The memoirs of Henrietta Shuck give the reader a glimpse into the life of a young lady who forsook all to accompany her husband in taking the gospel to China.
Henrietta was a devoted daughter who loved her parents dearly. Few daughters could more beautifully illustrate what it means to “honor your father and mother.” However, while she loved her family, she loved Christ more.
When missionary Lewis Shuck proposed to Henrietta, she wrote, “The life of a missionary is by no means an easy one — to the comfort and ease of this world she is a stranger — but she enjoys what in my estimation is far betterz' the presence of the Most High.”
Her primary reason for accepting the call was to enjoy the manifest presence of Christ. She accompanied her husband to China not only to proclaim the gospel but to partake of it. She was America's first female missionary to China.
As a pioneer missionary wife and mother, her primary ministry was in and through the home. She wrote, “I desire to be a comfort to him who shares my best affections, to train up little ones that God has given us for heaven, and to be the means of bringing into the fold of Christ many Chinese.”
She maintained a sweet, submissive spirit during sickness and was marked by perseverance. During dark and perplexing providences, she continued to draw life and love from Christ crucified. She wrote, “What would this world be without an interest in Christ? What but Christ can bear us up under the trials of life? What else can cause us to tread, with joyful steps, the sometimes dark and unknown paths of life? Let us then ever rely on Christ.”
After ten years of sowing, she and her husband witnessed the Lord raise up the very first Baptist church in China!
After her death, her husband said of her, “She was a most faithful, devoted, affectionate wife and mother, a laborious missionary, and a warm-hearted friend of all. Her prayers and anxious labors for her children and the Chinese will not be in vain. I never knew of one whose faith was stronger. She was a believer in minute providence—her devotions were punctual—her confidence in God unwavering. She was a being of love and a lovely being.”
Henrietta labored with her husband and children in China for the sake of the gospel that she might manifest Christ's beauty and display His worth.
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