Gladys Aylward's Thoughts
|photo courtesy of visualbiblealive.com|
I hugged the twelve to sixteen-year-olds, bent to squeeze the eight to ten-year-olds, and kneeled to tickle the three to seven-year-olds.
These children and all the orphans who had come to live with me over the past years brought sunshine into every part of my life.
Hundreds of children who used to live here had already been taken to safety. I've thought of their sweet faces and the fun games we use to play then sighed because I missed them so much. Still, I knew they were safe--far away from the dangers of war.
But each day brought new sweet faces in need of a home, love, and food. One hundred children slept in what use to be an inn suitable for weary travelers in need of a place to sleep, food, and willing to listen to a Bible story. Boys and girls ran through gaping holes in walls ripped apart from bombs--not understanding their home should not look that way.
I called all the children to come hear my news. "Guess what? We're going for a walk, a long walk! We'll take our sleeping mats and rice and go to those mountains over there. I want you to go to sleep right away. We'll leave early tomorrow morning."
The children leaped to their feet and cheered. "Yipee! We're going for a walk. We're going for a walk. We can walk to mountain tops, we can sing and dance and hop." They skipped and danced all around the court singing their new song.
"Off to bed, now. We want to be rested for our trip."
They giggled their way to their sleeping quarters.
The next morning, the other missionaries helped me prepare huge portions of rice for breakfast. We wanted the children's stomachs full. Two men arrive with the rice that had been given to us for our journey. It wasn't much. Perhaps enough to feed the children until we reached the next city. From there we'd have to beg for our food.
The older children helped the younger ones gather their sleeping mats and then herded them out to the court. Counting all their little bodies proved difficult. Their excitement kept them dancing and jumping. I must have restarted at least ten time.
When I counted the hundredth child we left. My long group of hopping, singing, laughing, joking children flittered along the road leading to the mountains. I would have preferred we WALK in a line to make sure none lost their way, but I soon realized hoppers, climbers, dancers, singers, and prancers could not walk in a line.
Our journey began.
The children didn't know the inn they left stood in enemy territory and they had been in great danger. They didn't know the journey ahead would be terribly long and they would get hungry. They also didn't know they needed to leave for their safety.
For now, they knew they could hop on this road.
For now I knew God took care of them.
Come next week to read what happened next.