Hudson Taylor's Mission Work Celebrated in Britain

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In 1853 a young Englishman boarded a ship for a five-month voyage to the other side of the world. When he arrived in China, James Hudson Taylor adopted native dress and a ponytail.

He went on to found one of the most influential mission societies of the 19th century. Now, the English town where Taylor was born is inviting the world to come and visit.

On the 180th anniversary of Hudson Taylor's birth, authorities in Barnsley, England, unveiled historic markers on his birthplace, in both English and Chinese.

John Foster, with the Barnsley Hudson Taylor Group, said they hope to attract visitors from the land where Taylor invested 51 years as a Christian missionary.

"The Chinese people are free to travel, they're free to worship Christianity and free to roam the world," Foster said. "(What) we want them to do is to roam to Barnsley and we want to say, 'Welcome.'"

Hudson Taylor founded the China Inland Mission, today known as Overseas Missionary Fellowship. During his lifetime, Taylor recruited 800 missionaries and started 125 schools throughout China.

Rev. Pong Lai, a Chinese minister now working in Leeds, England, was present for the unveiling of the plaques.

"We remember a great man, James Hudson Taylor, who committed his life preaching the gospel of Jesus to Chinese," he said.

"And through him, many, many Chinese found a new way of life," Lai continued. "And I hope millions and millions of Chinese, and particularly Chinese Christians, will come to this place, and remember that God can use a small man, in a small town, but in a great way."

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