On June 9, 1847, Islay Burns waved farewell to the S.S. Mary Bannatyne as it sailed out of Portsmouth harbor on its five-month voyage to China. He never expected to see again one of its passengers—his older brother, William Chalmers Burns. William would return only once to the United Kingdom, in 1854–55. For the next two decades, he served Christ as a missionary to the Chinese peoples. One of the most remarkable servants of Christ in the modern era, William died at age 53 in Nieu-Chwang, China, on April 4, 1868.