ReserVoice: Trisha and Missions

The following is a post from Trisha Bernal.

Every girl needs her heroes. My favorite was Gladys Aylward. She was a tiny lady with about a size 3 shoe. This is significant as she was instrumental in stopping the practice of binding girls’ feet in China in the early 1900’s. She also stopped prison riots, ran an inn, took in hundreds of orphans and ultimately led more than 100 of them to safety, by foot, in the midst of a Japanese attach at the beginning of World War II.

Gladys Aylward and children in China

Gladys Aylward and children in China

She and many others began my love for China when I was just a little girl. My dream was to be a missionary in China just like her. But the times have changed since 1938 and last I checked, no one needed me to lead a hundred orphans out of danger in the midst of an enemy invasion. Yes, I’ve always had grand visions of adventure, but as I grew, God used those seeds perhaps a bit more practically.

Many years passed and I was now working on campus the summer before my junior year in college. I had trouble going to sleep that night. Something wasn’t right, but I couldn’t figure out what it was.

So, I turned on worship music and prayed. I don’t remember ever going to sleep. In fact, the dream was so real, it didn’t feel like I was asleep. In the dream, I was praying for the persecuted church in China and yet the words weren’t mine. Most dreams come and go and by breakfast I couldn’t tell you a thing. This was different. I couldn’t stop thinking about them; their faces up against that brick wall.

A young Trisha ready for the mission field.

A young Trisha ready for the mission field.

Later that day, I found a “Voice of the Martyrs” magazine on my roommate’s chair. As I read it cover to cover, it was as if I had seen every picture somewhere before. It was as if I was reading stories about people that I knew well yet had never met. The magazine was on the persecuted church in China.

Since that day, I have done whatever possible to learn anything and everything about God’s work there; through both history, and present-day events. I’d like to say my fascination has led to many powerful adventures like leading orphans to safety amidst enemy fire, but no. Though I hope my prayers have somehow been added with others before the throne of grace, to bring about God’s good purposes, I can honestly say, my learning of China has just changed me. For that, I am eternally grateful.

Join us in practical praying that:

• God will strengthen Chinese Christians during increased persecution

• More missionaries are sent from China to the world

• Unreligious people, especially in China, will see the glory of Christ through His church