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Fitting In

As a girl in England, Gladys Aylward sometimes felt like she didn’t fit in. Many of the other girls had long blonde curls, and Gladys had black hair. Gladys was less than five feet tall; other girls were much taller. But in China where Gladys later served the Lord as a missionary, the people were shorter and had black hair!

When Gladys arrived in China she gave up English customs to fit in better with the people of China. Mrs. Smith, a missionary in China, gave Gladys quilted slacks and jackets like those worn by Chinese women. In later years, Gladys said, “I lived exactly like a Chinese woman. I wore Chinese clothes, ate their food, spoke their language.”

But in other ways, Gladys did not try to fit in. One day she saw a woman on the street trying to sell a little girl. It was a shocking sight! She reported the situation to the Mandarin — a government official. He told her to ignore the child sellers. Gladys said, “I have to inform you, Mandarin, that I did not come to China only to observe your laws, I came for the love of Jesus Christ, and I shall act upon the principles of His teaching, no matter what you say.”

To Think About
Is it ever a good thing to not fit in? If so, can you give some examples? Should Gladys have obeyed the Mandarin to fit in? What are some ways you would not change to fit in with others?

The story above is taken from The Torchlighters Ultimate Activity Book and DVD set, available at VOMBooks.com. The book includes 144 pages of stories, devotionals, challenging coloring pages, extreme dot-to-dots, crafts, and activities related to the 16 heroes on the accompanying Torchlighters DVDs. Learn more here.


Gladys Aylward

British missionary Gladys Aylward traveled to China by train and boat across Europe and Asia. God protected her through many hardships and adventures during her trip. After she arrived in China, Gladys helped an older missionary manage an inn where they shared Bible stories with visitors who passed through the area.

Then a local leader appointed Gladys as a foot inspector to help end the custom of foot binding. The Chinese considered small feet to be beautiful, so preschool girls had their toes bent down under the soles of their feet and bandaged tightly to create smaller feet. The procedure was painful and made it hard to walk normally. As a foot inspector, Gladys unbound the girls’ feet and shared the story of Jesus with many Chinese people. (The photos illustrate the size of shoes worn by adult women whose feet had been bound since the women were children.)

Gladys also helped stop a prison riot and taught the prisoners about Jesus. She was able to serve God in many other ways in China, because she was willing to be used by Him wherever He needed her.

Gladys said, “I wasn’t God’s first choice for what I’ve done in China. I don’t know who was. It must have been a man, a well-educated man. I don’t know what happened. Perhaps he died. Perhaps he wasn’t willing. And God looked down and saw Gladys Aylward. And God said, ‘Well, she’s willing.’”

Note: “The Torchlighters: The Gladys Aylward Story” is a children’s DVD that tells how Gladys led more than 100 children on a hike through mountains in China to escape enemy soldiers. The DVD is available at vombooks.com. View an English trailer for the DVD in the video section and an Arabic version here.

To Think About
Why might someone not be willing to follow the Bible’s teachings and God’s will? Do you think they might not trust God to provide for all their needs if they follow Him? Read Proverbs 3:5-6.


Sunday School Around the World: China

In some areas of in China, officials try to prevent children from learning about Jesus. Government workers are monitoring churches in the Zhejiang province of China to restrict the number of children who attend church activities. The authorities in more than 100 churches in the province have also received warnings against teenagers attending church services, Sunday school, or other church activities.

Pray:
That Chinese Christian children and youth will have ways to grow in their faith.
That the parents of Christian children will remain strong in their faith.
That more Chinese officials will come to know Jesus.

The woman in the photo is reading a children’s Bible to Chinese Sunday school children.


Talking About Jesus on an Airplane

A VOM worker boarded a plane to go to a place where Christians need encouragement. The worker, Jonathan, has served God as a pastor and missionary.

Jonathan sat down next to a lady from China. The government gives Christians a hard time in some parts of China. But thousands of people are turning to Jesus. After you read Jonathan’s story, you may understand how so many people are hearing the gospel.

Before the plane even left the ground, the lady turned to Jonathan and asked, “Do you know Jesus?” Jonathan told her that he did know Jesus, and she asked, “Are you a real Christian?” Then she asked him about his Bible reading habits and his prayer time, and if he shared the gospel with others.

When the lady was finished with Jonathan, she turned to the passenger on the other side of her. After she talked with the man for a few minutes, she said to Jonathan quietly, “You should pray for him because he doesn’t want to hear about Jesus.”

Jonathan realized that the lady’s husband was sitting in another row. “Would you like me to switch seats with your husband so you can sit with him?” Jonathan asked her.

The lady politely refused his offer. Then Jonathan realized that her husband was sharing about Jesus with the passengers around him. If he sat next to his wife, they would have fewer people to talk to.

To Talk About
• China has more than one billion people. About eight percent of them are Christians. Eight percent of a billion is 80,000,000 (80 million). If only 10 percent of 80 million Christians shared the gospel with one person this year, how many people would hear the gospel?

• If everyone in your class or family told one person about Jesus every month for a year, how many people would hear about Jesus during that year?

• The Chinese lady asked Jonathan, “Do you know Jesus?” If Jonathan had said no, what do you think she would have said to him next? What would you say to someone who told you that they did not know Jesus?

• Jonathan said, “I grew up in the church here in the states and for a long time I said no one has ever shared the gospel with me outside of a church building. I have never had anyone come up to me on the street and ask me if I knew Jesus or anything.” Why do you think no one in the United States had witnessed to Jonathan, but someone from China had asked him if he knew Jesus?


Bible Verse Word Switch

Chinese girls studying the Bible

In the quotes from the Bible verses below, one word in each verse is incorrect. Find the incorrect word, then tell what word should replace it. Choose the correct word from this list: love, child, persecuted, God, joy, fear, weak, death. (If desired, print the verses, cross out the incorrect word, and write the correct word in the blank after the verse.)

How many can you get right without looking up the verse in the Bible first? (Verses are from the NKJV version, but are similar in other versions.) Check your answers in the Bible.

Example: Overcome evil with strength. Answer: “Strength” is the incorrect word. The correct word is “good.”

1. Blessed are those who are honored for righteousness’ sake (Matthew 5:10). _______

2. But I say to you, fight your enemies (Matthew 5:44). ___________

3. Those who sow in tears shall reap in misery (Psalm 126:5). __________

4. He gives power to the strong (Isaiah 40:29). __________

5. Even a king is known by his deeds (Proverbs 20:11). __________

6. We ought to obey women rather than men (Acts 5:29). __________

7. Perfect love casts out problems (1 John 4:18). __________

8. Be faithful until tomorrow, and I will give you the crown of life (Revelation 2:10). __________