Gladys Aylward (Missionary to China)
Date of Birth: February 24, 1902- January 3, 1970
Aylward was born in a working-class family in Edmonton, London. At a young age she had a heart to be a missionary. But was turned down by the China Inland Mission because her academic background was inadequate.
But Ms. Aylward did not give up, She worked as a housemaid, confident that God would help her. At the age of 30 she got on a train from Liverpool station in London to ride across Europe and Russia. A war was going with Japan, Russia and China. It was very dangerous travel for Aylward but she kept moving and finally got to China. In China is were she got a job assisting a retired missionary lady at an inn for muleteers.
Aylward learned the Chinese language, and started to go into small villages sharing the gospel and began to take in unwanted children. Soon she had 20 children under her roof, and addition to that she had 30 to 40 wounded soldiers that she cared for.
A war was still going on and Alwayd being a devoted missionary led almost 100 children over the mountains on foot that toke over a 100 miles to a safer place in Sian. When she finally made it with the children safely, she collapsed. The doctors were amazed at Aylward because she had typhus, pneumonia, relapsing fever, malnutrition, and supreme exhaustion. But it was only by the grace of God that she made it.
She regained her strength, and continue to go out to share the Gospel in the villages, prisons and among lepers. Ms Aylward was a very humble woman and she dependent on God for everything, rather it is extreme circumstances or not.
Soon foot-binding of women was outlaw. A local magistrate appointed Aylward, as a foot inspector since she had normal feet, In this position at her job she used that as an opportunity to spread the gospel.
After being in England, Aylward returned to Asia. Because of the Communist rule, she was unable to settle there but she established refugee centers in Hong Kong and Taipei.
On January 30, 1970 Aylward was buried in a cemetery on the campus of Christ's College. She is known as a (Ai-wei-de, 'Virtuous One') to the Chinese.