Monday, September 10, 2012

Hudson Taylor-Laughing in the Face of Death

By Mary Vee

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

click on image to learn more about junks
Last week I told about my first venture from Shanghai. If you missed part one to this story you can click here for part one

I'd learned a few phrases of Mandarin, watched other missionaries dress, eat, and walk, and felt I could leave the comfort of my lodgings. We hired a boat for one day and floated up the river to meet people and tell them about Jesus.

The trip back did not go as expected.

Our boat scooted in range of imperial army's guns surrounding Shanghai. We repeated one of the hymns loud and strong, hoping the army could hear our voices and realize missionaries occupied the boat not spies.

As we sang the last words of the chorus, our junk pulled into view of the largest imperial vessel of them all. Apparently they could not hear our songs. 

A deep gong rang from the ship as an alarm. The soldiers ran to their gun stations ready to fire at us.

The problem with traveling with two other missionaries who grew up in different places than I was not knowing the same hymns. Quarterman bellowed out "Blow Ye the Trumpet, Blow!" I had never heard the hymn. 

When Quarterman finished his hymn I sang one I knew. Of course the other two didn't know it. We looked like three bumbling singers trying to sing a song we all knew.

Soldiers from the ship shouted at us. I would tell you what they said if I could have understood them. Between the noise and my little knowledge of Mandarin, I had no clue.

We were singing, they were shouting, no one understood. I realized how ridiculous we all looked and broke into laughing. I couldn't help myself. It was like a teenage giggle fest, laughing and not able to stop. Quarterman and Edkins couldn't help themselves either. They laughed too.

This did not make the imperialist soldiers happy. They must have thought we were laughing at them.  Never laugh at a soldier standing on a warship with loaded guns.

One soldier leaned over the side. "Who goes there?"

Our boatman cupped his hands to his mouth and shouted, "White devils."

Oh, that didn't sound good. Edkins and I yelled, "We're from the Great English nation."

Quarterman, the American, hollered, "From the Flowery flag country." This was one phrase the Chinese used for Americans.

The soldiers asked a few more question then finally let us go by.

Well, that certainly put an extra helping of excitement on our trip down the river. My heart returned to normal speed as my foot stepped into my home.

Did the adventure scare me away from missionary work in China? No. It did quite the opposite. I saw God perform a miracle. He also told me, through the whole incident, He wanted me alive for at least one more adventure.

J. Hudson Taylor

Do you have any questions?

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