Born in Virginia, the daughter of Rev. Addison Hall, Henrietta married missionary Jehu Shuck an with him sailed for China in September 1835. After a period of language training in Singapore, the young missionary couple settled in Macao, they immediately began to work: Jehu evangelizing and publishing gospel literature, Henrietta reaching out to needy children, especially orphans. It took much faith and love to overcome the diffidence of the Chinese, but in time some nationals were converted, a congregation was formed, and a school was opened for Chinese children, some of whom Henrietta adopted into her home. Horrified at the sight of young girls segregated and subjected to foot-binding, or worst still, of children sold into slavery and prostitution, Henrietta courageously called for an end of these evil practices and exerted herself to improve the condition of children and women in Chinese society. Above all she shared with all the liberating message of the gospel, convinced that all earthly gains amount to nothing if in the end a person loses his own soul.
When, in 1842, the Shucks moved to Hong Kong, they replicated there what they had done in Macao. Soon a church was formed and a school was started, with dozens of children attending. Henrietta fed them, clothed them, and nurtured them all, together with her own four children. She did this lovingly, diligently, tirelessly . . . until suddenly, on November 27, 1844, her health failed, and she died at the young age of twenty-seven. Two days later her desolate husband wrote to her father: ‘Her mind was engaged in prayer to the last . . . she literally fell asleep in Jesus, yes, almost like Enoch, translated, for having walked with God . . . She seems to have passed away like a glorious meteor, and her light still shines.” Indeed, her light still shines today—in the many vivid letters she wrote to her supporters at home, in the honest pages she penned in her personal journal, and in other valuable documents collected in this previous book. May the Lord use Mission to China to inspire many other men and women to the service of the gospel.