J. Hudson Taylor date: June 1857
From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes
With all the different forms of worship, Methodist, Baptist, Catholic, Nazarene, the list could go on for pages, it is easy to understand how missionaries could run into unusual conflicts. For while we all come to share a faith in God and God alone, we seem to have differing theological views.
The personal choice to leave my sending mission, the one who sent only borrowed funds for our support, and rely solely on God for funds proved to be quite a problem for some. I dressed like a Chinese, wore my hair like them, endeavored to win their trust while sharing God's love. This did set me apart from other missionaries who had plenty of support, a mission, and dressed like the English.
When strong feelings for a young missionary lady teacher tugged at my heart, the head teacher immediately went out of her way to keep us apart. I thought of Maria Dyer for over a year, wanting to get to know her better.
As the wars calmed, I led the missionary families back to their homes in Ningbo and moved in with one of the families. They gave me a room in the attic to sleep, write, and study. One day, the rains grew fierce. I went downstairs for a cup of tea at the same time the ladies Bible study dismissed. All but two women left right away. The other two waited for transportation.
Maria Dyer waited with her fried near the door. She turned when I came down the stairs. Her eyes brightened and she walked near. I asked if I could speak with her. We invited another woman to join us and witness our conversation. During the conversation the woman who joined us asked me about my beliefs in God.
When the head teacher learned about the conversation she became angry. She had worked to keep Maria and me apart for such a long time. I tried to share with her my strong desire to serve God and knew she had seen my work. Yet she still said I was "fanatical, undependable, diseased in body and mind, and totally worthless." She also said Maria came from a higher class of family, deserving of a much better husband.
Fortunately, Maria thought otherwise. She wrote her parents asking permission to date me. I wrote her parents and explained my mission to serve God and my love for Maria. The woman who listened to Maria and I speak in her home also wrote Maria's parents and explained what she witnessed.
While I waited for news from Maria's parents, I respected the head teacher's wishes and kept my distance from Maria. John and I worked diligently to continue serving our great God, the one who called us to serve Him here in China.
Please pray that Maria's parents will answer soon. I must admit, I am lonely, and would love to have Maria for my wife and companion.
J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China
Blessed by God
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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. &and Mrs. Howard Taylor.