Monday, July 30, 2012

Hudson Taylor- We Thought We Knew

By Mary Vee

J. Hudson Taylor's Journal

After five and a half months of sailing, one might think this missionary land lover would be ecstatic about getting off the ship.

It would have been true if I had understood what the people said and could figure out where to go.

I roamed through Shanghai's city streets, searching for the British Consulate. What I needed was the English post office housed inside. I expected a letter with money for my rent.  

Someone gave me simple directions to find the building. Yeah, right. Simple for a Chinese person. 

As I walked down several streets, I suddenly realized I didn't know anything! Not even one clue how to survive in this city. All those years of reading every available book about China and studying the language meant nothing on this day. The people of Shanghai spoke a different dialect, so different I couldn't understand one word.

At last I found a building with the British flag and was relieved to hear English spoken. Yes, you can say, duh. But had you walked with me through the city, you would have been amazed as well. I found the British Consulate post office not far from the main doors. No one attended the counter at the moment. I went to another office. "Can you tell me where the postal person is?"

"I'm sorry. The office has closed for the day. You'll have to come back tomorrow."

Not good. I needed to remove my baggage from the ship right away. I had no money, no food, and no place to store my belongings. 

I did have the letter of introduction to the man I didn't know. At least I had a place to start.

I set off for the man's home, hoping he could help me find a place to sleep even for one night. When I arrived, though, a servant told me all the missionaries fled from the gunfire. The war forced many people into hiding. Only one man, a Dr William Lockhart, stayed to help the wounded. He was a surgeon.

"You are welcome to stay in my home until you find lodging," he said.

I felt bad about accepting his gift. Dr. Lockhart came to China with a different mission organization. I didn't want to use their facility. 

Unless I accepted his gift, though, I'd have to sit on the side of the street and guard my belongings all night, hoping the money I needed would be at the post office in the morning.

I chose to accept his gift. "Thank you."

In the next few days, Dr. Lockhart told me prices increased because of the war. My rent money would not be enough. 

Before I left for China the mission board met with me to figure out how much money I would need to be a missionary. We didn't know the war increased prices way beyond the living allotment. 

Other organizations gave their Chinese missionaries money for rent, medical, food, and a little more for living expenses. My clothes had tears and looked old. I wouldn't be able to pay rent or buy food even when the money arrived. Would any one want to hear me share the good news of Jesus when I looked like a homeless foreigner?

I didn't know what to do. 

I wrote the mission and explained the problem. Until I receive an answer, I will have to accept Dr. Lockhart's generosity and help him in his work as much as I can in return.

I am thankful, Lord for the money you are about to send me..

J. Hudson Taylor

Do you have any questions?

Photo courtesy of

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.

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