Life Story of Isobel Kuhn – Carolyn Canfield

Carolyn Canfield, One Vision Only. A Biography of Isobel Kuhn

Isobel Kuhn and her husband were Canadian missionaries with the China Inland Mission. They worked among the Lisu People in Southwestern China and in Thailand after the Communist revolution. Her eight books were very influential amongst evangelicals in the 1950s.

This standard biography of Isobel Kuhn is still in copyright and I am grateful to OMF International (UK) for their kind permission to digitise and host the book online. My thanks to Book Aid for making a copy of this book available for scanning.

Carolyn Canfield, One Vision Only. A Biography of Isobel Kuhn. London: China Inland Mission, [1959]. Hbk. pp.189. [Click to visit the download page for this title]


  • Prologue: High in Her Mountains

Part One: The Vision Sighted

  1. Daddy’s Girl
  2. All in a Whirl
  3. A New Look
  4. Bound by a Love Chain
  5. Black and White Pen Sketch
  6. Outstanding Girl
  7. Across the Wide Ocean

Part Two: The Vision Pursued (autobiographical)

  1. Anticipation
  2. Getting Married is not a Private Affair After All
  3. Our First Home—What Comes First?
  4. How to Develop a Taste for Beancurd
  5. His Wonderful Cook—as Viewed by Her
  6. Speech Seasoned with Salt
  7. When We Became Parents
  8. The Unwanted Assignment
  9. Beginnings at Yungping
  10. The Forgotten Cloak
  11. A Hard Day
  12. A Glimpse of Storybook Land
  13. A Parting that did not Part
  14. The trhing with the Stuff in It
  15. Furlough without Baggage (1936)
  16. Home Town
  17. The Ticklish Vision

Part Three: The Vision Realised

  1. Pen of a Ready Writer
  2. Experiences, Full-orbed
  3. Pressing on
  4. Always a Missionary
  5. Over the Back Wall
  6. With Purpose of Heart
  7. The Ruling Thing
  8. Confident
  9. In Christ’s Company

About This Book

“You’re not going to attach wings to her, are you?” This question, in substance, has confronted me several times as I have been writing Isobel Kuhn’s biography.

No! No wings.

Her own frank pen reveals her fallibility.

But here anyone may also see the development of an extraordinary character. It was only in her own eyes that she was the usual sort. Others saw in her the sparkle of her two Irish grandmothers, the personal charm of her irrepressible father, the gifts of an actress, and graces of a society girl.

She was a school teacher in Vancouver, when she chose to give God first place in her affections. Then all the drive and stamina that had been pushing her toward a successful career projected her instead into the oblivion of the wild mountains of south-west China.

When she “buried herself” as a missionary, doubtless many a voice protested that she was throwing her life away. But how could anyone then foresee how remarkably she would demonstrate one of Christ’s greatest paradoxes? “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow mt, For wlwsoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake, shall find it.”

So this is the story of one who deliberately threw away her life-and found it.

Carolyn Canfield – from the dust jacket

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