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Scripture Memory: A Ready Answer.

VERSE : 1 Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness 

26 July 2015

8am & 11am: Worship Service

Rev Colin Wong (Unity in Diversity, 1 Cor 12:12-31)

6:00 pm Evening Service

Rev Calvin Loh (Exercising Self Control, Prov 16:32; 25:28) 

2 August 2015

8am & 11am: Worship Service

Rev Quek Keng Khwang (Love Never Fails, 1 Cor 13:1-8,13)

6:00 pm Evening Service

Rev Lee Hock Chin (A Christian Home, Prov 17:1,6) 

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THE HISTORY OF CHRISTIAN MISSIONS (Part 11)

(Extracted from Jerusalem to Irian Jaya – A Biographical History of Christian Missions, by Ruth A. Tucker)

J. Hudson Taylor

No other missionary in the nineteen centuries since the apostle Paul has had a wider vision and has carried out a more systematized plan of evangelizing a broad geographical area than Hudson Taylor. He was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1832. His father was a pharmacist as well as a Methodist lay preacher, and he instilled in the mind and heart of his son a passion for missions. Before he had reached his fifth birthday little Hudson Taylor was telling visitors that he wanted to someday be a missionary, and China was the land that intrigued him the most.

Although family Bible reading and prayer were an integral part of his upbringing, Taylor was not converted until he was 17 years old. It was in the summer of 1849 when his mother was away for an extended visit with a friend. Young Taylor was at home idly paging through papers in his father’s library when he came on some religious tracts. More interested in the stories than the spiritual applications, he picked one out and took it outside to read. As he read, he fell under a “joyful conviction...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, accepting this Saviour and His salvation, to praise Him forevermore.”

When his mother returned home two weeks later and he told her the news, she was not surprised. She related to him how that two weeks earlier while at her friend’s home she suddenly felt the urge to pray for his salvation, so she went to her room and prayed until she was certain God has answered her.

From that point on, Taylor began focusing his goals on missionary work in China. Although evangelism was his sole motivation, he realized the importance of gaining an entrance with the people, and so at the age of 18 he began training in medicine, first as an assistant to a small-town doctor, and then as a trainee at the London Hospital.

The opening for Taylor to go to China came unexpectedly. His plans to complete his medical training were suddenly interrupted when word reached England that Hung, a professing Christian, had become the emperor of China. The prospect of China being freely opened to the gospel was an answer to prayer for the directors of the Chinese Evangelization Society (CES), who had sponsored Taylor’s medical training, and they were anxious that he leave immediately. So, in September of 1853, the 21-year-old Taylor sailed for China.

He arrived in Shanghai in the early spring of 1854. It was a strange and exciting place to be for a young Englishman who had never before ventured far from his Yorkshire home. Shanghai was the international settlement where Taylor found his first home and where loneliness soon engulfed him. The CES was a small disorganized mission board, and there was no one in China to welcome or work with the young missionary recruit. Missionaries were plentiful in the international settlement, but they looked down on the uneducated, unordained boy that had the audacity to call himself a missionary.

Soon after his arrival, Taylor found himself in financial straits. The support money that had been promised him did not arrive, and the money he did have was a paltry sum when faced with Shanghai’s inflationary prices. Taylor’s efforts to master the Chinese tongue only added to his frequent bouts of depression. His early months in Shanghai were filled with long hours of language study, and there were times when he feared he would never learn the language. Writing to the CES directors in England he pleaded: “Pray for me, for I am almost pressed beyond measure, and were it not that I find the Word of God increasingly precious and feel His presence with me, I do not know what I should do.”

Less than a year after he arrived in China he began making journeys into the interior. On one of these trips he traveled up the Yangtze River and stopped at nearly 60 settlements that had never before been visited by a Protestant missionary. It was an exciting time for him, sometimes traveling alone and sometimes with a companion, but more importantly it was an enlightening education that intensified his burden for inland China.

Early in his travels, Taylor discovered he was a novelty and the people were far more interested in his dress and manners than in his message. To him there was only one logical solution: to become Chinese, to adopt Chinese dress and culture. This became his trademark. Not only could he move about freely in the interior, but also he found Chinese dress better suited to the climate than Western dress.

Chinese dress by no means solved all of Taylor’s problems related to working in the interior. On one occasion Taylor’s servant, who was hired to carry his belongings, absconded with his money and everything Taylor owned, forcing him to return to Shanghai, where he found refuge with fellow missionaries until he received a private donation in the mail from England – 40 pounds, the exact amount of money that had been stolen.

The loneliness that Taylor had experienced during his early months in China still plagued him. It was during this time of depression and uncertainty that Taylor arrived at Ningpo, an important coastal city south of Shanghai, and met Maria Dyer. Maria had been born in China of missionary parents. Her father died when she was a small child, and her mother some years later. After that Maria and her brother and sister were sent home to London for their education: but for Maria and her older sister, China was home. They returned when they were in their late teens to serve as teachers. In March 1857, several months after Taylor and Maria became acquainted, Taylor made his first advance, and, typical of his style, it was a bold one – a letter containing a marriage proposal. On January 20, 1858, Hudson Taylor and Maria were married.

Maria was the very woman Taylor needed to polish the rough edges of his personality and to help focus his enthusiasm and ambitions, and from the start their marriage was a true partnership. They remained in Ningpo for three years, during which time Taylor was unexpectedly thrust into the supervision of the local hospital, a position that was clearly beyond his capability. Through that experience he became convinced that he needed more medical training.

In 1860 the Taylors arrived in England for an extended furlough, one that would serve a number of purposes. But Hudson and Maria had suffered severe health problems, and so it was a time of relaxation and recuperation. It was also a time for further education. Taylor enrolled at the London Hospital where he completed the Practical Chemistry course, the Midwifery course, and the Diploma for Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons.

It was during this time that the China Inland Mission (CIM) came into being. As Taylor traveled through England people were moved, not by his eloquence of speech or by his impressive knowledge, but by his passion for lost souls: “A million a month are dying without God,” rang in the ears of his listeners, and many responded. The foundation of a great mission society was being laid.

The CIM was undenominational and appealed largely to the working classes. Taylor knew that China would never be evangelized if he had to wait for highly educated, ordained ministers to go, and so he looked for dedicated men and women among England’s massive labouring classes. As to finances and personal support, the CIM missionaries were offered no set salary but rather were to depend entirely on God for their needs.

In 1865 the CIM was officially established, and the following year Taylor was once again prepared to embark on China. With him were Maria, his four children, and 15 raw recruits including seven single women, who were ready to unite with eight recruits that had been sent out earlier. The voyage to China was a remarkable one. Never before had such a large mission party set sail with the mission’s founder and director on board, and the impact on the ship’s crew was dramatic. By the time they had rounded the Cape, card playing and cursing had given way to Bible reading and hymn singing.

On arriving in Shanghai, Taylor ordered tailor-made Chinese clothes for each of the missionaries. The missionaries were well aware of his stand on the issue of Chinese dress and had agreed to it in principle; nevertheless, the change, complicated by the ordinary pressures of culture shock, was a brutal psychological jolt. The initial discomfort of the clothing and the hair dyeing and head shaving were torture enough, but the ridicule heaped upon them by the resident missionary community in Shanghai was more than some could cope with, and the situation only seemed to worsen after the missionaries moved to the CIM compound at Hangchow. Taylor’s leadership was challenged, and the mission was caught up in strife.

The price was high, but the mission was saved. During the heat of the summer of 1867, little eight-year-old Grace Taylor, whom her father idolized, became ill. For days her father sat beside her, giving her the best medical attention he was capable of giving, but her situation did not improve. Within days Grace died. It was a heartrending tragedy, but it saved the CIM. The grievances were forgotten, and the outpouring of sympathy brought the missionaries back together.

Greater crises were yet to come, and they revolved around the age-old hostility of Chinese for foreigners – a hostility that was magnified many times over in the interior. The first violent attack against the CIM missionaries occurred at Yangchow in 1868. The mission house was attacked and set on fire, and the missionaries, including Maria Taylor, barely escaped with their lives. As peaceable as the missionaries had been, it seems incredible that the incident could have brought on them the charge of their being warmongers, but such was the case. The Times of London despaired that England’s “political prestige had been injured” and blamed it on “a company of missionaries assuming the title of China Inland Mission.” The adverse publicity was devastating. Financial support plummeted, and prospective recruits suddenly lost interest.

While international controversy raged over the Yangchow incident, the CIM missionaries quietly returned to that city and continued their ministry. Their courage was a testimony to the Chinese people who had observed their brutal treatment by a minority of hoodlums, and the door was now open for an effective witness.

In January 1870, the Taylors began making preparations to send their four older children back to England for their education. The frail little five-year-old Sammy could not endure. He died in early February. Despite the tragedy, the decision to send the children away was firm. In March, the Taylors sorrowfully parted with the other three children, who could not know that their kisses and hugs were the last their mother would ever receive from them in this world. During the hot summer that followed, Maria, who was late in another pregnancy, became seriously ill. In early July she delivered a baby boy, who lived less than two weeks. A few days after his death, Maria, at the age of 33, died also.

Without Maria, Taylor was a lonely man. He had relied heavily on her support and good judgment, and he deeply missed her warm affection. This no doubt influenced his decision to visit Hangchow in the months after Maria’s death, where he spent time with Jennie Faulding, a 27-year-old single missionary who had been a close family friend since coming to China with the Taylors. The following year they sailed to England together and were married.

As the CIM grew, Taylor spent most of his time traveling about China, supervising the work at various stations. He served as a troubleshooter and was continually called on to settle problems throughout China’s many provinces, as well as back in England. Each time he returned to China he brought with him more missionaries, and with them more controversy. Despite the success of the CIM, criticism continued, especially with reference to the poor quality of missionary candidates. Education was a prized attainment for a 19th century Englishman, and those who lacked it were considered inferior.

CIM missionaries, though sometimes lacking in worldly wisdom, excelled in dedication and zeal. They willingly served in the interior in spite of the danger and the deprivations, often because they had endured the greatest of personal sacrifices just to get to China. Single women were commonplace in the CIM. Taylor had long recognized not only their eagerness to volunteer, but also their potential for ministry. There was an openness among Chinese women not found among the men, and only women missionaries could effectively reach them.

The more Hudson Taylor worked and traveled in China the greater his burden for evangelizing the immense population became, though the responsibility was overwhelming. It seemed like an impossible task, but Taylor had a plan. If he could muster up 1,000 evangelists, and if each of those could reach 250 people a day with the gospel, the whole of China could be evangelized in a little more than three years. It was an unrealistic vision, and of course, his goal was never reached, but the CIM did leave an indelible mark on China. By 1882 the CIM had entered every province, and in 1895, 30 years after its founding, the CIM had more than 640 missionaries investing their lives in China.

Then in June of 1900 an imperial decree from Peking ordered the death of all foreigners and the extermination of Christianity. The greatest holocaust in the history of Protestant missions followed. 135 missionaries and 53 missionary children were brutally murdered, and it was the courageous CIM missionaries of the interior, many of them single women, who suffered the most. 91 CIM missionaries in the Shansi Province alone were mercilessly slain.

For Taylor, who was isolated in Switzerland, recuperating from severe mental and physical exhaustion, the news from China, though muted by those caring for him, was almost too much to endure, and he never fully recovered from the trauma. In 1902 he resigned his position as General Director of the mission, and he and Jennie stayed on in Switzerland until 1904 when Jennie died. The following year Taylor returned to China, where he peacefully died the month following his arrival.

The contribution Hudson Taylor made to Christian missions in incalculable. It is difficult to imagine where missions would be today without his vision and foresight.             (To be continued)

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GOSPEL SUNDAY

Date: 30 August 2015

Time: 8 am & 11 am

Topic: New Life for You

Speakers:
Rev Gabriel Gan (English Service)

Rev Kew See Seong (Mandarin/Hokkien)

Members are encouraged to invite their friends and relatives.

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LBPC Combined Fellowship conducts:

“Good Soil Evangelism and Discipleship Seminar”

Sep. 19 and 24, 9 am to 5 pm

Please register at: http://tinyurl.com/GSED15

All are Welcome.

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1) Girls’ Brigade: Students from the GB company of Sembawang Secondary School are in Life Church TODAY. You may wish to support them by filling up their donation cards for GB Fortnight at the front porch just after both morning worship service.

2) Renovation of Toilets next to the FEBC kitchen at 9A Gilstead Road has been completed. Please keep the toilets clean.

3) Music Ministry requires musicians to play for evening wakes (when they occur) and music score transcribers urgently.  Those who are able to commit to help, kindly contact Bro. Daniel (HP: 96919853) or Sis. Hui Chuien (HP:  81130037) for more details.   Transcribers can help from home.

4) Church Camp 2015 Messages CD & Photos DVD are available at the Front of Sanctuary after 1st & 2nd Services TODAY. Thereafter, get the CD/DVD from RTL Office after Services time. CD/DVD at S$1/- per copy. Camp Messages only are available in the Church Website.

5) Coffee Table Ministry urgently needs 3 more volunteers each for the following timings from 0830-0945 or 1030-1130. Those who can commit, kindly contact Daniel for job specs. We thank all our loving church members who have faithfully contributed food to this ministry.  For hygiene reasons, kindly contact Sis Amy by mid Wednesday of every week to arrange for proper handing over of food on Sunday.

6) Our condolences to the family of the late Angel Wong Mei Yee on her homegoing on 23 Jul 15.

Preaching appts: Rev Seet at New Life BPC, 9.30 am.

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

October 15 & 22 - The Cost of Discipleship

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 16:25