Text: Xiaomin (1970-). Tune: Xiaomin (1970-)
(This is a little different, but well worth your consideration!)
From the 19th century on, the romance of China attracted many Westerners to want to learn about China, buy Chinese wares, or go there, not just as a tourist, but sometimes as a missionary. Hudson Taylor (1832-1905) the founder of the China Inland Mission, CIM, was destined for China from before his birth. His father, James, a lay preacher, who had a passion for the Gospel and China, prayed over his wife’s womb, heavy with the infant, that he would go to China as missionary.
When he was a teenager, Hudson, after a youthful rebellion, converted, and in 1849 he committed himself to going to China which he did, after learning as much as he could about China, its language, and the languages of Scripture. He also prepared himself as a medical doctor. He arrived in China in 1855 in the midst of a protracted Civil War. He began traveling with tracts, and his medical supplies. He made the decision to begin wearing native Chinese clothes and a queue (pigtail) so he could gain acceptance by the people with his message.
To make a very rich and long story short, he challenged young people around the world to come to China as missionaries and hundreds did. In the late 1880s he traveled through Europe, Scandinavia and the United States urging young people to give their lives to the mission.
Among those attracted were several young people in Norway and young Norwegian-Americans here in Iowa and Minnesota, like Daniel Nelson, Halvor and Thea Rønning. They established a mission in the Hunan province, in Hankou and Taipingtien, further north. Hankou was one of three cities, now together called Wuhan about which we have heard quite a bit of late!
Their mission went on until they were forced out by the Communists in 1949. When they left, they left their people in the hands of God and really heard nothing else until China opened up in the 1980s. When the children of the missionaries who had been born there returned they found that the church had grown despite the persecution of the church and they met people who remembered them as young children.
The church has continued to grow despite persecution and increasing pressures against them. One of the miracles of the mission is the story of Xiaomin, China’s most prolific hymn writer. She comes from the area where the Norwegian Lutheran mission started. She heard the gospel from her aunt. A poor peasant girl, she suffered poor health, and had to drop out of school. Along the way, she was converted, and was even imprisoned for her faith.
She started composing hymns some time along the way. Poems and tunes she recorded on a small cassette so a musician could write down the notes and she would write down words. Her texts are filled with passion for the Lord Jesus, but also for China. One sees pictures of the landscape in her works, the rivers and hills, and the starry sky. By now she has written over 2000 such songs and hymns. They have made the difference for thousands of other Chinese. To hear that God is love and that Jesus died for them brings them to tears of joy. Watching the DVDs on her in China and hearing an orchestra playing her songs, plus hearing them sung in gatherings by thousands of people fills one’s heart with the joy of the Gospel.
For reasons of copyright, I will not write out the hymns on this page, but direct you to them, and urge you to look at the DVD, Hymns of Canaan. When I first watched it and the others I sat transfixed, praising God to see how tiny seeds sown over 150 years ago have blossomed forth! How rich are the mercies of God. Pray for our sisters and brothers in China!
Women of Christianity--a short biography
Go to this page and click on a song to hear one
Hymns of Canaan---the DVDs, there are several on the church in China, but go to this one to see her story--about 50 minutes