best thoughts · daughter of God · love story · woman story

A woman’s worth: she asked the price and gave all she had

I wasn’t God’s first choice for what I’ve done for China… I don’t know who it 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.”
 – Gladys Aylward

https://urbana.org/go-and-do/missionary-biographies/small-woman-big-heart-great-faith

Gladys Aylward portrait

Excerpts:

The half-starved Chinese prisoners in Yangcheng were rioting. In the center was a man with a large bloody kitchen meat cleaver. All were shouting. Several men had already collapsed on the ground, mortally wounded. The warden called to A-Weh-Deh, “Go in and stop them!” The woman known to foreigners by her English name, Gladys Aylward, stood trembling at the entrance. “Why me?” she gasped. The warden challenged, “You tell us your God is all powerful. Is He or is He not?”

“He is,” she declared, seeking to bolster her courage, as she stepped into the sandy courtyard. “But only through the help of Jesus will I prevail, for the Gospel of God in our Bible states, ‘I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.’”

One pair of eyes after another eyed the “Foreign Devil.” Hardly imposing, a whisper thin woman about thirty years of age, standing 4’10” tall, Gladys spoke to the man with the cleaver with unexpected authority, “Give me the cleaver,” she commanded. Astonishingly, he did. Then to the prisoners, “Now form yourselves into ranks and tell me what this is all about.”…

One day she saw a poor woman sitting by a wall with a small, very dirty child. “Is that your child?” Gladys asked her. “It looks very sick.” “What is that to you?” the woman replied with hostility. “Do you want to buy her or not?” Shocked at the idea of selling a human being, Gladys asked the price. All she had was nine pence. The woman agreed, probably sure that the infant would die anyhow. Though Gladys gave her the official name of Mei-en (“Beautiful Grace”) she always called her Ninepence. This was the first child she adopted. Soon she had more, many more, especially as the country erupted into war…alywardz

_________________

Gladys Aylward stands out as an example of how God can use someone of meager means and abilities when they give themselves over to the leading of the Holy Spirit…

Born into a working class family in Edmonton, London on February 24, 1902. Daughter of a mailman and oldest of two sisters and 1 brother. Unlike many famous Christians in history, she didn’t excel scholastically or set her self apart based on her exhaustive knowledge of the Bible and the classic languages, rather her early life was marked with a propensity for play acting and a willingness to serve…

She became a parlor maid at the age of only 14. Her call to missions came about when she attended a revival at when she was 18 in which the preacher expounded on giving ones life over to the service of the Lord…

She continued her work as a parlor maid with little chance to realize her calling. In her mid-twenties, she applied and was given a probationary position with the China Inland Mission Center in London but this endeavor didn’t bear fruit. At the age of 26 her probation ended in failure. She had fallen short of their expectations and was rejected for service as a missionary to China…

Determined to follow God by whatever means available, she continued to work and to save her money and after four years, at the age of 30, her opportunity came in the person of an aging missionary, Mrs. Jeannie Lawson,1 who was looking for a young assistant to carry on her work. Gladys was accepted but Mrs. Lawson didn’t have the means to assist her with the passage to China. Adding to the difficulties, save as she might, Gladys lacked the funds to travel by ship, the preferred method of travel to distant lands. So she put her affairs in order and with only her passport, her Bible, her tickets, and two pounds ninepence, set off for a perilous, overland journey to the inland city of Yangchen, in the mountainous province of Shansi, a little south of Peking. An area where few Europeans visited and the people didn’t trust foreigners…

Mrs. Lawson’s missionary strategy was to establish The Inn of the Eight Happinesses. Yangchen was an overnight stop for mule caravans that carried coal, raw cotton, pots and iron goods on six-week or three-month journeys. Lawson and Gladys provided forage for the mules, a nourishing supper, and then would entertain the men with Bible stories as a Christian witness.

As time when on, Gladys became fluent in Chinese and learned to work with Lawson who was in increasing stages of dementia. She died, a short time after Gladys’ arrival, thus leaving her to manage the inn only with the help of an older Chinese helper. One day she was visited by the local Mandarin (magistrate), a man held in the highest honor and even fear by the local citizens. He asked that she assist him by becoming his “foot inspector,” making sure that the new laws against the ancient custom of female foot binding were being complied with. As a result, A-Weh-Deh (“the virtuous one”) became increasingly known and respect by the citizenry not only of Yancheng, but also of the villages in the whole territory.

Wherever she went, she not only examined feet, but also spoke of the Lord Jesus and the salvation He offered to all who believed. “After 2,000 years, the Gospel had finally come to these mountain villages, and it was she, a tiny woman from a modest house on 67 Cheddington Road, delivering it in a sing-songy mountain dialect of Chinese” (Wellman p. 103). Only two years before she had been a parlor maid in an English manor. Over the years, little groups of believers in each of these villages began meeting together to worship the Lord—fruit of her ministry…

During those years China was under attack by Japan and many Chinese soldiers were wounded. So she added their numbers to those for whom she provided succor. Her Inn became a refuge for 20 orphans and as many as 30 to 40 injured soldiers at a time.

The war intensified and her children charges now numbered around 100. She had become a citizen of China in 1936 and her activities in support of the local populace,..she gathered up the children and narrowly escaped the city.GLADYS AYLWARD story

Unable to use roads or transportation, she was forced to lead her children, on foot, over the mountains to the safer province of Sian some 100 miles distant. The trek took twenty seven days in which they had to endure the elements and many hardships. She herself had become ill en route and when they finally arrived safely, she collapsed. The doctors were amazed by the feat as she was suffering from typhus, pneumonia, a relapsing fever, malnutrition, and supreme exhaustion.

She regained some strength but never recovered totally from her illness yet this didn’t stop her from continuing her ministry, now located in Sian. She started a church and once more she was sharing the Gospel in the villages, prisons and among the sick and helpless.

She continued working with refugees, lepers, anyone who needed help. She brought to the hopeless the hope of Christ. An American doctor observing the lepers, noted: “Their bodies are so contorted with disease, they cannot kneel. Their hands are so crippled, they can barely receive the elements. Yet their eyes flame with joy and hope. All because Gladys Aylward brought them Christ” (Wellman p. 190).

Once on a long trip she found a Buddhist monastery hidden in a deep valley amid high mountains. She was surprised to discover that they were expecting her. “Here at long last is the messenger we have waited for,” they said, as they accepted her message of salvation through Christ (Wellman p. 191).

Her ministry continued until 1947  when the new Communist regime told control. Gladys and other missionaries had to leave China and her choice of destination was decided because she had a burden for the spiritual condition of her native England.

She wrote, “England, seemingly so prosperous while other countries passed through terrible suffering… had forgotten what was all important – the realization that God mattered in the life of a nation no less than in that of an individual.”

In 1958, after ten years in England, she left for Taiwan and started another orphanage. She remained here for the rest of her life serving God by serving His children. She died January 3rd, 1970.

http://www.tlogical.net/bioaylward.htm

Ref: Wellman, Sam. Gladys Aylward. For the Children of China. Ulrichsville, OH: Barbour, 1998.; Swift, Catherine. Gladys Aylward. The Courageous English missionary whose life defied all expectations. Minneapolis: Bethany, 1989.

 

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best thoughts · daughter of God · love story · woman story

Christian woman testimony: casting starry crown

Mary-slessor-and-adopted-childrenMary Slessor

Mary Slessor wrote to a friend who had long prayed for her: “I have always said that I have no idea how or why God has carried me over so many funny and hard places, and made these hordes of people submit to me, or why the Government should have given me the privilege of a Magistrate among them, except in answer to prayer made at home for me. It is all beyond my comprehension. The only way I can explain it is on the ground that I have been prayed for more than most. Pray on, dear one — the power lies that way.”

On another occasion she wrote: “Prayer is the greatest power God has put into our hands for service — praying is harder than doing, at least I find it so, but the dynamic lies that way to advance the Kingdom.”

As for her rewards, she had but one question: “What would I do with starry crowns except to cast them at His feet?”

See also Some Thoughts Written in Mary Slessor’s Bible

http://www.historymakers.info/inspirational-christians/mary-slessor.html

Excerpts:

Mary became a Christian at a young age. She enjoyed going to church; it was a wonderful outlet from her miserable home life. She was not well-educated, but loved to read, and would stay up late soaking up any book she could find. She loved reading the Bible most of all, studying Jesus and his life in the gospels. Mary dreamed of doing pioneer work in the remote interior of Africa. At the time, missions work was mainly for men, so she was encouraged to get involved with home missions. It was her older brother who was planning to go as a missionary, but when Mary was 25 years old, he died. She wondered if maybe she could go in his place. Early in 1874 the news of the death of David Livingstone stirred the church and created a great wave of missionary excitement. Mary was then determined to go!

In 1875, Mary was accepted to go with the Calabar Mission. So, at age 27, she sailed for Calabar (located within present day Nigeria)…

Mary began to learn more and more about the culture of the local tribes. Witchcraft and spiritism and cruel tribal customs were hard to fight against. One custom that broke her heart was ‘twin-murder’. The tribes thought that twins were a result of a curse caused by an evil spirit who fathered one of the children. Both babies were brutally murdered and the mother was shunned from society. Overwhelmed and depressed, she knelt and prayed, “Lord, the task is impossible for me but not for Thee. Lead the way and I will follow.” Rising, she said, “Why should I fear? I am on a Royal Mission. I am in the service of the King of kings. Mary rescued many twins and ministered to their mothers. She was continuously fighting against this evil practice, often risking her life to stop the leaders from killing twins. The Lord gave her favor with the tribesmen, and Mary eventually gained a respect unheard of for a woman…

She was bold in her ministry and fearless as she traveled from village to village. Mary rescued hundreds of twin babies thrown out into the forest, prevented many wars, stopped the practice of trying to determine guilt by making them drink poison, healed the sick, and told the people about the great God of love whose Son came to earth to die on the cross that sinful men might have eternal life…

She was destined to live alone with her adopted children. Mary’s lifestyle consisted of a mud hut (infested with roaches, rats, and ants), irregular daily schedule (normal in African culture), and simple cotton clothing (instead of the thick petticoats and dresses worn by most European women at the time). The other missionaries were unable to relate to her life. Mary didn’t focus on health precautions or cleanliness much. Although she did suffer from malaria occasionally, she outlived most of her missionary coworkers.

She was 55 when she moved on from Okoyong with her seven children to do pioneer work in Itu and other remote areas. She had much fruit with the Ibo people. Janie, her oldest adopted daughter, was a valuable asset in the work. So, for the last ten years of her life, Mary continued doing pioneer work while others came in behind her. Their ministry was made much easier because of her efforts. In 1915, nearly 40 years after coming to Africa, she died at the age of 66 in her mud hut. Mary Slessor has become an inspiration to all who hear her story. She was not only a pioneer missionary, but also a pioneer for women in missions. mary-slessor-tenner

More information on Mary Slessor

best thoughts · daughter of God · woman story

Christian woman testimony: she believed her purpose in life was to write

“The longest way must have its close – the gloomiest night will wear on to a morning.”
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin    

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you until it seems that you cannot hold on for a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time when the tide will turn.”
Harriet Beecher Stowe 

“Once in an age God sends to some of us a friend who loves in us, not a false-imagining, an unreal character, but looking through the rubbish of our imperfections, loves in us the divine ideal of our nature,–loves, not the man that we are, but the angel that we may be.”
Harriet Beecher Stowe

“…the heart has no tears to give,–it drops only blood, bleeding itself away in silence.”
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin

“The truth is the kindest thing we can give folks in the end.”
Harriet Beecher Stowe

“So much has been said and sung of beautiful young girls, why don’t somebody wake up to the beauty of old women?”
Harriet Beecher Stowe

“Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”
Harriet Beecher Stowe

“Any mind that is capable of a real sorrow is capable of good.”
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin    

“Religion! Is what you hear at church religion? Is that which can bend and turn, and descend and ascend, to fit every crooked phase of selfish, worldly society, religion? Is that religion which is less scrupulous, less generous, less just, less considerate for man, than even my own ungodly, worldly, blinded nature? No! When I look for religion, I must look for something above me, and not something beneath.”
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin    

“So subtle is the atmosphere of opinion that it will make itself felt without words.”
Harriet Beecher Stowe

“It takes years and maturity to make the discovery that the power of faith is nobler than the power of doubt; and that there is a celestial wisdom in the ingenuous propensity to trust, which belongs to honest and noble natures.”
Harriet Beecher Stowe, The Pearl of Orr’s Island: A Story of the Coast of Maine

“I did not write it. (Uncle Tom’s Cabin) God wrote it. I merely did his dictation.”
Harriet Beecher Stowe

biographical excerpts from: https://www.harrietbeecherstowecenter.org/hbs/

Harriet believed her purpose in life was to write. Her most famous work exposed the truth about the greatest social injustice of her day – human slavery.

Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) published more than 30 books, but it was her best-selling anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin which catapulted her to international celebrity and secured her place in history. But Uncle Tom’s Cabin was not Stowe’s only work. Her broad range of interests resulted in such varied publications as children’s text books, advice books on homemaking and childrearing, biographies and religious studies. The informal, conversational style of her many novels permitted her to reach audiences that more scholarly or argumentative works would not, and encouraged everyday people to address such controversial topics as slavery, religious reform, and gender roles. Harriet Beecher Stowe believed her actions could make a positive difference. Her words changed the world.

Harriet-Beecher-Stowe

Harriet Elisabeth Beecher was born June 14, 1811 in Litchfield, CT to the Rev. Lyman Beecher (1775-1863) and Roxanna Foote Beecher (1775- 1816); the sixth of 11 children. The Beechers expected their children to shape their world:

All seven sons became ministers, then the most effective way to influence society

Oldest daughter Catharine pioneered education for women

Youngest daughter Isabella was a founder of the National Women’s Suffrage Association

best thoughts · daughter of God · love story · woman story

Christian woman testimony: she cannot love without giving

AmyCarmichael with Indianchildren“Give me the Love that leads the way
The Faith that nothing can dismay
The Hope no disappointments tire
The Passion that’ll burn like fire
Let me not sink to be a clod
Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God”
Amy Carmichael

“You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.”
Amy Carmichael

“He said “Love…as I have loved you.” We cannot love too much.”
Amy Carmichael

“One can give without loving, but one cannot love without giving”
Amy Carmichael

“He hath never failed thee yet.
Never will His love forget.
O fret not thyself nor let
Thy heart be troubled,
Neither let it be afraid.”
Amy Carmichael

“The word comfort is from two Latin words meaning “with” and “strong” – He is with us to make us strong. Comfort is not soft, weakening commiseration; it is true, strengthening love.”
Amy Carmichael, Kohila : the shaping of an Indian nurse    

“If by doing some work which the undiscerning consider ‘not spiritual work’ I can best help others, and I inwardly rebel, thinking it is the spiritual for which I crave, when in truth it is the interesting and exciting, then I know nothing of Calvary love.”
Amy Carmichael, If    

“If I am afraid to speak the truth lest I lose affection, or lest the one concerned should say, “You do not understand”, or because I fear to lose my reputation for kindness; if I put my own good name before the other’s highest good, then I know nothing of Calvary love.”
Amy Carmichael, If

“The best training is to learn to accept everything as it comes, as from Him whom our soul loves. The tests are always unexpected things, not great things that can be written up, but the common little rubs of life, silly little nothings, things you are ashamed of minding one scrap”
Amy Carmichael, A Very Present Help: Life Messages of Great Christans

“If my attitude be on of fear, not faith, about the one who has disappointed me; if I say “Just what I expected,” if a fall occurs, then I know nothing of Calvary Love.”
Amy Carmichael, If    

“If I do not feel far more for the grieved Saviour than for my worried self when troublesome things occur, then I know nothing of Calvary love.”
Amy Carmichael, If    

“If souls can suffer alongside, and I hardly know it, because the spirit of discernment is not in me, then I know nothing of Calvary love.”
Amy Carmichael, If    

“If I make much of anything appointed, magnify it secretly to myself or insidiously to others; if I let them think it “hard,” if I look back longingly upon what used to be, and linger among the byways of memory, so that my power to help is weakened, then I know nothing of Calvary love.”
Amy Carmichael, If    

“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” How often I think of that ‘ought.’ No sugary sentiment there. Just the stern, glorious trumpet call, OUGHT. But can words tell the joy buried deep within? Mine cannot. It laughs at words.”
Amy Carmichael

Read her brief biography here: http://www.gfamissions.org/missionary-biographies/carmichael-amy-1867-1951.html

Excerpts: AMY CARMICHAEL 1867-1951

One of the best-known and respected missionaries of the first half of the 20th century was Amy Carmichael.  Her 35 books have blessed countless thousands.  One who knew her well gives this testimony:  “Miss Carmichael was a blessing to all who came into intimate and understanding contact with her radiant life.  She was the most Christ-like character I ever met, and her life was the most fragrant, the most joyfully sacrificial that I have ever known.”

 Amy Carmichael was born in 1867 into a well-to-do North Ireland Christian family.  In her teen years, she was educated at a Wesleyan Methodist boarding school; and at age 13, while still in boarding school, she accepted Christ as Savior.  When she was age 18, her father died, leaving the family in difficult financial circumstances as he had given a large personal loan that was not repaid.  The family moved to Belfast.  There she became involved in visiting in the slums, and seeing the terrible conditions under which many women and girls worked in the factories, she began a ministry with these women.  It was a work based on faith alone in God, and He met the needs in most remarkable ways…Amy received her Macedonian call in 1892 at the age of 24..After about one year in England, she returned to the field, this time to India.  She arrived in Madras in November of 1895, a discouraged, confused, and ill young Irish woman. ..A life-changing experience took place in 1901.  A little five-year-old girl, named Pearl Eyes by Amy, was brought to her by an Indian woman.  The child had been sold by the mother to the temple, and there she was being prepared and taught all the degradation of temple prostitution…

best thoughts · daughter of God · love story · woman story

Christian woman testimony: Let me be a woman

“This love of which I speak is slow to lose patience – it looks for a way of being constructive.
Love is not possessive.
Love is not anxious to impress nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own ideas.
Love has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage.
Love is not touchy.
Love does not keep account of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people. On the contrary, it is glad with all good men when truth prevails.
Love knows no limits to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that stands when all else has fallen.”
Elisabeth Elliot, Let Me Be a Woman    

Elisabeth Elliot  is one of the most influential Christian women of our time. For a half century, her best selling books, timeless teachings and courageous faith have influenced believers and seekers of Jesus Christ throughout the world. She uses her experiences as a daughter, wife, mother, widow, and missionary to bring the message of Christ to countless women and men around the world.

“Faith does not eliminate questions. But faith knows where to take them.”
Elisabeth Elliot, A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael    

“Faith’s most severe tests come not when we see nothing, but when we see a stunning array of evidence that seems to prove our faith vain.”
Elisabeth Elliot, These Strange Ashes    

“Where does your security lie? Is God your refuge, your hiding place, your stronghold, your shepherd, your counselor, your friend, your redeemer, your saviour, your guide? If He is, you don’t need to search any further for security.”
Elisabeth Elliot

“To be a follower of the Crucified means, sooner or later, a personal encounter with the cross. And the cross always entails loss.”
Elisabeth Elliot, These Strange Ashes    

“If we hold tightly to anything given to us unwilling to allow it to be used as the Giver means it to be used we stunt the growth of the soul. What God gives us is not necessarily “ours” but only ours to offer back to him, ours to relinguish, ours to lose, ours to let go of, if we want to be our true selves. Many deaths must go into reaching our maturity in Christ, many letting goes.”
Elisabeth Elliot, Passion and Purity: Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under Christ’s Control    

“One does not surrender a life in an instant. That which is lifelong can only be surrendered in a lifetime.”
Elisabeth Elliot

“God is God. Because he is God, He is worthy of my trust and obedience. I will find rest nowhere but in His holy will that is unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what he is up to.”
Elisabeth Elliot
“Does it make sense to pray for guidance about the future if we are not obeying in the thing that lies before us today? How many momentous events in Scripture depended on one person’s seemingly small act of obedience! Rest assured: Do what God tells you to do now, and, depend upon it, you will be shown what to do next.”
Elisabeth Elliot, Quest for Love: True Stories of Passion and Purity    
“Often a Christian man or woman falls prey to that cruel and vexatious spirit, wondering how to find marriage, who, when, where? It is on God that we should wait, as a waiter waits–not for but on the customer–alert, watchful, attentive, with no agenda of his own, ready to do whatever is wanted. ‘My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.’ (Ps. 62:5 KJV) In Him alone lie our security, our confidence, our trust. A spirit of restlessness and resistance can never wait, but one who believes he is loved with an everlasting love, and knows that underneath are the everlasting arms, will find strength and peace.”
Elisabeth Elliot, Quest for Love: True Stories of Passion and Purity    
“Restlessness and impatience change nothing except our peace and joy. Peace does not dwell in outward things, but in the heart prepared to wait trustfully and quietly on Him who has all things safely in His hands.”
Elisabeth Elliot
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Jim Elliot, missionary to Auca indians in Ecuador”
Elisabeth Elliot, The Journals of Jim Elliot    
“I do know that waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty, to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting the heart to God about it whenever it intrudes upon one’s thoughts. Its easy to talk oneself into a decision that has no permanence – easier sometimes than to wait patiently.”
Elisabeth Elliot, Passion and Purity: Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under Christ’s Control    
Elisabeth Elliot“Remember, you are loved with an everlasting love and underneath are the everlasting arms! ”
“We are women, and my plea is Let me be a woman, holy through and through, asking for nothing but what God wants to give me, receiving with both hands and with all my heart whatever that is.”
Elisabeth Elliot

“The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman.”
Elisabeth Elliot

The gift of virginity, given to everyone to offer back to God for His use, is a priceless and irreplaceable gift. It can be offered in the pure sacrifice of marriage, or it can be offered in the sacrifice of a life’s celibacy. —Elisabeth Elliot

“Stand true to your calling to be a man. Real women will always be relieved and grateful when men are willing to be men”
Elisabeth Elliot, The Mark of a Man    

Read her own brief biography here: http://www.elisabethelliot.org/about.html

Excerpts: My parents were missionaries in Belgium where I was born. When I was a few months old, we came to the U.S. and lived in Germantown, not far from Philadelphia, where my father became an editor of the Sunday School Times…which was used by hundreds of churches for their weekly unified Sunday School teaching materials…

After the discovery of their (an unreached tribe. The Aucas) whereabouts, Jim (her first husband) and four other missionaries entered Auca territory. After a friendly contact with three of the tribe, they were speared to death. Our daughter Valerie was 10 months old when Jim was killed. I continued working with the Quichua Indians…After having worked for two years with the Aucas, I returned to the Quichua work and remained there until 1963 when Valerie and I returned to the U.S. Since then, my life has been one of writing and speaking…

More from here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elisabeth_Elliot