Monday, September 3, 2012

Hudson Taylor-Singing for Safety

By Mary Vee


From Hudson Taylor's Notes
click on picture to learn more about a junk

I'd finally come to the place where I felt comfortable enough to leave Shanghai and venture further into China.

I can't take full credit. Two missionaries invited me to go with them on an adventure  down the Huangpu River to the city of Woosung.

The location didn't matter. I mattered. I felt like a butterfly sprouting from a cocoon. I had studied the Shanghai dialect of Mandarin and helped a missionary doctor for several months. I wanted to do missionary work of my own. (Sounds kinda like a two year old, huh?). Well, I did. I came to China to be a missionary, not a leech. 

I was brave, ready to see something beyond the coast where I had landed. Anxious to tell others about Christ, but not foolish. I didn't go by myself. 

I travelled with Joseph Edkins and John Quarterman, both missionaries.  One English, the other American. We gave away Bibles and booklets to men and women traveling on junks, a junk is a Chinese sailing boat. see the picture above.

The captains of the junks promised us the Bibles and booklets would be read by those on board, then would be given to others they met at distant ports.

My first trip away from the safety of the city. I felt like dancing and singing praises to God like King David. I had a chance to tell and share God's Word.
link to take a river boat cruise on the Huangpu

We turned our junk around and headed back to Shanghai at sunset. Thats when the problems started. 

The imperial army still surrounded the city. Generals planted warships in the river to prevent the enemy from entering the country from the ocean. During the day we had no problems leaving Shanghai and sailing up the river, the imperialist saw we were not rebel spies. At night, however, they would not recognize us. 

The army would shoot first and look in our boat second. A little late for us.

Edkins suggested we sing hymns, loud and strong to let the soldiers know we were missionaries. What a good idea. The three of us sang our favorite hymns, at the top of our voices. Not exactly the three part harmony of a professional trio, but we tried. 

We stopped singing after passing the last vessel to catch our breath and pat each other on the back. "That went better than expected." 

We sat back and enjoyed the beautiful river view until our boatman shouted at us. "Start singing again. Hurry!" His face clearly showed trouble loomed ahead. The last boats we saw must not have been the imperialist vessels after all. 

A military vessel stared at us from ahead with guns turned straight at our boat.

Sorry, I need a breath. I'll continue next week.

J. Hudson Taylor

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