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Uncovering Treasures: Publishing books with a buried legacy speaks with Bethany Hope about rediscovering the writings of missionaries and Christian pioneers. Some of these seasoned followers of Jesus have much to teach us. Underground Publishing House is a new book label, please tell our readers when and where it started.

Bethany Hope: At the end of 2022, we were doing some speaking engagements in the UK with our ministry, Back to Jerusalem—a ministry which works with the underground house church of China to take the Gospel to the nations between China and Jerusalem. The first leg of our tour was in Wales. Standing at the book table, we were approached by someone who asked us if we knew the name Griffith John. Somehow, we did not. We went away and began looking into him, eventually realising he was a key pioneer of protestant missions to China more than 100 years ago.

As we began to read his writings, we were so profoundly moved and inspired that we felt it imperative to share the writings with as many people as possible. Thus, Underground Publishing House was born. The company website says that it is involved in “Publishing books with a Buried Legacy.” Please tell us a little bit about what that phrase means.

Bethany Hope: There is so much Christian literature published today, perhaps more now than at any other time in history. It is easy to think that we exist independent of church history before us and that all that matters is here and now. The truth is, we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. This is especially true for us with our work in China. The successes we see and experience today are the result of the sacrifices and endurance of the missionaries who went before us and laid the foundations that we today now build on. Unfortunately, so many of these people have been forgotten to history.

There are countless buried legacies lost in the passing of time, and we feel that the Church today would be spiritually richer in every sense if we took heed of the lessons these buried voices have to share. How, or where, are the buried legacy books that are published discovered?

Bethany Hope: The great benefit we have of taking up this vision to rediscover buried legacy in 2023, is the wealth of information available to us through the internet. The books we are looking for are usually found in faded, skewed scans uploaded online by small libraries. Our small team researches for hours, often hitting dead ends, until suddenly we stumble upon gold. Then we work on transcribing these scans and making any necessary edits to enable to work to be as accessible to a 2023 reader as possible. We also visit archives and libraries around the world, which are often treasure troves for these books. The first two books that Underground Publishing House released were about missionaries to China. Please tell us briefly about those two books.

Bethany Hope: Our first book was A Voice in the Darkness: Lessons from 60 Years in Ancient China by Griffith John. The book was written in the early 1900’s when China was first opening up to the foreign missionary. The Boxer Rebellion shook the foundation of China just before this book was written and led to the single largest slaughter of missionaries in the history of Christianity.

Against the backdrop of fear and death, Griffith John, the dedicated missionary from Wales, did not flee. Instead he planted his feet in the heart of the enemy’s territory and refused to leave. God flung the doors of China wide open; missionaries came flooding in, Bibles were printed and distributed throughout the nation, the Gospel message was preached, and the Chinese came running to Christ.

Our second release was The Lame Shall Take the Prey: How a One-Legged Missionary Transformed China. George Stott was not the missionary society’s first choice; at nineteen his leg was amputated and he went through life with a wooden leg. In the mid-1800s, traveling through China with only one leg was just shy of impossible. When Hudson Taylor asked Stott why he was going to China, he confidently replied, “I do not see those with two legs going, so I must.”

Rejected, attacked, persecuted, chased, stoned, and at one point even accused of cutting the hearts and liver from small Chinese children to grind up into medicine, George and Grace Stott did not stop preaching the Gospel. George, the one-legged Scotsman, limped from village to village preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ. In his own words: “the lame shall take the prey.” Will all of the books that are published be focused on missionaries to China?

Bethany Hope: Though our first two releases were about missionaries to China, this will not be a pattern followed by all our releases. Our focus is missionaries who went out to the nations between China and Jerusalem—considered to be the most unreached area of the world. Can you tell us about some of the books that will be forthcoming from Underground Publishing House?

Bethany Hope: We have 2 more exciting releases for the end of 2023. The first called The Terrible Red Dwarf. Tracts looked very different a hundred years ago on the mission field than we might imagine today. It was common for missionaries to write and publish fable-like stories with moral messages embedded that lined up with Christian principles, detailed with amazing illustrations. These were not just written for children, but the general population. The Terrible Red Dwarf is a story which shares the danger of our words and the importance of guarding our tongue. This will be available October 31st.

Image: Robert Morrison by John Richard Wildman. WikiMedia Commons.

The final release of the year is our biggest project yet. Many have never come across the name Robert Morrison, yet if you have any interest in China or missions, he should be a name we all know. Robert Morrison was the first Protestant missionary to China and the first to produce a fully translated Bible in the Chinese language. Amazingly, there is almost nothing written about him! We have written down his story, from the miraculous way the first Chinese Bible translation came to be in the face of immense adversity and the sacrifices it required of Morrison. This book honours a man who gave so much for the Chinese to have access to the Word of God. Bury Me in China will be released November 16th. Is there a particular audience that you are trying to reach with the books that you publish? What do you hope the books that you release will accomplish?

Bethany Hope: Our aim is that these books end up in the hands of as many people as possible. For those interested in missions, these books have an obvious attraction and will provide much encouragement and inspiration when we see how God has moved through missionaries throughout history. However, these books also provide lessons with much spiritual richness for any believer seeking to strengthen their faith. Where can people purchase Underground Publishing House books, and where can they learn more about your publishing house?

Bethany Hope: You can visit our website at

If you would rather purchase the hard copy version of the books, you can find all of our releases on Amazon where you can purchase a print version.


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Category: Church History, Fall 2023

About the Author: Bethany Hope has worked with the underground house church of China for several years, serving as UK Director of Back to Jerusalem and spending time working on the mission field. She also acts as co-founder and editor of Underground Publishing House.

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