George Leslie Mackay is the founder of the churches in Northern Taiwan. His life had great impact on Tamsui through his missionary, medical and education work. He not only changed the cultural landscape of Tamsui, he himself became an inseparable part of Tamsui history. * Background and childhood
Mackay was born in Zorra Village, Oxford, Ontario, Canada on March 21, 1844 to a Scottish emigrant family. His parents were typical Presbyterians, with immovable faith and devoted family values. The turning point of his life came early at the age of 10. That year, renowned missionary William Chalmers Burns was on his way to return to England for holiday and to report the progress of his work. Burns passed Zorra and gave a speech in the local church on the situation of preaching in Hsiamen. Mackay was deeply moved by Burns’ words and had since decided to become a missionary in China. In order to search for the place for his missionary work he visited the churches in Kuangchou, Shantou and Hsiamen. Finally he was onboard the schooner brig “Chin Lin” to Taiwan. As he passed the Wu Shui Kou (now known as Taiwan Strait), Mackay began the most weird and difficult journey.
* Landing in Tamsui
To come across a sea to Taiwan was never Mackay’s plan. Yet all the things led to this result, as Mackay described on his log— It was as if there was an invisible rope leading me to the Formosa. March 9, 1872, the brig entered Tamsui River, Rev. Mackay wrote— as I looked to the north and to the south, then at the green mountain hills in the inland, my heart was filled with satisfaction, and my spirit calm and tranquil. I knew this land will be my home. A voice of peace and wisdom said to me: “This is the land”, that is where Rev. Mackay landed. * Living in a Humble Alley
April 6, 1872, Mackay began his missionary work alone in Tamsui. He rented a room at the place, now the back of the house at 24 Mackay St. The house was originally used as a stable for Ching Dynasty...
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