When Gladys Aylward (1902 – 1970) applied to become a missionary, every agency rejected her due to her lack of education. (She had been forced into domestic service by the time she turned 14.)
She was determined, however.
At age 28, Gladys traded in her life savings for one-way passage from her native England to China.
She settled in a remote area of Shanxi province, where she gained a reputation for her tireless work taking in orphans and reforming prisons. When the Japanese attacked China in 1938, she risked her life to lead 100 orphaned refugee children to safety over 100 miles of dangerous mountain terrain.
I love—and identify with—the following quote of hers:
“I wasn’t God’s first choice 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.'”