It’s interesting reading James Hudson Taylor’s biography while we’re preparing to go with the mission he founded. Inevitably, I find myself making certain comparisons…
JHT sailed from Liverpool aged 21 thinking he probably would never see his dear family again. Letters were the only way of keeping in touch – they took 6 months to get delivered, if they arrived at all, and another 6 months to hear the reply. On board the ship was a menagerie of animals – dogs, chickens, geese… And some hardened, foul-mouthed sailors. It took him about 6 months to get to China, through life-threatening storms – all on board thought they were goners for sure! Their lives were spared but a lot of his belongings (medical equipment and supplies, books, Chinese NTs…) were ruined.
We will get on board a plane (the safest form of travel) on which we’ll be served meals and hot drinks by a very smartly dressed and polite cabin crew, in the comfort of a reclining seat with a mini TV in front of us. Less than half a day later we’ll be in Singapore in the world’s cleanest airport. We will leave knowing that (if Jesus doesn’t return or take us home) we are likely to get regular visits from our family. We have access to instant communication: cheap phone calls, email, blogs, Facebook, instant messaging, video chat/Skype… Most of our belongings will be there waiting for us when we arrive in Japan, couriered by a reliable service.
It’s another world! Part of me feels like we’re cheating and it’ll be too easy and comfortable. But I know that’s a stupid way to think. And I’m sure challenges will come in other ways. But we have the same Father as JHT, the Lord of the winds and the waves, who gave him safe passage to China. JHT knew that if God wanted him in China, God would get him there. If God has work prepared for us to do in Japan, He will be the one to get us there, not Singapore Airlines.