I sat down to read the usual Adventure Missionary reading while the girls fell asleep. Hannah, who had waited patiently for her lunch, snuggled in for her feeding as I rocked, read and fed. Rachael and Abi laid silently in their beds, initially twiddling a finger here and there and later fast asleep.
I love reading the Christian Heroes: Then & Now series to the girls. I love that in one effort my little ones get to fall asleep to my voice, have a specific and daily set-aside time to hear the testimony of heroes of the faith, and that I get the privilege to soak in some “beyond picture books” reading.
I read this today and it really resounded in my heart:
Gladys realized that she could not leave the little girl to possibly die in the hands of such a heartless person. She stopped and turned and stared at the woman. “I don’t have that much cash, but I will give you what I have in my pocket.”
The woman smiled slyly. “And how much would that be?” she asked.
Gladys fished around in her jacket pocket and pulled out a few copper cash coins, equal to ninepence in English money. She held the coins out on her open palm for the woman to see.
“Done,” the woman declared, grasping for the money. “Take her away.”
Gladys took the hand of the little girl, who she decided must be about four or five years old. Together they continued on down the street. By the time Gladys reached the inn, the enormity of what she had just done began to dawn on her. She had just bought, or adopted, as she preferred to think of it, a little girl. Just like that, she had become a mother.
Ninepence, as the girl quickly became known, gulped down every scrap of food she was given. Within weeks she had turned into a healthy, happy little girl. She loved living at the inn, and Gladys never had a moment of regret that she’d followed her heart and not the mandarin’s command.
One day, after Ninepence had been living at the inn about six months, Gladys was standing on the upstairs balcony. Suddenly, she saw Ninepence come running through the gate into the courtyard.
“Ai-weh-deh [name given to Gladys by the Chinese and translated: “virtuous one”],” Ninepence yelled, “are you hungry tonight?”
Gladys thought the question rather odd, but she answered it. “Yes, I am, and Yang is making us a delicious millet stew.”
Ninepence looked up at her. “I’m going to eat a little less at dinner. If I eat a little less, would you eat a little less, too?” she asked.
“Why would we do that?” inquired Gladys.
“I found a boy out here, and he is hungry,” Ninepence said, pointing to the gate. “If I eat less, and you eat less, and we put those two lesses together, we would have enough to feed him, too.”
Gladys smiled to herself. Ninepence was always on the lookout for children in need. “Yes, I will eat less with you, and the boy can eat with us. Bring him in,” she said.
And so it was, that an eight-year-old orphan boy also became part of the family.
It just got me to thinking and praying…
Lord, that I would eat less.
Lord, that more would eat less. Then we could put our lesses together to feed others and bring them into the family.
– To God be the glory.