Monday, October 14, 2013

Hudson Taylor-Those Who Cause Trouble

By Mary Vee
Year: December, 1866 
Hudson Taylor: age 34

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

Life would be immeasurably easier if those we worked with felt the same commitment to a job, right? Missionaries are not exempt from having one or two fellow workers who choose to find problems then stir up the joy in the workers.

Our problem started the day we sent one of our missionary couples, Lewis and Eliza Nichols, to a nearby city to expand our work. They met George and Adelaide Moules who worked for  another missionary group. George and Adelaide firmly believed Chinese people would not listen to their message about God's love unless they wore proper English clothes. After all how else could the Chinese notice a difference?

I, and the others who came with me, firmly believed that the Chinese would see our respect for them and show how much we truly cared about their feelings by wearing the same type of clothes. Well, I've mentioned this more than once in my past writings to you. I'll go on with the story.

Lewis and Eliza spent many evenings with George and Adelaide. I didn't know it at the time, but apparently the couple listened to George and chose to start wearing English clothes. This of course created quite a stir in the city where they worked.

The people in their village stopped coming to the Sunday services. After several weeks, Lewis came to me. I was shocked to see him in English clothes, but chose not to say anything at the time. Perhaps by staying with the main group a few days he would see the strong reason to return to wearing Chinese clothes.

Lewis and Eliza did not. They wore their English clothes every day. They requested help, a national to go with them and translate the church service for Lewis.

I must admit I was quite disappointed he didn't work through the problem as others have. I sent for a national from Ningbo, where I once worked, and asked him to go with Lewis back to their ministry. 

Tsiu arrived in a short time and left with the Nicols' for Siaoshan. While there, as I expected, the townsfolk became upset. An agreement had been made stating the foreigners renting the house had to wear Chinese clothes.

One night the mayor came to Nichols' home and dragged Tsiu out to the streets. Before their eyes the men beat Tsiu. The mayor then turned to Lewis and Eliza and said, "Will you leave now? If any of you are in this house tomorrow, you will be beheaded." 

Shocked at the brutal beating of the national worker, the Nichols' agreed to leave. They fled back to our mission compound and told us what happened. I immediately wrote the British Counsel telling them everything that happened and asked action to be take on our behalf.

Despite Tsiu's beating, Lewis and Eliza still believed they should only wear English clothes when doing missionary work in China. I spoke with them several times reminding him why we felt wearing Chinese clothes helped our ministry.

Lewis said, "I will not be bound neck and heel to any man."

His comment broke my heart. "If you persist in wearing English clothes, it could bring harm to our mission, like what happened to Tsiu."

Lewis shook his head and his face reddened with anger. "Then I suppose I had better make my way at once to one of the free ports."

His threat did not bother me. In fact, I saw it as a direction from God. "That may indeed prove to be the best course." I would not force him to leave. I would much rather he stayed and learned to change his mind. 

Lewis was a young man who needed patients and kind treatment to win his rough spirit. Unfortunately the couple would not listen. They refused to change to Chinese clothes like everyone else in the mission house. They even refused to come to our meetings.

I don't know if the Nichols' will choose to remain in China. 

Please pray for Lewis and Eliza Nichols as they seek God's will for their life. We could use their help here, but only if it's God's will. 

J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China--Inland China!
Blessed by God

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. &and Mrs. Howard Taylor.

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