Hudson Taylor’s Struggles and Joys

On March 1, 1854, James Hudson Taylor set foot on Chinese soil for the first time. His experiences on the ground over the next few years would be essential in the eventual foundation of China Inland Mission and its impact on many lives. As we commemorate the 170th anniversary of Hudson Taylor’s arrival in China on March 1st, we are reminded of God’s faithfulness and strength through the weaknesses of the then-21-year-old medical school dropout. 

“A little thing is a little thing, but faithfulness in little things is a great thing.” – James Hudson Taylor 

During his first year in China, Hudson Taylor grappled with the raging civil war, language barrier and isolation as the first new missionary sent from an English mission society. However, the cold, hunger, and helplessness brought him closer to God. Through those times, he was able to catch a glimpse of God’s glory and experience the joy of the Lord’s faithfulness over and over.


One particularly redemptive low point was in October 1854. Hudson woke up at 3:00 in the morning to find a fire heading for his house. As he rushed to get dressed and climbed up on the roof of his house, he prayed desperately for the Lord’s help. Just as a strong wind was blowing the fire closer and closer, it started to rain! At that moment, he also experienced a near-miss as a shell from the fighting struck a nearby house. Filled with gratitude and aware of God’s presence, he later wrote to his sister, “They were times of emptying and humbling. But I wasn’t ashamed of those experiences. They strengthened my purpose to go forward as God directed, with His proven promise, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”

Through the lens of time and history, we now laud Hudson Taylor as a hero. However, our goal is not to put a man on a pedestal, but to mobilize for God’s Kingdom. Through this movie project, we hope to reveal the ordinariness of Hudson Taylor – a man lacking in formal education and without remarkable speech or intellect – an ordinary man like many of us. Yet, through faith and obedience, Hudson Taylor’s five loaves and two fish were transformed by God into something extraordinary.

Will you let God use your five loaves and two fish? Wherever you may be serving the Lord, may His presence and faithfulness bring you much joy in the midst of your struggles. We look forward to hearing your extraordinary stories one day! Send us an email to share your story.

*Quotes, photo and story from OMF International’s Christ Alone: A Pictorial Presentation of Hudson Taylor’s Life and Legacy, 2005.
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