By Mary Vee
Year: February 1871
Hudson Taylor: age 39
From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes
James and Elizabeth Meadows, Jennie Faulding, little Charlie, and I boarded a boat to sail back to England.
Jennie busied herself right away caring for Elizabeth's medical needs and watching my little Charlie. Two-year-olds possess such energy!
The greater task was insuring Charlie's curiosity did put him in danger. Twice we had to pull him away from the ship's rail.
There are so many benefits to sailing. Not as a career, but for travel. Like so many others missionaries in our group, I had been quite ill for some time and found shaking the bug nearly impossible. The sickness zapped my strength.
Standing here on the deck of the Ava and looking into the wind, I closed my eyes and drank in the fresh salt air. The sun warmed my skin. I didn't have any meetings to attend, no patients to see, no churches to preach to, only time to rest.
For the first time in two years I laughed at the silly antics of my son. Then, too, I couldn't help but laugh at Jennie's attempts to still the boy's wild tendencies. Hah, she couldn't finish a whole cup of tea before the rascal pulled her away for some entertainment.
During the first month and a half of our journey, I watch Jennie care for young Charlie with a mother's heart. She helped Elizabeth with her medical needs with such compassion. In between my studies I found myself searching for her, wondering what she was doing.
Then I noticed she was doing the same thing. She happened to appear in the same room or on deck shortly after I arrived. She looked my way and offered smiles.
I didn't know how I would continue my work without my first wife, sweet Maria, by my side. I needed the help of a companion who would comfort me, support me with words, and desire the work in China.
While leaning on the rail one moonlit night, I heard someone walking toward me. I turned and saw Jennie. She held her shawl close and leaned on the rail. "We're halfway. Almost home in England. Almost away from home in China."
I smiled. "This journey is like a cool glass of water in the desert. I didn't know how badly I needed the rest."
Before we knew it, the sun glowed in the east. We'd talk all night!
I spent the next few days talking to God about Jennie and how she would be a great help to me. My heart stirred each time I saw her and she didn't shy away when I held her hand. "I care for you, deeply, Jennie. But you must know Maria will always hold a special place in my heart."
He lips moved to a glowing smile. "I wouldn't want it any other way. Maria was a very special person who should always be remembered."
I wrapped my arms around her. "My life is demanding and I need to serve the Lord in China."
She raised her chin then rested her head on my shoulders. "Good, because my life is demanding and I need to serve the Lord in China."
Her words seemed the answer to my prayers. "Will you marry me, Jennie?"
"I thought you'd never ask. Of course I will, J. Hudson Taylor."
Before I could officially marry her, I needed to get permission from her parents. I wrote the letter first thing the next morning and sent it from the next place we docked.
Please pray that the rest of our journey is safe, and pray for the twenty-five missionaries with their eighteen children and forty-five Chinese workers who remain scattered around inland China to carry on the work.
J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China--Inland China!
So Very 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.