To the GateWay family
Miracle in the cooking tent
In the advancing of the Kingdom of God, it is often the most unlikely people who make the biggest impact. God loves to discover and develop significant people from the most unlikely places.
There is a gem of a story illustrating this truth buried in a book that is predominantly about genealogies, registers and numbers. It is, of course, found in the book of Numbers. Read Numbers 27 if you want to get into this story.
Israel were coming to the end of 40 years in the wilderness. A whole generation had died in this wilderness because of unbelief but now the succeeding generation had grown up and stood before Moses to hear the parcel of land that would be allocated to each family. There was bad news for one family that stood under the banner of the tribe of Joseph. Zelophehad and his wife had 5 children but all girls, no son and the portion of land could only be assigned to a son. In the absence of a son it would be allocated to someone else.
The atmosphere would have been heavy in the Zelophehad home that night but something else was brewing in the cooking tent as the girls prepared the food – “why can the inheritance not come to us?” was the theme of the debate.
Little did the sisters know that in challenging the male-bias status quo, they would see property laws be set up that would still benefit girls in Israel to this day. They dared to do something that had never been done before. So many want to live risk-free lives, reaping the benefits of the vision and courage of others.
Gladys Aylward was a housekeeper to a retired doctor but as she went about her daily chores her heart was on the mysterious land of China but her application to become a missionary was turned down. Undaunted by the refusal, she set out to save enough money to make her own way to China.
On 15 October 1932, Gladys spent her life savings on a train passage to Yangcheng, Shanxi Province, China. The perilous trip took her across Siberia with the Trans-Siberian Railway. She was detained by the Russians but managed to evade them with local help and a lift from a Japanese ship. She travelled across Japan with the help of the British Consul and took another ship to China.
On her arrival in China, Gladys Aylward worked with an older missionary, to provide hospitality for travellers and share stories about Jesus, in hopes of spreading Christianity. For a time she served as an assistant to the Government of the Republic of China as a "foot inspector"; Gladys also took in orphans and adopted several herself, intervening in a volatile prison riot and advocating prison reform, risking her life many times to help those in need. In 1938, the region was invaded by Japanese forces and Gladys led more than 100 orphans to safety over the mountains, despite being wounded, personally caring for them with many becoming Christians. These escapades are only the tip of the iceberg of a life given to walk in step with God, being willing to believe that HE makes the impossible possible, He still removes the mountains.
Gladys Aylward and the Zelophehad sisters had the courage, boldness and determination to press into all that God was calling them to and impacted many, many lives.
As we move forward out of lockdown, out of restrictions, will you be strong and courageous, will you let God’s words inspired by His Holy Spirit burn into your heart and cause you to step into a new day in and with Him to impact lives and leave a legacy?
God’s richest blessings
Pastor Jim Dick