Gladys Aylward was born 119 years ago on February 24, 1902. The story below is from the Torchlighters leader’s guide for The Gladys Aylward Story DVD. You can find student and leader’s guides for Torchlighters DVDs in the Downloads section of this site and at Torchlighters.org. Learn more about the DVDs here.
Gladys Aylward may be small, but she serves a big God! She’s seen Him lead through countless trials and challenges. But now, after eight years of service in China, Gladys is facing a crucial decision. Her village is under attack by the Japanese, and the children in her care are in danger. Desperate to get the one hundred children out of harm’s way, the wounded Gladys awakens them in the night and begins a one hundred mile journey to safety. She is the only adult. There is no vehicle and no pack animal. They must carry what they need. It is a journey that can only be attempted with God at the lead.
As expected, the physical and emotional challenges of such a journey prove to be immense. Gladys must struggle through her own hunger, fatigue, injury, and illness in order to help the children persevere over the mountain. All the while they know enemy soldiers could attack. When they tire of singing songs, Gladys urges the children along with stories of God – sharing the many ways He has worked throughout her life.
Just when Gladys has given her all and seems unable to face one more roadblock, we find the tables have turned. The children whom she has protected, nourished, and led now offer hope back to her. They have learned well from their beloved role model and now remind her that God is still God and He will see them through. And indeed, He does.
Gladys Aylward’s faith and courage are strong examples for us. As a young Christian, Gladys faced immense obstacles. She had few means, was a poor student, and was told she should not become a missionary. Yet, Gladys decided that if God asked her to do something, she would do it. No barriers or roadblocks would stop her as she trusted in His plan and provision. The road was often uncertain and difficult, but Gladys persevered with her Savior by her side. The small woman with a big God left a legacy of faith in her adopted land of China. Her story encourages each of us to follow as God leads and trust in His provision.
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