Day 54 The Lock-Down. Bringing Hope to Confined Circumstances

Day 54 The Lock-Down. Bringing Hope to Confined Circumstances


I think Barbara Kingsolver does not like me. She wrote a novel called “The Poisonwood Bible.” The story is excellently written. (She, in my opinion, is only second to George Orwell as a twentieth century writer – not that I will ever read another word from her). It is the story of a preacher turned missionary who takes his wife and four daughters to the Belgian Congo in 1959. The missionary is presented as an out-of-touch conservative half-wit, who is there to impose his unwanted religion upon a people that he looks down upon. The wife and daughters, not to give anything away, are presented as victims of the missionary’s incompetence and ignorance. If that is how Barbara sees preachers (which I believe she does), then I doubt that she would think much of me, either.

It is a wise person who thinks long and hard before saying too much about mission work. Its easy to find faults and failures (and, yes, there have been some disasters), but it is equally easy to diminish the work of some of the greatest men and women who have ever lived. The world is a better place because of them. Many of them return home to be greeted by some – not all – who are convinced that they have just returned from a glorified holiday (The new missionary would do well to ‘log that thought in’ early).

These men, women and children of God rank among the most loving, faithful, hospitable, and hardworking souls you will ever meet. Their homes are like motels, they generally live on ‘just enough,’ and they are usually the nicest of people. Some move from place to place, others stay many decades in one place, and some come and go. For the onlooker, success is often measured in numbers of churches planted and souls baptised. However, the missionaries have long since memorized Paul’s words: “That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day” (2 Timothy 1:12).

Missionaries know that only God knows what will become to their work. In fact, they do not even see it as theirs. It is, to them, an offering of thanksgiving to a generous God. According to Barbara Kingsolver missionaries are a blight on humanity. I say that anyone who gives their all to take the saving message of Jesus to faraway strangers, is a light to humanity—may their tribe increase!


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