Gladys Aylward
The Adventure of a Lifetime

Book Details

Discerning Reader Editorial Review

Reviewed 05/04/2012 by Mark Tubbs.

Recommended. A well-paced and inspiring missionary account, ideal for older children and their families.

YWAM Publishing's "Christian Heroes: Then & Now" series is one of those recognizable series that you see almost everywhere and always mean to get into at some point when you are less busy. At a convention last weekend, I simply could not say "no" to the $2 offer on Gladys Aylward: The Adventure of a Lifetime, and polished it off that same day. As introductions into the life of missionaries in decades and centuries gone by, these books are indispensible in growing missions and global awareness in older children and their families.

Gladys Aylward never seemed destined to have the story of her career portrayed in a Hollywood movie starring Ingrid Bergman. The daughter of a working-class London family, education and finances dictated against Aylward's success in pursuing her dream of moving to China to assist an elderly Scottish missionary in her endeavors to live and preach the gospel in locations where it had never before been heard. However, her faith-filled determination paid off, and Aylward spent virtually the rest of her life in Asia, living through and ministering during major upheavals in twentieth-century China.

The husband and wife author team of Janet and Geoff Benge possess at least three obvious qualities: they are competent writers, able researchers, and missions-minded. But I am left with one niggling critique: the subtitle of this book could have been so much more. The worn-out phrase "Adventure of a Lifetime" does not do the contents justice. Other books in this series feature fresh and inspiring subtitles; why not this one?

Almost a week after reading this book in the space of one day, fresh on my mind is now God uses both men and women on the missions field in so many amazing and unpredictable ways. Gladys Aylward is a case in point. All the times that she almost died, or could have been imprisoned, or received an answer to prayer at the last moment, demonstrate how God is truly working all things together for good, for his glory.