the bus with the Chinese drives around the corner at a quarter to two,
the First Councilor of the town Gerlingen, Mr.
Wolfgang Steng, waves his white handkerchief good-bye to the guests and
then puts it back into his pocket. Reverend Ms. Sabine Goller-Braun
breathes deeply. The previous hours were a bit turbulent and they didn't
stick with the plan. In fact the delegation should have been at 1
o'clock on the way to the Mercedes Museum in Stuttgart. But the guests
took their time, they wanted to hear about Wilhelm
Maisch - the missionary from Gerlingen who brought 103 years ago
Christianity to South China and whose grave was found only last year by
Mr. Thomas Tsang, the Secretary-General of Tsung Tsin Mission
Wilhelm Maisch left Gerlingen in 1904 for Hong Kong and worked there
until his death for the Basler Mission. The Chinese, with who he
worked, appreciated that he didn't treat them like second class people.
He involved them self dependent in the mission work. "Wilhelm Maisch
enjoyed everywhere a lot of confidence", reports the town historian
Stutzmann in the church service in the church Petruskirche. "Many
people who confront the mission critically see it only as a kind of
rule over "other civilizations", says Sabine
Goller-Braun, the pastor who confronted the mission herself a bit
critically - until she got to know Thomas Tsang and experienced new the "revolutionary
power of Christianity" due to his "inner point of view".
It was a year ago when the Secretary-General rang at the parsonage's
door on a lovely summer evening. He wanted to know where the grave of Wilhelm Maisch
was. For many hours he had searched it in vain in Gerlingen's cemetery. At
the first go the reverend didn't know the answer, but she knew the
missionary's niece Erika Maisch, who lives in Gerlingen. And Erika Maisch knew:
her uncle was buried in South China, where he had died in 1924 at the
age of 46. So Thomas Tsang searched there again - with success. And
six weeks ago he got in touch again with Sabine Goller-Braun,
reported about the grave and announced an other visit - and of his 24
On the occasion of the 160 year anniversary of Tsung Tsin Mission (TTM)
Chinese sleuth the tracks of the missionaries who had travelled from
South Germany to Hong Kong. They travel now for ten days with Mr. Ulrich Bubeck,
director of the german sector of Basler Mission, from Gerlingen via Kornwestheim, Esslingen
and Ulm to Black Forest and Switzerland. "The Chinese have a
impressive condition", says Bubeck about his guests who landed only
on this Saturday morning in Germany. Amongst other things they had in
their luggage photos of Wilhelm Maisch's grave in Kutschuk, which was
destroyed during the cultural revolution from 1966 to 1976. In the
decades afterwards botanical grew on the grave and it sank into
oblivion. Till Thomas Tsang found it.
He uncovered the grave and repaired the broken stone. The photos of the
last resting-place of Gerlingen's missionary will be shown in the future
in Rebmann House.
"In our hearts the work of missionaries is an important item",
says Councilor Wolfgang Steng in "Missionarsstube" (Missionarie's
Room) in Rebmann House. Before in the church Petruskirche
Sabine Goller-Braun had waived the "Lord's Prayer" and
the final organ. In front of the door the guests are waiting for a
following wedding. The translation of the speech, the lection, the
report of Imanuel Stutzmann and a surprisingly long film about TTM's
work had stirred up the schedule.
makes no odds to the guests. They take photos, are happy that
there are 100 visitors in the church on a Saturday and they write
into the guest book "Thank you for the warm hospitality this morning."
At a quarter to two the bus eventually managed to depart. Wolfgang Steng
waves good-bye with his handkerchiev, Sabine Goller-Braun
breathes deeply. Everything went well.
And then she finds out, that Thomas Tsang had packed in again the
photos of the grave in the heat of the moment.