Monday, February 18, 2013

Hudson Taylor-Being a Missionary is Not Easy

By Mary Vee

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

I have been in China for two years, now. It seems much longer with all that I have learned and been given opportunity to do. 

Since arriving, I have been on eleven missionary journeys, changed my appearance by wearing only Chinese clothing and wearing my hair as the Chinese, a single braid down my back. I have also become quite proficient in Mandarin and have also learned pieces of other dialects.

What adventure God has for me next is totally a mystery.

The most difficult part about being a missionary is not what must be dealt with physically, but the rejection of the people.

Last time I mentioned that my new friend, William Burns and I both felt God's leading to go to Swatow to start a ministry with the people on the island across the way. On the island, foreigners have set up drug and slave businesses. Chinese men are told they can have great job and travel to foreign countries if they will leave their homes and come to the island. The men freely walk on the boats hoping for a great future. They are then thrown into the lower parts of the ship, crowded with thousands of others who have been tricked and disappear into slavery.

William and I refused to live on the island, but our hearts ached to minister to the people. After the captain took us to Swatow we searched for housing. No one would rent to us. They thought we were evil foreigners like the men on the island. Fortunately, William spoke the Cantonese language. 

He made friends with a merchant who was quite surprised to see a foreigner had learned his language. He said he would be willing to help us find an apartment. The merchant had a relative who was a high ranking official. The two men helped us rent a small apartment. 

The apartment was located above an incense shop. To get to our apartment we had to climb a ladder from the shop up to the second floor. We hung sheets to separate two tiny bedrooms and a small area for studying. With summer coming, the room became intensely warm. We couldn't touch the ceiling tiles, they were so blazing hot.

We set out to begin our ministry. No matter where we went the people did not trust us. We tried to give away New Testaments and preach, but the people thought we were like the evil foreigners on the island across from the city. 

The captain who told us about the need to have missionaries in this city came back for a visit. He saw our tiny apartment and was surprised. "Couldn't you find anything bigger. This apartment is so tiny!"

William and I both agreed, we would rather be where we were, living with the Chinese than on the island with the evil foreigners.

We continued to try to witness to the people. But the foreigners on the island had created such a problem, the Chinese simply would not give us a chance. The Chinese yelled at us, "foreign devil, foreign dog, foreign pig."

Burns and I went to the villages surrounding the city. This didn't help much either. There was no law, no order in any of the villages. Each town had walls around their land and they fought with each other. So, when we went to one village and made friends, telling people about God's love, the next village found out and refused to listen to us. They said we were friends with the first village and therefore must be enemies.

Sometimes I just feel tired. Tired when people don't want to hear about the God who loves them so very much. And then I wonder if I should stay in this city. God has led us here for a reason and I can't wait to find out what it is. Please pray for me to know what God would have me do.

J. Hudson Taylor

Photo courtesy of

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.

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