In 1878, a young woman of 18 and her colleague arrived at the train station in Barnsley, Yorkshire, embarked on a crusade. She had been sent by William Booth to open a branch of the Christian Mission in this mining town. Here, work was tough—when it was available—and people were inured to the frequent changes of fortune that industrialization brings.
The teenager was Rose Clapham, an uneducated factory worker from South London, whose task was to find her own congregation, persuade them into the largest building in town, the local theater, and to preach until they surrendered to Christ.She reported what happened in the September 1878 edition of Christian Mission magazine:
“On the Monday I went into the open air with my colleague, Jenny Smith, and when they saw us two little things stand there, hundreds of colliers [coal miners] came round us at once. After we had held our meeting, we walked off to our hall . . . the colliers came after us, and God touched their hearts. . . . We have had nearly 700 [decisions for Christ] since we went there . . . we have got 140 members, and they can all preach better than I can.”
Rose Clapham was one of a veritable army of “Hallelujah Lasses”—working class women, poorly educated and often extremely young, who were caught up in the revivalist fervor of William Booth’s Christian Mission. Their activities (along with those of their male counterparts) between 1878 and 1885 transformed an inner-city mission into a nationwide crusade.
The Lammermuir Party was a British group of Protestant missionaries who traveled to China in 1866 aboard the tea clipper Lammermuir, accompanied by James Hudson Taylor, the founder of the China Inland Mission. Mission historians have indicated that this event was a turning point in the history of missionary work in China in the 19th century. This was the largest party of Protestant missionaries to date to arrive at one time on Chinese shores.
His ship arrived in Shanghai, one of five "treaty ports" China had opened to foreigners following its first Opium War with England. Almost immediately Taylor made a radical decision (as least for Protestant missionaries of the day): he decided to dress in Chinese clothes and grow a pigtail (as Chinese men did). His fellow Protestants were either incredulous or critical.
Taylor, for his part, was not happy with most missionaries he saw: he believed they were "worldly" and spent too much time with English businessmen and diplomats who needed their services as translators. Instead, Taylor wanted the Christian faith taken to the interior of China. So within months of arriving, and the native language still a challenge, Taylor, along with Joseph Edkins, set off for the interior, setting sail down the Huangpu River distributing Chinese Bibles and tracts.
Taylor himself was wrecked with doubt: he worried about sending men and women unprotected into the interior; at the same time, he despaired for the millions of Chinese who were dying without the hope of the gospel. In 1865 he wrote in his diary, "For two or three months, intense conflict … Thought I should lose my mind." A friend invited him to the south coast of England, to Brighton, for a break. And it was there, while walking along the beach, that Taylor's gloom lifted:
"There the Lord conquered my unbelief, and I surrendered myself to God for this service. I told him that all responsibility as to the issues and consequences must rest with him; that as his servant it was mine to obey and to follow him."