At a young age, Emily Blatchely became an orphan. Her parents had entrusted her to the care of missionaries Hudson and Maria Taylor, founders of the China Inland Mission. As she grew into her twenties, she became the governess for the Hudson family and graduated from the Home and Colonial Training College. She would become a key part of the China Inland Mission before her life was cut tragically short. This is the first part of her story.
When the Taylors headed to China, she went with them and was one of the now famous Lammermuir party. She was a mere twenty-six years old. The voyage started out peaceful, but as time went by things became increasingly dangerous. When they would finally reach port, the water often made them very ill. They also faced not one but two typhoons, complete with pouring rain, dangerous winds, and a wild sea.
Their voyage started out peaceful, but became increasingly dangerous as time went by. They faced not one but two deadly typhoons, complete with pouring rain, dangerous winds, and a wild sea. The first typhoon took a terrible toll on both the ship and the crew, and severely weakened the structure of the ship. The missionary party offered their assistance, and provided it when they could. When they could do nothing else, they sang hymns and prayed.
The powerful ship was being tossed in the water like a child's toy in the bathtub. The beams holding up the sails began to snap under the relentless winds, and dangled precariously above the heads of the crew and passengers. The stress was so great that the captain of the ship became ill, with the left side of his face becoming temporarily paralyzed. As another typhoon approached, water was pouring into the damaged ship and the pumps had stopped working.
The crew accepted the missionaries help, with the male missionaries working side-by-side with sailors to keep the ship afloat and on course. The ladies manned the repaired pumps, trying to keep the ocean outside of the ship instead of inside of it. During all of this, the sea was so rough that life belts would have been of little help to anyone that had the misfortune of falling overboard.
Their damaged ship limped toward the harbor, and was pulled in by a steam tugboat. The condition of the ship horrified onlookers. Another ship had come through that last typhoon, and lost 16 of 22 onboard. Not one life, however, had been lost from their ship.
It was as if hell raised itself up to stop this party of missionaries, indignant that they dare come to China with the message of the Gospel. This was the largest party to date of missionaries to land on the shores of China to date. However, we should keep in mind Matthew 16:18, "And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
The Lord could have stopped the typhoons, but He chose instead to bring this brave group of missionaries through. Sometimes the Lord answers our prayers the same way: we may be praying for a storm to pass, but sometimes the Lord knows it's best that we pass through the storm.
Sara McCaslin is an engineer, a computer scientist, and a freelance writer.