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

4.3  ·  Rating details ·  3,689 Ratings  ·  122 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 May 1st 1998 by YWAM Publishing (first published 1998)
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May 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, it was amazing! I did know somethings about Gladys Aylward's life story going in to it. But it has been years since I first heard anything about her. The Spiritual/Biblical content is just amazing. Just read it
mild spoilers in my content recommend:

My only content warning is for it being in World War II and it could be a little scary for younger kids. And we see persecution of Christians when the Communist Party comes over China. But it was not really in detail. There is also t
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
Aug 20, 2015 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.
Nov 12, 2013 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
Tina at Mommynificent
Mar 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this book aloud with my girls. As with all the books in this series that we've read so far, this story is very inspiring and challenges us to dream big! I've never had to pre-read any books in this series before, and I didn't do so with this one, but I found myself regretting that. There were some extremely gory scenes in this book including the main character witnessing someone being beheaded and the head rolling across the town square and landing at her feet. These scenes wou ...more
Tori Hook
Jul 10, 2012 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
Danica Abisror
Feb 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was an exciting missionary story that I read to my 6-year old. He (and I) really enjoyed it!
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.
May 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
A very nice biography of a wonderful woman.
Mar 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-alouds
Gladys's story is inspiring, and I want to learn more about her. My sons enjoyed every bit of her story.
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
*some spoilers ahead* Wow, what an incredible life she had! Against insurmountable odds, she lives her dream to become a missionary in China, and hits one obstacle after another, but never gives up. She becomes an innkeeper, adopts like a 100 children as she runs an orphanage, quiets a prison riot, becomes an official foot inspect for the Chinese province, escapes with 94 children when the Japanese invade her town, all while telling the good news of Jesus's incredible what she ha ...more
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Gladys Aylward lived a remarkable life. She was obedient to God's call on her life and many Chinese became believers as a result. She experienced incredible difficulties that she was able to overcome only with God's help and in situations where she was out of options, God always came through. He also prepared the way for her and those she helped. She truly lived for others in her obedience to God.
This book was a quick read and perfect for those who want to be reminded of God's faithfulness and p
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, religious
This is an amazing testimony of overcoming trial and adversity through faith. There were many times I felt frustrated with Gladys for not praying or for being stubborn in situations, but God repeatedly shows Himself faithful in delivering her (and many others) from evil circumstances. I would have given this a 5 star rating if there weren't a few historical discrepancies between this and other sources.
Jonathan Alling
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a must read. Well-written, easy to follow and a compelling, inspirational story to boot. I don’t want to get into too much detail about the book because you should just read it for yourself. Gladys Aylward lived a fantastic, inspiring life and endured trials beyond imagining serving the Lord in China. Her story needs to be read by anyone who needs a little motivation to live life to the fullest.
Mike Hardin
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing and inspiring story of one small woman’s Faith in Jesus, how He walked with her through her life’s ministry to the Chinese and worked many miracles along her path as she followed Him !!
May 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great little biography of an inspiring life. I highly recommend for tweens and up. I'm considering reading one of the older unabridged biographies on Gladys Aylward as a comparison.
Jonathan Thiessen
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Delighted our entire family for a month of evening reading. The storyline is extraordinary and written with a wonderful flow
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another read-aloud with my 11 year old son. We have both loved every missionary biography we have read in this series.
Phillip Howell
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great story. My kids loved it even though they got a little frightened by the intense war scenes. This is a great book for family reading time.
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This woman's story really inspired me and has stayed with me for years!
Bekah Frisch
Dec 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this biography about a woman who repeatedly risked her life for God’s purpose.
Korene Graham
Oct 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A truly inspirational story! I read it to my kids and we could not put it down!
Apr 08, 2009 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
Richard Klueg
Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
A quick and easy read, since it is written for youth, this is an introduction to the life of one of the most amazing missionaries of modern times. Gladys was a most unlikely hero: a diminutive English housemaid who failed missionary Bible training but doggedly continued to pursue God’s call to China. The fact that she even got there alive (by train through war-torn Russia – she couldn’t afford to go by boat) is a miracle in itself. The difficulties and disappointments she faced in China, and her ...more
Mar 19, 2008 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
May 12, 2014 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
Feb 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: missions-minded
Recommended to Callie by: Shannon G.
Ezra: it's about a missionary who tried to preach in China and in the end actually succeeds. they had to cross the yellow river and also they had to get in a coal train to travel. i learned that they did foot binding. i kinda liked the book. i recommend this book to christians.

Jasur: i liked it. it was very interesting. it made my jaw drop at some moments like when she was transferring the children and when she was wanted by the soldiers. i liked the beginning when she almost froze to death; it
Catherine Gillespie
Oct 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: set-in-china
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
Nov 12, 2010 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
May 25, 2011 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
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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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  • Corrie Ten Boom: Keeper of the Angels' Den (Chrisitan Heroes: Then & Now)
  • Eric Liddell: Something Greater Than Gold
  • William Carey: Obliged to Go
  • George Muller: The Guardian of Bristol's Orphans (Christian Heroes: Then & Now)
  • Jim Elliot: One Great Purpose
  • Mary Slessor: Forward Into Calabar
  • David Livingstone: Africa's Trailblazer (Christian Heroes: Then & Now)

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