Here is the second part to Gladys Aylward’s strange arrest:
“It was about ten o’clock when there was a great noise outside again.
“Come down, I say, come down at once!” shouted a man’s harsh voice.
Getting up, I leaned over the balcony. “I am not one of your soldiers. I am a free citizen of China,” I replied with dignity. “You come up here.”
Once more the general stamped in, swearing terribly, and stood glaring at me in the broken doorway.
“I demand, for the last time, that you tell me who told you private things about me. If you do, I will see that everything is easy for you.”
“I cannot tell you. I do not understand what you mean. I have never seen you before. No one has ever spoken about you.”
After more threatenings and cursings, he left again.
For two days I remained under guard without food, for the soldiers would neither send out for any for me nor allow me to go out. On the third day the general, accompanied by more soldiers, marched in and sat down.
“Woman, you have been here three days, are you ready to tell me the name of the person who told you about me?”
“I cannot, for I do not know what you are talking about.”
“Then how did you know that I was a sinner?”
“I only know that the Bible says so.”
I picked up my Bible, opened it and handed it to him.
He pulled off his hat, threw it down and began to read. When I saw him without his hat, a picture flashed into my mind of the courtyard crowded with Chinese women. Then I remembered that among those in the doorway I had caught a fleeting glimpse of a man!
For an hour he held my Bible while I turned to verse after verse, pointing them out, and let him read them for himself.
What was the Bible? he demanded. What was this gospel I talked about? Who was Jesus Christ?
I explained as patiently as I could while he argued and questioned. Hour after hour he went on, but gradually he quieted down. He quit swearing, and a note of great longing came into his voice.
“It is impossible for me to be saved,” he said at length.
“With God nothing is impossible.”
“I am too wicked!”
“No one is too wicked. Will you kneel down with me and confess to God that you have sinned, but you want to take Jesus Christ as your Saviour?”
Still the battle waged. “What do I get if I believe?” he demanded.
Another two hours went by while the Spirit of God stove for this man’s soul and the devil fought to keep him under his domination. Eventually he knelt down of his own accord, humbly confessed his sins and accepted Jesus Christ as his Saviour and Lord.
By this time I was almost fainting with fatigue and hunger. The general got up from his knees, looked at me, then hurried out and ordered his men to bring me food.
He stood by while I ate. Then he burst out, “If I have taken this God, then I have to tell my men about it, don’t I?”
“Yes, if you want to be a real Christian.”
“I will address my men tomorrow, but I want you to be with me.”
With that he left, taking the guards with him. That night I slept peacefully, utterly exhausted with the strain of the evening.
The next morning men arrived and very politely escorted me to the parade ground. The general made me stand on the platform beside him.
“Up to this time we have been a bandit troop,” he said after some preliminaries. “I have led you into affrays largely for the sake of killing and looting, and we have always been successful. Now we will cease to be bandits and become honorable soldiers because last might I took Jesus Christ as my God. I find that this book (waving my Bible aloft) is against dishonesty and wickedness. Now will every man who is willing to join me come out and promise that we will cease to kill or loot for gain, but will serve this true God.”
He got down and handed me my Bible. “Will you get me a Bible for my own, Ai-weh-deh?”
“I will send out to the village and find one for you.”
I returned home, rejoicing in this man’s brave confession, and sent a messenger around the villages until he found a Christian who could give him a Bible. The messenger took it to the general, who thanked him and said, “Tell Ai-weh-deh that I will come as soon as I am free.”
I waited, hoping that he would come soon so that we could pray and read together. But the next morning when Timothy, who had been hiding in one of the Christian homes, returned, he said all the soldiers had left the city during the night.
I was bitterly disappointed, for I had thought this man’s testimony to the saving grace of our God would be a great witness, both in the city and among the troops.
Wow, what a great testimony and brave confession! Before you change your mind thinking that the general can’t keep a promise, hang on for the third part – the very best part of all!