This section from the Hudson Taylor two volume set records his thoughts and feelings as he landed in China for the first time.
Muffled in his heaviest wraps Hudson Taylor paced the deck, doing his best to keep warm and be patient. It was a strange Sunday, this last at sea. For days he had been packed and ready to leave the ship, and hindered by storm and cold from other occupations had given the more time to thought and prayer.
“What peculiar feelings,” he wrote, “arise at the prospect of soon landing in an unknown country, in the midst of strangers—a country now to be my home and sphere of labour. ‘Lo, I am with you alway.’ ‘I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.’ Sweet promises! I have nothing to fear, with Jesus on my side.
“Great changes probably have taken place since last we heard from China. And what news shall I receive from England? Where shall I go, and how shall I live at first? These and a thousand other questions engage the mind.… But the most important question of all is, ‘Am I now living as near to God as possible?’ Alas! I am not. My wayward heart, so easily occupied with the things of time and sense, needs continually leading back to the fold from whence it strays. Oh! that my ‘rejoicing’ may be ‘more abundant in Christ Jesus,’ and my ‘conversation’ ever ‘as becometh the Gospel of Christ.’ ”
As afternoon wore on, what were those boats in the distance—looming toward them through the mist? One beat its way up before long, eagerly watched from the Dumfries. Yes, there was no mistaking that picturesque sail and curiously painted hull, nor the faces of the men as they came into sight. There they were, twelve or fourteen of them, blue-garbed, dark-eyed, vociferating in an unknown tongue—the first Chinese Hudson Taylor had ever seen. And how his heart went out to them! Behind the strange, uncouth exterior he saw the treasure he had come so far to seek—the souls for which Christ died.
Frederick Howard Taylor and Geraldine Taylor, Hudson Taylor in Early Years: The Growth of a Soul (Littleton, CO; Mississauga, ON; Kent, TN: OMF Book, 1995), 201–202.