Hsinchu  新竹市


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The Aandahl Family of Hsinchu

Victory Church

My father worked for the United States Information Service (USIS) as a cultural officer from 1948 to 1951 during which time he was assigned to cities of Nanking (now called Nanjing), Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei and Manila. He was primarily involved in the distribution of pro-American media materials. In Nanking and Shanghai in late 1949, he was witness to the triumphant arrival of the Chinese Communist army in these cities near the conclusion of the Chinese civil war. From December 1949 to April 1950 my father was assigned to Taipei. He was transferred out when the US government ordered all non-essential personnel off the island as a Chinese Communist invasion was imminent. The commencement of the Korean war in late June changed the US position and the Chinese Nationalists on Taiwan were thrown a lifeline which they readily accepted.

During my father's months in Taipei, he did not visit Hsinchu. But he passed through the city by train during which time he observed the wonderful location of the city and its favorable development. At this time, Hsinchu was one of seven major cities in Taiwan along with Keelung, Taipei, Taichung, Chiayi, Tainan and Kaohsiung. My father informed his prior (and future) Lutheran mission that Hsinchu would be an ideal location for the reestablishment of their China mission.

When my parents arrived in Taiwan as Lutheran missionaries in January 1954, the mission had already reestablished its China mission in Hsinchu. The main church was located on Nan Ta Lu (Big South Road) to the south of the Hsinchu railway station. A smaller congregation had been formed in a small rented shop building along Kwang Fu Lu (Liberation Road) which was the highway leading from Hsinchu to the communities to the east and into the hills and mountains. My father took this photograph of Kwang Fu Lu in 1954. Hsinchu is in the background. The first house we lived in was located in the vicinity (and to the left) of the smokestack in the distance of the photograph. The turnoff to the future MAAG compound is just to the right of this location.


The small congregation of the Kwang Fu Lu church expanded rapidly during 1954 and larger facilities were urgently needed. My father and mother provided the funds to purchase a tea house, complete with a moon gate entrance, approximately 1/3 mile further east along Kwang Fu Lu and 75 yards down a side street to the north. The property was then given a basic renovation to provide suitable facilities for church use. This photograph was taken in late 1954 or early 1955 and shows the commencement of renovations. A new roof was required and the building is shown here awaiting its new roof. Note the mud brick and plaster construction of the walls.

Interior renovations are underway after the new roof is completed. A Nationalist Chinese army soldier is standing in the moon gate of the building and is speaking to two construction workers immediately in front of him. Only the feet of the second worker are visible as this person is standing on a ladder. Note also the construction worker standing on the roof beams of the adjacent building to the left. These smaller buildings were to be used for the pastor's housing and meeting rooms.

One of the construction workers, a woman, on the renovation team. In Taiwan it was commonplace for women to work alongside men on construction projects, though they were usually used in supporting, rather than primary, roles.



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