We’re Sorry Gladys . . . But God Can’t Use You in China

AFTER THREE MONTHS of study in the missionary society college, young Gladys Aylward, a poor London parlormaid, was told that she was too deficient in education to become a missionary; she’d never be able to learn Chinese, the committee couldn’t accept her. But Gladys was sure God wanted her in China. Unable to find support, she worked as a housemaid and saved enough money for a one-way ticket to Tientsin. She left Liverpool on Oct. 15, 1932 with an old suitcase full of food and clothes; she had about £2 . Before she reached China, she had to leave the train and trudge through the snow, in bitter cold, among gunfire from the Russo-Chinese War. When Gladys Aylward died in 1970, at 68, she had had a very successful ministry among the Chinese of Yancheng, and had converted, among others, a local Mandarin. She had led 100 children to safety through the mountains during the Japanese invasion and had established an orphanage. She spoke, read, and wrote Chinese fluently.

By the Editors

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #19 in 1988]

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