Short Stories: Hudson Taylor on Hair Dyeing

I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. (1 Corinthians 9:22-23, NIV)

Hudson Taylor realized that if he wanted to evangelize beyond the ports into the inland China, he must cease to appear as a foreigner. Putting on a native dress also involved a black pigtail on the head. Taylor’s sandy hair was most un-Chinese. Therefore, he prepared to concoct a dye.  As he gingerly loosened the stopper of a large bottle of ammonia on a very hot day, ammonia spurted out with such force that the stream flew into his eyes and almost blinded him permanently if not God’s divine providences.  He counted at least five providences that save him from blindness: the spectacles of double thickness he was wearing, the ability to stagger to the kitchen instead of collapsing, the water-butt in the kitchen was filled up, Dr. Parker was unexpectedly at home, and there was enough ice to offset the burns.

Hudson Taylor had these watch chains made from his first and second pigtails for his parents (c1860)

(Source: J.C. Pollock, Hudson Taylor and Maria – Pioneers in China, pp.50-52.)

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