Taken from J. Hudson Taylor's Notes
I planned to eventually return to William Burns and the work we set up in Swatow. Yes. I do remember the difficulty the task and how most of the people wouldn't listen.
It seemed the prince of evil had a firm hold on the city and the island across the way. But like quicksand, there are ways to escape. And I am proud to say my Heavenly Father is resourceful and creative and mightier than the prince of evil.
Even though I still suffered from the woes of dysentery God had lifted my spirits. The medical portion of our work had attracted attention from many Chinese and opened doors to talk about the God who loved them.
The discovery that all the medicines and most of the medical equipment had been destroyed in a fire back in Shanghai proved to be a puzzle, not a source of distress. God flooded my mind with a plan as I lay in the bed recovering from my illness. New medicines cost too much in Shanghai. If I could find them cheeper in another place I could purchase more for the same amount of money. I needed to go visit Dr. Parker who had set up a missionary hospital north of Shanghai.
I forced myself from bed, and sailed with my belongings toward Nignpo where Dr. Parker stayed. Another mission wanted my apartment back leaving me no place to store my belongings. So, like a vagabond, I took everything I had with me, including my bed.
The ship moved, no it barely crawled up the river. The area along the river experienced a drought. To irrigate the fields, farmers drained water from the river, thus lowering the level. Fortunately my ship was small and could travel a greater distance than larger boats. Still, I had an unexplainable sense of urgency.
My boat stopped at Shihmenwan, unable to travel any more in the shallow waters. I had no choice but to walk. I hired two Chines workers to carry my bed and other belongings to the next town. We only walked a short ways and the time had only reached noon when the workers stopped.
They set all my things down and said, "We're too tired to walk any more." I had smelled the drugs on them earlier, but hoped they would still be able to do the job.
There I stood in the middle of nowhere with all my belongings. Thankfully my loyal servant turned to me and said, "Would you like me to hire new workers? I will go find them."
"Yes, thank you." I sat on the bed, knowing I could trust him to hire better workers than I had. Not long after, he returned with two workers. I didn't want to walk at the slower pace required for someone carrying such a heavy load. I gave them the instructions and walked ahead.
I stopped in a village for a rest and a cup of tea while waiting for the workers to catch up. All afternoon I watched and saw no sign. I became concerned about my things and asked the local people if they had seen workers carrying a bed and some bamboo boxes.
"Why yes," one said. "I saw two men the same as you described. They said they came from Shihmenwan and needed to take their load to Haining by nightfall to be paid."
Great. I wasted the afternoon watching for them to come when they had passed me and already arrived at the port city.
Night fell. The road way to dangerous to walk in the dark. I had to stay in the inn in this village and eat from their, um, delicious menu. Burnt cold rice and snakes fried in lamp oil. I slept on a large community bed with ten other lodgers. And the bed, well it was made of boards set across a few stools.
Tomorrow, as early as possible, I will set out for the port town and catch up with my belongings.
I should write a book about these adventures.
Please pray that I will receive the support I need to continue this work.
J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China
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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.