Monday, July 25, 2011

I'm Hungry

By Mary Vee

Gladys Aylward's Thoughts

photo courtesy of
I thought we'd find food. 

Villagers in China had no problem sharing what little they had. Whenever the children complained about their hungry stomachs I reminded them, "We'll get food at--" then I'd say the name of the next village. These words and a happy song usually kept their blistered little feet moving.

Seeing the Yellow River from the mountain top thrilled my soul. The children captured my joy and slept soundly through the night. But when they woke the next morning, their stomachs growled, and they whined.

"Ai-weh-deh, I'm hungry." Which of course helped them to remember other problems. "Ai-weh-deh, my feet are bleeding and they hurt." "Ai-weh-deh, I'm tired."

I needed to keep them moving. "It's all right, children. Down there--by the river--is the village Yuan Ku. The peope will give us food."  Smiles poured across their sweet little faces.  They looked up at me with their deep brown eyes.  I knew they trusted me. I only wished I could fill their stomachs right then.

We sang our way down the path to Yuan Ku, but they didn't dance any more.  At the village the children scurried to each home, knocking on doors hoping to find food.  No one answered.  The village had been abandoned.

For half a second I wanted to plop down in the middle of the road with my discouraged little children and cry with them.  But a sudden spark of bold fired through my mind and heart, forcing me to fight. Fight for our lives. Only the Almighty could have given me this strength.  I blew my whistle to call all the children. "Come children.  Let's go to the river. We can play in the water--won't that be fun?" 

As we walked out of the town, Liang and Teh found an old man sitting under a tree. I walked slowly toward him and bowed. "Sir, where are the villagers?" 

He blinked his tired, old eyes. "Gone. The Japanese are coming. Villagers took the boats across the river to escape. The Japanese are coming. Run to the mountains. No boats left. Hide. The Japanese are coming."

"We can't go back to the mountains. We must escape across the river, too."

He closed his eyes and said. "Run to the mountains. Hide. The Japanese are coming."

I couldn't take the children back to the mountains. We had to find food. We had to find a way across the river.  "Come children. Would you like to play in the water?"

Their tired, drooping eyes said "No," but their feet followed me down the path to the river.

For three days we waiting on the shores for a boat to help us cross the mile wide river. The older boys walked back to Yuan Ku, searched each cupboard in every house and brought back scraps of moldy bread. I boiled every crumb they found and fed the youngest children first. Only a spoonful was left for each of the older children.

Sualan, one of the older boys came to me. "Ai-weh-deh, you told us the story of Moses and the river opening for the people to cross.  Why can't we ask God to open this river?"

I didn't know how to answer his honest question. He'd listened to the Bible stories, the words gave him strength, yet he didn't understand that God knows all things and does miracles only at the right time.  I gazed at his hopeful eyes. There was only one answer I could give. I kneeled, facing the river. "Kneel with me, Sualan. Let's pray and see what God will do for us."

Do you want to know what God did?  Come read next week's story.

Gladys Aywlard.

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