Gladys May Aylward was born in Edmonton, London, in 1902, into a working class family; her parents both worked for the Post Office. Gladys became a parlour maid, as her progress in school was not outstanding.
After her conversion, she became increasingly concerned about the spiritual state of the millions of people in China who had never heard the gospel. Before long, she was cajoling friends and acquaintances into the idea of missionary service in that far off land, but most were indifferent or laughed in derision.
On suggesting this to her brother, Lawrence, he turned the idea back on her and said, ‘If you’re so interested in China, why don’t you go yourself?’ Dumbfounded, the reality hit Gladys — and that’s exactly what she did.
Saving every spare penny she had, she put a deposit on a rail ticket to China, with the Trans-Siberian Railway. After being rejected by the China Inland Mission as not being ‘qualified’ enough to learn Chinese, Gladys had decided to go it alone — only she wasn’t alone. She believed God had called her to go to China and she arrived, after a convoluted journey, at the village of Yangcheng, in the mountainous Shanxi province of northern China. Here she had arranged to assist an elderly, widowed missionary named Jeannie Lawson.
- Born: 24 February 1902, Edmonton, London
- Died: 03 January 1970, Taiwan