Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Uzziah-A Good King of Judah Until...

By Mary Vee
II Kings 14, II Chronicles 26

From the Journals of Uzziah, King of Judah

Ashdod Photo Courtesy
After my grandfather, Joash died, Judah crowned his son, Amaziah king of Judah. My father, king Amaziah didn't reign long. He was killed in battle. Judah crowned me as the next king when I was only sixteen years old. It was a bit scary having all the responsibilities of a king.

I felt it was important to follow the laws and commands of our God. I listened to the prophets and priests and tried to rule the people in the ways that would please God. 

Zechariah was the one who took me aside and instructed me in the ways to fear the Lord. I went to God and asked His help, His directions, and His blessings often. He did all of these.

I wanted to restore the land and the cities to please God. Elath was the first city on my list to repair. Soon after the buildings were rebuilt, families from Judah moved back into the city.

Next, I went to war to conquer the Philistines and rid Judea of them. Our armies broke down the Philistine walls of Gath, Jabneh, and Ashdod and used the materials to rebuild the cities destroyed by the Philistines years ago. 

God helped our troops conquer Philistines and Arabs who lived in Gur Baal and the Meunites. The Ammonites feared our strength and brought us gifts if we spared their lives.

I have been told by my officers that word had travelled as far as Egypt telling of our great conquests. This was good news.

I wanted to do more. I built towers in Jerusalem at the Corner Gate, Valley Gate, and at the angle of the wall. I fortified these towers to make them strong against any enemy that might strike.

To protect our people in the desert I had towers built there as well. The number of cattle had grown so great in the foothills and in the plains I ordered more cisterns to be dug to water the herds.

I'd say, all in all, life was pretty good in Judah at this time.

1. Judah was located south of Israel. The new king of Judah was _____________.
2. Hebrew people lived in Israel and _______________.
3. Uzziah was __________ years old when he became king.
4. Uzziah wanted to please ___________.
5. Uzziah listened to ______________ to learn God's ways.
6. Uzziah was becoming very successful because he obeyed ____________.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Hudson Taylor-The Chinaman in a Wheelbarrow

By Mary Vee
Year: November 1873 
Hudson Taylor: age 41

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

Photo Courtesy

New missionaries were due to arrive anytime. 

I had fought long and hard with the missionaries who refused to wear Chinese clothes to get them to cooperate and had failed. The training in England taught them the reasons why. We wanted the people to listen to our words. They wouldn't listen as long as we looked like foreigners.

Even with a signed statement saying they would wear Chinese clothes, several of the missionaries insisted on wearing their British clothes. 

I didn't want the new arrivals to be greeted by men wearing English clothes. To help the new men and women understand the culture where they would be living, I hurried from a mission many miles away, along rough roads and over narrow mountain passes, often traveling by mountain chair. I had to be there when the ship docked.

I hurried to a Chinese inn in Shanghai just before the ship arrived and rented a room with four beds, two chairs, and a table. Then prepared to greet them. I thought you might like to read what the new missionaries thought when he met me. The next words are from Fred Baller, our new missionary:

"We looked but could only see a Chinaman on a wheelbarrow coming toward us. The barrow stopped and a man stepped forward. It was good to have someone with us to do the introductions because we would have never recognized Mr. Taylor. 

"The weather was cold. The man we saw had on a wadded Chinese gown and jacket. Over his head he wore a hood with flaps fitting close to his face. Only his nose, eyes and mouth showed. 

"He held a huge Chinese umbrella keeping the handle forward like other Chinese men. With the bulky clothing the man looked as wide as he was long, and to our English eyes, he was the strangest fellow we'd ever set our eyes on.

"The man said he'd made arrangements for the ladies and Mr. Judd to stay with friends then turned to us men and asked if we wanted to walk with him to his hotel. We followed him through a slum area where lines of junks lined the river. We smelled trash, fish, vegetables and muck of all sorts. We followed Taylor to a what seemed to be a post office.

"Well, this is getting quite long, but I want to share more. I'll return at the next post to update you on the strange Chinaman named Hudson Taylor."

I hope you have made a picture in your mind of what our new missionary, Fred Baller, saw when I greeted him. Hah. The look on his face was pretty funny.

Please pray that God will help Mr. Baller to adjust quickly and be able to join in the work. 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

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Hosea-Great Days of Trouble Ahead

Mary Vee
Hosea 14

From Hosea's journals and the messages God gave him 

Photo Courtesy
It wasn't that long ago that God had sent the prophet Jonah to Nineveh. The message of warning to the great city of Nineveh and it's people to turn from their wicked ways changed their lives. Without a moment's hesitation every man, woman, and child--even the king put on sackcloth and cried out to God for mercy. God heard their prayers and showed them mercy.

Now God has sent me to tell the people of Israel the same message. Do they put on sackcloth? Do they cry for mercy? Do they turn from their wicked ways and stop worshiping the idols? No.

This wayward behavior will not be tolerated. God has sent me to warn the Israelites. I have repeated the message time and again, yet the worshiping of idols has not stopped. Instead of crying out to the Almighty God, they have run to Assyria for help. Nineveh is the capital. The very city they feared!

Well, they will regret their choice. Assyria will only come to put them in bondage. How my heart aches. How God's heart aches for Israel. They have chosen their future. 

In time, though, the Israelites will call out to God. Here is the last of my message I gave to the people:

"O Israel, return to the Lord, your God, for you have been crushed by your sins. 
"Bring your petition. Come to the Lord and say, “O Lord, take away our sins; be gracious to us and receive us, and we will offer you the sacrifice of praise. 
"Assyria cannot save us, nor can our strength in battle; never again will we call the idols we have made ‘our gods’; for in you alone, O Lord, the fatherless find mercy.”

“Then I will cure you of idolatry and faithlessness, and my love will know no bounds, for my anger will be forever gone! 

"I will refresh Israel like the dew from heaven; she will blossom as the lily and root deeply in the soil like cedars in Lebanon. 

"Her branches will spread out as beautiful as olive trees, fragrant as the forests of Lebanon. 

"Her people will return from exile far away and rest beneath my shadow. They will be a watered garden and blossom like grapes; they will be as fragrant as the wines of Lebanon.

“O Ephraim! Stay away from idols! I am living and strong! I look after you and care for you. I am like an evergreen tree, yielding my fruit to you throughout the year. My mercies never fail.”

"Whoever is wise, let him understand these things. Whoever is intelligent, let him listen. For the paths of the Lord are true and right, and good men walk along them. But sinners trying them will fail.

If only the people would listen. But in truth, from the looks on their faces, I don't believe they will. Such terrible days lay ahead for Israel.

1.  What prophet had been sent to Nineveh to warn them to stop being wicked?
2.  Did the people of Nineveh obey?
3.  What prophet had been sent to Israel to warn them to stop being wicked?
4.  Have they obeyed?
5. What did God say He would give the people of Israel if they obeyed Him and turned from their wicked ways?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Hosea-God's Sorrow

Mary Vee
Hosea 11

From the Words Given to the Prophet Hosea by God

Photo Courtesy
“When Israel was a child, I loved him as a son and brought him out of Egypt. 
"But the more I called to him, the more he rebelled, sacrificing to Baal and burning incense to idols. 
"I trained him from infancy, I taught him to walk, I held him in my arms. But he doesn’t know or even care that it was I who raised him.

“As a man would lead his favorite ox, so I led Israel with my ropes of love. I loosened his muzzle so he could eat. I myself have stooped and fed him. 

"But my people shall return to Egypt and Assyria because they won’t return to me.

 “War will swirl through their cities; their enemies will crash through their gates and trap them in their own fortresses. 

"For my people are determined to desert me. And so I have sentenced them to slavery, and no one shall set them free.

“Oh, how can I give you up, my Ephraim? How can I let you go? How can I forsake you like Admah and Zeboiim? My heart cries out within me; how I long to help you! 

"No, I will not punish you as much as my fierce anger tells me to. This is the last time I will destroy Ephraim. For I am God and not man; I am the Holy One living among you, and I did not come to destroy.

“For the people shall walk after the Lord. I shall roar as a lion at their enemies and my people shall return trembling from the west. 

"Like a flock of birds, they will come from Egypt—like doves flying from Assyria. And I will bring them home again; it is a promise from the Lord.”

"Israel surrounds me with lies and deceit, but Judah still trusts in God and is faithful to the Holy One.


Hosea brings a message to the people of Israel from God. God is sad because the people of Israel have stopped worshiping Him. They worship other things and do not give God any of their time. 

We do much the same when we let TV, computers, phones, and others things take our free time. There is nothing wrong with watching a good program on TV or working on a computer or spending time on a phone or using our time doing other things. The problem comes when we don't make time to pray, worship, and meditate with God.

Think about what things keep you from reading your Bible, praying to God, going to church, and talking with others about God. How can you spend more time with God?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Hudson Taylor-Praying For Guidance

By Mary Vee
Year:  1873 
Hudson Taylor: age 41

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

Photo Courtesy
With the child emperor now in charge, he has used his powers to embarrass foreigners. Without his support, our missions will suffer greatly.

I had an idea to have our missionaries travel through Burma to get to the western lands of China. But, this would cause a huge delay by adding many miles to the journey. So many Chinese will die before someone can bring news of God's love to them.

I wrote to our people in England, requesting them to pray for God to give us the guidance we needed. Emily, the woman who watched over our children sent word back. Her illness had become worse and she struggled to take care of my children. Their behavior had become much worse.

I wrote back to her:
Kiss the dear children for me. How I wish I could save you the trouble! A little rough discipline might...make them strike their roots deeper, give you more hold of their affections, make them men....Expensive schools brings expensive habits, cheap ones often lead to terrible habits, so it is very difficult to know...what to do.

I had to leave the care of the children in the Lord's hands. Right now I needed to help restore the work here.

I spent long hours helping each missionary to formulate plans and get back on track with their work. We chose to combine several missionaries along the coast together to add strength to their churches. We assigned the less experienced men and women to these places and assigned the most experienced missionaries to new areas in deeper China.

Having a plan in motion really helped. 

I received a letter from England reporting funds had been received to start a training school  to train new missionaries. This will be a great help! Praise God. The training school had the students work in the slums of London for experience.

Unfortunately, during this time of getting settled back into China, Jennie gave birth to still-born twins. The poor sweet woman.

Between reports from England and missionaries here in China, the work suffered very low days when many things seem to go wrong, and few up days when things seem to go well. 

I know God is here and that He wants the people of China to learn about His love for them. And for this reason, I refuse to quit. It is not my job to cause sunshine and happiness. I am simply to obey God's commands. This I shall do until I breathe my last breath.

Please pray for us to make wise and right decisions. 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

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Jonah-God is Concerned About Everyone

By Mary Vee
Jonah 4

From Jonah's Crinkled Journals

Photo Courtesy
Even with the shelter I had built, the sun still warmed the place to a blazing temperature where I sat. 

I had spent the day watching the city. Waiting for God to destroy it. I slept that night and woke the next morning to find a vine sprouting from the dry ground near my shelter. It had grown up and wrapped itself around the sticks I'd used during the night. Truly God had done this because even a vine wouldn't grow that fast. 

I knew it. God did care about me. Maybe He would destroy the city of Nineveh after all. 

The shade cooled my skin. I felt so much better. I kept watch on the city all day, never leaving my post. Maybe God would send down bolts of lightening from heaven, or maybe the walls would fall like Jericho's did, or maybe He would send plagues like He did for Egypt. 

I sat back, enjoying the cool shade and waited. All day I waited. That night I fell into a sleep that refreshed me. Maybe the new day would bring the end of Nineveh. I laughed to myself.

The next morning I woke and found a worm had chewed the vine, the one that grew up and covered my shelter, yesterday. My vine had withered. The one God gave me for shade. 

A scorching wind blew from the east. My shelter didn't protect me from the sweltering heat. The sun grew so hot on my head I could barely sit. I couldn't take the blazing sun any longer.

I cried out to God in my misery. "It would be better for me to die than to live." 

God spoke to me. "Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?"

"I do and I am angry enough to die." First the Ninevites repented, then God spared them, and now the very vine providing me shade has withered.

God said, "Jonah, you have been concerned about this vine, though you did not plant it, take care of it, or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. but Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left. They also have many cattle. Should I not be concerned about that great city?"

So, God had made up His mind. 

He chose to spare Nineveh. I may as well go home.


1. What gift did God give Jonah as he sat in his shelter?
2. What happened to the vine?
3. Why was Jonah angry?
4. God said Jonah had been concerned about the vine when he should have been concerned about _____________. 
5. How many people lived in Nineveh?
6. Did the people of Nineveh say they were sorry for bad things they had done?
7. Why didn't Jonah want Nineveh to be saved?
8. What does John 3:16 say?

This seemed to be perfect timing on God's part 
to have this story fall right at Easter time, don't you think?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Jonah-Why Did God Have to Spare The Ninevites?

By Mary Vee
Jonah 4

From the Sweaty Journals of Jonah

The king and all of the people of Nineveh repented of their evil ways. 

This might sound like something good to you, but for me it didn't. Imagine the worse bully at your school or work. They pick on you every day and threaten to one day squash you in front of everyone. That is what the Ninevites were like to those of us living in Israel. 

We were afraid of the great armies of Nineveh and wanted God to crush them.

My heart saddened. No--my heat grew red hot with anger as I witnessed every single citizen dressed in sackcloth and crying out to God for mercy and forgiveness. 

I walked to a place where I could be alone and cried out to God. "O Lord, isn't this what I said would happen when I was still at home? Didn't I say you would forgive this evil people? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew all along that you are a gracious and compassionate God. That you are slow to anger and abounding in love. And that you are a God who yields from sending calamity when people obey you." 

I sighed and closed my eyes. I couldn't bear to look at this city any more. I sat in the street and wrapped my arms around my head. "Now, O Lord, take away my life. It is better for me to die than to live."  

A tear blurred my eye. I covered my ears to stop the prayers from the people from reaching me. 

In the din filling the air, God spoke to me. "Have you any right to be angry?"

I thought I did. 

I stood. There was nothing left for me to do here. The damage had been done. God chose to save the horrid Ninevites. I walked outside the city gates and turned to the east. Maybe if I left the city walls God would change His mind and destroy the city after all. I laughed to myself.  Yes. Maybe that was what God was waiting for.

I made a simple shelter to block the hot sun and sat down in it. Now, I will wait to see what happens. God couldn't possible forgive people as evil as the Ninevites.

Come back next time to see what happens.


1. What had the people of Nineveh done?
2. What did Jonah compare the people of Nineveh to?
3. What made Jonah's heart sad--angry?
4. What did Jonah cry out to God?
5. Jonah was so very angry. What did God say to him?
6. Where did Jonah go?
7. What did he want to do there?

Bonus question: Is it any different for God to forgive a Ninevite person from someone who is mostly good?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Hudson Taylor-A Disappointing Return to China

By Mary Vee
Year: November 1872 
Hudson Taylor: age 40

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

Photo Courtesy
Jennie and I stepped off the boat in Shanghai. My heart immediately saddened when I saw Charles, the man I'd left in charge, dressed in his finest English clothes.

His shoulders sagged and he didn't smile. Clearly, he knew I would be disappointed not to see him wearing Chinese clothes. 

"You don't understand, Mr. Taylor." He smoothed his shirt in place. "Had I not dressed in my finest British clothes I would have been out of place here in Shanghai."

Charles stammered as he continued his explanations for not doing his job. His eyes fluttered showing how nervous he felt. It didn't take long for me to realize the work had become too much for him and he needed to return to England to rest.

Charles continued to explain the recent problems. He hadn't taken any funds to the missionaries working far away. He didn't remember how to give the moneys as needed. More needed to be given to those in poorer areas, and less to those in cities that could contribute to the work.

I pulled Jennie aside to discuss the situation. She immediately agreed to give what little funds we had to the missionaries in greatest need.

Charles reported the physical concerns of the missionaries. Several had lost children to the diseases and were sick themselves. How I remember the feeling of those terrible sicknesses. The fevers, tiredness, and no desire to eat.

I knew that money was needed more than anything else. The few funds I shared wouldn't last long. Before visiting the Mission centers, I checked the mail and nearly danced a jig. That blessed friend of mine, George Muller had sent money for each missionary and put the checks in individual envelopes. 

Jennie and I decided our first task would be to visit every Mission center to encourage both the leaders and those attending the churches. While there we took notes of their needs.

I used some of the funds sent for Jennie and me to buy land to build a boys' school in Zhenjiang. 

Now for the not so good news. The child emperor had grown old enough to rule on his own and refused the help of those in charge.  He made many changes that created difficulties for us.

Please pray for us to make wise and right decisions. 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

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Jonah-The King's Court

By Mary Vee
Jonah 3

From Jonah's Crumpled Notes

Photo Courtesy
The guards pushed me forward through the crowded chamber of the king. "Milord, this man says he has a message."

I couldn't blame the king for looking at me with squinty eyes. I didn't dress fancy like the people of Nineveh. Had never owned more than two changes of clothes. I was hot and had walked seven hundred miles and smelled like I had washed in fish soap.

"What is your message? Be quick about it."

I bowed to him, respectfully. "The Almighty God has sent me to you with  His message. In forty days Nineveh will be conquered."

I didn't expect the king to believe me. In truth, I thought he would have the the guards drag me out of the city and throw me out the gates.

Instead, he rose from his throne and took off his royal robes. "Bring me sackcloth at once." His servants ran out of the room and returned moments later with sackcloth. They helped him put the scratchy cloth over his head and down over his body. He walked over to where there was a pile of dust and sat in it. 

The people in the room gasped. They whispered among themselves, "This is serious."

The king of Nineveh raised his head and said, "I am issuing this proclamation. Effectively immediately and by my decree:

"Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything. Do not let them eat or drink. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish."

The people fled from the room to obey the king's decree. Throughout the palace I could hear men and women crying out prayers to God. I walked back out to the city streets and was amazed. The shops had all closed. People sat on the city streets dressed in the brown sackcloth. 

Children and animals, too.  No one walked about the city as they had when I arrived.

God saw how they had changed their ways. He saw the sincerity of their hearts and how the entire city cried out. He spoke to me saying He had compassion on the people of Nineveh and would not bring about the destruction he had threatened.

Really? This mean and cruel people of Nineveh? But, I didn't want God to forgive them.

Come back next time to see what Jonah does.

1. What message did Jonah tell the king of Nineveh?
2. What did the king do to his clothes as soon as he heard the news?
3. What declaration did the king send out to his people?
4. What did the people do?
5. What did God decide?
6. Why was Jonah upset?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Jonah-Inside the Belly of Nineveh

by Mary Vee
Jonah 3

From Jonah's Crinkled Journal

Photo Courtesy

I had crossed the Euphrates River, journeyed on to the Tigres River then separated from the caravan I'd joined several months ago. 

The short trip across the Tigres River left me only a few steps from the city walls of Nineveh. The sight was breathtaking. I'd never seen such a large city. God told me to bring a message to these people. It would take me days to walk through the city streets and tell everyone Sigh.

The city gates were still open when I arrived. I walked through with a group of merchants and stepped to the side to let them pass. The buildings rose above my head like a garden of giants. Crowds bustled across the streets. The chatter seemed too loud for me to gain anyone's attention.

Still. I didn't want to end up in another fish. Or to be tossed outside the city beaten to a pulp.

I moved between a group of people to the center of two streets. A large fountain with statues spilling water into the bowls below seemed like a logical place to stand. Three steps led the way up to the cool waters.

I climbed to the top step and scooped a handful of water to refresh my voice then turned to face the people. A few stopped and looked my way. Their eyebrows pointed down as if they were bewildered. 

"I come with a message from God. In forty days Nineveh will be conquered."

Suddenly hundreds of people stopped walking. They turned to me and looked without making a sound.

I took the opportunity to repeat what I'd said. "I have come to tell you a message from God. In forty days Nineveh will be conquered."

A man leaped to the steps near me and shouted, "I proclaim that we fast and put on sackcloth. Hurry, everyone. Maybe we can change God's mind."

Several men from the crowd told me to follow them. They grabbed my hands and pulled me through the city street to the palace. The men shouted, "Let us through. We must see the king. Urgent business."

They took me to the king's chamber and bowed before the king. "My lord. This man has a message you must hear."

The king gave us permission to step forward. "What is this message you bring?"

I bowed before the king and answered, "I have been sent with this message from God. In forty days Nineveh will be conquered."

1. What kind of a city is Nineveh?
2. What message did Jonah give the people?
3. What did the people do when they heard the message?
4. Where did the people take Jonah after they heard the message?
5. What do you think the king of Nineveh will do?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Hudson Taylor-The Push

By Mary Vee
Year: June 1872 
Hudson Taylor: age 40

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

Photo Courtesy
Since finances had dwindled for the mission in China, I began a speaking tour throughout the United Kingdom, and published a new edition of China's Spiritual Need and Claims.

In June, I spoke at the Mildmay Conference to large crowds of people who came to learn more about God. I told the people that missionary efforts were carried out by Christians who obeyed the command of their Savior to go into the world and preach a risen Christ. Missionaries could only go in the power of the Holy Spirit. 

I told them about the work in China, how our missionaries have gone into areas rarely explored by those carrying the message of Christ and that many Chinese were being brought to a saving faith in the Lord.

During one of the nights at the conference, I set a challenge for everyone in the room. "Now, have you the faith to join with me in laying hold of God for eighteen new men to go two by two to the unoccupied provinces?"

Many indicated they would pray daily that Jehovah would answer their prayer. I then closed the evening's service in prayer.

The burden of running the mission in England weighed heavy on me. I didn't like the administrative work. So many papers and forms. 

I longed to return to China and dig into the missionary work. While visiting Mr. and Mrs. Richard Hill, a sweet couple who have faithfully supported those of us in China, Mr. Hill said, "Taylor, you are working too hard. You need to establish a Council to handle all Mission matters in England. Once this is done, you could return to China."

If he only knew how wonderful this idea sounded to me. 

Several meetings were held in August to pray and make a list of possible men who might be willing to become Council members. 

In September, we sent six new missionaries to China. Sadly, it wasn't my turn yet. I worked all the harder to establish the Council. Mr. Hill and I visited those nominated to be on the Council during September and on Friday, October 4, 1872 the Council members for China Inland Missions were inaugurated.

The relief I felt must have been the same as what Moses experienced when his father-in-law suggested appointed men to relieve him of the heavy burden of leadership.

Jennie and I thought a lot about what would be best for my children. Should we take them back to China with us or let them stay in England with relatives away from the terrible diseases that plague China? We prayed and felt the best decision was to let the children remain in England.

October 9. At long last, Jennie, my new wife, and I along with new missionary, Emmeline Turner, stepped on a train bound for France where we then boarded a ship for China. We reached our mission home on November 28

Praise God for His blessings. Please pray for our children. I miss them already. 

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

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Jonah-The Long Journey to Nineveh

By Mary Vee
Jonah 3

Photo Courtesy
Not long after I sat on a rock near the trade route did a caravan from Egypt arrive.

"Excuse me," I said to the lead person. "May I join your group?"

Rarely would a caravan turn down such a request. They appreciated the help with the work.

"Sure. You are most welcomed. What is your name and where are you going?"

"I am Jonah and I'm traveling to Nineveh."

"But you are carrying nothing with you. What do you plan to do there?"

"I have been sent to deliver a message."

The leader nodded. "Very well. Join in where you can."

The caravan had goods they planned to sell loaded on camels and mules. From a glance, I'd say they had about two hundred animals carrying the merchandise. There were at least forty armed men riding or walking alongside to protect the animals from bandits.

I stepped in with the group and helped where I could, including taking my turn to keep watch at night. They offered me food in exchange for my work. 

The first part of our journey took a lot of work. The trail wove up the mountains in Damascus. The caravan stopped in the villages to sell their wares. The next part of the journey took us on steep mountain trails where we had to watch the animals closely to keep them from falling.

The trail led us up one mountain, down the other side, then back up the next mountain. At least the trees protected us from the hot sun. Climbing down the last mountain seemed to be a relief, until we left the shade of the trees and set out into the wilderness where wild animals threatened us.

At night the cries of the wild animals made sleeping difficult for me. I never did get use to the noise.

The leader of the caravan had us rest at the last village located on the edge of the wilderness. In front of us was the the Syrian desert. We filled all our containers with fresh water and let the animals drink their fill before setting out. 

We walked one hundred and twenty miles of flat, hot sand where no one dared to live. The merchants knew how to handle the desert, though. They wore cloth over their nose and mouths to keep sand from blowing in with each breath. They rested during the hottest part of the day and rationed the water. 

I was very happy to see the banks of the Euphrates river after so many days in the desert and even happier when the leader said we would rest for a few days before finishing the journey.

I would need the rest because on the other side of the river lay the country of Assyria. The capital city was the great Nineveh. 

I really am not looking forward to this.

1. Where did the caravan come from?
2. What did they have with them?
3. Why did the leader invite Jonah to join them?
4. What did they find along the way?
5. Why was Jonah concerned about crossing the river?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Jonah-I am Alive!

Mary Vee
Jonah 3

From Jonah's Soggy Journal

Photo Courtesy
I had cried out to the Lord and He saved me.

The sun warmed my skin as it never had before. The air smelled fresher than ever. Even the sand crusted on my face felt good. You would say that too if you had been trapped in the belly of a great fish for three days!

Just thinking about those days of darkness, stinky smells, and weird stomach noises upsets my stomach.

I pushed my way back into the water to rinse off the sand and pulled pieces of seaweed off my clothes. As the warm sea breeze dried my skin, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob spoke to me. "Go to the great city of Nineveh and tell them the message I give you."

The Almighty God already knows my opinion of the people from Nineveh. They are cruel and threaten to overtake our land. They'd turn our families into slaves, those they didn't kill. He knows I don't want to help them. 

No need saying another word. 

No need fighting Him or trying to run away. 

This time I may not survive a fish eating me.

If you haven't notice, my attitude about this is not good--and in truth I wish He would ask someone else. But since He didn't, I searched the beach for a branch, trimmed the twigs away, and began my walk.

My bag remained at the bottom of the sea. I had no food or anything else with me. I recognized the area, though, and found I was not far from my home or the trade route which led from Egypt to--sigh--Nineveh. 

No one in their right mind, not even a well know prophet such as myself who has worked with king Jeroboam II of Israel would dare travel the trade route alone. There are too many bandits along the way. My plan is to find a caravan, join them, and journey the fifteen miles a day. The trip should take about two months to complete.

I set out toward the trade route and waited for the next caravan. Wishing, in a way, one would never come. But I knew better. God really wants me to give this message to Nineveh.

1. Where did Jonah land?
2. What did God ask Jonah to do?
3. What did Jonah have with him for the trip?
4. How did Jonah plan to get to Nineveh?
5. Why didn't Jonah want to go?