From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes
Last week I started to tell you about our fifth missionary journey but ran out of time. If you missed part one click here.
The two Chinese teachers who came with us on the first part of our journey refused to go any closer to the large city of Tunchow. Over and over they warned, "It is not safe." John Burdon and I talked about the situation at the dock and decided, no matter what harm may come to us, the people of the city needed to know God loves them and that He sent His son, Jesus to die for their sins.
Looking at the teacher's faces, we understood the road would be extremely dangerous and took a while to pray for safety. We were able to hire a Chinese man to push a wheelbarrow carrying our supplies the seven miles from the river to Tunchow.
A man dressed in business clothes stopped us on the road. He said, "Honorable sirs, I need to warn you of the dangers in Tunchow where you travel. Their army is cruel. You will only find great unhappiness there. Please turn back."
I must admit, at first John and I did not know if this was God's protective warning spoken through the man, or if Satan wanted to scare us away from the mission God sent us.
We stopped and prayed again. God reminded us he sent us to China to do a work. We felt willing to obey His command and face whatever came our way. We thanked the man and continued our journey to the city.
Our wheelbarrow man became frightened after hearing the businessman's warning and refused to go another step. He dropped the handles of the wheelbarrow and ran away. We looked around and found another man. He agreed to take over the job.
As John and I walked, we quoted scriptures and sang hymns to encourage each other to keep going. Not far ahead was the western gate of the city. We didn't want to cause harm to the man who pushed the wheelbarrow. I said, "Stay here and wait for us." John and I gathered as many New Testaments as we could hold and walked to the west gate.
The closer we walked to the gate, the more people we saw. No one caused any harm, but we heard their words. "Black devils." Neither one of us knew why they called us that. Was it our clothes?
We kept walking past a few soldiers. None of them touched us, although they squinted and had angry faces. I said, "These must be the soldiers. They look angry but haven't harmed us. Let's keep going."
I spoke too soon. A tall soldier, who stank of alcohol pushed behind John and grabbed him by the shoulders. John tried to shake himself free. Within in seconds John and I were surrounded by a whole company of soldiers, angry and smelling of alcohol.
They pushed and dragged us faster than we could walk. My bag of books grew heavier with each step, but I couldn't switch the bag to my other arm since the soldiers held us captive.
"We demand to be taken to the chief magistrate!" The more we cried out for help, the tighter the soldiers grip grew, and the speed they made us run.
The soldiers growled. "Be quiet. We know what to do with you." The lead soldier stopped, released John and came over to me, pounding my head, arms, and chest. He yanked my hair and my collar, choking me.
The situation looked pretty bad. This could be the day God chose to take us home to be with Him. No matter what happens next, I am glad we obeyed God and came to this city.
I'll finish the story next time, after I take a breather.
J. Hudson Taylor
Do you have any questions?
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.