From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes
William Burns and I continued with our work God had called us to do. This was my tenth missionary journey.
Last time I wrote you about the men in the fields who refused to stop putting on bad plays. It wasn't simply a show. Men in the crowd bought young girls to make them slaves. Those living in the city didn't like these plays and the selling of slaves on either.
A few men left, refusing to buy slaves after William and I leaped on the stage and spoke with them about the sin of selling people, but that was all. Unfortunately two men could not win in a physical battle against the guards who were there to drag us away.
Burns and I returned to the ship for lunch. We felt God leading us to stay in Nanxun and continue preaching a while longer. I sat in my cabin eating and studying the Word when suddenly a loud crash boomed above my head.
The booming continued as though something was fired at the ship. The ceiling of my room crumbled and fell to the floor. I hurried out the back way of the ship to see who was attacking the ship.
One of the Chinese helpers leaped to the shore and attracted the attacker's attention. He asked them why they were throwing large pieces of frozen dirt at the ship then returned to report the situation to me.
The leaders of the attacks smuggled salt, and did not live in the area. They became angry when Burns and I did not give them the large amount of free books they wanted. We didn't mind giving them a few books but chose not to give them any more. Who knows what they would have done with the Bibles?
After lunch time, Burns and I returned to the city and were quite happy to hear the city people agreeing with our choice to not give into the salt smugglers.
A few days later we went to a tea shop and tried to witness to the people there. No one seemed interested or asked any questions. Burns suggested we leave the city and look for a new place to preach.
We returned to the area where the boats had been docked and found the lantern marking our place blown out. When I asked for it to be relit the Christian Chinese helper told us a man pretending to be a policeman came on board while we were gone.
The pretend policeman had a letter from the salt smugglers demanding money and drugs. More than fifty smugglers waited for our answer. If we paid, they would leave us alone. If we didn't they would hunt us down and destroy our ship.
Our Chinese helper then told the policeman, "These men do not have any money or drugs. They have come to preach the Word of God and to give Bibles."
The policeman didn't believe him. His face turned red and he shook his fist. "Then you will have trouble, mark my word."
The Chinese helper said to me, "I looked for you while the others moved the ships, but couldn't find you. Just before you arrived, I found several men hiding behind trees and in the bushes. I listened to what they said. They asked people along the river where your boats had been moved to. One saw me and asked me, too. I could honestly say I didn't know since I was not on the ships. I was very grateful they didn't recognize me as one of the workers on your ship."
Burns and I followed him down the river and found our ships there. We moved them even further away from the smugglers. Burns and I called all our workers together and read Psalm 91, asking God to protect us. We stayed on the ship all night for safety.
The next morning a major rainstorm prevented us from sailing away. This ended up being a blessing from God because the smugglers could not move about in the thick rain to find us.
The next day we ended my tenth missionary journey by sailing back to Shanghai.
I am not discouraged. Nor tempted to stay at my rented house in Shanghai. I know in my heart there will be an eleventh missionary journey. With each trip, I learn how to survive in China, understand the culture, and find new ways to share the Gospel of Christ with the people.
Please pray for the men who put on the bad play and the salt smugglers that they would believe that God loves them. Also, please thank God with me for the gift of godly Chinese helpers.
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.