Tonight we watched "Inn of the Sixth Happiness" starring Ingrid Bergman. This is based on the true story of Gladys Aylward who was a missionary in China. I identify with her desire to go to China to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.
She wasn't accepted by the missions, so she earned her own passage and went to China on her own. She helped found the "Inn of Eight Happiness" (Hollywood lost some of the happiness when they produced the movie ;) She preached throughout the province she lived in, and also worked for the Chinese government as a "Foot Inspector" to help stop the practice of foot binding. Her true mission evolved in to that of caring for the orphans in China. She eventually led about 100 orphans out of Japanese occupied area, over the mountains to safety.
For a time she returned to England, but eventually moved to Taiwan, when Communist China refused her entrance to China again. She had already been granted chinese citizenship, but I think because of her missionary efforts, they wouldn't allow her to come back. Instead, she went to Taiwan, where she founded an orphanage. She died, and was buried in Taiwan.
For me, biographies are very motivating because they show me what can be accomplished when the human spirit and faith combine. In her case, she felt a sense of mission in China. I too have felt that same desire, so I was interested to hear her feelings.
I think I will see if I can find a biography about her to read. I have read many books about Chinese women, and even some about European women living in China during Japanese occupation, but I dont' recall reading a book about a missionary in China. I am interested to learn more about this great soul.