Hudson Taylor envisioned a missionary task greater than any since the days of Paul—the evangelization of China. Toward that end he established the China Inland Mission on June 27, 1865. It was the dream of his life, for even before age five he had told friends he wished to be a missionary to the Orient.

He wasn’t actually converted to Christ, however, until years later. His mother long prayed for his conversion, but with no apparent results. One day while a hundred miles from home she felt unusually burdened for him. She withdrew to her room, locked the door, and began to pray earnestly. She didn’t stop till convinced he had been saved.

Meanwhile Hudson, 17, was at home with nothing to do. He wandered into his father’s library, shuffled through some papers, and came to a leaflet that began with an interesting story. He read the story, then kept reading. It was a gospel tract, and as Hudson later put it, “Light was flashed into my soul by the Holy Spirit. There was nothing in the world to be done but to fall down on one’s knees and [pray for salvation].”

After a stint in medical school Taylor sailed for China. He was immediately engulfed in financial crises, language difficulties, homesickness, and personality conflicts with other missionaries. Trying to dye his hair black (to blend in with the Chinese), he was injured when the top blew off the ammonia bottle. More troubles followed, and over the next years, Taylor grew bitterly depressed.

Then he received a letter from his friend John McCarthy, who told him to try “ … abiding, not striving nor struggling.” Christ himself is “the only power for service; the only ground for unchanging joy.”

Hudson said, “As I read, I saw it all. I looked to Jesus; and when I saw, oh, how the joy flowed. As to work, mine was never so plentiful or so difficult; but the weight and strain are gone.” New voltage surged through his life and ministry as though he were connected to a heavenly power plant. By the time Hudson Taylor died, CIM (China Inland Mission) had 800 missionaries in China.

I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you stay joined to me, and I stay joined to you, then you will produce lots of fruit. But you cannot do anything without me. (John 15:5)

Robert J. Morgan, On This Day : 265 Amazing and Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs & Heroes, electronic ed. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2000, c1997). June 27.

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