In the early part of 1850, two young Swedish men, Carl Fast and Anders Elquist, arrived in Fuzhou. They were the first Swedish missionaries ever sent to a foreign land, but the history of these promising young Christians was brief and tragic.
After spending a good deal of time in Fuzhou trying to secure a permanent residence from which to launch their work, Fast and Elquist were finally granted permission to rent a home near the city wall. In October 1850, they visited a British ship that was docked at the mouth of the river to change their foreign currency for Chinese. As they returned in their small boat,
they were suddenly attacked by a Chinese piratical craft, filled with armed men, who had put off from one of the villages along the shore. During the encounter, Mr. Fast was mortally wounded, and fell from the boat into the river, which was at once his deathbed and his grave. His remains were never recovered. Mr. Elquist, when his friend had fallen, threw himself into the river, and by diving under the water succeeded in reaching the shore, having received several wounds.
The young man wandered in the hills above the river for two days before he was rescued by a passing ship and taken back to Fuzhou. His physical wounds, combined with the mental and emotional trauma of the experience, were too great for Elquist to overcome. He tried to resume his missionary work, but his health worsened. He spent 1851 in Hong Kong and returned to Sweden the following year.
China’s Book of Martyrs. Carlisle: Piquant Editions, 2007. Used by permission.