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The Chinese teaching cloths were used by Byron and Nora Flory, Church of the Brethren missionaries in Shanxi Province in China in the 1920s. They were stationed in Shou Yang (now Shouyang). The cloths were used when Byron did evangelism itinerating in rural villages outside of Shouyang. They were also used in the “gospel tent,” a large tent that the missionaries and the Chinese evangelists would take out to villages and set up for several days at a time. The cloths were hung up in the tents to teach about hygiene, family life and the Christian faith.

The Florys brought these cloths home with them at the end of their mission work in China. They gave them to their son, Wendell, who was born in China and later worked there as a missionary himself. In his later years he gave them to his youngest daughter, Mary Jo Flory Steury. She was a Brethren pastor and then worked as the Director of Ministry for the whole denomination. She died unexpectedly in March 2016. Her surviving husband, Mark Flory Steury, donated the cloths to the Young Center in the summer of 2017.

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