From Gladys Aylward's Journal
|photo courtesy visualbiblealive.com|
I became ill with typhoid and pneumonia during the the journey across the mountains with the one hundred children. Yes, I became quite sick and never fully recovered. But now that I think about my missionary work after I became sick, I see God's plan. My illness played a great role.
I often found myself resting and healing in a hospital, mission, or someone's home in between my missionary work. While in each place, God allowed me to meet someone who had a need.
One day I was asked to teach a class to college students attending a week long conference. What a great idea! I could enjoy teaching. I gladly agreed but before my appointed time I became too sick to teach and ended up spending the week in bed in the conference housing. Seemed like a confusing plan from God, right? Well yes until--
In the next room I heard a group of students mumbling. I put on my robe and walked to their door. Fifteen students were crowded around a map and praying. When one student finished praying the next student closed his eyes and put his finger on the map. The group of students prayed for the people in that city or village for about thirty minutes then a different student closed his eyes and pointed to the map.
After hearing these students do this each night I couldn't help but ask them, "Do you know missionaries in those places you've been praying for?"
"No," one answered. "We would go ourselves but we don't have the money or anything else we need to go. The best we can do is pray."
On the last day of the conference I finally felt better. Each day I had thought about the fifteen students and their dedication to the small villages. I had prayed for them and listened to their prayers each night. I packed my belongings and went to the room where the fifteen students prayed. "God has led me to go to those villages and tell them about Jesus."
I don't believe I've seen a happier group of students in my life.
The next day I left for the first village. I told each person I met about God and His love for them. I went into the villages and told Bible stories and taught God's Word. I went from one village to the next, telling everyone I met about Jesus and what He did for them.
Many days later a Christian woman told me I could go no further on the road. There were no more villages beyond hers. How could that be? Surely someone lived in the mountain villages beyond that place. She said, "I'm sorry, there aren't"
I stayed in her house a few days. Each day I felt a tugging in my heart to go beyond that village and tell anyone I met about Jesus. When the Christian people of the village realized I would not change my mind, they appointed someone to go with me for safety and to help tell people about Christ.
Dr. Huang offered to go with me for five days but made me agree to return afterwards. I agreed. We left the next morning. As we walked we talked about the Bible. I soon realized that although Dr. Huang loved Jesus, he didn't know the Bible stories and truths found in God's Word.
Every moment that no one was on the road I taught the doctor Bible stories. He was a feisty fellow. As I told the stories he'd interrupt me and say I had the information wrong. He then said what he thought was right. I pulled out my Scriptures and showed him the page where he could read the story.
We walked. He read. He sighed and said I was right. Then we talked about the story. When we finished, I told a new story. He again said I was wrong. I showed him the page. He read the story. We talked. Over and over. I found this a wonderful game.
We met many people along the road who had never heard of Jesus. The more the doctor learned about the Bible stories, the more he shared with the people. Just imagine, we were the first ones to tell those precious souls about Christ. I wouldn't want to do anything else.
The five days promised turned into nine days. Each day we met people who had never heard about Christ and His love for them. I am so glad we walked on this road.
Then the day came when we didn't meet any one. We found no place to sleep and no food. We set our bags down and prayed.
Come back next week to read the surprise God gave us.
I don't usually write a PS. but this time I will. I really wanted to teach the college class at that conference and was sad at the time my illness wouldn't let me. If I had, I might not have noticed the fifteen students praying, and so on. Even when I think God is not letting me do something, He really is.