My Writing...Gladys Aylward

Gladys Aylward: Passionate Missionary for Christ

     “I wasn't God's first choice for what I've done for China…I don't know who it was…It must have been a man…a well-educated man. I don't know what happened. Perhaps he died. Perhaps he wasn't willing…and God looked down…and saw Gladys Aylward…And God said, ‘Well, she's willing.’” Honest and poetic, the words of Gladys Aylward (1902-1970) exhibit her humility in serving the King. Eagerly, this young woman journeyed to China in 1932 to pursue the lost and share with them the Good News of our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. If I could meet anyone in history, I would meet Gladys Aylward because she bravely shared the Gospel in China, loved children, and passionately served her Lord.

     First, I would like to meet Gladys Aylward because she bravely shared the Gospel in China. One day this meant jumping in front of a mule train to grab the lead mule’s head and turn it into her inn, The Inn of Eight Happinesses, to share stories of Jesus with Chinese men. Certainly, moving from England to Yuncheng, China, also proved fatiguing and challenging for the 30-year-old woman. Although the local Chinese community received her quite coldly at first, God gradually flung open doors to share His love when she remained determined and faithful. During these times, dejected Gladys probably found verses like Psalm 46:1-2 especially encouraging. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.” Indeed, Gladys found courage in God.

     Secondly, I would like to meet Gladys because of her sweet love for children. In 1938, six years after her arrival in Yuncheng, Gladys led over 100 children who all lived with her on a nearly two-week journey on foot through mountains to escape the dangers of World War II. As they maneuvered the difficulties of the mountains on this bold adventure, she would often find herself singing spiritedly with the children. According to Cornelia Lehn, author of I Heard Good News Today, “Whenever they reached a level stretch of ground, Gladys would start to sing a hymn and they would all bravely march along, singing the chorus” (56). She also adopted many of the children and started an orphanage, the Gladys Aylward Orphanage. She truly displayed her tremendous love for Christ in her love for the Chinese children with whom she came in contact.

     Finally, I would like to meet Gladys Aylward since she constantly showed passion for her Lord and King. “She always had an ambition to go overseas as a missionary and studied with great determination in order to be fitted for the role,” states Wikipedia. Gladys asserted, “If God has called you to China or any other place and you are sure in your own heart, let nothing deter you….Remember, it is God who has called you, and it is the same as when He called Moses or Samuel.” Never has anyone uttered truer words! Enthusiastic and submissive, Gladys embraced the Great Commission and “made disciples,” and God mightily helped her. Throughout her life, Gladys May Aylward remained an obedient servant and zealous advocate for God.

     Conclusively, Gladys’s brave mission work, love for children, and passion for her Lord molded her into a superior role model and someone I would happily bump into one day in Heaven. When serving her Lord, Gladys worked as faithfully as a star appears at night. From this remarkable woman’s life, I can glean these three marvelous attributes to apply to my own life: obedience, love, and fervor for the Lord. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be described in that way?  When Gladys Aylward readily traversed half of the globe to reach China, little did she know she would develop into a passionate missionary for Christ and attract hundreds to Him.
Author's Note: A true source of inspiration for me, missionary stories encourage me to be willing to serve God in any way He asks me to do. It is not about what we have, how smart or funny we are, what church we go to, or any of that garbage. God is looking for someone to "build up the wall and stand before [Him] in the gap on behalf of the land" (see Ezekiel 22:30 NIV). The question is:
Are you willing?
God will accomplish the rest!


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