By Mary Vee
Year: February 1869
Hudson Taylor: age 37
From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes
Jesus provided the way for you and me to have a second chance. What right have I to not give it to others?
Following the Lord's leading to become a missionary in China is a big decision. I must admit, adrenaline powers much of the preparations for such a decision. But once a missionary arrives here in China, second thoughts creep in.
Sometimes we are so accustomed to doing things as we did in our native country we can't adapt. Other times, we make mistakes, not knowing our action is not acceptable in the foreign country.
Sure each missionary goes through training, and the instruction is updated based on current missionary experiences, but somethings simply need to be learned on site.
Mr. J. Cardwell arrived in China not long ago. He planned to serve Christ in the province of Jiangxi.
While in England preparing to leave for China, a close friend of Mr. Cardwell invited him to his home. The friend encouraged Mr. Cardwell to follow his heart and go to China. He had a map on his wall. "Look here, Cardwell. See this place with a lake? It's called Poyang lake and is located in the province of Jiangxi. See all the rivers branching out from the lake? You could travel by boat to all these cities from there! Let's pray it be the Lord's will you be sent there."
He and his friend did pray. After seven years, Cardwell and his wife sailed to China but did not have a chance to go to the province of Jiangxi. Instead they worked in Taizhou in Zhejiang province, which was a far distance from where he wanted to go.
Life did not go well for Cardwell and his wife in Taizhou. One sickness after another hit him hard, stifling his ability to help the ministry. He and his wife both struggled with the change. The weather, language, food, clothing, daily routine all overwhelmed them.
Cardwell's wife became pregnant. Rather than calling me to care for her medical needs like the other missionaries do, he took her to the hospital at Ningbo and charged the costs to the mission.
This extra costs took a lot of the needed funds to support the ministry.
Some of his new missionary friends suggested he and his wife should return to England. This seemed a bit rash to me. The money had been spent. Sending him home wouldn't solve anything.
I remembered him telling me about his desire to start a ministry on Poyang Lake. I suggested he visit the area. Unfortunately, he again misused mission funds when booking passage on a nice steamer. He couldn't pay the sum and tried to charge the cost to the mission.
The captain became so angry he refused to give discounts to any future trips taken by missionaries sailing on his ships.
I can't say I was happy about what Cardwell did, but I still think the man needed a chance to turn things around. He and his family reached Lake Poyang in December 1869. His health improved remarkably.
Situated in the place he longed to serve, and with improved health, Cardwell plunged into his ministry. Soon stories reached me from other missionaries, reporting the fantastic voyages and courageous journeys Cardwell took into areas untouched by missionaries.
Cardwell built up a church in Jiujiang and it grew in numbers, proving to be a center for China Inland Mission workers.
We've all made crazy mistakes. It's important to give second chances. Who knows what will become of the person if only they could have a chance to try again.
Fine missionary Mr. Cardwell turned out to be. Very fine, indeed.
J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China--Inland China!
Blessed by God
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.