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Inspired by Ordinary People


Doug Lucas recently asked his readers in the weekly newsletter Brigada, “What missionary biography would you recommend to inspire new missionary recruits?” This is a great question to ask! So many missionaries on the field today can point directly to one or two books they read early on that inspired them to step out and obey Great Commission, in spite of obstacles to the work.

A Few Favorites

Many people are familiar with author Don Richardson, a Canadian missionary who worked with tribes in Western New Guinea, for his quintessential novel Peace Child, or Eternity in Their Hearts, a book that showed how God has revealed himself to cultures around the world. But I was personally inspired by one of his lesser known titles, Lords of the Earth.

The book, published in 1977, chronicles the life of Stan Dale, a missionary from Australia who went to work among the Yali tribe, a highly aggressive, cannibalistic people group in the mountains of New Guinea. What struck me about the story was how ill-suited Dale seemed to be as what most of us would think of as a missionary, and yet it was precisely those qualities that God used to reach the Yali. One of his big mistakes was to build an airstrip on sacred ground, which should have gotten him killed, but the tribal people allowed him and his team to live, but only because Dale bore a resemblance to one of their recently deceased members, and they thought he might be this person’s ghost.

Another one of my favorites is Bruchko, the autobiography of American missionary Bruce Olson, who at age 19 braved the jungles of Venezuela and Columbia to reach the Motilone tribe, also a violent people group having little contact with the outside world. The book is a very personal journey, and we see how Olson endured years of pain, torture and loneliness for the sake of the gospel, and his strong desire to see this people group both transformed by Christ, and protected from government and commercial forces that sought to eliminate their culture.

“Reading about the lives of these ordinary people who God used in extraordinary ways gave me hope that perhaps he could use me to do his work.”

Chasing the Dragon, by Jackie Pullinger, also had a profound influence as I prepared to go to Asia. Pullinger is a British woman who was directed by God to bring the good news to Triad gang members living in the notorious Walled City of Hong Kong, a den of crime, drugs and filth that even police were hesitant to enter. Through God’s miracles and her perseverance, gang members and crime lords began to give their lives to Jesus, as many were healed from heroin addiction.

Reading about the lives of these ordinary people who God used in extraordinary ways gave me hope that perhaps he could use me to do his work. If you have not read any of these books or others like it, I would encourage you to do so. And if you have, please leave a comment and tell us about your favorite missionary biography!

- Dave H.


Photo Credit: Trey Ratcliff

Original Post: https://www.flickr.com/photos/stuckincustoms/22535884118

License Info: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/

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