and prospects of replenishing the necessity have been bad at times.
“They were down to the last spoonful one time,” Mrs. Zinn said, “when a bundle arrived from a distant missionary’s wife. It contained a supply of the needed food. Another time, a missionary coming in from the ‘outside’ stopped and left a supply.”

Things Happen

Teaching and taking care of a house are but part of the day’s work for Mrs. Zimmer. The most [unclear text]… things pop up for her [missing text]… saying a woman nearby had taken poison,” Mrs. Zinn related. “Sylvia hurried after the girl, trying to think of the remedies she had heard of for poisoning.”
Arriving in the room with the stricken woman, she set to work and applied two of the remedies she remembered. They saved the woman’s life, the Chinese doctor told her later.
The Chinese have a simple faith in the ability of the missionaries to cure their ills. Mr. Zimmer treated as many as a thousand persons at one time for minor ills while on one of his trips in the surrounding rural region.

Going to Stay

The Zimmers carry their share of the burden of the missionary work for the region. Mr. Zimmer is the only white man for miles around. An American nurse and the widow of a missionary are the only other white persons in Tungjen.
Does the increasing difficulties have them stumped?
No sir!
“They are determined to stay until 1942 when their first six years are up,” Mrs. Zinn stated. Meanwhile, the former Marion, Ohio, youth and the West Virginia University co-ed are having the time of their lives doing the work they thoroughly enjoy in the midst of one of the most exciting chapters in the world’s history.’

= = =

Rev. & Mrs. Gerald R. Zimmer were Educators who, in the middle 1930s decided they wanted to be missionaries and went to China to preach and teach. They went to a very remote area in the interior, to a small town of Tongren. There they lived with the people, learned their language and customs and worked to improve their situation.

The Zimmer Foundation initiated a scholarship program in 2004 that supports the major cost of education for students annually for the second, third and final years at Tongren University. Now, over twenty students have been provided scholarships. It was our vision that at least two students will be added each year over a ten year program. Many donors have allowed us to exceed our visions of the scholarship program. The selection of the students is based upon their academic achievements and financial needs. The student’s family is identified with an income at or less than the poverty level established by the Tongren prefecture officials.

In villages of rural China, many students are the first of their family to complete college. Zimmer Foundation has arranged to financially support specific students with financial needs. The eligibility for receipt of such scholarships is first year college students with academic excellence who come from very poor families. Often these are children of farmers whose annual income is less than $264 USD. The families earn below the declared poverty level defined by each county.

The Zimmer Foundation for China was established to implement holistic programs to improve the economic and spiritual conditions in rural Guizhou. The Zimmer Foundation is a US 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization established in memory of Rev. & Mrs. Gerald R. Zimmer who served in China 1936-1948.

The Zimmer Foundation for China
7702 Lake Vista Ct. Suite 202, Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202, USA
Phone 941-306-5022, E-Mail : ,  (from )

see also:
Tongren University: Love Has No Boundaries (about Zimmerman Foundation, for Tongren, Guizhou) , & interview with Sky Lantz-Wagner, Peace Corps teacher, 2012,

Zimmer Foundation for China,

Tongren University 铜仁学院, Guizhou prov.,

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About Ray

email: , new Guiyang tel: 187 9860 2861, also: 86-152 5582 4713, 86-136 7173 7017 . In China 18 years, Ray (55 years old) has also taught in Shanghai, Beijing, Shiyan (Hubei), Kuitun (Xinjiang), Lanzhou, Changchun and elsewhere. Was in China-related business in the 1980s and 90s, and in the NGO sector both as a volunteer and in full-time positions. Has also been to India and Pakistan. As of August 2013, Ray is in Guiyang, Guizhou province, to work in a private middle school there, the Guiyang American-Canadian International School 贵阳美加国际学校. A newly created Flickr site, "GoGuiyang," has photos and articles to help people new to Guiyang, like myself, settle in quickly. See the photos arranged into sets: Also active on Siwawa58 (where I dump my ESL materials), see:, and I re-post material from Youtube (blocked in China) to Tudou and Youku, see: Youku "gelatiao58" and Tudou "gelatiao"