By Mary Vee
Year: November 1873
Hudson Taylor: age 41
From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes
The best way to teach anyone is to show them, wouldn't you agree?
Fred Ballard and the other new missionaries had just stepped off their boat in Shanghai. They followed me through the crowded streets not daring not satisfy their curiosity by looking side to side or they'd be lost in the thick mass of people.
Once or twice I heard one call, "Taylor! Wait."
By the time I looked back, they managed to find their way. I led them to the local post office and entered. To the side was a corridor leading to a small door with a padlock. After unlocking the door, I invited the new missionaries up the narrow, dark stairs to a room I had rented.
The small room had only table, and chairs and a basket containing food. The window had thin paper, rather than glass. I invited the men to sit and tell me of their voyage. We read scriptures and prayed.
The men's eyes looked weary and in need of food. "Would you like to wash before we go to a restaurant to eat?"
"Yes." They looked around the room and shrugged. "But how?"
I smiled and walked to the door. Speaking in Chinese I called in a servant who went to a basket in the corner of the room and took out a wooden basin and a small cloth. He left the cloth on the table and went out to the street. Nearby was a hot-water shop where he went to buy enough hot water to fill the basin.
Upon his return he set the hot water on the table, picked up the small cloth, dipped it in the water, rung it out, and handed it to me. I washed my hands and my face then handed the cooled cloth back to the servant. He dipped it again in the hot water and handed it back to me. I cleansed my hands and face again with the hot, wet cloth. The missionaries watched closely.
I handed the cloth back to the servant, and he offered the ceremony to each of the missionaries who copied my actions. "Now let's go have breakfast."
I took them to a Chinese restaurant where we were seated at a table for four in the back portion of the building. The food was cooked in the front of the restaurant. The men glanced at the worn table but didn't say anything. I wanted them to make these observations, to understand the culture and what the Chinese people had.
The waiter soon brought four basins of rice, piled to the top, and placed them before us. Next he served several basins of hot vegetables and a large basin of chunks of fat pork. My servant, wanting to make a good impression, chose out the biggest pieces of pork and set them on the new missionaries bowls of rice until they laughed and begged him to stop.
This first meeting and introduction to China proved worth every minute and penny spent. They immediately took to wearing the Chinese clothes, ate only Chinese foods, and adapted to the Chinese manners in short order, showing their love for the people and desire to share the love of God with them.
Thanks be to God for sending missionaries who have a desire to fully serve Him here in China. Praise God for His blessings.
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