God’s faithfulness to Richard Broadberry
Richard E. Broadberry was born in Dublin, Republic of Ireland on May 18th, 1953. His parents emigrated to England in 1955 and he lived for a short while in Longstanton and then Cambridge before moving with his parents and 3 siblings to Southampton where he grew up.
Although brought up in the Methodist Church, he did not know the Lord Jesus Christ personally and left the Church in his teen years. Those teenage years were marked by rebellion against parents, teachers and God resulting in a criminal conviction for burglary in 1971 and experimentation with a hippy lifestyle including taking LSD and marijuana a few times to try and make life exciting.
In 1973, Richard began his career as a biomedical scientist, specialising in blood transfusion. Then one night in September, 1975, he had three separate experiences of evil spirits which were only banished as a result of his younger sister Yvonne’s prayers and reading of scripture (Psalm 91). This realisation that there was a spirit world in addition to the physical one, led him to pray that if God was real and that he could know Him personally then he would give his life to Him. The outcome of seeking God over the next three months culminated in the surrender of his life to God on December 30th, 1975.
This realisation that there was a spirit world in addition to the physical one, led him to pray that if God was real and that he could know Him personally then he would give his life to Him.
Involvement with the Navigators and Above Bar Church, Southampton under the preaching of the late Rev. Leith Samuel ensured a good spiritual foundation and belief that the Bible was the inerrant Word of God. Ray Rona, a converted Hungarian Jew whose family had escaped to England discipled Richard for 3 years until he went to Taiwan. Ray, together with Richard’s sister Yvonne and Ed Davies, had also been involved in Richard’s conversion. He later married Yvonne but is now with the Lord.
On May 18th, 1976 for his first birthday as a Christian, Richard was given two books by Ray Rona and Alan Preston that would change his life, namely, ‘Hudson Taylor’s Biography’ and Isobel Kuhn’s autobiography ‘By searching’. Both Hudson Taylor and Isobel Kuhn had been missionaries to China and as a result of reading these books, Richard began to realise that God wanted him to go to China one day. Sometime in 1977 as Richard was walking along a street in Southampton, God spoke clearly to him and told him to pray for someone to teach him Mandarin Chinese (which he did right there in the street). Two days later he decided to visit some South African friends that he hadn’t seen for about 6 months and a Taiwanese Christian gentleman, Mr. Chen, ‘just happened to be there’ also and within 2 minutes of their meeting Mr. Chen offered to teach Richard to speak Mandarin Chinese. A very quick answer to prayer! Mr. Chen returned to Taiwan quite soon afterwards with a PhD degree in Physiology.
Both Hudson Taylor and Isobel Kuhn had been missionaries to China and as a result of reading these books, Richard began to realise that God wanted him to go to China one day.
Then one day in 1978, Richard was sitting outside in a small park reading Hebrews Chapter 11 from the New Testament. As he got to verse 8, the Holy Spirit told him that now was the time to step out in faith and start knocking on doors with regards to serving God in Taiwan. The Holy Spirit then brought to mind the promise from Psalm 32v8 that He would guide Richard in this. A letter to Dr. Chen in Taiwan resulted in Richard obtaining the addresses of 6 Christian hospitals in Taiwan and writing to each one. Dr. Tom Marshall of the Mennonite Christian Hospital in Taiwan replied to Richard’s letter stating that they had been praying for God to send someone to be in charge of their hospital laboratory. Richard was their answer to prayer just as they were Richard’s answer to prayer! Both Richard’s Navigator leader and his Church Pastor felt that it was God’s will for him to move to Taiwan.
Richard arrived in Taiwan on January 1st, 1979 and worked as Chief Technologist at the Mennonite Christian Hospital for 4 years. One day he was visiting a colleague’s home in the nearby fishing village. Her younger brother asked him why he had come to Taiwan and so Richard shared his testimony and the gospel message with him. After listening he said: ‘We Chinese have 5000 years of history. How can it all be wrong?’ Richard suddenly realised that to the mind of many Chinese persons to become a Christian meant turning their backs on their culture and history. On his way back to the hospital Richard asked God whether or not He had left any witness to Himself within the Chinese culture. Thus began many years of study of the Chinese classics and the ancient written language to answer that prayer.
After listening he said: ‘We Chinese have 5000 years of history. How can it all be wrong?’ Richard suddenly realised that to the mind of many Chinese persons to become a Christian meant turning their backs on their culture and history.
In 1983 Richard moved to Taipei to work at Mackay Memorial Hospital where he worked until 1997 with Prof. Marie Lin, a pathologist specialising in Transfusion medicine. Over the years Prof. Lin and Richard collaborated on many research projects. Richard also was involved in supporting Prof. Lin in her role in Taiwan’s Blood Program. He also taught as an associate Professor at Yang Ming University.
During this period he also collaborated with Dr. Ethel R. Nelson on various books showing how the ancient Chinese were originally believers in the one true God of the Bible. Proof of this can be found by reading the Chinese classics and also by a visit to the site of the altar of sacrifice on the summit of Mt. Tai in Shangdong Province where the Emperor of China annually sacrificed unblemished animals to the Creator whom the Chinese called ShangDi (the Ruler Above) or Tian (Heaven). In the Ming Dynasty the altar’s location was moved to Beijing with the building of what is now a major tourist attraction called the ‘Temple of Heaven’ (a more accurate translation is the ‘Altar of Heaven’). In addition, research into the ancient Chinese writing demonstrated that the ancient Chinese knew and believed in the truth recorded in the early chapters of Genesis.
During this period he also collaborated with Dr. Ethel R. Nelson on various books showing how the ancient Chinese were originally believers in the one true God of the Bible.
One morning, while in the process of preparing for the publication of their first book, Richard stayed at home in bed due to a very bad cold and sore throat. Suddenly God spoke to him and said: ‘I want you to go to the National Palace Museum and find an Oracle Bone expert’. Instantly his nose stopped running and his sore throat was healed. He arose from his bed, completely healed, and walked to the National Palace Museum. He asked the receptionist if there was an oracle bone expert there and she told him to wait a moment. A few minutes later he was introduced to Mr. Chang Guang Yuan, an oracle bone expert. Richard showed him the manuscript for the first book that was being prepared for publication. Expecting him to laugh at the idea that the ancient Chinese writing contained the truths recorded in Genesis, Richard was surprised when Mr. Chang said: ‘No one knows for certain who invented the ancient Chinese writing so there is no reason why foreigners can’t have their theories about the origins of the Chinese characters. However, in your manuscript you are not analysing the most ancient forms of the Chinese writing. You need to analyse ‘Oracle Bone Characters’! As a result of this leading from God and advice from Mr. Chang, Richard and Ethel began studying ‘Oracle Bone Characters’. As a result their book ‘God’s Promise to the Chinese’ and subsequent books, only use Oracle Bone characters for analysis.
In 1989, the Lord led Maggie Hayward to Taiwan. She had previously worked in Xian, China teaching English. On meeting they were amazed to discover that they were both from Southampton, England living within a few hundred yards of each other and had also attended the same primary school. They discovered too that they had worked at the same hospital and their brothers had been classmates throughout their school life. In addition, Maggie had been friends with one of Richard’s neighbours. However they met for the first time when Maggie came to Taipei. They eventually married in 1990 in Southampton, England.
They returned to Taiwan in 1993 and lived in Gladys Aylward’s old home in Taipei until they moved to Tianjin in northern China where Richard worked for 1 year as Technical Supervisor at the Tianjin Blood Center. While there, Maggie regularly visited the Tianjin orphanage resulting in short term foster of a little baby girl with a bilateral cleft-lip and palate. This little girl was operated on by the Smile Train team that came to Beijing and was eventually adopted by some American missionary friends. As a result in 1998 Richard and Maggie returned to England and spent several years adopting their children from China. Amy was adopted in 2000 and Isobel in 2004. In 2005 they returned to China temporarily and spent nine months in Beijing where Richard worked for a non-profit organisation called ‘Safe Blood for China’. They currently reside in King’s Somborne, England and in 2010 adopted their third daughter from China, Corrie, who has had cleft-palate surgery since her arrival. Plans to find a position that will allow a return to China have not been successful so far. What the future holds only the Lord knows. However, Richard and Maggie have proven what King David of Israel wrote: ‘Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever’ (Psalm 23v6).
However, Richard and Maggie have proven what King David of Israel wrote: ‘Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever’ (Psalm 23v6).