Photo of Gladys Aylward


Born: February 24 1902, in Edmonton England

Died: January 3 1970, in Taiwan

Gladys May Aylward started as a London parlour-maid. She became a Christian, and prayed to God continually to send her somewhere that she could be of use.  In the meantime, though, she stood on a box in the middle of the street, and preached the word of God to anyone who would listen.

Soon after, she felt a call to China. She inquired everywhere about how she could become involved in Chinese mission work. Missions advisers rejected her applications, saying that she was “unqualified to go”.  However she was determined, and worked for several months until she could earn enough money to board a train to Yangcheng and become a missionary. She had made arrangements such that she would be an apprentice to a Mrs. Jeannie Lawson.

When she got there, she started helping repair an old inn that Mrs. Lawson had bought and soon after it was built and ready to go. They named it “The Inn of Eight Happinesses”. However, when she tried to advertise their inn for people to stay there, they fled on their mules. When Gladys asked their Chinese cook, Yang, why this was, he said that they were not used to white people and they called them the “Foreign devils”.

Soon after, Gladys took to grabbing the mules’ halter and steering it into the inn’s stable. That way the men would have no choice but to come to the inn and stay.  After she started that, many other muleteers followed suit.  Soon, the Inn of Eight Happinesses was thriving. Mrs. Lawson spoke of God in the dining room, while Gladys washed dishes and talked to Yang.

Soon Jeannie Lawson died in an accident, and Yang took over the story-telling, and Gladys did all of the chores. She soon become very well known and loved, and was appointed chief foot inspector by the mandarin of Yangcheng.

Soon after, war started between Japan and China. Fighter planes dropped bombs all over Yangcheng. By this time Gladys had taken in many young children. She knew it was not safe for them to be there while the war was on, so she made arrangements for them at an orphanage in Sian, and they trekked for a very long time on a very arduous journey, and made it to Sian in little more than 2 weeks.

Gladys Aylward died at the age of 67, in Taiwan, having become a Chinese citizen, and having led a miraculous life.

Tags: Katie, Biographies, Pre-World War II,

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