September 17

I have mentioned both Pastor Addison Hall and missionary Lewis Shuck recently. Brother Hall was the father of Henrietta Hall, and this lady married Brother Shuck.

On this day in 1835, while still a teenager, Henrietta and her husband stepped on board the deck of a ship bound for China from Boston. She couldn’t have known, but in ten years she would be dead. The ship stopped first in Calcutta and then sailed for Amherst, Burma. There Henrietta visited the grave of Ann Judson, whose life had been such an inspiration to her. From Amherst the Shucks sailed for Singapore. While studying the Malay language in Singapore, the couple’s first baby was born, which they named after Henrietta’s godly father. A month after the baby’s birth, the family set sail for Macao, where they arrived on this day in 1836, exactly a year after leaving Boston.

In addition to being a help-meet to her husband in his ministry, Henrietta began her own ministry by taking a Chinese boy into their home, then came another boy and a girl. Henrietta’s heart was on winning Chinese woman to Christ, so eventually she refused to take any more boys, unless they were accompanied by at least one sister. During a period while she was nursing Brother Shuck and baby Lewis through dysentery, Henrietta gave birth to her second son. A year later a delicate little girl was born. During these months Henrietta was becoming weaker and weaker.

When in 1841 Hong Kong was ceded to the British, the Shuck family moved noth, with hopes that the better climate would help them all. The ministry prospered in many ways, including Henrietta’s boarding school with 32 students. But with the birth of their fourth child, Henrietta became seriously ill. After a few months, she again threw herself into her work, but realized that she was fading. In her diary, she wrote, “I am today twenty-seven years, old, fast, fast growing old.” On November 26, she became deathly ill. The doctor was summoned, but there was little he could do. Later Brother Shuck wrote to his father-in-law, “She literally fell asleep in Jesus, yea, almost like Enoch, translated, for having walked with God, he took her in kindness, to Himself, without the usual suffering and distress.”