From Gladys Aylward's Journal
The University would not be the first place taken over by the Communists. I loved my work, but I also knew--sad to say--one day the communists would force me and all other missionaries to leave.
The focus of every missionary: establish a firm church and give the Chinese people a strong foundation to continue the work themselves. Someday we would return to help them, when the Communists left or at least allowed us in the country.
A large group of American missionaries had come in recent days. I truly appreciated their help. As I walked with the American missionary assigned to take over my work at the prison and church, he asked, "Have you met a great missionary known as, Ai-weh-dah?"
I laughed. "Yes. I am her!"
The American missionary had heard Ai-weh-dah had been shot, beaten, and quite ill while doing missionary work. He asked, "Wouldn't you like to go back to England?"
I thought for a moment and remembered doctors had advised me to return home for medical treatment.
And, oddly enough, only a day before, a Chinese student prayed out loud for the people of England who had learned to worship actors, sports, money, entertainment. He asked God to send missionaries to England. Why did he feel led to pray that prayer?
I turned to the American missionary and answered, "Yes. I would like to return to England. But I don't have any money."
After that conversation the American and I became quite busy. As we worked, he said, "My wife and I have been sent to help stranded German missionaries. Due to WWII, many German missionaries received little or no help from anywhere. Many have starved or died from diseases because they had no money for food or medical care. Our job is to search for German missionaries in need and give them money to return home."
After the last German missionary left, the American missionaries discovered surplus money in their fund. The man apparently thought of me. He and his wife discussed whether the remaining funds could be used for a non German missionary to return home. They decided yes.
The next day a messenger told me the good news. "Gladys, the money has been sent for you to go home!"
I didn't know what to say. I didn't know what to do. So I cried.
I had worked seventeen years in China, it had been my home. I could speak several dialects of Chinese and, in truth, I had learned to look and act Chinese.
In truth, I did want to go home, to heal. Not forever, just to heal. Three years later I finally set sail for England.
Next week: return to my second home: my people--where my heart lives.
The last story about Gladys Aylward will be next week.
The next featured missionary will be J. Hudson Taylor
picture courtesy of visualbiblealive.com