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St George’s News - Waterlooville’s Parish Magazine

The Website for St George’s Church, Waterlooville and its Parish Magazine St George’s News

Autumn 2019 issue

Life with Save the Childen

This is the third part of a record of a talk given by Audrey Mentor at St George’s on Monday 17 December 2018.

Audrey has had a wonderful and interesting life working in China and Africa and she recently gave this talk about her experiences working with Aid Agencies in many places throughout the world.

Life in Africa can be hard, it is not an easy continent and that particular part (Ethiopia) can be extremely hard indeed as you either have the dry weather and no rain and when it is dry it is very dry, you lose your cattle, you lose your produce you are trying to grow and eventually you lose your home and you lose your family because people are dying from starvation. I have seen much sadness during the time that I have worked overseas. I don’t know why I was chosen to work for Save the Children.  It is an organisation or charity which is well worth supporting for the great work that they do over many parts of the world.  During my time in Africa lots of people turned to us for help, for comfort, for food, for medicine, to heal and I thank God that I could give them that care that they needed medically. You find I think when you meet situations like this that it is hard to understand and explain to others the great need of these people.  

Parts of my work with Save the Children have been, yes, mainly nursing perhaps or caring medically but part has been stirring the food, dishing it up, giving people a wash, cleaning them, doing all sorts of things that I would never have thought of doing.  Those people loved us, they wanted help and we were there to help them.  I have been to a number of places in the world – from one end to the other I suppose - but I think perhaps Africa is the place that I remember most and the work that I did there. Finding the situations that we did and being able to deal with them often surprised me.

I think possibly my childhood played a great deal in my life. As many of you know I was born in China, my parents were medical missionaries and our nearest neighbour was about 30 miles away from us in another mission station.  This was Aunt Gladys who was my godmother – probably some of you will know her as Gladys Aylward, a wonderful person who has done a great deal in my life to guide me in the Christian way and I owe a lot to her and to my parents. Life as a child was very hard. We didn’t have an easy life, we were there to help the Chinese, my parents worked with them and there was not a great deal of money around and I think in those years I learned what I was going to have to do in the future, the caring of other people. I watched my parents, my father particularly, caring for the sick and my mother loved having people into the home and if they were sick she nursed them. My brother and I grew up with the Chinese children, we played with them up in the hills, we spoke their language and I can speak Cantonese and Mandarin as clear today as I did 50 or 60 years ago.  Perhaps those years helped me to understand the needs of others and the way to care for them. I am sure all of you have heard of Save the Children – leaflets that are shoved through the letterbox time and time again asking you to please give. I think it does a great deal of hard work a lot overseas from one end of the world to the other. They are there to help and there to work with the children. I find I think that in giving to others you get perhaps the greatest joy in life and I have found that in my work with the people I have worked with over the years.  I am not a great speaker. If you have got any questions please ask me.

In the next issue of the magazine, we will publish the question and answer session that followed this talk.



Gladys May Aylward

(24 February 1902 – 3 January 1970)

was a British-born evangelical Christian missionary to China, whose story was told in the book The Small Woman,

by Alan Burgess,

published in 1957,

and made into the film

The Inn of the Sixth Happiness,

starring Ingrid Bergman, in 1958.