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Gladys Aylward: The Adventure of a Lifetime (Christian Heroes: Then & Now #1)

4.25  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,512 Ratings  ·  89 Reviews
Without formal education or a missionary organization to back her, a housemaid from England dared to answer God's call to China. What follows is an amazing adventure of faith and determination. Gladys Aylward (1902-1970) 'Ai-weh-deh' went on to become one of the greatest Christian missionaries in China and a revered figure risking her life to help orphans, prisoners and th ...more
Paperback, 205 pages
Published August 1st 1998 by YWAM Publishing,U.S. (first published 1998)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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I read this book aloud to Aurora as part of our Sonlight curriculum this year. I don't think I, personally, would have chosen it as a read-aloud for 4th graders. The book is quite heavy. It's the true story of Gladys Aylward and her experiences as a missionary in China. It is set during the time of the second world war. Ms. Aylward's life was filled with stories of God's amazing provision but also a fair amount of blood, desperation, hunger, and death. Aurora did not like it. What stood out to h ...more
Jul 10, 2012 Tori rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Tori by: The local library
Gladys Aylward: The Adventure of a Lifetime is one of those rare books that renews your faith and is a grand adventure, as I believe most if not all in this series will be. As a young woman, Gladys became irrevocably convinced that God wanted her to serve as a missionary in China. Though it took her years to get there, she finally arrived in China, and started ministering to the people. Following her arrival (an adventure of its own), Gladys continued to serve God in so many incredible ways whil ...more
Aug 20, 2015 Kayla rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. What this woman endured was amazing to me, and I don't think many could have done what she did. She was definitely a devout Christian and her example made me want to do better. Definitely increased my faith to do the hard things God asks of us.
Clara Roberts
Sep 01, 2014 Clara Roberts rated it really liked it
This was a very readable biography of a woman who in the 1930's felt the call of God to go to China as a missionary. She was a woman of limited means and education but she felt a strong call from God to go to China as a missionary. Despite obstacles that would cause most of us to give up she continued to be faithful to her call and God used her in a great way to bring many people to Christ. The movie the Inn of Sixth Happiness is loosely based on her life. The Inn of Sixth Happiness has a romant ...more
Roxanne Emerson benoit
Not as good as the first one that I read...but still amazing to think there are people who serve God in this way.
Rachel Beauchamp
Feb 02, 2015 Rachel Beauchamp rated it it was ok
Shelves: homeschool
I read this to my kids after being told that it had good Asian culture in it. It made my kids think about the harm missionaries do when they get hundreds of children slaughtered by converting them. If anything it was good to get my kids active in discussing why they disagree with some of the views of this book. My kids were fascinated with the foot binding and brick beds, but mostly horrified by the scene where Gladys cries as college students are being executed, yet praising the fact that they ...more
Nov 13, 2013 Joy rated it it was amazing
The dictionary defines adventure as "an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks." The life & work of missionary Gladys Aylward can be described as nothing less than an adventure. At the "old" age of 32, Gladys embarks on a journey to China, where she knows she is called to be a missionary. Filled mishaps & harrowing escapes, Gladys makes it to her destination, in the northern mountaintops of China. As sets about her work, sharing the Gospel with everyone she meets, her int ...more
Apr 07, 2008 Robin rated it really liked it
This was a very inspiring book about a young woman, Gladys Aylward, and her devotion to God and the people of China. Gladys, a housmaid from England, felt called to serve the people of China. So without a formal education, an organization to support her, and with her own finanaces leaves behind all the comforts of life and begins a lifetime adventure. It was wonderful to read about all the amazing things God can accomplish with a willing servant. Her life was one of true devotion and love. Glady ...more
Apr 08, 2009 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Shelves: christianity
Wow, what an amazing story about Gladys Aylward, who has a heart for the lost souls in China ever since she was young!! God is truly the lover of her soul, cause she had a very satisfying life as a single woman with many adopted children. Even though she was poor and failed Bible school, she still found her way into rural China by saving money working as a housemaid. In order to get to Yangchen, she even rode a mule!!! She did whatever she could to spread the gospel by telling Bible stories as a ...more
Oct 16, 2015 Ruth rated it liked it
2015 Update: Until I find a really great Gladys Aylward biography for kids, I will keep using this one with various podlings for school projects. It's not the worst writing I've seen in Christian biographies for kids (we all know how gruesome a genre that can be from a literary standpoint) but it's still not the sort of writing that the awesomeness of Gladys Aylward deserves.

2014: Gladys Aylward may be my favorite and most beloved missionary hero of all time, which is why it saddens me that I h
Catherine Gillespie
Gladys Aylward: The Adventure of a Lifetime turned out to be a fabulous biography of a remarkable woman who devoted her life to helping the Chinese people–renouncing her British citizenship, living in extreme conditions and deprivation, and risking her life for others. Unlike some missionary biographies we have read, this one worked out well as a read-aloud, and the kids enjoyed it so much that when we finished the last page they immediately asked if we could read it again!

We recommend this vers
Mar 15, 2015 Christabelle rated it it was amazing
This was our all time favorite missionary story! Action-filled, almost to the point of being unbelievable, the kids and I devoured her testimony of God's grace and favor through the different aspects of her journey. It is amazing how God can use someone so weak and rejected for His own glory. He truly uses the "weak to shame the wise."
Linda B.D.
I watched the movie. It was fascinating. When the movie was produced, Gladys Aylward was upset that the movie portrayed her as being in love. she did meet & have a relationship with a special man. she denied any sexual relations with him until her death. Really, a great story. True story.
Jul 28, 2015 Anne rated it really liked it
This book isn't a literary masterpiece, but it is a wonderful story about this missionary who leaves everything to dedicate her life to bring the gospel to an incredibly remote area.
Very inspiring and encouraging.
Nov 12, 2010 Rachel rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: My kids, any one who loves Christianity
An acquaintance of mine recently commented that great evils are perpetrated in the name of God. Another acquaintance countered that great good is, as well. This book contains the example of a woman who sincerely believed that God wanted her to be a missionary in China. She worked hard to get there, and worked hard while she was there. She seems to have truly obeyed Christ's teachings to care for the poor, the widow, the orphan, the sick, the prisoner, and to preach his word. Her example was touc ...more
Jun 18, 2014 Amy added it
Shelves: kids, biography
We enjoyed the book, she was one tough lady. The movie based on it called "the inn of the sixth happiness" is okay, but would have been so much better if they stuck with the book.
May 25, 2011 Darlene rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
I read this book aloud to my daughters. This is the second book that we have read in this series. Last year, we read George Müller: The Guardian of Bristol's Orphans.

Gladys is an inspiring woman. She felt called to go to China to spread the word of God, even though she had no formal education in ministry or the means to get there. Although she continually experienced road-blocks during her journey to China, and even once she arrived there, her determination never wavered and she persevered.

We re
Sep 02, 2013 Rachel rated it really liked it
I read this book to preview before reading it to my 7 yo son. Gladys Aylward had incredible passion and determination to do the work that God had placed in her heart - to love and serve the Chinese people in order to bring the Good News to them. I was encouraged in my faith as I read about the many times her life was placed in danger and yet God through His sovereignty guided her through these situations. Although this book is written for kids, I decided to wait and read this to my kids in a few ...more
Nov 17, 2008 Amber rated it liked it
Shelves: christian
Gladys Aylward is another important woman in history in my opinion. She served in rural areas of China protecting orphans and encouraging people that she met. The self-sacrifice and her constant love for the people she took care of is amazing. The journey she took with all her children is inspiring. Not a single child was left behind. Because this woman did so much I think students would enjoy hearing about how this woman single handedly provided and took care of these children who were orphaned ...more
May 29, 2015 Kelley rated it it was amazing
I knew nothing about Gladys before we read this book. I think it's my favorite biography in this series. The ways God provided are faith- inspiring.
Elizabeth Licitra
Oct 14, 2014 Elizabeth Licitra rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoy the YWAM series of books. I read them to my children. Gladys Aylward's life is one that seems almost too crazy to believe.
Mar 22, 2015 Michael rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-with-kids
We read this book as part of the Sonlight curriculum for my second grader. My son thoroughly enjoyed the book. However it is only appropriate as a read-aloud at this age. The book contains too many graphic descriptions of violence to be truly appropriate for a seven-year-old. I ended up censoring or paraphrasing the graphic sections. I would echo other reviewers. This is a worthy story to be told; it just shouldn't have been chosen by Sonlight for elementary school aged children.
Craig Dyson
Dec 01, 2014 Craig Dyson rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book about an amazing woman with incredible faith and determination.
Aug 17, 2014 Shirley rated it it was amazing
Good book. Gladys was a remarkable person. I really enjoyed reading about her.
Rachel Heinrich
Nov 03, 2014 Rachel Heinrich rated it it was amazing
The best and most inspiring book I've read in a LONG time!!!!
Joy C.
Sep 23, 2014 Joy C. rated it it was amazing
a wonderful biography of a wonderful, godly woman! :D
Jan 20, 2016 Amanda rated it really liked it
Such an amazing story about Gladys. God was with her every step of the way.
Oct 15, 2011 Jill rated it it was amazing
Shelves: with-the-kids
I wasn't sure when we started this book what to expect, and I confess - I judged this book by it's cover. Literally. I assumed that it would be informative but painful to get through. Not at all. I did not know anything about Gladys Alyward prior to this (suffice it to say, this woman was AMAZING), but her story was spellbinding. My kids begged every night for "one more chapter." We plan on buying the rest of this series, and if this book is any indication, we have some unbelievable stories ahea ...more
Sep 02, 2009 Sue rated it really liked it
Inspiring biography of Gladys Aylward, a young housemaid who felt called to missionary service in China. The film 'Inn of the Sixth Happiness' was based on her life, and I'd seen that but never read a more accurate account of how she got to China, and what she did.

Written for younger teenagers, this is a good book with an inspiring account of a very courageous and resourceful young woman. Little seemed to daunt her, yet she remained humble and always cared for individuals, particularly children.
Larissa Langsather
Aug 04, 2011 Larissa Langsather rated it it was amazing
Wow! This book tells an amazing story. My faith has been renewed. Aylward was a woman with great strength and was willing to go to unbelievable length to spread the gospel. I now feel puny. This woman traveled all over China, and made an incredible journey with 94 kids!!! when the Japanese were trying to take over. By the grace of God not a single one was seriously injured or killed. I really enjoyed this book. Very easy to read- highly recommend especially to teenagers who want to be inspired.
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Janet and Geoff Benge are a husband and wife writing team with twenty years of writing experience. They are best known for the books in the two series Christian Heroes: Then & Now series and Heroes of History. Janet is a former elementary school teacher. Geoff holds a degree in history. Together they have a passion to make history come alive for a new generation. Originally from New Zealand, t ...more
More about Janet Benge...

Other Books in the Series

Christian Heroes: Then & Now (1 - 10 of 45 books)
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  • Hudson Taylor: Deep in the Heart of China (Christian Heroes: Then & Now)
  • Amy Carmichael: Rescuer of Precious Gems
  • Corrie Ten Boom: Keeper of the Angels' Den (Chrisitan Heroes: Then & Now)
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  • William Carey: Obliged to Go
  • George Muller: The Guardian of Bristol's Orphans (Christian Heroes: Then & Now)
  • Jim Elliot: One Great Purpose (Christian Heroes: Then & Now)
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  • David Livingstone: Africa's Trailblazer (Christian Heroes: Then & Now)

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