From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes
The Cantonese continued to threaten the lives of foreigners. Dr. Parker, John Jones, and I became concerned for the missionary work in Ningbo. The fear in our hearts for the women and children with us in the hospital ministry grew. Someone had to stay with the work to help the Chinese. Someone had to take the missionary women and children to safety.
Since the hospital ministry was under Dr. Parker's care, he chose to stay. Miss Aldersey, head teacher, also refused to leave the Ningbo missionary school. On January 25, 1857, I escorted Dr. Parker's wife, children, John Jones and his family, and Mrs. Gough and her children away from the mission. We stepped aboard the Japan and were thankful for a safe journey to Shanghai.
Fortunately, the missionary agency, who once allowed me to rent their home in Shanghai, offered to take care of our group until we could return to Ningbo. John Jones and I helped settle the women and children into sleeping quarters before helping others.
The winter became harsh, especially with the war raging. Thousands fled to Shanghai hoping to find shelter and food. We took what food we could to the poor starving souls lining the streets. They had no money for food, clothes, or shelter. Many slept out in the open next to others who had starved to death.
We searched the streets for others in need of care and came upon the remnants of a war-torn house. Inside, beggars, diseased, and starved Chinese men and women packed each room. The food we brought didn't go very far. Still, we shared God's love in any way we could. I'm not sure how much they heard with their stomach so hungry.
One day I received a letter from my missionary friend, William Burns. He was the one who went to Swatow with me to tell the drug dealers about God's love. Burns stated he had an opportunity to come help with the ministry. He decided to go to Ningbo and join the other CES missionaries. His goal was the like mine: set up a base for missionary journeys to the interior villages.
Rejoining Burns in Ningbo would be an excellent idea. Burns and I got along well, we could begin taking missionary trips to Chinese villages deep inland, and I could see Maria, the missionary school teacher working under Miss Aldersey direction. Dear sweet, Maria. Not one day went by when I hadn't thought of her. As a secret between you and me, I would love to marry the girl.
I gathered my courage and sent her a letter, telling her of my deep love and desire to marry her.
Sadly, a letter came a few days later. Miss Aldersey, the head teacher, insisted she write me immediately and end any hope of a marriage. But Maria managed to include a few sentences, squeezed inside paragraphs, indicating she truly cared for me.
Miss Aldersey became determined to help Maria stay focused with the calling God gave her and not waste it on an insignificant, unimportant person like me. Miss Aldersey's anger grew stronger against our marriage, causing the dispute to be taken to the whole missionary community.
If I could get back to Ningbo, maybe I could change Miss Aldersey's mind. I am a somebody, following the calling of God. At my current age of twenty-five, I am old enough to know I am in love with Maria and desperately want to marry her.
I chose to pray for God's help to change Miss Aldersey's mind.
J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China
Blessed by God
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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. &and Mrs. Howard Taylor.