Book Review: Hudson Taylor: Deep in the Heart of China

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During our book study of The Making of a Leader with my Bible Study leader last year, I’ve learned that reading Christian literature, especially about the life of great Christian missionaries, can be one of the ways to help us grow and mature in our spiritual life. Though I’ve already read a lot of Christian books back then, I know that I haven’t tried reading any biography book. Since then, I’ve made a resolve to make it my goal to read the Biography of a famous Christian missionary at least once in my life. So when I saw a copy of this book during the OFM Literature Bulk Sale, I decided to buy it and promised to read it and learn about the life of Hudson Taylor. I don’t know who Hudson Taylor was back then but I bought it anyway. Now that I finally managed to learn about Hudson Taylor’s life, I can say that reading his biography is really worth my time. Besides, reading this book is really timely for me, now that I’m learning to recall and pursue the vision that God has put in heart and make it become a reality.

Hudson Taylor was a British Protestant Christian missionary to China and founder of the China Inland Mission (CIM, now OMF International).  He was born on 21 May 1832 in Barnsley, Yorkshire, England. The Story begins with the scene in Hudson’s first visit to China. Then it was followed by the chronological account of Hudson’s life from his childhood, then to the time he committed his life to Christ and accepted the calling of going to China as a missionary, up to the time of reaping the fruit of his mission and finally, his death.

Hudson was born into a Christian family but he didn’t become a Christian until he was 17. His salvation story was a product of faithful prayer of his mother and his sister. One afternoon, when he was particularly feeling bored, he decided to pick up a religious booklet from their bookshelf and tried to read it to keep himself busy. He knew that the booklet he was reading has a Gospel message at the end of the story so he promised to himself that he will only read the first part. Little did he know that during the same time he was reading the booklet, her mother was fervently praying for him,asking God to make his son become a Christian. After several hours of praying, peace came over her and she knew that God answered her prayer. On that same moment, Hudson became so engrossed with the booklet he was reading that he couldn’t seem to get a certain phrase out of his mind. He thought about the phrase “the finished work of Christ” at great length. Then he finally concluded that if it was already a finished work, then there was nothing he could do but to accept that finished work. So at that very moment, he finally invited Jesus Christ to come into his life. From then on, Hudson became a changed person and he became devoted to God. Then one day, as he continued to pray and read his Bible, he received from God the one single word that would become the focal point of every major decision he would make for the rest of his life – China. 

Hudson knew that God wants him to become a missionary in China so from then on, his life began to focus on China. Every decision and every activity became valuable only if it will make him move closer to his goal. When he was able to finally realize his goal and set his foot in China, he learned that following God and carrying out his mission is not easy. But then he persevered and established the China Inland Mission (CIM) because he knew there were millions of people in China who needed to hear the message of Jesus Christ. Up to his last breath, Hudson served the Lord by reaching out to thousands of Chinese people in inland China in order for them to hear the Gospel of Christ.

As I’ve said earlier, reading Hudson Taylor’s life is truly a timely blessing for me. Hudson Taylor is a perfect example of a single-minded man who was wholeheartedly devoted to God and very committed to the Great Commission. Because of Hudson’s obedience, God blessed and established his ministry, and it continues to grow up to this very day. What I really admire about Hudson is his amazing faith and trust in God and his commitment to prayer. Because of him, I am now more inspired to become more faithful in prayer and be more fervent in praying for people who I want to get saved.

These are some of lessons I learned from Hudson’s life:

a. Never underestimate the power of prayer. The prayers of Hudson’s mother and sister, Amelia, became instrumental to his conversion. I will now make that commitment to pray for my lost friends and loved ones because God gladly wants to answer that prayer.

b. Persecutions and criticisms are always part of the journey but don’t let them discourage you in pursuing the vision that God has given to you. Hudson met a lot of bashers and critics along the way but he didn’t let them distract him from the work that God has entrusted to him. He knew where the orders are coming from so he knew who to trust and to whom he should listen to.

c. When  you make that commitment to follow Christ, expect that you will be moving all the time. In all of Hudson’s 7 decades of stay here on earth, I’ve noticed that he didn’t stay in a single place for a long time. He was constantly moving, depending on the leading of the Holy Spirit. So if we want to follow the same journey as Hudson, expect a series of God’s planting and uprooting from one place to another in  your life.

Yeah, I cried at the end of Hudson’s life. Not because I’m sad but because I’m filled with joy with the knowledge that he was able to finish the race well. Today, the church he had established has grown so much and continues to expand to reach more people to Christ.

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