From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes
I didn't think our financial situation could get any worse. But it has. We have sent many letters begging for our support funds. All we've received has been an apology letter saying the society had received fewer donations and therefore couldn't send anything else. Fortunately, William Berger chose to send money directly to Dr. Parker and me. Without his help we would have starved.
The second problem has been my great desire to have a wife. I've wanted to marry Elizabeth Sissons for a long time and have sent several proposals. All have come back unanswered. I refused to give up. I wrote her father begging him to let sweet Elizabeth sail to China and become my wife. Now I wait.
Now back to my next adventure. I have written you about my first four missionary journeys. John Burdon and two Chinese teachers left with me on April 17 for my fifth missionary journey. We hired two junks to sail up the Yangtze River instead of taking my own boat, which was too small for a journey with rough waters.
After four missionary journeys, we'd learned the best place to go to attract the biggest crowd. The temples housed large crowds that visited regularly. The gathering place usually had more people that could freely move. Five to six hundred men and women bumped into each other trying to get from one place to another.
In one of those crowded temples, someone stole our satchel full of New Testaments, my hat and my glasses. I never received my glasses back. Still, we went on with our work preaching the Gospel message to the people.
We visited Chongming, where the only place for me to stand high enough for all the people to hear and see me was a huge incense urn. I balanced myself carefully and spoke as loud as I could to the people hungry to hear what the foreigners had to say.
We wanted to go to Tongzhou next. The two Chinese teachers who travelled with us warned us not to go there. There were gangs, cruel people and the soldiers were known to be wicked to everyone, even visitors.
The Chinese teachers said, "We cannot go with you. That place is dangerous."
Burdon and I suggested the teachers stay with the junks and guard them. If we didn't return in a reasonable time, they should take one of the junks back to Shanghai to report our absence, leaving the second junk for us in case we returned late. The two men seemed happy with the arrangements.
I'll finish the adventures of my fifth missionary journey next time. I can tell you this, the two Chinese men were right.
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.