Wednesday, 21 October 2009

To the ends of the earth

I've just been reminded that it was October 1932 that a small party of supporters gathered to say farewell to Gladys Aylward as she set sail for China.

The story is well known. Gladys Aylward, a London parlour maid who felt that God was calling her to China, but was unable to learn Chinese and had to leave the training college.

But she was not deterred, and after a hazardous journey to China she spread the Gospel as she went around unbinding the feet of women. In 1940, in the midt of the war, she set off with a hundred children across the mountains and led them to safety away from the advancing Japanese.

The 'cockney sparrow' continued to work among Chinese in Britain and then in Taiwan, where she died in 1970.

The story of her being turned down, yet persevering in pursuit of God's call is echoed by the story of Jackie Pullinger.

God chooses the most unlikely people. Leaders come in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes it takes persistence to challenge the 'system'. Women, perhaps more than men, can sometimes challenge the world's way of thinking, that it's the obvious, 'charismatic' figures whom God chooses to be leaders. I'm glad the Bible sees it differently: 'God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise..the weakness of God is stronger than human strength..'
(1 Corinthians 1:25-31)

1 comment:

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