With just ten dollars in her pocket, Gladys courageously took the challenge to embark on a long trip by train from England to Yangcheng, China.
I just finished reading the life story of Gladys Aylward…a fantastic “little” lady who gave twenty years of her life, from 1934 to 1954, to help the Chinese people live better lives, and to know the true God. If I had read only the first chapters of her long journey, twisting and turning through Germany and Russia to finally reach China, it would have been enough to fill my spirit with excitement and the courage that we human beings are capable of just about anything. I couldn’t put the book down.
I read through, reliving her joys and sorrows. I read of 100 young Christian converts standing their ground against a gang of brute atheist Communists. The young converts were lined up and forced to watch as one by one each were beheaded. They had a chance to save their lives by denouncing their faith in Jesus, but they stood strong and unmovable. I read of beautiful Chinese ladies and wonderful men, with hearts of charity, helping Gladys when she didn’t know which turn to take, or how to feed the hungry children who came to her Inn.
I closed the book thinking that I have a soft life here in America, while at the same time realizing that there is plenty to do in my own nation to help the poor and heal the divisions. Doing so might be as difficult a challenge as Gladys had, because of the many changes that have taken place in just the last five months.
This was no rinky-dink book. The story was captured in a Hollywood movie starring Ingrid Bergman – “The Inn of the Sixth Happiness” – 1958. Widely entertaining, it depicts the power of God that strengthens a person to do impossible things …..even in a poor city in China.
I know of many who are going through difficult situations. Some are ill. Some are awaiting surgery. Some have broken families. Some have lost their jobs. Some are like Gladys, hoping that someone will come and lend a hand, or just give them a word of encouragement. What is the personal challenge in our little corner of the world? Hopefully we are meeting it.
Gladys brought to China the word that God loves us all, and that His Son, Jesus brings salvation and peace. This message of love saved thousands in China and brought salvation to many in the US through her book and the movie.
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