Saving Forty-Five Pounds

“How much is a one way ticket to China?” she politely asked. “And to what part of China will that be?” the clerk snapped back. Gladys hadn’t thought about that. “I don’t know,” she stammered, feeling her cheeks turning red with embarrassment at the question, “Any part will do. Whatever is the cheapest to get to.” The clerk looked at her patched coat and threadbare gloves and rolled his eyes as if to say he didn’t have time for a maid pretending to be rich. “Please step aside, Miss. I have work to do,” he finally said in a firm voice.  “No! You don’t understand,”she pleaded. I have money, and I need to get to China.” She fumbled in her pocket and pulled out the three one-pound notes. “Here,” she continued, laying the notes on the counter between them. The clerk sighed,”Ma’am, the cheapest sea passage to any part of China is ninety pounds. That’s thirty times more than any money you have.” Gladys felt sick. Ninety pounds would take forever to save. She knew the clerk expected her to pick up the money and walk out, but she did not. “There must be a cheaper way,” she asked, trying to sound calm. The clerk sighed heavily again. “There is, ma’am,” he said, unable to keep the sarcasm from his voice, ” if you don’t mind arriving dead, that is.” Gladys stared at him and waited for him to continue.

– Excerpt from Gladys Aylward by Janet and Geoff Benge, Chapter 2

Due to me not blogging lately, I have come down with a terrible case of blank page syndrome (BPS). Looking at a blank piece of paper (or blog template) and not knowing what to write (or type). But, I do have something to say – I know that for sure! God told me to tell you all about this, so I guess I better fight the symptoms of BPS and just write. He’ll put the words in my mouth. BPS is just spiritual warfare 😛

I have a big heart. A big imagination. Big dreams. Ever since I was little, I’ve wanted to do big things for God and change the world. I’ve wanted to tell orphaned African children about Jesus. Liberate sex slaves in India and Thailand. Teach abused kids how to ride horses. And sometimes, my ideas are so big, I get discouraged. How can I free slaves and adopt kids if I’m not grown, have no money, or don’t speak the native language? How can I do anything for God if I can’t do big things?

So, I’ve finally come to the conclusion: I don’t have to do big things in order to do the Will of God.

I was listening to an Adventures in Odyssey episode once about a boy – I think his name was Kurt. He wanted to do big things for God – so he volunteered at an outreach ministry at his church. He really wanted to help. He was hoping to be able to get assigned a big position; like ushering people in or offering prayer afterward. Instead, he was given the task of setting up the chairs in rows. He was completely disappointed with his roll and wanted to quit being a volunteer all together! But Mr. Whittaker taught him that even setting up chairs for a church event gives the people something to sit on while they listen.


“I wasn’t God’s first choice for what I’ve done in China…I don’t know who it was…it must have been a man…a well educated man. I don’t know what happened. Perhaps he died. Perhaps he wasn’t willing…and God looked down…and saw Gladys Alward…and God said,’Well, she’s willing.'”

– Gladys Aylward

I recently read a book about the woman missionary to China in the 1930’s named Gladys Aylward. At the age of 27, she was called to the superintendent’s office at her Bible College and was told she had flunked all her classes, hadn’t learned any Chinese, and was too old to become a missionary. Gladys was discouraged, but she was determined. She knew God had called her to China and wasn’t going to let anything stop her. So, in order to make money to get to China, she became a maid. She cleaned the home of a wealthy Englishman for almost 7 months in order to save money to get to China. For a while, she preached in a soapbox in Hyde Park – most passerby’s would jeer at her. She volunteered at a home for girls in Whales. But what she wanted most was to get to China. And finally, after numerous days of hard work and study, she went off to China and became one of the greatest missionaries in all of history.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over these years, is that all things take time. Learning to make cornbread without burning it takes time. Sewing a Legolas cosplay takes time. Learning to jump a 4 ft oxer takes time. Learning to play Kuhlau Sonatina in G takes time.

Becoming a servant of God takes time.

We are all servants of God, but our tasks that he’s assigned us take time to get…well…bigger! Jesus said:

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.

– Luke 16:10

When our hearts desire to do God’s will, it will come naturally. God will put it right in front of us and if we are faithful in the little things like dusting bookshelves for a train ticket to China or setting up chairs for a outreach, we can be trusted with great things. God has set our plans in front of us. Everything he’s placed are there for a reason. Even if we can’t see it yet.

In your face, BPS. 😛

Namárië! Tenna’ ento lye omenta!

Emily Greenleaf 🙂

(Goodbye! Until we next meet!)

Here’s my latest poll – I’ll release the results next week! 🙂

3 thoughts on “Saving Forty-Five Pounds

  1. I really like that Gladys Aylward book, Emily! My sister and I read it in one of our earlier school years (elementary school), but it’s always stood out as one of the best books in that series.

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