From J. Hudson Taylor's Journals
You never quite know when unusual information can come in handy.
After five months of sloshing back and forth, learning to keep food in my stomach instead of adding it to the sea with the next wave, I became quite bored. I could jog the small deck, climb the ladder down into the dark deck below and talk to a few rats, sit in my cabin and watch the picture on the wall sway, or I could distract myself by learning something new.
I chose the latter.
I had gone to medical school and was days short of graduation when the opportunity to leave for China fell into my hands. I learned the information from the books and teachers, but I wanted to learn more about medicine.
The poor crew members became my guinea pigs. "I must practice," I told them. If any had a sliver, cut, or felt sick I came to help and offered to do more. I even removed an abscessed tooth from the steward. I became quite the expert after five months and the men soon learned to only complain when they really had a medical problem.
One day the cat died. Poor thing. Before burying the cat in the sea, I practice some surgical procedures and learned some amazing things. The crew brought me fish and birds that had died. I became intrigued with God's masterful creations and how they looked and worked on the inside.
At night I laid on the deck floor watching the most amazing star show. The stars are quite different in the southern hemisphere from those I saw in England. The crew taught me names of the stars and shapes, like the southern cross that helped guide the ship.
Back in my cabin I studied books about China, math,astronomy, medicine, chemistry, and magnetism. God had put me in school for over five months and gave me nothing to do but to study or be bored.
To break the boredom for the crew I taught the captain how to play a concertina. The second mate played a flute. To pass the time when the wind refused to blow we pulled out the instruments and had a fun sing time.
My absolute favorite lessons came at sunset. God painted colors in the tropical sunset sky that I had not seen before. The only sounds I heard came from fluttering sails, fish dancing to the surface, or birds flapping their wings. This peaceful scene drew me close to God.
I thought I sailed on a ship for a little more than five months to get to China. God had a different plan. He put me in an amazing school.
J. Hudson Taylor
Do you have any questions?
Photo link will take you to more information about stars in the southern hemisphere.
Research resources: J. Hudson Taylor, An Autobiography by J. Hudson Taylor; It is Not Death to Die, a new biography of Hudson Taylor by Jim Cromarty; Hudson Taylor Founder, China Inland Mission by Vance Christie; J. Hudson Taylor, A Man in Christ, by Roger Steer, and Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret by dr. & Mrs. Howard Taylor.