From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes
I had become quite comfortable with my routine in Shanghai. My greatest goal was to become accepted in the Chinese culture so that they would be willing to listen to preachings about the Word of God.
My ninth missionary journey, which I last told you about, was disastrous. I had ventured beyond the thirty mile restriction for foreigners to minister to Chinese residents on an island and nearly landed in jail.
The treaty of Nanking allowed foreigners to visit and live in certain port cities. The foreigners also had permission to travel thirty miles beyond.
I remind you of this because a visitor, William Burns, an evangelist from Scotland, landed at Shanghai's port. We met and became quite good friends right away.
We sat down and had tea. During the conversation I shared what happened and why I had not ventured out since. He learned from me the importance of dressing like the Chinese and having hair styled with a long braid as the local men wear.
I learned from him the importance of an evangelist for a church. He told me of his passions to represent the church whenever visiting Chinese cities. Once he helped the Amoy Chinese, rescuing many from slaughter when the Triads and imperialists warred in their city.
We spent hours and days getting to know each other and sharing what God allowed us to do in China. During one of those talks, William said, "You know, Taylor, our calling from God is of greater importance than the obedience of the Nanking treaty. I suggest we get on our knees and pray that God will open the door for us to travel beyond the thirty mile limit to share His message. This my friend is the only way we will be able to be missionaries in inland China."
"I quite agree with you, Burns. It is my heart's desire to share God's love with those who live in the mountain villages and beyond."
God put in our hearts to plan a missionary journey.
December 16th, 1855 we preached in the church I had planted. During the afternoon we kneeled before God, praying for His blessings on our travels for the next day. This would be my tenth missionary journey. I am not sure how many Burns had ventured.
God filled our hearts with joy, confirming His calling for us to take this journey. We paid workers to prepare and load our boat. The sails unfurled the next morning, Monday, December 17th, capturing the wind and sending the ship up the river. We had hired two boats for safety.
I walked into my cabin and praised God for His blessing. My room far exceeded any cabin from earlier journeys. A small window allowed in light, yet prevented nosy people from peeking in to see my work. There were two comfortable chairs for guests, a table and chair, and storage underneath my bed. I felt like a king.
God blessed the first moment of this journey. I can't wait to see what happens. Next time I will write more of our journey and the great lessons I learned from Burns. I am thankful God sent him to work alongside me.
If you have a moment, please pray God's blessings on this journey.
J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China
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Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
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.