Celebrate St Patrick’s Day with a good book. A good book about missionaries, that is.
I love St Patrick’s day. I love this holiday because it tells of a great man used by God to reach the first non-Roman group of people with the gospel. Patrick of Britton was captured by Irish slaveholders and spent six years serving as a shepherd. God moved in his heart and miraculously rescued him. He returned to Britton, a free man but later went back to the land of his captivity and was responsible for establishing the church in Ireland.
So it seems only appropriate to honor all missionaries on this day of the Green. Here are some of my favorite missionary biographies
Shadow of the Almighty by Elizabeth Elliot, the story of Jim Elliot and his companions who tried to reach the Auca Indians of Ecuador.
Through Gates of Splendor by Elizabeth Elliot more about Jim Elliot
The End of the Spear by Steve Saint, the story of the son of Nate Saint, another of the five Ecuadorian missionaries.
In The Presence of My Enemies by Gracia Burnham, the courageous story about a missionary’s effort to survive after being kidnapped by Filipino Muslim terrorists.
Exodus To A Hidden Valley by Eugene Morse, the remarkable escape of a mission family out of Burma.
God’s Smuggler by Brother Andres, the daring, gripping account of a man who worked to smuggle Bibles and other Christian literature into Communist countries.
A Chance To Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael by Elizabeth Elliot. Amy rescued children from shrine temples in India.
Christy by Catherine Marshall, a fictional story based the life of Catherine’s mother as a school teacher at an Appalacian mission school at the turn of the century.
The Inn of Sixth Happiness by Alan Burgess, the story of Gladys Aylward, the “small woman” who went to China in spite of being turned down by a missionary society.
These stories have inspired me since I was a teenager. The stories of God’s Smuggler and Jim Elliot challenged me to a radical commitment to my faith in Christ and fueled my early passion for missions. We need to hear these stories of the greats saints of the faith and we need to share them with the next generation.
As I compiled my list, I realized a lot of these books are on the older side! These are great classics but I wish I could recommend more recent stories. Maybe those stories haven’t found their way to book form, or maybe I haven’t kept up with recent literature. I hope it’s the latter! There are so many stories of courage and sacrifice that need to be recorded so the next generation have role models of faith.
I personally know a number of multi-cultural workers who have their own stories of courage and success, failure and faith. These are the ones I pray for on St Patrick’s Day and thank God for their faithful commitment to carry the Gospel message to those who need to know. Here are the gospel-carriers on my list.
Chris and Ira, ministering to a region in the former Yugoslavia where only 25 Christians reside in a city of over 300,000.
Larry and Teri in Berlin who recently had a large refugee camp move within yards of their mission “library” and who have more people coming through their doors, asking questions, than they can handle.
Barb and Evert who have served for years as support staff in Guinea with Pioneer Bible Translators to those who are translating the Bible for an unreached people group. They have seen little actual results of people professing faith in Christ but they know that seeds have been planted and that they are regarded as salt and light.
Lisa, who serves as a liaison between the home office of Wycliffe Bible Translators and the on the ground workers in Nigeria. Lisa makes multiple trips per year between the two countries and is tired. She needs an extra measure of strength from the Lord.
Marilyn, who used to work as a pharmacist in a medical mission but now has an outreach ministry to casino workers in Macao. What a wonderful way to target a group of people need the Lord. Macau is one of the largest casino centers in the world.
My unnamed friend in an unnamed Central Asia “stan” country who serves as a church leader. In this county, it is illegal for more than five Christians to meet at a time for worship. It is illegal to teach children about Jesus. They do it anyway, taking the risk, because, “it’s worth it.”
Kim, who serves as stateside staff for a mission to elderly homeless folks in Romania. At this moment, Kim is at the bedside of her dying sister in Illinois. Please pray for Kim and her family as they release Judy into the arms of her loving Savior.
If you don’t know any people who serve the Lord cross-culturally, feel free to choose one or two from my list to pray for on St. Patrick’s Day. I’m sure my friends wouldn’t mind.