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Christian Heroes: Then & Now #3

Hudson Taylor: Deep in the Heart of China

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Hudson survived his perilous maiden voyage to his beloved China. With his heart set in determined obedience to God, and trusting the provision of the One who had called, Hudson overcame persecution and almost overwhelming personal losses to bring to bring God's truth to the "ripe harvest fields" of China.

Today, Hudson Taylor's story continues to challenge and inspire believers young and old to carry the anchoring gospel message, regardless of personal trial or hardships, to those who are adrift and without hope.

208 pages, Paperback

First published May 1, 1998

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About the author

Janet Benge

164 books218 followers
Janet and Geoff Benge are a husband and wife writing team with twenty years of writing experience. They are best known for the books in the two series Christian Heroes: Then & Now series and Heroes of History. Janet is a former elementary school teacher. Geoff holds a degree in history. Together they have a passion to make history come alive for a new generation. Originally from New Zealand, the Benges make their home in the Orlando, Florida, area.

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5 stars
557 (47%)
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419 (35%)
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174 (14%)
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19 (1%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 69 reviews
Profile Image for Amy Meyers.
603 reviews15 followers
May 10, 2019
Again I feel torn: rates as a 4.5, almost a 5. For a children's biography, it does an excellent job. I felt it spent a long time on the beginning of his life, and then flew through much of his ministry in China. There were some interesting stories about the beginning of his desire to get to China and how he practiced trusting in the Lord, but I'm sure the stories of the CIM were even more exciting. For example, the Boxer Rebellion was only touched upon, since Taylor was recuperating in Switzerland at the time. Still I teared up by the time I got to his wife's death, right after the deaths of two other children, and the story of the attack of the Chinese on the "foreign devils and secondary devils" was nerve-racking. The children all listened well then. We hoped that Carson would really listen well, as his middle name is Taylor for Hudson Taylor; but he didn't listen very well to all of it. But Taylor's impact on missions is huge: the idea of God calling the person (so the responsibility isn't on the mission director if the missionary died), trusting in the Lord to provide funds, dressing and eating like the Chinese, and trying to get to unreached areas all impacted Christian missions even to today. The idea of having mission compounds like William Carey and Hudson Taylor doesn't seem to be in favor anymore, at least not by indy-fundy Baptists. We're too independent and strong-willed, seemingly, to live and work THAT closely.
Profile Image for Katherine.
719 reviews3 followers
September 3, 2020
This was our first read aloud (chapter book) of this school year and considering how homesick we are, the boys and I really enjoyed reading about Hudson Taylor's life and travel in China. I was encouraged by some difficulties he went through that seem very similar to things we have faced - to see his trust in the Lord was exactly what we needed in this season. We had some great conversations about how life in China has changed but also how it has stayed the same. We look forward to reading more biographies in this series.
Profile Image for Sarah.
Author 40 books398 followers
March 9, 2016
Yes, this book is best for younger readers, but it is a good overview of a man who lived his life for Christ. He did what God asked him to do, even when it was foolishness to others.
Profile Image for Cary.
148 reviews35 followers
November 2, 2015
During our book study of The Making of a Leader: Recognizing the Lessons and Stages of Leadership Development 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 finally able to realize his goal and set his foot in China, he learned that following God and carrying out his mission is not easy. But 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 is wholeheartedly devoted to God and very committed to the Great Commission. Because of Hudson’s obedience, God blessed and established his ministry which 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 was really inspired to become more faithful in prayer. 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. Make that commitment to pray for your 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 him distract him from the work that God has assigned to him. He knows where the orders are coming from so he knows 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.
Profile Image for Kristina (Kristina's Shelves).
1,095 reviews41 followers
February 25, 2023
I was interested in learning more about Hudson Taylor, a missionary to China, and after finishing this book I'm left with the same interest. I knew this series was geared toward a middle grade audience, but it reads young. There were also many instances where the facts were editorialized, which turned me off from trying any other biographies in the series.

Overall, a good introduction to Taylor but very much lacking for what I wanted from a biography.
Profile Image for Heidi.
295 reviews19 followers
January 19, 2021
I wish we had read one of Dr. Taylor's autobiographies in lieu of this. The writing is only acceptable and I didn't realize before we started it that he had written a few books. It is a decent overview of his life story but a first-hand account would likely have been better.
Profile Image for Donna Pincince .
301 reviews4 followers
September 28, 2019
I love this series and how they show the struggles and the hard moments. It's an encouragement that they were real people who did big things when they trusted God.
Profile Image for Kyanna.
145 reviews
March 15, 2016
This story helped me gain faith that I didn't know I was lacking. Easy read and tremendously beautiful life to learn from. #china
Profile Image for Adam Balshan.
511 reviews12 followers
June 4, 2020
4 stars [Biography]
#3 in genre, out of 31

The best, abbreviated biography of Hudson Taylor I have read, out of three. I have not yet read the large, 2-volume biography of him. This is also the most well-written of five missionary biographies I have read from Janet and Geoff Benge.

Writing: 4 stars
Clean writing in prose, pacing, and segue. Detail was excellent, and included sensory details which made the narrative two or three times as alive as Taylor's autobiography or Thomson's abbreviated biography.

Use: 3.75 stars
As an abbreviated biography, it is not comprehensive enough to warrant a place as an authoritative book. The bibliography does include the large, 2-volume biography by the Taylors, and more detail seems to make it into this book as a result. The organization Taylor founded, China Inland Mission, was a watershed event in modern Chinese history; this and decent tracking of Chinese history affords a Use rating not typical to biographies.

Truth: 4.5 stars
Again surpassing the other two biographies, the stunning truths of Taylor's paradigm of enculturation, trust in God for resources, and worldwide mobilization are presented well.

Plot: 3.75 stars
The better sensory detail in the writing, and several episodes not relayed in the other two biographies, make for a slightly better plot. Two episodes in particular were [1] a thorough account of the ship Lammermuir which took the 2nd wave to China, the salvation of virtually its whole crew, and the miraculous weathering of the typhoon, and [2] the murderous mob breaking into their barricaded house in Yangchow, and their last-second escape.
Profile Image for Stacy.
643 reviews3 followers
November 26, 2018
This has been my favorite so far in this series! I read this book to my 6th grade son and 7th grade daughter for the curriculum we are using: My Father’s World: 1850 to Modern times as we are studying China during this time period. My two children really enjoyed this as well.

Hudson Taylor was an amazing leader and man of God! He let nothing stop him or get in his way! He was determined to go to China and decided medicine was the path that would lead him there. His sacrifice and faith during his medical training just amazed me! Then all the tragedy and danger he experienced while he was in China made my jaw drop time and time again. He even wore the Chinese traditional clothing and cut and dyed his hair to fit into the culture so he could more easily bring the message of Christ to the people without being a distraction.

Hudson Taylor lived his life with no regrets and will be greatly rewarded in heaven. I try to read biographies of great men and women, who lived not for the pleasures of this world but instead for building up treasures in heaven, to my children. Hudson Taylor is definitely a man I would want my sons to look up to as a hero. He had such a heart for listening to God’s Will in his life no matter the cost!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Stephen Rose.
207 reviews35 followers
February 8, 2023
This missionary biography follows Hudson Taylor into China, during the mid-1800s civil war known as the Taiping Rebellion.

Personally, these are the missionary stories that most interest me. Although Taylor isn’t involved in the civil war, we see some of its devastating consequences, with a specific observation that civilians are the primary casualty of war.

Also, as Taylor tried to blend in better, we see some interesting social repercussions of English meddling in China through politics and opium.

⚠️ Parental Warning ⚠️
Even though I can appreciate the work of missionaries, I do feel that I still need to be a bit nitpicky when it comes to any theological implications:
There is some focus on someone praying at the exact moment of conversion, and for three times a day.
There is also a focus on having faith to not ask for wages owed, as if it is a lack of faith to simply ask or remind the employer. Even the employer says at one point, “I wish you’d asked because I forgot.” (Paraphrase mine)

As mentioned before, with the war discussed, there is a lot of death mentioned.
Prostitutes are briefly mentioned.
A rumor is started that a particular group of people eat babies.
139 reviews
September 13, 2021
I have mixed feelings about this book. In the beginning, my daughter and I found the young Hudson Taylor to be a bit annoying. Even though he had a paycheck waiting for him, he decided not to remind his boss about the money to see if God would provide for him. I certainly think God can and does provide, but I didn't like Hudson's way of repeatedly testing God to see if He would come through.

However, once Hudson got to China, the story was more enjoyable. In the end, as I often find with YWAM books, I felt that Taylor's life was glossed over. I would like to have known more about his life after he remarried, but very little was said. I think the Benges focused a bit too much on his early life before he even makes it to China and glossed over too much of his later life.
Profile Image for Evan Staffieri.
38 reviews7 followers
August 24, 2019
This was an excellent biography, well written, and very exciting. I was inspired all of the way throughout every chapter, and I didn't want it to end! Praise God for men of God like Hudson Taylor and many more children of God who have obeyed His call to go overseas!

I constantly looked at my life and saw how little faith I truly have in Christ to meet my every need, and I want to live a life like Hudson did, or at least try! God willing, be my strength. Lead me, O Lord!

Read this book NOW if you have not!
Profile Image for Oscar López Santos.
87 reviews2 followers
September 20, 2020
Un libro muy inspirador.

Es el primer libro, que recuerdo, haber leído acerca de un misionero. Y la verdad, aunque tuvo un final muy triste, me ha parecido muy inspirador. Ha movido cosas en mi mente, en mi corazón y en mi espíritu. Creo que es una buena idea leer más acerca de personas que sacrificaron tanto por Dios y por sus sueños.

La historia es bastante fluida, los capítulos son cortos, la trama es muy interesante y los datos bastante precisos y claros. Un muy buen libro.

Forma parte de una colección de 42 libros más que, estoy seguro, estaré ancioso por leer.
Profile Image for Dorothy Vandezande.
183 reviews5 followers
January 27, 2022
4.5 stars. A little slow with the early part of his story, but still so good to see how God prepared the way for Hudson Taylor to go to China and to learn to trust God. The details of his missionary journey and the work he did in China were fascinating. His approach to mission work was revolutionary at the time and considered uncivilized and even un-Christian, but his heart for the people of China and his faith and trust in God were inspiring.
765 reviews17 followers
August 4, 2022
Hudson Taylor lived a remarkable life. He is an inspiration to people everywhere who want to live for God. He left everything behind and with single minded determinedness followed the Lord's calling for his life. He had a remarkable journey and it really challenged me to want to do more with my life. This book was great, the Lord can do far more than we could ever ask or imagine. God is good, and stories like that of Hudson Taylor are an incredible reminder of who we live for.
Profile Image for Luann.
61 reviews3 followers
January 11, 2023
With apprehension I tackled this book. I'm fearful of reading biographies, memoirs, autobiographies because of the emotional impact it takes on me. I picked this up to fulfill a readathon/challenge (Around the World in 80 Days). This was very informative and made me think: "What do I sacrifice on a daily basis for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?" I recommend this book to anyone who has a heart for missions, loves God, and wants others to know Him!
Profile Image for Lea Berryreadinbooks.
334 reviews1 follower
July 17, 2018
This entire series is so well done. They are all so moving in their own way. They are well written and adults and young children can enjoy them together. This one rises to the top for me. It is so encouraging to hear about missionaries that have gone before us suffered hardship yet done much for the kingdom.
Profile Image for Ashley.
65 reviews
December 22, 2022
What I loved most about Hudson Taylor’s story was his amazing faith in God—and how it showed the power of prayer. I’ve had many similar situations happen in my life and just got chills when I listened to Hudson’s prayers being answered and him being able to see that no one but God could be providing him with what he needed at the moment when he needed it most! I HIGHLY recommend this book!
January 26, 2020
So inspiring; nothing but the life that a Christian is called to live - to share the good news of Christ. That is our purpose. I am inspired by his story of of faith and trust in God; his hearts desire to see people come to Christ; above all else.
Profile Image for Beck.
4 reviews
March 25, 2020
Although a relatively simple read, I found this book to be an enthralling retelling of Hudson Taylor's life. I am biased of course since I LOVE a biography. If you are looking for an encouraging easy read, this could be it.
Profile Image for Joseph Henry Kester.
42 reviews2 followers
January 26, 2022
Our most recent read-aloud chapter book. Very simple biography. This was written in a way that was engaging and meaningful, even and especially for the kids. It prompted some good talks as a family about prayer and missions.
39 reviews
November 10, 2022
This book is about a man called Hudson Taylor, who goes to be a missionary in China. He relies on God for everything. My favourite part was when he prayed to Jesus for some food, and 5 minutes later a random person came up to his door and gave him a loaf of bread. He is my favourite character.
110 reviews1 follower
June 21, 2017
I am really enjoying these little books. Succinct yet rich stories of true lives with a history lesson thrown in. I learned a bit about the Opium Wars of China in this one.
Profile Image for Denise.
340 reviews2 followers
January 2, 2018
Lots of tragedy in Hudson's life but he followed God's plan for him no matter what.
Profile Image for Hannah.
37 reviews
August 6, 2018
Hudson Taylor's story is really encouraging to us of how he trusted in God to provide his needs. He did not ask people for money. Hudson just trusted in God's providence over his life.
September 29, 2018

I love the book were reading it in school it's such a good book, you have to buy great story to :)
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