Monday, January 3, 2011

I Won't Give Up- Gladys Aylward

By Mary Vee

Missionary Mondays 

Gladys Aylward's thoughts...

courtesy of

Have you ever tried to do something then hear the words, don't bother, you can't do that?  I have.

Have you tried to do something but then have something go wrong? I have.

Times like this a thought popped in my head: Why bother? It'd never work. I may as well quit.

I decided I wouldn't listen. I decided to finish doing what  I need to do. I decided not to quit--ever.

Let me start from the beginning.

I must admit, I didn't do well in school.  I finished elementary school, but that's all.  My family didn't have a lot of money, just enough  to feed my brother, sister, and I. Dad worked hard in the church; at least he had a job when others didn't. When I turned 14, I took my first job as a clerk in a store, then I took a position as a nanny, and finally I found work as a parlor maid

I liked the parlor maid job the best. Each day I cleaned rich people's homes.  I loved dusting their books in the library, and the other duties as well. I'd probably never live in a home like the one I cleaned, but I sure enjoyed working in them.

photo courtesy kconnors
One night, after I'd turned 26 years old, I went to a special church meeting after work.  The speaker told me about Jesus and also said many people in China had never heard the Gospel. I asked Jesus into my heart that night. The speaker's words, the ones about the people in China, kept jumping into my head. My dreams, and thoughts for the next several days wouldn't stop saying "Go to China and tell the people about Jesus."  But how could I do that?

I found the China Inland Mission in London and applied for missionary training.  The classes met most of the day.  I tried my best with each assignment and studied for the exams. At the end of the program, the school sent me a letter. I ripped it open excited to see if I'd been accepted as a missionary to China. Sadly, the letter said I was too old to learn the Chinese language and not qualified to be a missionary. Not qualified to be a missionary? What would I do now?

Since I needed money for food, I found work as a parlor maid, again. The work and the owners of the house were nice, but I couldn't help thinking about China.  God wanted me to go. I needed to go. How could I get to China if the mission said they would not send me?  I needed to find my own way to get to China.

I spent only what money I absolutely needed to live and saved the rest for my trip to China. The owners of the home thought I was crazy for wanting to go to China by myself, but they gave me extra work whenever they could. 

photo courtesy SamHakes
One day, someone told me about Jeannie Lawson, a 73-year-old missionary in China who needed help. She wanted to open an inn for the mule train people to give them a place to sleep, eat, receive care for their animals, and hear a story about Jesus. She needed a younger woman to come work with her.  Wahoo!  Would this be my chance to go to China and tell people about Jesus?

I wrote her right away and asked if I could come help.  Jeannie wrote back: "Yes." She didn't care that I didn't have high grades, or that the mission said I wasn't qualified. She only said I'd needed to pay for my ticket to China. Most missionaries traveled by ship to get from England to places like Africa or India.  It would take years to buy passage on a ship.  This would be expensive.

I couldn't give up. Not now!

photo courtesy lespowell
I gathered the money I'd saved the last few years, walked to the train station, and asked for the cost of a ticket to China.  The man told me the train traveled across Russia.  The trip would be dangerous because the Russians and Chinese were fighting.  I didn't care.  God would protect me.  I held my head high, smiled, and asked the price again. He looked in his book then softly said the price.  I couldn't believe my ears, I had the full price, plus a little extra!

When you know God wants you to do something, never stop trying.

Next week I'll tell you about my wild train trip to China.


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