From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes
I realize this is Christmas time for you readers. How timely that I tell you about my seventh missionary journey because seven is a number God uses so often. And this journey caused me to become more like Jesus.
My friend, John Burdon left with me on June 8th for Ningbo. We of course preached to every person along the way and gave New Testaments and Christian literature.
We stopped in Zhapu for the night and explained we were travelers sharing God's love. Two families offered us lodging in their home. One family took John the other took me. I had a wonderful time living as the people of the land. I ate with chopsticks, slept of a straw bed, and spent the evening as they would.
It occurred to me that I could feel comfortable wearing the same kind of clothes as the Chinese people, I certainly had mastered eating with chopsticks. The thought kept with me all night long and for days later.
On all our previous missionary journeys, people along our way would first see our European clothes and become afraid. Only the rowdy men dared come near us. We wasted a lot of time explaining why we came.
But if I were to wear Chinese clothes it might make a difference in how the people saw us. I also considered shaving my head, growing a pigtail, and living more like the Chinese. Hmmm. I would certainly blend in better.
John and I continued our journey to Ningbo the next morning. The port city had six or seven million Chinese, foreigners, and several missionary ministries, including a school for girls taught by the daughters of Rev. and Mrs. Samuel Dyer.
I was fascinated with all the city had to offer, including interesting new bugs for my collection. John and I relaxed and learned everything we could about the city.
Two days later, an urgent message arrived for John stating his son had become seriously ill. We hurried back to Shanghai. Unfortunately his son didn't live. I stayed with John, comforting him.
Two months later, Dr. Parker, the missionary from Scotland who shared the same residence with me in Shanghai, received an invitation from the people in Ningbo to be their community surgeon. He accepted, which meant he and his family would move away.
Dr. Parker and I had rented the home from another missionary society. The society realized they needed the home and asked me to leave as well. I needed a new place to live.
The people of Ningbo had also invited me to work in their city. I prayed and didn't feel God leading me there. This proved to be the moment to blend in Chinese culture.
I bought some Chinese clothes then set aside all my European clothing.
Dr. Parker asked my help with the move. I dressed as a Chinese person, he as the European missionary. As we traveled I saw an immediate change in how the people welcomed us. Dr. Parker and I preached and gave medical help along the way.
I felt more like a missionary of God than ever before.
God sent His Son, Jesus, whose birthday we celebrate at Christmas time, to live among us, teach us, and to provide the way of salvation. Jesus dressed and ate as those in his neighborhood. I ought to do the same as a sent one of God.
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.
Merry Christmas Everyone
Thank you for sharing J. Hudson Taylor's Missionary Adventures with me.
There is more to come!