Heroes are human too!

Brother Andrew (1928-alive)

     In 1953 Andy's back 'went out' while studying at the World Evangelization Crusade school in Scotland. He endured excruciating pain that seemed to never end. One comfort was reading Oswald Chamber's inspiring Christian classic,
My Utmost for His Highest. One passage read, 'If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a multitude of experiences that are not meant for you at all, they are meant to make you useful in His hands, and to enable you to understand what transpires in other souls so that you will never be surprised at what you come across.' Oswald Chambers enlightened Andy's suffering. Chambers himself died far too young from a ruptured appendix. He had been dead many years but Andy learned Chambers' wife Biddy - though quite old - was very much alive in southern England. In a letter to her Andy expressed what great comfort he got from her husband's book. She graciously invited him to visit. That's exactly what the bold young Dutchman did during Christmas holidays. She seemed as happy to see him as he was to see her. He learned Biddy was the one who painstakingly put the classic My Utmost for His Highest together from her own notes of what her husband spoke and wrote. What devotion to her husband and to Christ!
     When he returned to Scotland the school principal asked, "And where did you go during the holidays, Andrew?"
     "I spent the holidays with Mrs. Oswald Chambers."
     "What?" gasped the principal. "You can't do that!"
     Andy shrugged. He was never very interested in 'you can't do that' attitudes.

For the Love of My Brothers by Brother Andrew (with Verne Becker), 1998]

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"You can't do that!" yelped Andy's principal.

Brother Andrew
Bible 'Supplier'

"I doubt people would think I've done anything interesting…" explained Gladys Aylward to a journalist, although she had once been strafed by Japanese dive bombers!

Gladys Aylward (1902-1970)

     Gladys returned from China to England in the late 1940's an unknown missionary. Alan Burgess, who was producing a series on war heroes for the BBC radio, visited her in the hope a missionary could tell him about heroes she had heard about in China. Well, no, she said in her rusty English. She didn't actually know any heroes.
     "What about yourself?" he asked the little woman half-heartedly. "Did you have a scrape or two?"
     "I doubt people who listen to BBC would think I've done anything interesting."
     "Didn't you even come into contact with the Japanese invaders?" he pressed.

     "Yes," she answered cryptically. It wouldn't be very forgiving if she told Alan Burgess the Japanese had shot her down in a field outside Tsechow.  Bombed her too.  In Yangcheng.  Strafed her near Lingchuang too.  Smashed her on the noggin once with a rifle butt too.  Finally put a price on her head: dead or alive. "Some Japanese are very nice, you know," she volunteered.
     "Apparently your life in China was rather sheltered," he grunted dryly.
     Gladys had to offer the poor man something. "I did take some children to an orphanage near Sian."
     "You don't say?" he grumbled, not hiding disappointment. "Kids? To an orphanage?"
     "Yes, we had to cross some mountains."
     Burgess perked up.  "Real mountains?"
     "Yes, I believe you would call them real mountains. The journey was made more difficult because we couldn't walk on the main trails. Oh, and then we had to get across the Yellow River too."
     "Isn't that the notorious river that drowns so many it's called 'China's Sorrow'?"
     Burgess was more and more aghast as Gladys detailed her trek. His voice choked. "You ran out of food? You had no money? Just you and 100 kids - many of whom were toddlers - trekked for one month across mountains, across the Yellow River, ducking Japanese patrols and dive bombers? And at Sian you were diagnosed with typhus and pneumonia and malnutrition? Yes, Miss Aylward, I think people who listen to BBC would think you've done something interesting…"

The Small Woman by Alan Burgess, 1957, revised addition, 1969]

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John Bunyan  (1628-1688)

     Bunyan was a huge, intimidating man. In public the pastor presented a stern, no-nonsense image. His writings were for the most part war against the devil too. But in 1686 at 58 he revealed the whimsical side of his wisdom in
Country Rhymes for Children that had only been heard around the fireplace by his own sons and daughters.
     In 'Upon the Horse and His Rider' Bunyan penned:
          There's one rides very sagely on the road,
          Showing that he affects the gravest mode.
          Another rides tantivy, or full trot,
          To show, much gravity he matters not.
          Another claws it up the hill, without stop or check,
          Another down, as if he'd break his neck.
          Now every horse has his especial guider,
          Then by his going you may know the rider.
     But Bunyan saw activity on every scale, as he rhymed in 'Upon the Snail':
          She goes but softly, but she goeth sure,
          She stumbles not, as stronger creatures do.
          Her journeys shorter, so she may endure,
          Better than they which do much further go.
          She makes no noise, but stilly seizes on
          The flow'r or herb appointed for her food,
          The which she quietly doth feed upon
          While others range, and gaze, and find no good.
          And though she doth but softly go,
          However 'tis not fast, nor slow but sure;
          And certainly they that do travel so,
          The prize they aim at, they do procure.

Country Rhymes for Children by John Bunyan, 1686]

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