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One of my heroes is someone I've never met. Perhaps you've heard of her--Gladys Aylward. Her story has been told in a popular biography, a film starring Ingrid Bergman, and a BBC "This Is Your Life" feature.

If you'd met Gladys in her younger days, you would have wondered what all of today's fuss was about. Born into a working-class family, Gladys did poorly in school and began working as a maid at the age of 14. She would have remained a maid--but she had an overwhelming passion to leave her beloved London and travel to China.

The odds couldn't have been more against Gladys. In fact, the organization to which she applied was less than enthusiastic about sending this single, unlearned maid to the mysterious land of the Orient. One of my heroes is someone I've never met. Perhaps you've heard of her--Gladys Aylward. Her story has been told in a popular biography, a film starring Ingrid Bergman, and a BBC "This Is Your Life" feature.

If you'd met Gladys in her younger days, you would have wondered what all of today's fuss was about. Born into a working-class family, Gladys did poorly in school and began working as a maid at the age of 14. She would have remained a maid--but she had an overwhelming passion to leave her beloved London and travel to China.

The odds couldn't have been more against Gladys. In fact, the organization to which she applied was less than enthusiastic about sending this single, unlearned maid to the mysterious land of the Orient.

That didn't hinder Gladys. She set out by train across Europe and Asia. That she made it to China is a miracle. On one occasion, Gladys found herself in a deserted train, stranded in Siberia--less than a mile from Russian and Chinese soldiers at war!

Once in China, Gladys underwent some harrowing experiences. She demonstrated courage and physical endurance where many a man would have wilted.

Through it all, Gladys persevered. Why? Why did this single woman leave the comforts of London and the safety of her job to endure prejudice and persecution in a foreign country?

Because in her mid-20s, Gladys Aylward had found the ultimate reason for living--Jesus Christ--and longed to tell every single soul in China the Good News she had received.

Another person of hero-stature in my eyes is Edward Charles Rogers. This oil company executive left his home in England to travel to Argentina more than 60 years ago.

Fame and fortune weren't his motives. Nor were exciting travel opportunities or lavish living conditions. At that time, Argentina was little more than a third-world country. The entire world was reeling from the shocks of the recent economic depression. And Hitler's rumblings were growing louder and louder.

Still, Edward came and, like Gladys, remained despite the hardships he endured. He cultivated friendships with my parents and many others in my small town. He helped build the little chapel where we worshipped God; it is still being used to this day. And he showed my mom and dad the way to true happiness--through trusting Jesus Christ as Savior.

Again I ask, why did he leave everything dear to him to travel halfway around the world?

Like Gladys Aylward, Edward Rogers had discovered the joy of trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior. That joy propelled him across the sea to share this priceless treasure with those who had not yet discovered Jesus.

Gladys and Edward knew that the Gospel message-that Jesus Christ came to earth as a baby, died on a Roman cross, and rose from the dead to return to heaven as King of kings and Lord of lords-is Good News for Chinese, for Argentines, for Americans, for all races and nations. It's a message of hope, a message of forgiveness and peace and life and joy. And it's a message that can change our lives for good...if we call on Jesus and ask Him to forgive our sins.

Like my two heroes, I have tried to make sharing the Gospel message my main purpose in life. It's because of that Good News that I travel to city after city, country after country, leaving wife and family and grandkids behind. It's why I have ignored death threats and bomb threats and put my life in jeopardy. And it's why I'm spending the time writing this article.

With all my heart, I want you to know Jesus Christ. I want you to experience the true peace and joy and freedom only He can bring. All you have to do is open the door of your heart to Him.

"But how?" you may be asking.

Jesus said it best: "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me" (Revelation 3:20).

In other words, Jesus invites you and me to a party that never ends!

To meet Jesus Christ and to know Him is better than falling in love, better than anything in the world. He is the Creator and He loves you. He wants to come into your life, take your despair and turn it into joy.

Have you heard Jesus speaking to you in your own heart? Have you asked the Lord Jesus to save you--to forgive your sins, cleanse your heart, adopt you into God's family, give you the sure hope of heaven, and fill your heart with unspeakable joy? If not, why not stop right now, where you are, and in the quietness of your heart talk to God. You can place your trust in Him this very minute.

You may wish to use the following prayer of commitment:

"Lord, I come humbly before You and ask You to forgive my sins. Thank you that Jesus died on the cross to cleanse my heart and rose again to give me eternal life. Thank you that now I can enjoy each day of walking with You, and thank You for the promise of heaven. I love You and will live for You all the days of my life. Amen."
Copyright ? 1998 Luis Palau, P.O. Box 1173, Portland, Oregon, 97207.
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