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Determination in a Small Package, Part Two

To see the beginning of this story about the amazing Gladys Aylward, see last week's blog at this site.

Missionaries tell us they know they have absorbed their new culture when they begin to think like nationals. When they dream in their new language, they find themselves truly acclimated.

Addressing this topic, Gladys wrote these words in a letter to those at home, “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. In 1937 war broke out. Japanese pushed into China from Manchuria and Communists threatened in the south. Friends begged her to flee the war-torn area, but Gladys chose to stay and minister first-aid to wounded soldiers and civilians.

Then came the issue of one hundred orphans under Gladys’ care. Someone had to get them to safety. With little food or money, Gladys took on the challenge. Amazingly, she and one hundred orphans walked over treacherous mountain terrain several days to reach a safe place. 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 riding in the top of coal cars on a train, the weary group reached safety at an orphanage in Fufeng, one hundred miles from their starting point. Sympathetic caregivers gave them clothes, food and a chance to survive.

Gladys ended her autobiography 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?

Any thoughts on this unique woman? Feel free to comment below.


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