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Gladys Aylward, Missionary to China

By Elise Wixtrom, Kids of Courage Student Reviewer

Gladys Aylward was a missionary in China when the Japanese invaded the country during World War II. Like Eric Liddell, she lived in a village that was attacked by air. She and many orphans had to flee in the middle of the night. They made their way to the next city by foot.

Ever since she was very small, Gladys had wanted to be a missionary to China. She knew that she was supposed to bring the gospel to the unreached people there. Although she was sure of her calling, the missionary school she applied to did not think she was qualified to take on work like that.

Even though Gladys was rejected from that school, she began to save money for a train trip from her home in England to China. With no material support, Gladys headed on the long train ride through Europe and Asia. She was armed with nothing but a faith in God and a clear purpose to fulfill.

Though she experienced many setbacks on the way to China, Gladys made it to her destination safely. She and another woman operated an inn, where they ministered to the people of the local town. They had great success, until Gladys’ business partner fell sick and suddenly died, leaving Gladys to take care of the inn by herself. She quickly began to run out of money. Desperate, she prayed for God to grant her a miraculous opportunity. As she was praying, a knock came at the door. It was the mandarin (royal official) of that region, who offered her a job inspecting young women’s feet and making sure that they were healthy. With this newfound job, Gladys soon made enough money to reopen the inn and even take in orphans who she met in her travels.

She was known throughout the region as a powerful woman of faith, one who took in the sick and orphaned, calmed fights and riots, and gave hope in times of trouble. Gladys was widely respected, and her work in rural China touched many lives. However, when the war came, all that she had built was about to crumble. Gladys and the orphans had to run away in the middle of the night. They traveled on foot for many miles, overcome by tiredness and hunger. Afraid of the Japanese planes overhead, they hunkered beneath trees and rocks, and were shot at many times. They eventually made it to safety, and Gladys took in even more refugees who were displaced by the brutal war.

Gladys Aylward never gave up, even when she encountered setbacks and obstacles to her mission. She always trusted that God knew her destiny and that all she had to do was follow His plan for her. With her powerful faith, Gladys persevered through countless difficulties. Though she was weakened by many of the events of her life, she continued to serve God with an undying faith until the day she died.

More Information
The Gladys Aylward Story on DVD is available here.  Click here to see an Arabic version of the DVD’s trailer.

Learn about the old Chinese custom of foot binding and view photos of the tiny shoes women wore until Gladys unbound their feet.

Read more stories from the Kids of Courage archives about Gladys Aylward here, here, and here.


Torchlighters Shining Bright: From Texas to China

Michelle Curtis wrote the following story about a group of Texas kids who provided 300 Bibles for Christians in China. Michelle is an editorial assistant for the organization that produces the Torchlighters DVDs in cooperation with The Voice of the Martyrs. The DVDs feature stories of Christian heroes.

Today Michelle assists with various stages of bringing the stories of Christian heroes to the next generation. But years ago, Michelle was the child who first inspired the Torchlighters DVDs. You can read how that happened at Torchlighters.org. Now some children in Texas are inspiring those around them to put the lessons learned from Torchlighters into action.

The Texas Torchlighters
When the 2nd-5th graders of Life Foursquare Church (Angleton, TX) watched Torchlighter William Tyndale’s story, they were inspired to send Bibles to persecuted Christians in China. These eager youngsters wanted to follow Tyndale’s example and share God’s Word with people who otherwise could not read it. In just four weeks, together with their leaders, they collected enough money to send 300 Bibles to believers in China with the help of The Voice of the Martyrs (a co-producer of the Torchlighters).

Each child had a cardboard “gospel box” to collect money. Leaders encouraged the children to think about ways they could sacrifice in their own lives to send Bibles to Christian believers in China. Some gave their allowance. Some stopped buying things they wanted in order to give the money. One even gave the money that was supposed to go toward repainting a room and instead lived with the old paint. The kids also enthusiastically shared the need for Bibles and encouraged many others to contribute—family, neighbors, and even strangers!

In 1536, William Tyndale gave his life for “heresy,” having drawn attention to himself by illegally translating the Bible into English so that the common people could read it for themselves. Now a group of believers in Texas have made personal sacrifices to provide Bibles for Chinese Christians. Torchlighters is inspiring young torchlighters to grow even more torchlighters! We pray that the torch Tyndale lit by translating the Bible into English will continue to light many hearts of fire for God’s Word.

[Learn about VOM’s commitment to provide a Bible for every believer here.]


China: 11 Kids Arrested

The Chinese government is cracking down on Christians. The Early Rain Covenant Church is one of the targets of their unwanted attention.

About 800 people attend weekly services at Early Rain. The church also operates an elementary school with 40 students.

In February, policemen arrested 44 Christians at two Early Rain services. Eleven kids were among those arrested. The youngest child was about two months old.

The children were given no food, even though they weren’t released from the jail until 2 a.m. the next day. They had to sleep on the floor or on a cold table. The police took away everyone’s cell phones.

It wasn’t the first time officials had given the church a hard time. In December 2018, police arrested 100 people from the church, including the pastor and his wife.

But the Christians continue to meet together and worship God. The church members publish sermons online and evangelize in the streets. Why do you think they keep doing activities that get them arrested? (Hint: Read Hebrews 10:24-25 and Mark 16:15.)

Source: China Aid
Photo: China Aid. Children meeting at Early Rain Covenant Church


China: Changing the Ten Commandments

Digital rendition. Photo by Bob Fu

Previous posts have told about China’s new stricter laws for churches.  Some churches have been forced to replace their crosses with the state flag and a photo of China’s president.

Late last year, officials in one of China’s provinces dropped by a church to search and inspect it. One officer stopped at the pulpit where the Ten Commandments were displayed. He demanded that the first commandment be removed, then he crossed it out.

Officials told everyone who complained, “The president opposes this statement.”

To Talk About
*What is the first of the Ten Commandments? (See Exodus 20:3.)
*King Darius had Daniel thrown into a lions’ den because Daniel put God before the king. Read what Darius said in Daniel 6:25-26. Can you think of other situations in which someone replaced false beliefs with the truth about God?
*Do some research and find out the name of the president of China. What will you pray for him?


Bold Chinese Believers

A Christian worker from China shared with The Voice of the Martyrs the following testimonies about believers in China, where the government has increased their control over Christian activities.

“This is a very serious situation we are working under today,” the worker said. “Most people have heard about the addition of millions of cameras with face-recognition software. So on a day-to-day basis, we know that any of us can be tracked with every movement we make, every meeting we have. We have to be more cautious not to have anyone arrested and go to prison.

“In the old days, God made blind eyes see. Pray that He will make the seeing eyes [of the cameras] blind, and that much of our work is not seen by the cameras.

Released from Prison Weeping
But many Christians in China have learned to share the love of Jesus wherever they go. “One of my dear friends, a close friend, spent over 16 years in prison,” the Christian worker said. “The last prison sentence he had was seven years.”

The man was not allowed to have his Bible in prison during the entire seven years. Even though he knew the risks and didn’t have a Bible, he planted a church inside the prison! He wept on the day he was released from prison because he was sad to leave his congregation.

Learn more in Bold Believers in China, available in the Downloads section.

To Talk About
What would you do differently if you knew that cameras tracked you whenever you were outside your house?