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Archive for July, 2017

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)

Gladys Aylward was born in 1902 in London, England.

While working as a parlor maid in the home of Sir Francis Younghusband she would often take down and read the books he had in his library on China. God was placing a love for the Chinese people in her heart.
After attending a religious meeting where the speaker encouraged people to dedicate their lives to God, Gladys realized with certainty that God was calling her to be a missionary to China. She went to the China Inland Mission Center in London to train. She did not do well there and they advised her against going to a foreign country.

Gladys was certain about her call so she worked hard and saved her money. She wrote to Jeannie Lawson, a missionary who had been serving in China for many years about coming to work with her as her assistant. Miss Lawson accepted Gladys. God worked many miracles for Gladys to get to China.

During her stay in China Gladys had to learn the difficult Chinese language. She was a good assistant to Jeannie Lawson until Miss Lawson died after an accident. Gladys continued on her own. She was often lonely and wondered if she should stay as a single woman.

God brought a ministry to her. The Mandarin of Yangchen asked Gladys to be the official ‘foot inspector’. The cruel practice of binding Chinese girls’ feet had just been outlawed and the Mandarin wanted Gladys to visit the women and help them. Gladys agreed and served the women and girls for many years, until war came to China.

While visiting the women and girls Gladys had opportunity to help the Chinese nationals who were defending their country from the invading Japanese. On her way to outlying villages Gladys would see where enemy troops were and report their movements to the Chinese.

When her village was threatened with bombing and ruin, Gladys helped nearly 100 orphans escape to a safer town. Eventually due to illness Gladys had to leave China. By the time she was well and wanted to go back to China she could not get back in because the communists had taken over. In 1957 Gladys sailed for Taiwan where she helped in orphanages, taught Bible classes, and preached the Gospel until her death in 1970.

 

Gladys’ story is told in pictures in the video “Gladys Aylward: The Small Woman with a Great God”. It is a documentary narrated by Carol Purves, author of “Chinese Whispers: The Gladys Aylward Story”. There are some photographs but mostly it is drawings that depict the action in the story. This is more than made up for by the recordings of the actual voice of Gladys Aylward! What a blessing to hear about the events from Gladys herself.

This is a great video production; I enjoyed it more than the Hollywood movie. Only one little problem – sometimes the audio recording wasn’t super clear. So, turn up the volume and listen to the voice of one of God’s most unselfish, courageous daughters.

My DVD was produced by the Christian History Institute and distributed by Vision Video. It is 62 minutes long. It is narrated by Carol Purves and by Gladys via audio recordings.

 

There are many books including the one by Carol Purves, articles, and even a Hollywood movie about Gladys Aylward. The movie stars Ingrid Bergman and is titled, “The Inn of the Sixth Happiness”. The movie is a good dramatization of when Gladys had to take nearly 100 children over a high mountain for their safety. Gladys herself was not too crazy about the movie because the producers added a ‘love interest’ which did not exist. Leave it to Hollywood! Also the movie shows the children singing “This Old Man” when they are crossing the mountains. In fact, they were singing, “Count Your Blessings”.

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Gladys’ life truly reflected the words in the song.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Journey Into the Unknown” Hanneke van Dam
Hanneke van Dam (with others) for narration.
Eric Velu is the director
This video was released on April 19, 2007 and is 52 minutes long.
Available at Amazon or Vision Video.

 

Not very many people would be willing to give up everything in their lives – a good living, home, family, modern comforts, and freedom to choose where you will go and what will you do – in order to serve others.

The video I would like to recommend this week is a documentation of the life of one woman who left her comfortable life behind to serve Jesus by caring for some of the neediest people on earth.

Hanneke van Dam answered God’s call on her life to go to Mongolia, one of the coldest and most desolate places in the world. 80 to 90 percent of the problems there are caused by alcohol. This results in poverty, broken families and violent behavior.

In 1995 Hanneke was working as a child psychologist at the courthouse in Amsterdam when she attended a conference where Jackie Pullinger was speaking. (see my post on this blog April, 2015, for more information on Jackie Pullinger, a Christian missionary in Hong Kong who has helped thousands of drug addicts to recover.) Hanneke was moved to do something for people who were living in poverty.

The morning after hearing Jackie speak Hanneke was cleaning her mother’s house. Hanneke was praying that God would direct her life. She wanted to help others as Jackie was doing. Hanneke describes in the interview in this video that she heard the voice of God clearly say “Mongolia”. Hanneke did not even know where Mongolia was on the map when God called her to go there.

Hanneke had been working in the capital city of Ulan Bator for 5 years before this documentary was made. In the video, viewers will see a typical rescue of a drunk on the street. With the temperature of 30 degrees below zero, the man would have died within a few hours if left alone there. Hanneke sees the people as broken human beings whose lives can be mended with the good news of the Gospel. She worked tirelessly and unselfishly to help those who seemed without hope. Seeing how devoted she was to people, the mission asked Hanneke to go to remote areas and she accepted the direction as a call from God.

Work in the villages was difficult. Some of the really great joys were telling the Gospel to people who had never heard of Jesus. Seeing the light in their eyes motivated Hanneke to continue to live in a remote place. On the other hand, there were many problems for the new believers. There was more work than one woman could do. Hanneke trained some young female believers to help her.

Just as Hanneke was motivated by Jackie Pullinger to go and take the Gospel of healing to a poor nation, my prayer is that Hanneke’s story will move Christians to go and serve Christ in Mongolia or any other country where the needs are great.

 

 

 

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Corrie Ten Boom: A Faith Undefeated

(Running time – 55 minutes)

(Produced by Christian History Institute; distributed by Vision Video)

 

Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.

 

 

 

 

 

Corrie ten Boom was born and raised in Holland. She was a middle-aged woman when World War II started. The Germans quickly took control of Holland.

The Nazis were persecuting the Jews wherever they had control and this included Holland. Corrie’s family decided to help the Jews though it was against the law. They put their lives at risk for doing this. I would recommend either the book The Hiding Place (published 1971) or the movie of the same name (released 1975) for you to get the whole remarkable story of the courage of Corrie ten Boom and her family.

The ten Boom’s got involved with the Dutch underground to help people escape from the Nazi’s. They built a secret room in their house – The Hiding Place – and hid Jews there when the Nazi’s came around for a search. The ten Boom’s risked their lives to save as many people as possible.

One day in 1944 they were betrayed. For their “crimes” Corrie and Betsie were sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp. Their father Casper was ill and he died after only a few days in prison.

Corrie miraculously hid her little bible from the cruel camp guards. She and Betsie were able to lead a Bible study in the freezing cold, flea infested barracks. Betsie died while in the prison but not before giving Corrie an amazing prophecy. Betsie told Corrie that they would be free before the New Year. She also told Corrie, “We shall go everywhere telling people that there is no place on earth so dark that God’s love cannot shine into it. They will believe us, because we have been here in Ravensbruck.”

Betsie was ‘freed’ from her pain and suffering to go to be with Jesus late in December, 1944. Corrie was miraculously freed on December 31, 1944.

Corrie spent the rest of her life traveling around the world preaching about God’s forgiveness and the need for reconciliation. She also built homes for concentration camp survivors. She built one at Bloemendaal, turning Betsie’s dream into a reality.

Corrie had a chance to put her own principles of forgiveness and reconciliation into action when she came face to face with one of her former guards from Ravensbruck.

In 1947, Corrie had been speaking at a church when a man came up to her to tell her that he had accepted Christ as his savior. He thanked Corrie for her message and said that he was grateful that his sins had been forgiven. He now extended his hand to Corrie and asked her for her forgiveness.

This man had been one of the especially wicked guards. Corrie and Betsie had been ordered to strip naked to be inspected by this man. There was no need for this practice other than to humiliate the women. Now as Corrie faced this man memories of that humiliation came back. Visions of the roomful of mocking men, the heaps of women’s clothes on the floor, and the pain on her gentle sister’s face came to her mind. Corrie was boiling inside.

Corrie stiffened her back. When the man extended his hand she kept her own hand at her side. How could she forgive this man after all of the cruel things he had done? But she prayed, “Lord Jesus, forgive me and help me to forgive him.” Corrie tried to smile. She struggled to raise her hand but found it impossible. She prayed again for Jesus to help her. She remembered that Christ had died for this man too. How could she ask for more?

Finally, she took his hand and later recounted, ” …the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me. And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.”

“I forgive you with all my heart,” she said to the man and she meant it.

Corrie moved to America in 1977. In 1978 she was paralyzed by a stroke. Corrie went to be with the Lord on April 15, 1983 on her 91st birthday. Truly Corrie ten Boom’s story is a wonderful example of Christian faith and forgiveness.

 

 

 

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