This post contains affiliate links. We have read a few of YWAM Books’ Christian Heroes, but they have always been people I already knew of such as Corrie ten Boom or C.S. Lewis or Dietrich Bonhoeffer because they are part of my two favorite interests, literature and history. However, because I’m Catholic, I don’t know much about Christian missionaries. We got our first introduction recently when Gladys Aylward: The Adventure of a Lifetime by Janet & Geoffe Benge was included in our Sonlight Level C curriculum.
About Gladys Aylward: The Adventure of a Lifetime by Janet & Geoffe Benge
Wow, what can I say about this book? Aylward was an unlikely missionary. She heard someone speak about China and then decided she herself would go to China. However, she simply didn’t have the means to. She joined a missionary college and was told that she didn’t have what it takes to be a missionary. This was in part because she failed the Bible portion of her education.
But Aylward was nothing if not determined. She left the school and started working for a couple who were former missionaries. She saved all of her money to go to China. When she went to book a ticket, the ticket agent told her what the cheapest ticket was . When she persisted, he told her there was a cheaper, longer way to go, but that was unsafe because there was a war going on. Aylward didn’t let that distract her. Every week she brought money to put toward her ticket until she had enough saved for the cheapest, most dangerous ticket available.
I kid you not, this book is a little over 200 pages long, and the first 80 pages are just about her arduous journey to get to China. Honestly, she was lucky she wasn’t killed or kidnapped on the journey.
She does arrive in China, and while she is at first largely ineffective in her time there, she does eventually find her way. She becomes a strong presence in the area of China where she resides. Her life is very eventful and interesting to read about.
My Thoughts on the Book
I loved this book, and the girls did, too. We alternated in the beginning between being frustrated by her and her rash decision making to being impressed by her determination.
Time and time again in China she was placed in a difficult position because of her faith. When there was a prison riot where prisoners were killing one another, she was sent in alone to solve it. Why? The officials rationalized that since she said she had the Light of God in her, God would protect her. And He did.
If you’re looking for an adventure packed missionary story, I recommend this book.
I give Gladys Aylward: The Adventure of a Lifetime by Janet & Geoffe Benge 4.5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.
If you’d like to read another fabulous book for YWAM Publishing’s Christian Heroes line, consider Jacob Deshazer: Forgive Your Enemies by Janet & Geoffe Benge.