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THOSE WHO MAKE US WHAT WE ARE
This is a splendid little book by Bill McDonough written in a conversational style about profoundly important events [some of which seem trivial unless you always believe and sometimes see how they fit into the plot and overarching purpose of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus]. It includes, of course, a long list of heroic people who'd blush if you called them that.
It's one missionary chronicling his engagement with God in taking to many parts of the world the good news about the "grace and peace of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ who gave himself for our sins that he might rescue us from this present evil world."
McD is well aware that his story doesn't stand alone, that he has been made what he is and under God has accomplished what he has accomplished because his life and vision and devotion have been shaped and nourished by the lives and vision and devotion of others; medical men and women, well-diggers, truck-drivers and others as well as preachers and teachers who have one driving purpose—to take the gospel of God to the entire human family. He names many of them but like the Hebrew writer he confesses he hasn't the time or space to tell of a host of others.
The little book might frustrate you at times because you want to hear more and no more is told but that's okay too because sometimes it's best to allow the imagination to draw lovely conclusions that stem from what we know.
What do you do when the Director of Social Affairs in a Polish state demands a massive bribe to allow you to deliver a precious and urgently needed consignment of food and medicine? What's the connection between the father of a remarkably gifted musician and race-car driver and Polish religious freedom?
What do you make of a woman called Barbara, wrestling with killing pancreatic cancer but who still urges her husband to answer a request that takes him away from her, half way across the world? They say that Marie Antoinette's hair turned white overnight during the "reign of terror'--McD tells of a devoted American missionary that that happened to in Cambodia. And what were those two U.S. college girls doing when McD rammed into the back of their truck?
You'll remember the name of the infamous Pol Pot but what about the courageous woman who went to school with him and what difference did that make to the spreading of the gospel? Then there was the entrance into communist enslaved Albania and a trip to the Ministry of Health only to find a blond-haired, blue-eyed Irish man had been there several days earlier with medical supplies and a New Testament treasured by a warm medical official. How cool is that? I knew something of Don Yelton's work down the years but I was astonished at the way he kept popping up in this book, in all parts of the planet, like the Scarlet Pimpernel, engineering rescues for the starving and the trapped. And you might remember "iron man" Polish General Jarulzelski. Who was he hugging and laughing with in Warsaw and what happened as a result of it?
I liked the book for many reasons. I even "enjoyed" being unsettled by my own lack of devotion--it proved I can still be convicted and I purpose to do more with my limited capacities. But the book names some very dear friends and so many close acquaintances of mine and that's always a lovely experience. It lists some "legends" like Barbara and Doyle Kee, Stanley and Marie Shipp, Maurice and Marie Hall, Jean and Ken Fox and as these were named I thought of others who worked with them and for space sake couldn't be mentioned. The book pays tribute to visionary and involved American churches like 7th & Izzard in Little Rock, Arkansas and it pays high tribute to the locals throughout Europe and Asia and Africa who stood strong and gallant before devoted Americans came along to join them in cosmic war in the name of the Lord Jesus against the world-spirit and for the human family that God so loves.
I wish it a wide circulation.