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The Plucky British Dynamo

Part Two of a Two-Part Series

If you missed the first post in this series you can find it at

One day a government messenger arrived with a summons for Gladys to come at once to the men’s prison. The inmates were rioting and killing each other. Prison soldiers were afraid to enter the courtyard when they heard the screaming and fighting.

“Why do you want me, if your soldiers can’t stop the riot?” Gladys asked.

“You have been telling people that God lives inside of you. You tell us God protects you.”

And so, the woman who was less than five feet tall, gulped and let them shut the door behind her.

A crazed inmate ran towards her with a bloody meat cleaver. She stepped toward him and demanded that he hand it over. After looking around at the fifty or sixty convicts, she then shouted, “Come over here and line up, all of you!”

Meekly, they obeyed. The missionary was able to discern that the prisoners were rioting due to horrible conditions in the prison. She used her influence to persuade the warden to give the men meaningful work to do, bettering their situation.

Gladys wrote a letter home, in which she said, “This is indeed my country, and these are my people. I live now completely as a Chinese woman. I wear their clothes, eat their food, speak their language—even their dialect—and I am thinking like they do.”

Indeed, part of this missionary’s success came from her complete identification with the poor people to whom she ministered. She willingly lived without luxuries to be accepted by those around her.

In time, Gladys acquired a few dozen orphans to care for in addition to her other duties. Then the war broke out in 1937. Japanese were pushing into China from Manchuria and the Communists were threats in the south.

Despite pleadings to flee the war-torn area, Gladys determinedly chose to stay and minister first-aid to wounded soldiers and civilians.

Then came the issue of one hundred children, who were orphans. Someone had to get them to safety. Gladys took on the challenge with very little food or money. Amazingly, she and one hundred orphans walked over treacherous mountain terrain several days in order to reach safety. Often they slept in fields, hiding from Japanese soldiers. They depended on food from generous villagers as they passed through mountain towns perched on high trails.

After several days of travel—once in the top of coal cars on a train—the weary group reached safety at an orphanage in Fufeng, one hundred miles later. They were given clothes and food and a chance to survive.

Gladys’ autobiography ended with these momentous words. “My heart is filled with praise that one so insignificant, uneducated and ordinary in every way could be used to His glory and for the blessing of His people in poor persecuted China.”

This small woman braved cold weather, harsh living conditions, mocking, and a difficult foreign language, to carry the gospel to those who might never hear otherwise.

Isn’t it amazing what God can do with someone completely surrendered to His will?

What are your thoughts? Feel free to comment below.

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