Monday, October 31, 2011

My Son, Chu En Part 1

By Mary Vee

Gladys Aylward's Journal

photo courtesy of
Two years before I helped one hundred children escape from enemy territory, Japanese soldiers killed a local Chinese pastor. That same day, his wife packed a few things and whisked her children away to save their lives. Along the way she died from sickness.

Villagers adopted four of the children. I adopted young Chu En. He played with the other children who also came to live with me in the inn. He loved to hear the Bible stories and songs. Like the other 99 children traveling with me, he hiked mountain paths with threadbare shoes and survived hunger to escape Japanese soldiers.  

When we arrived in Fu Feng, Chu En and my other adopted children stayed at the orphanage while I layed in a hospital bed, too sick to care for them.  He attended school and slept in a warm bed and had all he needed for months while I received therapy and medicines at a missionary's home. God took care of all the children for me.

Chu En taught new friends the Bible stories and songs he'd learned at the inn, did well in his school work, and helped where needed.

When I became healthy enough to walk, I returned to Fu Feng. The children hugged and begged me to stay. "Yes, children. I think I will stay this time. I would like to rest here at the orphanage and spend time with all of you."

At the end of the school year, Chu En and the other children asked, "Ai-weh-deh, could we live together as a family? We've lived in different homes for at least three years. Couldn't we be a family like we were at the inn?"

Before you think I'm crazy, I didn't adopt all 100 children, only 14 of them. The other children also found loving families to adopt them.

I liked the idea of living as one family, but found no available housing in Fu Feng. I travelled to Siam and found an abandoned warehouse with living quarters in the back. I found the owner close by. "Could I rent this space?" 

The man didn't even think before answering, "Sure!" He seemed to be happy to have our few coins for rent rather than nothing.

Chu En and the other children age twelve or older did what they could to help earn money. Their coins plus the money given to me as I preached in villages paid our rent and bought food.

One day Dr. Tsung came to Siam. He heard Chu En had done well in school. He visited with Chu En for the afternoon, asked many questions and chatted. Before Dr. Tsung left he asked if Chu En could train with him. He wanted to take Chu En to his home and teach him how to be a doctor.

What a great opportunity! Chu En hugged and thanked me, packed his belongings. His smile never left except when he said good bye. But then he looked at the doctor's medical bag and smiled again. "I can be a doctor, Mother!"

My son would be a doctor. I felt proud. "Yes, Chu En. You will be a wonderful doctor." 

He walked away with Dr. Tsung. Soon he will help the Chinese people with his medical skills.

But I didn't know God's bigger plan for Chu En. A Much bigger plan. 

Come back next week to read what God did for Chu En when he came back to visit me.

Gladys Aylward

picture courtesy of

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hannah's Prayer

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 1

From Hannah's Journal

I have been married for some time and havn't had any children. I would love to have a little boy or girl romping around. Someone to hold and take care of. 

My husband, Elkanah didn't understand why I cried. He said, "I give you everything you need, doesn't that mean more than ten sons?"

Actually, no.

He didn't hear the other women mocked me. "Hah, hah, you don't have a child and we do." He didn't watch them walked their children near me them lift their chins in pride.

Elkanah always gave me more gifts than anyone else. I knew he cared about me, but the gifts didn't take the sadness. I wanted to be a mom and I didn't want to listen to the women at the Temple. 

The last time Elkanah and I visited the Temple, my heart ached so much I couldn't eat the meal served before we went inside the temple. He said, "Are you all right, Hannah?" 

"Yes." I answered, but I really wasn't.

Once inside, Elkahan went to his part of the Temple and I walked to mine. A group of ladies stood in the middle. I found near a corner and away from them. Better to spend time alone with God then listen to them bragging and insulting.

I closed my eyes to pray but couldn't speak for a moment Tears fell down my cheeks. I took a deep breath and spoke to the God of Israel. "LORD Almighty, I am your servant, and my heart is broken with sadness. Please remember me, your humble servant and give me a son. When you do, I will give him back to you, LORD, for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”

I sobbed so much I couldn't say another word out loud. The rest of my thoughts  could only be spoken in my heart as I wept more. While I prayed someone placed a hand on my shoulders. I stopped to see who it was.

Eli, the priest frowned. "When are you going to stop drinking, woman? Put your wine away!"

At first his words hurt me. But then I realized he saw my lips move when I prayed a moment ago. "Oh, sir, I didn't drink wine. You saw me praying. My heart is troubled beyond what I can endure. It seemed best to go to the Almighty for help. Please don't think of me as a wicked woman. Truly I prayed because of my great trial."

He smiled and nodded. "Very well, go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant what you asked of Him."

I bowed to him. "Thank you. Thank you. May I find favor in your eyes."

I left the Temple area and walked to a water basin nearby, washed my face, and felt hungry. I ate my meal and felt--bubbly, sparkly, ready-to-jump-in-the-air-and-thank-God-from-the-top-of-my-lungs happy. I felt well enough to sing, dance, and talk. I didn't know which to do first.

God didn't call down from heaven and say, "Yes, Hannah, you will have a child." Nope. He didn't do that. The food didn't change anything because I have eaten before. Nope. 

A short while later Elkanan came out of the Temple. He looked left and right until he saw me. "Hannah, there you are." He stepped closer then stopped. "Is that a smile I see on your face? You don't look pale, did you eat? Tell me what has happened?"

"Oh, Elkanan, I asked God for a child. And now, in my heart I know He will take care of me. I can't explain it, I just know." I couldn't help but twirl right there, in front of him.

He laughed. "Oh, Hannah. I'm so glad to see you happy again. I shall pray God will give us a child as well."

I think next year I will have a child. And when I do, I will keep my promise and give the child back to God to serve Him.

1. What made Hannah sad
2. Who teased her and why?
3. Where did Hannah and Elkanah go?
4. What did Hannah do there?
5. What was her prayer?
6. Think about the prayer, did she ask for herself, or for God?
7. Who saw her pray?
8. What blessing did he give her?
9. How did Hannah after she left the Temple?
10. What did you learn from this story?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Boaz Redeems Ruth

By Mary Vee
Ruth 4

Boaz's Journal

I'd never met anyone like Ruth. She gave up her country, family, and culture to take care of Naomi, her mother-in-law after her husband died.  Such dedication. Such kindness.

She must have felt awkward living in our Hebrew culture, yet I never heard her complain when she gleaned barley and wheat. She arrived early, worked hard all day, then took her grain home and gave it to Naomi.

Ever since that day when I first heard Ruth came to help her mother-in-law survive I'd wanted to help. If I married Ruth, I'd be able to help both her and Naomi. Unfortunately I wasn't the closest relative. The law states the closest relative has the first choice to take over the family. I could have been sneaky, made a bond with Naomi to pay her debt then marry Ruth, but that wouldn't be honest. 

One morning I made a decision to present the issue before the town council at the gate.

I left my home early and journeyed to the meeting place at the city gate and waited for others to arrive. As the sun rose, other elders came and sat at the gate. We talked about city business until Naomi's closest relative happened to walk by.

"Come here, friend. Sit with us and talk." I pointed to a place next to me.

He smiled, thanked us for inviting him and sat near me. I asked ten of the elders to listen to our discussion. "I've called you all here regarding a certain matter." With everyone's attention I turned to the close relative and said, "Naomi, who came back from Moab, sold the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech to pay her debts. It would be a good idea to buy her land back for her."

He stroke his beard. "Go on, I'm listening."

Since you're the closest relative I wanted to give you first say in buying Naomi's property, but if you don't want to, let me know since I am the next closest relative.

He nodded. "Sure. I'd like to buy back her property. Her land would make a nice addition to mine."

Boaz smiled. "Good. Then you agree tomarry Ruth the Moabitess since she's the wife of the one who would have inherited the land."

He held up both hands and shook his head. "No! No! I can't do that! I'll ruin my own inheritance if I married her." He leaned closer to me. "Tell you what. You  may redeem my rights. I simply can't."

I looked at the ten elders sitting with us. "Very well. You have heard what he said." They all nodded.

The closest relative pulled off one of his sandals and handed it to me. "Take this sandal as a witness to my word. You may buy Naomi's property and marry Ruth the Moabitess the wife of the son who would have inherited the land."

I held the sandal in the air before the ten elders. "You are witnesses this day that I have bought all that was Elimelech's and all that was Chilion's and Mahlon's from the hand of Naomi. I also agree to marry Ruth, the Moabitess. You are witnesses this day."

All the people who listen to our discussion and the ten elders said, "Yes, we are witnesses. May the Lord make Ruth like Rachel and Leah, the two who built the house of Israel: and may you prosper in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. May your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the children God gives you and Ruth."

Not many days later, Ruth and I were married. We had a son and named him Obed.  Obed grew to be a fine young man. He married and had a son named Jesse.  Jesse later had a several sons, the youngest he named, David.

Ruth continued to work hard with my business, our son, and with Naomi. Thank you God for Ruth.


1.  Why did Boaz think Ruth was special?
2.  Why couldn't he marry Ruth at first?
3.  Where did Boaz meet the closest relative?

4.  Why didn't the closest relative want to help Naomi?
5.  What did the closest relative have to do to show he agreed?
6.  Who were the witnesses?
7.  Who was Boaz's great grand son? 
8.  How was this great grand son important?
9.  How does this story help you? 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Who is this Woman?

By Mary Vee

Gathered Thoughts of Many Friends

I didn't realize how sick I had become.

I'd walked to a nearby village with two Chinese women who invited me to tell the people about Jesus. On the way to the meeting, I stumbled and almost fell a couple of time. 

I'd hoped a nap would restore my strength before the time to speak--unfortunately, it didn't. They couldn't wake me!

As I slept, I apparently spouted Bible verses and pieces of the Gospel as if speaking to a group of people. I didn't know I talked in my sleep! My body was hot with fever and my throat hurt. I felt like I was falling--falling--falling and nothing made any sense to me.

Only the very poor people still lived in that village. They couldn't afford a doctor, but several villagers knew about a mission not far away.  They put me in a cow cart and took me to the mission. The kind missionary family sent a messenger to Siam to bring back a doctor.

Two days later the doctor came. He shook his head and said, "I don't think she'll survive. She has typhus and pneumonia. Her only hope is to go to the hospital in Siam. Do you know who she is?"

"No we don't. She came here with two other women from Fu-Feng and while she was here, she became ill."

The doctor thought for a moment. "If we had a cattle car, we could slide her and the bed onto it. At the train station we could load the whole cattle car onto the train. Please understand, she probably won't survive." He shook his head. "If there's a piece of hope, this is the only way to get her to the hospital alive."

Those dear, sweet villagers not only found the cattle car, moved me and my bed from the house to the car, and transferred me to the train, but also a few of them sat beside me the whole way to the hospital, holding my bed to keep it from falling off.

They didn't have to go, but they did.

The villagers tried to help me even though they didn't think I would survive the trip. Halfway to the Siam hospital, I suddenly sat up, sang a few hymns, told the story of the prodigal son in the dialect from Yang Cheng then fell back on the bed and slept. Imagine that! I probably scared anyone listening!

Not many passengers on the train could understand the Yang Cheng dialect, but they'd believed I was Chinese because of the way I spoke.

Since the hospital staff heard I was Chinese, I received special care. They fought each day to save my life. For one month, I laid in the hospital bed not able to speak and hanging close to death.

One day my dear friend, Mr. Lu, who had taken the first group of children from the inn to safety, found me. He spoke with the doctor. "I know this woman, she's from Yang Cheng. She helped many children escape the Japanese attack."

The doctor listened with interest then asked, "Who is she?"

Mr. Lu smiled. "I only know her Chinese name. She is Ai-weh-deh."

"She's not Chinese?"

Had the hospital staff known I was English, I would not have received their help. I could have been left in an alley to die, but God, in His caring way, helped me receive the medical care I needed.

Praise God for His blessings.

Come back next week to read more blessings from China

Gladys Aylward

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Ruth: Harvest Ends, Now What?

By Mary Vee
Ruth 3

From Ruth's Journal

I knew harvest time would end soon. What could I do next to bring food into Naomi's home?

Naomi seemed to have the same thought the next morning. She said, "It's time for me to find you a husband who will take care of you and put food on your table."

She took a sip of her drink and put the cup down. "We have a tradition. When a husband dies, the closest relative has the first rights to choose to marry the widow and inherit all that she has from her first husband."

I shook my head and sighed. "Yes, but would this relative marry a Moabitess?"

Naomi held up her hand pointing one finger at a time as if counting and said, "This man, Boaz, has allowed you to work in his field throughout the barley harvest and also the wheat harvest. You're the only one he's invited to eat with the paid workers and drink from the vessels filled with water. He is our relative and should be willing to take care of you. Yes, Ruth, I believe he would be happy to marry you."

If he would marry me, we would have everything we needed. "What would you like me to do?"

"Boaz will be working at the threshing floor tonight. Put on your best clothes and go to him. Wait until he has eaten dinner, of course. When he sees you, he will tell you what to do."

"OK, Naomi, I will do as you say."

I took a bath, put on my best clothes, brushed my hair and waited until Boaz had eaten his dinner then went to the threshing floor. I found Boaz resting near the piles of grain. He called out, "Who's there? "

"It's me, Ruth, your maidservant. I've come to ask you to take responsibility for our home since you are our closest relative."

He smiled. "You are blessed. Thank you for showing me such kindness."

Me? How did I show kindness when he is the one who helped Naomi and me? I waited for him to speak again.

His smile grew. "You could have married any young man whether poor or rich, but you've asked me to take care of you and your house." He walked closer to her. "I will gladly do what you request, after all everyone in the town knows how kind and faithful you have been to Naomi."

He looked at the ground and blew out a puff of air, "There is one slight problem. I am a close relative, however there is someone who is a closer relative. I will go to him and ask if he wants to perform his duty as a close relative for you. If he does, then good, you will have someone to care for you and Naomi. But if he does not want to take care of you, then I will. I promise."

What wonderful news. Before I left, Boaz took my shawl and filled it with barley for Naomi and I. "Here," he said, "Don't go home empty handed. Take this food."

 I hurried back to the house and told Naomi the news. "Look at the gift he gave us!" Then I told her all that happened.

Naomi, in her wisdom, said, "Sit and wait, Ruth. Wait to see what will happen. I can guarantee Boaz will not rest another moment until he has an answer for you."

Thanks be to God. Once again, He has taken care of Naomi and me.

Today's story shows how God continued to take care of Ruth and Naomi when they were poor and the harvest season was due to end.

God promises to take care of you because He loves you. Would you like to know how? Feel free to email me: or speak with your parent or contact your pastor.

photo courtesy of

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ruth: I Pleased Naomi

By Mary Vee
Ruth 2

From Ruth's Journal

At the end of my first day of work, I took the grain I'd gathered, beat it, and had it weighed then carried it home to show Naomi.

I felt like a little kid bringing home a prize.

Naomi smiled in a special, proud way. I hadn't seen her this happy since her husband was alive. I handed her the grain, and the extra food from my lunch.

She put her hands on her cheeks and laughed. "Ruth! What blessings you've brought to our home. Tell me, at what field did you work? The landowner must have thought well of you to let you gather all of this grain."

She always knew how to encourage me. I led her away from the kitchen to rest. "Here, sit down." I helped her to her favorite chair. "I have great news. I went down the road to the first field and asked if I could glean there. The head servant refused to allow me to work in his field. The same thing happened at the second field. The head servants obviously realized I looked like a Moabitess and decided they didn't want me to work in their fields." 

"I went to a third field and asked if I could glean. The head servant seemed to be a kind man. He had a lot of work to do but spoke with me for a moment. When I said I was staying with you he gave me permission to glean. Some time later in the morning, the landowner came to me--imagine, he spoke to me! 

He said, "Please stay close to the young women and work only in my fields." I think he must have told his workers to purposely drop grain for me because I found much more than other poor people working next to me. He showed me where to find water and gave me permission to drink from the vessels instead of drawing my own water.

"At meal time, he invited me to eat at the table for paid workers. Can you imagine? He spoke to me again and had a servant bring me food." I took out the portion of extra food I'd saved for her from my pocket. "Here, this is for you."

Naomi picked up the bread, held it close to her face, inhaled the delicious scent, and smiled. "What was the landowner's name?

I thought for a moment. "Oh yes, his name was Boaz."

With the smile still wide on her face, Naomi closed her eyes and shook her head the way people do when something amazes them. "This bread smells good. We are blessed beyond my understanding, Ruth. Look how God guided you to this man who you thought was a stranger. Boaz has taken care of us in our time of great need." She opened her eyes and clapped her hands once. "I have great news, Boaz is a relative. A close relative which means he would want to take care of us."

I hugged her. "He also said 'Work only in my field with my workers until the harvest is finished."

Naomi clapped her hands and spun around. For the first time she could hardly find words to say. "It's good, my daughter, that you worked only in his field. Since he has shown kindness today, I think you would be wise to do continue working in his field as he said."

The next day I obeyed Naomi suggestion and stayed close to the young women working in Boaz's field and gleaned the pieces his workers dropped. I returned to work there everyday throughout the barley and wheat harvests. Each day I had gathered plenty of food for us to eat. 

God took care of us in our time of need. I'm so glad I met Naomi and her God.

1. What did Ruth bring Naomi?
2. In who's field did Ruth work?
3. What did Boaz tell Ruth to do?
4. What did Naomi think?
5. Why was Naomi so happy?
6. What did God do for Ruth and Naomi?
7. What helped you in this story?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Stay or Go?

By Mary Vee

Gathered Thoughts of Many Friends

photo courtesy of
During the dark days of what I am about to tell you, I could not speak. I had to write this long after it happened, my words are based on what others told me. I had heard God works in moments like these. Let me tell you how He did for me.

After a month of walking, I had delivered the children to their new home in Fu-Feng. I made sure each child receive a place to sleep, food, caring adults helping them, new clothes and enrollment in the school. If any child still had a need, I would have stayed and helped. But, I felt confident the mission would take good care of them.

The wonderful people in charge of the orphanage said to me, "Please stay. You're weary and ill. You could rest then help take care of the children when you're better."

But I couldn't stay.

I loved the children and would have enjoyed the opportunity to rest and help care for them, but the good Lord did not call me to China to lay in a bed or care for children who had a good home. I needed to preach the Gospel to every village possible.

I called the children together the morning after we arrived and told them I would leave that day to go tell others about Jesus. "You must be strong. Love the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. Don't let anyone cause you to walk away from Jesus."

They pouted and said, "We will, Ai-weh-deh."
"Now, children, sing a song with me before I go." We sang one of their favorite Bible songs, then I prayed. "Lord, God Almighty. Bless these children with your love. Cause them to remember you all their days and serve you with their whole hearts. Help them remember the Bible stories and songs in time of need. Fill their stomachs, hearts, and soul each day."

Two Chinese women from the orphanage said they'd planned to go to a nearby village in afternoon. "Ai-weh-deh, would you come with us? Maybe you could tell the people about Jesus."

WoW! Have you ever had a time when, despite how sick you felt, something made you want to bounce and smile? That's exactly how I felt! "Sure, I'd love to come."

On the way, I couldn't make my feet walk right. I stumbled over nothing and had to work hard to keep my balance. I knew something wasn't right. Maybe I needed sleep. I smiled at the others and kept walking the best I could.

When we reached the house where the villagers planned to gather, a lady handed me a bowl of food and chopsticks. I tried to bring the food to my mouth, but my hands wouldn't work right. 

The women stared at me like I had a strange disease. "Do you have a headache?"

 "Yes," I answered.

"Do you want to rest before the meeting?"

"Yes, please. I'm sorry, I don't understand what's wrong with me. Maybe a nap will help."

But the nap didn't.

God knew I was sick. To keep me safe He didn't let me travel alone that day. He knew I would go to a village even though and would need help. Come back next week to read how God continued to care for me.

Gladys Aylward 
photo courtesy of

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ruth: The Kind Landowner

By Mary Vee
Ruth 2

From Ruth's Journal

I started my work early in the morning. The barley field where I gleaned had thick rows of grain, plenty for paid workers and poor people like me.  God has bless this land.

Paid workers gathered armfuls of golden plump grain in no time and took it to the gathering places. They plucked grain so fast I  found myself working in the shadows of many different people. Of course the workers couldn't help but drop a clump of barley here and there with their arms so full. Those were the pieces I gleaned. 

The unwritten rule known by all the workers--and the poor following them--was once a grain was dropped, the paid worker could not pick it up. 

Not all land owners took care of the poor who picked up dropped pieces by giving them shelter from the sun and water. The Lord, however, led me to a field rich with grain, a kind head servant who let me glean, and a caring owner who provided shelter and water for the poor.

Late in the morning, a man dressed in fine clothes came to me. He must have been told I am a Moabitess and will probably tell me to leave. I bowed before him. "Yes, my Lord?"

He smiled a kind smile, although I didn't know why. He said, "Please listen. I want you to glean only in my field. Stay close by the young women working here. I have spoken to the workers to keep you safe.  When you're thirsty, drink from the vessel where water has already been drawn, you won't need to go to the well."

Why is he giving me these things? Why me over any other poor person working in this field?

My hands trembled and I fell to the ground. "My lord, why have I found favor in your eyes that you noticed me when I am only a foreigner?"

He smiled again. "My head servant reported all you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband and how you left your father and mother and the land of your birth to come to a people whom you did not know."

But I didn't tell the servant all of that information. Someone else must have told him! "You are kind to me, my lord; for you have comforted me and have spoken kindly to me, your maidservant even when I am a foreigner."

At mealtime I sat with the women servants like he said. I didn't have any food, but the cool shade felt good. The owner came to me again and said, "Come here and eat from the food at the table with the paid workers."  

Of course I obeyed, but couldn't understand why the owner had been kind to me. I ate some of the food I had been given then save the rest for Naomi. 

When I go home, I will ask Naomi who this kind land owner is and why he was so kind to me, a foreigner, a stranger.

Come back to hear what happened next.

1.  Where were poor people allowed to glean?
2.  What is the unwritten rule?
3.  What did this land owner do for the poor?
4.  Why did the landowner come to speak with Ruth?
5.  How was Ruth different from the other poor workers?
6.  What did the landowner learn about Ruth?
7.  At the meal time, what did the landowner do for Ruth?
8.  We haven't told the landowner's name yet, do you know what it is?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ruth: A Working Woman

By Mary Vee
Ruth 2

From Ruth's Journal

I woke the first morning in Naomi's home and wondered where we'd find food. My stomach growled. I didn't want to say anything to make her feel bad. She probably was hungry too.

Not long afterwards, a few neighbors knocked on the door. "Naomi, we thought you'd be hungry and needed something to eat." The smell of their warm, fresh food caused my stomach to growl again. Really loud! 

I stepped back."Sorry."

The people from Bethlehem brought food again in the evening. The next morning, as we feasted on our neighbor's generosity, an idea came to me. I could go out to the fields, behind the workers and pick up grain they dropped. In Moab, my home country, poor people did that all the time. I wondered if I could do the same here.

"Naomi, would you mind if I went to the barley fields and glean heads of grain in a field where an owner will let me work behind the workers."

She smiled her sweetness. "Thank you, Ruth. Yes, you may go."

I grabbed a basket and set off for a day of work. I couldn't wait to bring Naomi a basket full of grain.  My heart beat with joy, my steps bouncy--until questions, mean and sad questions jumped into my mind. 

What if the people don't like me, I'm not from Bethlehem?
What if the workers don't drop any grain for me to pick up?
What if the owner yells at me to get off his land?

I pushed the questions away, and decided to think only good thoughts. The land where Naomi lived had plenty of green grass, flowers and trees. The grain grew tall and the fields produced lots of grain. Her neighbors brought us food. Naomi welcomed me. Her God would take care of us. What else could I want?

On I walked to the first field--and the second--and the third, each one had a head servant who told me to leave. I didn't want to be angry with them. They didn't know I lived with Naomi and cared about their people. Of course, they didn't give me a chance to tell them either.

No matter, I walked to the next field. Usually the poor simply walked behind the workers and picked up the fallen grain without asking permission. I didn't want to cause any problems since I came from Moab. I looked around for the servant who was in charge and bowed. "Please let me glean and gather after the reapers in your field."

He pointed his eyebrows low and folded his arms. "Who are you?"

I kept my head bowed. "I am Naomi's daughter-in-law, a Moabitess. I came to help care for her."

The head servant let his arms fall to his side. "You came to help Naomi? Well then. Of course you may. When you're tired, rest over there," he pointed toward a shelter. "And there's water over there," he pointed to a well."

Just like that? No questions, nothing mean to say? Naomi's God has certainly sent me to a kind man. "Thank you, my lord."

I looked for the workers then followed them, picking up pieces of grain they dropped. Just think, if I could bring back enough food, Naomi would be pleased and have her own food to eat. 

Thank you God for blessing Naomi's house.


1. What did Naomi's neighbors do for her and Ruth?
2. What did Ruth offer to do?
3. What questions did Ruth have?
4. Do you sometimes have questions like these?
5. What did Ruth decide to do?
6. Did Ruth have success at first?
7. What did you learn from this story?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Home-At Last!

By Mary Vee

From Ninepence's Journal

I have watched my mother care for many orphaned children--Chinese children. I was the first orphaned child she adopted. She has taught me the meaning of true sacrifice and love.

You may know her as Gladys Aylward, but I call her Ai-weh-deh.

She wanted to write today's story about our reaching our new home, but she fell ill; I fear for her life. She always gave the food first to the young children, then to us older ones. She only ate the grains left in the bottom of the pot.

Liang and I went to one of the Buddist priests and begged for medicine for her. He took some herbs, cooked them then let them cool before giving it to us. The medicine made Ai-weh-deh sleepy.

We guided the children off the train and led them in the crocodile way that Ai-weh-deh taught them. Mother didn't seem to focus on her steps; she struggled to find the words she wanted to say.  

We asked Jesus to touch her body and heal it from whatever troubled her. Oh how I prayed.

When we reached the city gate of Fufeng, villagers gathered around us and cheered. They showed us our new home and school, filled our bowls with food, gave us new shoes and clothes, and helped us bathe. We felt like princes and princesses. I've never seen mother so happy! 

At last we were home.

Some of the ladies of the village asked Ai-weh-deh how she felt, even these stranger saw she was sick. They offered mother a bed and asked her to stay awhile at the orphanage to help care for us. Ai-weh-deh shook her head. "I have too much work to do. I must go and preach to other villagers."

She called us to come to her. All one hundrend children circled the woman who had kept us alive,
given us her food,
held little ones even when her arms ached,
hugged us when we cried,
comforted us when we were sad,
told us stories when we were bored,
sang songs to keep us moving on the journey
and loved us as if we truly were her own children.

She said, "Children, you are home. In this place which God has prepared, you will have plenty to eat, go to school, make friends, and grow up to be healthy men and women who love God.  My work is finished here."

One of the young children blinked her eyes and pouted. "But where will you go?"

Ai-weh-deh laughed, reached down to hug the little girl and pointed to the land far away. "I will go to new villages and tell them about Jesus." Then she kissed the little girl.

"Come, children. Say the Lord is my Shepherd with me."

Tears dripped down our faces as we honored our mother with her request. Ai-weh-deh hugged each child and called them by the special name she gave--and then she left.

Dear Jesus, Please heal our mother. Please take care of her as she goes to new villages. 
Thank you for her love for us and for You.

Ai-weh-deh's story isn't over! Come back and read what God did for her.

With the greatest of respect for my mother,


Photo of a Chinese young woman used with permission from Bible visual images.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Ruth Begs to Stay

by Mary Vee
Ruth 1

From Ruth's Journal

On the road to Israel Naomi stopped unexpectedly. I thought she wanted to rest, but the serious look on her face showed she had something to say.

She held Orpah and my hands and spoke with a shaky voice. "My daughters-in-law, you must go to your mother's home. Find new husbands and have a family."

Orpah and I hugged Naomi and begged her to let us continue the journey, but Naomi shook her head. After her second request, Orpah hugged Naomi and cried. "Bye, Mother. Have a peaceful journey." And then she walked away. 

I couldn't stop the pounding of my heart. Leave? 

How could I leave this precious woman who taught me about a loving God? The God who made heaven and earth and cared for her people. I couldn't breathe.  "Please, let me go with you." 

I pressed her frail body close and hugged her with every ounce of strength I had. "Please, Mother--please."

Naomi pushed me back and shook her head. "Sweet, beautiful Ruth look at your sister-in-law." By this time Orpah had walked down the hill and kept walking toward the city where we had lived. "You must go too. Return to your people and your gods. It's OK. I'll be fine."

How could she say she would be fine? She lost her husband and two sons? Orpah had left and now she wanted me to leave as well? I couldn't--I just couldn't do it. 

Words flowed through my mind that spoke the yearning of my soul. I didn't think of what to day; somehow the words just came: 

"Mother, dear Mother, please don't make me leave you or stop me from following you."
 I wiped a tear and sobbed. 
"Mother, please--
"Wherever you go, I will go.
And wherever you live, I will live.
Your people will be my people
And your God, my God.
Where you die, I will die
And there will I be buried.
May the Lord do to me and more if anything but death separates you and me."

Naomi looked at me and sighed. She pushed a strand of my hair back like a mother would and glanced at the sky then back at me.  "Well, then, my daughter--you may come with me."

We walked, taking breaks as Naomi needed, until we reached her home city, Bethlehem. People came from their houses and businesses to greet her. She must have known every living soul in the city. How they loved her, too.

Her neighbors seemed surprised to see Naomi traveling without her husband and two sons. They came to her one by one to give a hug. "Are you really Naomi?  Are you well?"

Naomi refused to look the people in the eye. "No, I am not well. I left with a husband and two sons. The Lord has taken them from me." She lifted her head to the sky. "Call me Mara from now on, for the Almighty has treated me bitterly."

And then she walked away. 

We walked to the home she had left behind and found it a mess. Cobwebs and dirt everywhere. We cleaned what was needed to sleep that night then we rested long into the next day.

Oh, if only the Almighty would heal her sadness. I pray He will.

Come back next time to see how God helped my beloved mother.

1.  Orpah decided to ___________________
2.  Ruth chose to ______________________
3.  What did Ruth say to Naomi to show she truly wanted to go with her?
4.  How did the people in Bethlehem greet here?
5.  What name did Naomi want?
6.  Why--what does the name mean?
7.  Did Ruth stay with Naomi even after she told people to call her Mara?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Orpah Walks Away

By Mary Vee
Ruth 1

From Orpah's Journal

My heart was twisted in knots. 

I wanted to go with Naomi to her former home in Bethlehem, but I didn't want to leave Moab. 

Could I speak the language of the Moabite people in Naomi's home country, or would I have to speak Hebrew all the time? Would I have to cook only Hebrew food, or could I make my favorite Moabite meals? Did I need to make different clothes or could I wear my family's clothing? 

Would the people accept me?

Each step I took away from the land where I had lived added a weight to my soul. Ruth, perky Ruth, sang, bounced with each step, and chatted with Naomi from the first moment we locked the door of the home we left behind.

I pretended to be happy, to count the journey as a great adventure--but it wasn't true--for me.

Ruth asked Naomi tons of questions about Hebrew customs, proper words to say, ways of greetings, and songs. Her face lit up when they talked about the Hebrew God. She asked Naomi questions about Hebrew history and what God had done for them.

Naomi told us about Moses, their beloved leader who was rescued as a baby by Pharaoh's daughter and raised in the Egyptian palace. She told us Moses ran away to the desert one day after killing a guard who had attacked a Hebrew slave. He hid in the desert for forty years before God called him to return to Egypt and lead the Israelites to freedom.  God sent ten terrible plagues to the Egyptians before Pharaoh agreed to release the Hebrews. On their escape journey, God divided the Red Sea and made the ground dry for all the Hebrews to walk across. 

Ruth listened with awe and asked for more.

I tried to listen with the excitement Ruth showed, but I wanted to go back home with my family. Of course, I wouldn't tell Naomi. She had been the perfect example of a godly woman and her loss had been greater than mine. I lost my husband to illness, Naomi lost her husband and her two sons. Ruth and I, Moabite women, were all she had left.

Around lunch time, Naomi stopped walking. She sat on a nearby stump and closed her eyes for a moment. Ruth and I set down the load we carried and ran to her side. "Do you need water? Should we camp here tonight to let you rest? Can we get you anything to eat?"

Naomi shook her head and sighed. "No. Thank you, no."  She sat still for a moment then looked at each of us. "Ruth, Orpah, I couldn't have been more blessed to have you as daughters-in-law." 

She took our hands and rubbed her knobby, calloused fingers across our skin. "You have served me more than I deserve. I have no right to ask you to travel to another country where everything will be foreign to you." 

Naomi looked with her loving smile at both of us. "I want you to go home to your mother's house. May the Lord treat you kindly as you have been to my sons whom you married, and to me. May the great God Almighty grant you rest in a new home with husbands."

She pulled us closer and kissed us. Tears soaked her eyes and her love touched my heart. What a sweet, giving woman.  I couldn't stop my own tears from spilling on to my cheeks. How could I be so selfish when this dear woman thought only of the needs of others?

Ruth and I hugged her close. "Mother, we will return with you to your country and people."

Naomi laughed through her tears. "I can't give you any more. If I were to marry tonight and have two new sons, would you really wait for them to grow up to marry you?" A few more tears dripped down her face. She swiped them away and stood. "No, my daughters, I am saddened for your sakes that God has taken our husbands, but you are young and can marry again. Go home and do so."

I glanced back to the land in which I had lived all my life. Memories flashed through my mind--I didn't want to leave my family, my home, my gods--I didn't want to give them up.

I leaned over to sweet Naomi, kissed her on the cheek, picked up my things, and walked home.

I never saw Ruth or Naomi again. 

I wonder what my life would have been like had I gone with them.


1. What did Orpah worry about?
2. What did Ruth do?
3. What did Naomi teach them on their journey?
4. Why did Naomi stop walking?
5. What did Naomi tell Ruth and Orpah to do?
6. What did Orpah want to do?
7. In the end what did Orpah choose to do?

In God's Word Jesus says, "I am the way the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father but by Me."  Had Orpah stayed with Naomi, she would have learned more about the true God, and maybe one day chose to worship Him. Instead she chose to worship the Moabite gods. How sad.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Unwanted in Siam

By Mary Vee

Gladys Aylward's thoughts

photo courtesy of
The best sight in the whole world--our final destination--rose from the top of the next hill, the magnificent city of Siam.

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.

Gladys Aylward