Gladys was born into a poor working class family, where there wasn’t a lot of opportunity for Gladys to receive a quality education. At the age of fourteen, she had to become a parlor maid to help bring in money for her family. At the age of 18, she attended a revival in which the preacher expounded on giving ones life over to the service of the Lord. The message struck a cord in her heart and an awakening desire to serve on the missionary field began to blossom. Having spent the last four years serving others surely gave her a unique insight to a servant’s heart.
When reading a magazine article about China, Gladys realized that she could play a part in reaching the millions there who have never heard of Jesus Christ. Still working as a parlor made, Gladys went before the China Inland Mission to apply as a missionary. But when the board looked at Gladys, they saw a poor, uneducated parlor mid who could never learn the language or how to do the mission work. So they rejected her.
But Gladys wouldn’t be dissuaded. She continued to work and save up the meager wages she made. Finally, at the age of thirty, Gladys used her own money to get to the mainland Europe and took a train across Europe and Asia to get to China. She arrived in Yangchen, China, and took up work assisting a retired missionary lady.
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