Character Qualities of Gladys Alward
by Kayli Hall (14)
(Paradise, Texas, United States)
Gladys Aylward had a great deal of determination. Gladys, while still an English maid, felt called by God to be a missionary to China. Despite failing missionary training school and being told to forget her ambitions, Gladys refused to give up. She saved enough money after seven long months of working as a maid to pay for a railroad ticket to China. Later, Gladys and ninety-four orphans would make a journey over the mountains of China to reach safety. She demonstrated her determination again by pressing on through hunger and cold to reach a safe haven for the orphans after months of travel.
Gladys also chose to have a forgiving attitude. In China, Gladys originally lived with a missionary named Mrs. Lawson. After an innocent misunderstanding, Mrs. Lawson threw Gladys’ belongings out of her house and forced her to leave. Gladys journeyed six days to the house of Mrs. Smith, the nearest missionary. A week later Gladys was informed that Mrs. Lawson was dying. Demonstrating her forgiveness, Gladys returned to Mrs. Lawson’s house and nursed her for ten weeks until her death.
Gladys Alward continually relied on her resourcefulness. Gladys took advantage of opportunities to spread the message of God’s word wherever she was. When the Mandarin requested that she fill the position of foot inspector Gladys Aylward accepted the offer. She was able to use the job to tell many Chinese about Jesus while she undid the binding on little girls’ feet. After the Japanese bombed the village she lived in Gladys demonstrated her resourcefulness by directing efforts to find the survivors and bandaging the wounded.
Gladys’ life exemplified compassion. When Gladys saw a sick child who was five years old being sold, she took action. She redeemed the child, brought her home, and adopted her. Ninepence, as she came to be called, was just the first of nearly one hundred orphans that would come to be adopted by Gladys Aylward. Although slavery was accepted by all the people around her, Gladys had compassion urged her to take care of these children as if they were her own. Gladys was moved by her compassion when she saw the terrible conditions that the convicts in the local prison lived in. She took action, improving their quality of life by assigning them tasks, clothing, and feeding them.
An unlikely hero, throughout her life Gladys Aylward was very courageous. She left the only the country that she had ever known. While in China, Gladys Aylward did many things that no one else dared to do. When the Chinese Mandarin came to her and asked her to stop a prison riot she entered the prison where convicts where killing each other and demanded that they hand over their weapons. Shocked by such a brave demand, they did as she asked. When the Japanese bombed Yangcheng, the village where Gladys was living, she brought the orphans she cared for through enemy patrolled territory to reach the safety of the mountains.