Gladys Aylward's Thoughts
|photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net|
I, along with people in Yang Cheng, knew our small village wouldn't be attacked. We had nothing to give--who'd want a few small homes, some cattle, and an inn on a mountain road? Our lives didn't change after we heard the news--we got up, worked, ate, and slept.
If muleteers hadn't brought information from other places, we wouldn't have known Japanese soldiers came to China. Planes didn't fly over us, trains couldn't travel through the mountain pass, and roads had not been made for cars. We didn't have radios or telephones. We lived alone.
One day an odd sound swooshed down to us from the sky. Villagers ran outside their homes, squinted upward, and pointed. "Tiny silver planes high in the sky. Look!" Mothers, fathers, and children left their work to gaze at the new sight. They laughed and danced. "I've never seen planes in the sky. The silver shines like a ribbon."
They watched as the planes flew back and forth in a dance, lower and lower.
Since I'd seen planes in England before, I went back to my morning prayers. My prayer room, on the second floor of the inn, had a window overlooking the village. I knelt on my soft mat to continue worshiping and talking to God about the villager's needs. My heart sang as I talked to God with the people's laughter behind me.
A moment later all sound stopped.
For one second.
A blast of thunder roared, villagers from Yang Cheng screamed, the floor below me wobbled and shook until it fell down, down to the ground. The ceiling fell on top of me and I heard myself cry out--then I saw nothing.
Sometime later I opened my eyes, but couldn't move my body. My prayer room lay in pieces, mixed with tables and chairs from the first floor. I realized the silver planes had dropped bombs on my beloved Yang Cheng.
I couldn't move my head to see what fell on top of me. Thanks be to God, I didn't feel pain, but I couldn't scream for help either. Some time later, I had no idea how long, footsteps stumbled near me. "Hallelujah, she's alive! Ai-weh-deh is alive. Help me get this off of her."
The men grunted as they tugged and yanked the object off of me. "Are you hurt, Ai-weh-deh?"
They helped me stand. "I'll be fine." Air filled my lungs which made me cough. I shoved hair away from my face and took another delicious breath. "I need my first-aid kit. I need to help others." We searched through the broken tables, chairs, and ceiling pieces until my satchel was found. I opened it and found only a few bandages. "This will have to do. We must help others. Hurry, gather anyone who can walk and search every house for others who are injured or trapped."
As I ran throughout the village I thanked God for sending those men to rescue me. He showed them where I was and he gave them strength to help me. Praise God for His protection.
Come back next week to read what happened next.