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Gladys Aylward

1902-1970. Missionary to China. London parlormaid turned down on educational grounds by missionary societies, she saved most of her very modest wages for several years till she could pay her fare to China, leaving England in 1932. After an incredible journey through Siberia and complications raised by the Russo-Chinese war, she finally reached her destination through Japan and joined Jeannie Lawson in remote Yangcheng. They opened an inn where they told Bible stories. After her colleague's death Miss Aylward continued and extended her work, finding an unexpected friend in the local mandarin. When the Japanese invaded in 1940, she led 100 children to safety on an epic journey, the dramatic appeal of which was realized and exploited by Hollywood moviemakers. After a serious illness she returned to England in 1947. She stayed for eight years, and finally opened an orphanage in Formosa, where she worked till her death.