Gladys Aylward Part 1

Photo currently: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gladys_Aylward

The True Story of Gladys Aylward PART 1

By: Rosie Smith

“All aboard!”

The shrill whistle of the train announced its soon departure. Gladys nervously dusted off her skirt and picked up her small suitcase.

Here we go, Lord, she thought to herself. It had been a difficult journey to get this far, and yet, this was only the beginning of her life as a missionary.

Ever since Gladys read an article about the millions of people in China who hadn’t heard about Jesus, her heart was drawn to the country. Someone needed to go and share the gospel, but who? Gladys sure didn’t feel qualified. Born and raised in London, she was a very small woman, almost 30 and with little education. Even when she finally got the courage to apply at the Missions Agency for China, she was told it was not possible. She had failed her studies in Theology and Chinese and Gladys almost gave up hope.

Maybe God hasn’t called her to be a missionary, she thought to herself. Yet she still couldn’t get China off her mind.

Gladys went back to work as a maid for wealthy people in London. It was through this that she met a missionary couple who encouraged her not to give up her dreams.

“[God] will show you in His own good time. Keep on watching and praying.” they told her.

One day when Glady’s was reading her bible God showed her what he wanted her to do.

“Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.” God had told this to Abraham many years ago but in that moment it felt as though the words were written just for her!

Then she read the story of Nehemiah who left his job serving the king to help his people in Jerusalem. Without a doubt, she knew God was telling her that He would provide a way, just as He did for Abraham and Nehemiah.

So Gladys started to save as much money as she could to get to China. She found a job as a maid working for a famous explorer, and spent the last of her money on a train ticket to his home. She had nothing left! What was she to do? Walking up to her room she laid her Bible on the bed.

“God” she prayed, “here’s the Bible filled with your stories that I want to tell other  about. Lord, this is everything I have. If you want me to go to China please provide.”

Just as she finished her prayer, the wife of the explorer called her.

“Gladys, “ She said talking out something from her purse, “You have spent money getting here to my house, so I always pay back travel expenses.” The lady smiled and handed her a little wad of money, “so this is for you”.

Gladys looked down at what had been placed in her hand. It was far more money than she had spent on the train ticket! She knew then that God was providing.

As soon as she could, she went to the local travel agency to book a ship to China, but when she was told how much it would cost, heart sank.

“Is there a cheaper way?” she asked hopefully.

“Yes, there is a cheaper way.” The man nodded and showed her a big map, “You will have to go by train through here,” He pointed to an area on the map, “It’s a very dangerous war zone area. You could get killed there!”

Gladys gasped.  What could she do?

Taking a deep breath Gladys said, “I’d like to book a ticket. I will pay a bit off every week.”

“I’m sorry ma’am” the man said, shaking his head “but there is no guarantee that you’ll arrive safely.”

“I don’t care about a silly war.” Gladys said confidently “I’m sure it’ll be over by the time I get there.”

The travel agent was not convinced, but Gladys insisted. Reluctantly he booked her ticket, and Gladys walked out feeling a little taller. With a goal in sight, Gladys got to work. She took extra jobs and sold as much as she could, even her best pair of shoes. By her calculations, it would take three years to save enough money.

But God provided in miraculous ways, and after just one year, she had paid off every cent of her train ticket.

Finally, the big day came. She was ready to go to China and meet a lady by the name of Jeannie Lawson who she was going to work for. Gladys heart beat faster as the train jerked forward and moved out of the station. She was about to embark on the biggest adventure of her life!

Gladys closed her eyes.

“Lord, you’ve gotten me this far” she prayed silently, “I know you’ll be with me all the way.”

The trip was long and exhausting – the train jerked back and forth and soon Gladys started to feel stiff from the hard wooden bench she was sitting on.

Gladys spent a long time staring out the window, watching the countryside flash past. Pretty soon she began to doze, waking every now and then when the train stopped. Hours turned into days and days turned into weeks.

Many long weeks after, the train pulled into a station on the borders of Russia. Gladys suddenly realised she was the only passenger left. The train conductor made his way through the carriages, checking the seats. When he got to Gladys he seemed surprised to see her – and then frustrated. He yelled at her in what must have been Russian but Gladys didn’t understand a word. He yelled again and pointed out the door. Gladys realised he wanted her to get off, but this wasn’t her destination! She had to get to the other side of Russia.

“I’m not leaving!” Gladys said, planting herself firmly on the seat. All of a sudden there was a loud noise at the door. Russian soldiers began stamping through the carriages. One pushed past the conductor, who had given up on Gladys and was making his way to the front. Very soon Gladys was surrounded by rough-looking men who eyed her suspiciously. What was this small English woman doing on a train heading into a war zone?

Gladys had never felt so uncomfortable. When the train reached the next stop, the train conductor returned, this time pulling Gladys off the train.

The soldiers didn’t do anything to her.

Soon she was left in the freezing cold, standing on a bare wooden platform. She felt terribly alone.

Gladys looked at a map, “Oh no, it’s 50 km to the nearest city. What am I going to do?  God please help me!” she cried, tears running down her cheeks. She took a deep breath and immediately sensed God was with her.

Gladys wiped her tears and shivered. It was freezing.

“I guess I should start walking” she sighed. Wrapping an extra scarf around her, Gladys picked up her bag and began trudging towards the snow-covered woods. Would she ever make it to China?

NOTE: This photos does not belong to us – The original uploader was Ibekolu at Chinese Wikipedia. – Transferred from zh.wikipedia to Commons by Shizhao using CommonsHelper.

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