Gladys Aylward's thoughts
|photo courtesy of visualbiblealive.com|
Tears flooded my eyes.
My legs turned soft like soggy noodles and refused to move.
I probably should have leaped into the air, maybe shouted praises to God, but every ounce of strength had dripped out of my body the second I saw the city walls.
The children crowded around me. "Ai-weh-deh, is that Siam?"
I swiped the tears and nodded. "Yes, children. Those are the city walls of Siam."
I don't know where they found the strength, but the children danced and cheered. "Siam. Siam."
After twenty-seven days of walking with nothing more than threads on our feet, riding trains for short distances, crossing the Yellow River in tiny boats-- through bombed cities, freezing temperatures, blazing winds, and scraps of food singing, whining, crying, giggling, complaining, laughing, and snoring--all one hundred children and I arrived at the city gates of Siam.
God protected every single child from severe illness, accident, or getting lost.
I fell to my knees and prayed, "Lord grant us strength to complete the last few feet," then stood and marched on.
One of the children pointed toward the city. "Ai-weh-deh, the gate is closed. How will we get in?"
I honestly didn't have an answer. "Let's ask the gate keeper. Come children."
Once at Siam's entrance, I grabbed the knocker and hit it hard against the gate. A guard peaked over the top. "Go away. Can't you see the gate is closed?"
I pointed to the children. "Yes. But the hour to close the city has not yet come. I have one hundred children seeking refuge."
He furrowed his eyebrows. "We have no more room for refugees. Go away."
"But sir, the orphanage in Siam said we could come. They have food and a place for us to sleep. We've walked from Yang Cheng. Please! You must let us in."
"No. Go away and take the children with you."
"We have no where else to go. Please speak with the people from the orphanage. They will confirm my words."
"Look, woman, I will not open the gate. We have no more room and no food to share. Take the children away." The guard moved back behind the wall.
Two little ones tugged on my sleeve. "Ai-weh-deh, what will we do?"
I pushed my shoulders back and held my head high. "We will walk to the other gates. Someone else might let us in."
We walked around the city, to each gate. Each time the guard on duty refused to let us in. Where would we go? The children needed food and a place to sleep--and a home. I called the children together. "Let's ask God for help."
We stood outside the city wall and prayed together all as one family. "Please Lord, show us what to do. Give us food and a place to sleep."
Before the last word left our mouth, a man peeked over the city wall and called out to us. "Go to Fu-Feng. One day journey by train. There you will find an orphanage that will help." Just as quick as his head popped up to speak with us, he disappeared!
Thank you, God for your answer.
Reader, thank you for stopping by to read today's story. Next week: A Home for the Children.