From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes
Every detail had been finished. I could hardly express the excitement riveting through my veins. At last, I was ready to go on a missionary trip alone.
It would be my second journey up the river to villages and cities well beyond the protected thirty miles, but my first trip alone. No one to speak for me. No one to translate.
I had a ship, well, a tiny one and an old one, but a river worthy ship. I hired a Chinese crew, always best to have crew who understood and spoke the language of the water and its traps. I had studied and practiced the language so many hours. Hah I found myself answering Mrs. Parker's English spoken question in Chinese! She laughed with me.
I loaded medical supplies, food, and Testaments and ran up the plank to board. How is it that the sun poked through the clouds at that very moment? I took a deep breath and for once during the war, it didn't smell full of gunpowder.
My energy level outgrew my body, I seriously could have run the whole thirty miles to my destination. Well, maybe not seriously. But, well, have you ever looked forward to something so very much that when the time came you couldn't stand still? Yes. This trip was mine.
The crew set sail and went about their work like experts. The ship groaned begging to rest a few more days. No. Not possible. I would be the cruel taskmaster and force it to leave dock. This. . . sigh . . . this was my solo missionary journey.
Freezing winds filled the sails. January temperatures in China did not bring a balmy vacation breeze. I didn't care. The temperature would not hold me back. Not now. I had waited many years...so many years to tell the Chinese about Jesus. No Christmas present, or any other gift could come close to this moment. Crisp winds snapped my face as the ship sailed on.
I didn't wander aimlessly up the river to the first cities I found. No. This moment deserved a plan. I set the course for Chuansha, Nanhui, and Zhapu.
In Chuansha I chose to give the New Testaments only to people who showed me they could read. It may sound cruel, but the illiterate would use the pages to line their shoes from the cold. When the people saw I had medical supplies, they brought twelve patients who needed care. What a great opportunity to share God's love.
After docking at Nanhui, the eastern gate suddenly closed, preventing my entry. It wasn't night. I went around to the west gate and found it open. City folk gathered around me and touched my clothes. They stared at my pants and shirt, so different from their clothing. I took the opportunity to preach. As I spoke, more men and women came to hear what I had to say. One was the city official who I later found out ordered the east gate closed to keep the strange looking man out. He smiled when I gave him a New Testament. More than four hundred people came to hear God's Word!
In Zhapu, I again preached and gave a New Testament to those who could read. The food in this city was very cheap, much cheaper in Shanghai. I spent as much as I could afford to stock up and take back home.
The trip back to Shanghai had freezing winds, like the journey there. I hardly noticed. I stood on the deck and let my mind rewind my first solo journey. God blessed me with no issues. He must have known my first trip would encourage me to take the future ones.
It did. I can't wait to go again!
J. Hudson Taylor
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Photo courtesy of visualbiblealive.com
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.