Service/Servanthood / Missions part I

Service/Servanthood / Missions part I

This is part one of two of Bishop's Blog:

Gladys Aylward (1902-1970)

Missionary to China

Gladys May Aylward born to working-class family became a maid at the age of 14. She went through life as a routine, she didn’t excel scholastically or set her apart based on her exhaustive knowledge of the Bible and the classic languages, but rather her life was marked with a willingness to serve. At an early age, she always had an ambition to go overseas as a missionary. Her call to missions came about when she attended a revival at when she was 18 in which the preacher expounded on giving one’s life over to the service of the Lord. The message struck a cord in her heart and an awakening desire to serve on the missionary field began to blossom.

At the age of 26, Gladys applied at China Inland Mission Center in London, as a candidate for China. After reviewing her advanced age and test results it was determined that she was too old and unfit to learn the difficult Chinese language. Gladys dream was momentarily crushed; she decided if she couldn’t go with CIM she would go on her own. She worked at other jobs and saved her money. Then she heard of a 73-year-old missionary, Mrs. Jeannie Lawson, who was looking for a younger woman to carry on her work. Gladys wrote to Mrs. Lawson and was accepted- if she could make it to China. In October of 1930 she set out from London with her passport, her Bible, her tickets, and two pounds nine pence (an old English silver coin), to travel to China. On her arrival in Yangcheng, Gladys worked with Mrs. Lawson. They founded The Inn of the Eight Happiness’s. It occurred to the two women that their most effective way of preaching the gospel, would be to set up an inn. Gladys practiced her Chinese for hours each day, and was becoming fluent and comfortable with it. Then Mrs. Lawson suffered a severe fall and died a few days later. Gladys was left to run the mission alone, with the aid of one Chinese Christian, Yang, the cook.

In 1936, she officially became a Chinese citizen. She lived frugally and dresses like the people around her, and this was a major factor in making her preaching effective. In 1938, the region was invaded by Japanese forces, and Gladys led over 100 orphan to safety over the mountains, and then promptly collapsed with typhus fever and sank into delirium for several days. As her health gradually, she started a Christian church in Sian, and worked elsewhere, including a settlement for lepers in Szechuan, near the borders of Tibet. Her health was permanently impaired by injuries received during the war and in 1947 she returned to England for a badly needed operation. Nevertheless, she sought eagerly to return back to China. She was denied re-entry by the Communist government and instead had to settle in Taiwan in 1958. There she founded the Gladys Aylward Orphanage, where she worked until her death in 1970.

Gladys was not a super women but obedient to the call of service/mission to the Lord.

  •  But how can people call on him if they have not believed in him? How can they believe in him if they have not heard his message? How can they hear if no one tells the Good News? Romans 10:14

please come back next week for part two.