Thursday, March 27, 2008

In my spare time

Since gardening has been out of the question (it was snowing earlier today!), I spend most of my spare moments reading.

I’ve always liked to read, but I wasn’t quite so fanatical about reading until I stated homeschooling. Now I read:

  • to determine whether I want to assign my son that book (and sometimes I don’t)
  • to stay ahead of him in books that he is reading
  • to find books that I want to assign to my daughters during the next school year

Since my two daughters read faster than I do, I have to get a head start!

I won’t list all I’ve been reading because I want to share about one particular book that I stumbled upon on Before We Kill and Eat You by H.B. Garlock was not a book I’d ever heard about, and I always have misgivings about buying little known books by missionaries. Don’t get me wrong. There are fantastic tales of heroism and faith in many autobiographical accounts by missionaries, but often the writing is so amateurish that it stands in the way of the story. So I began reading Before We Kill and Eat You with a bit of skepticism. I had, after all, just read several well-known literary works by famous authors, part of Jacob’s future literature curriculum.

“In a land called ‘the white man’s grave,’ the only insurance against malaria, cannibals and death was faith in God…” stated the back cover. I learned that back in the 1920s when Henry and his wife Ruth went to Liberia, about one in three missionaries who went to Africa died within the first year of service. One in three! Those are not odds I’d like to place on my life. Yet hundreds of missionaries went. Henry and Ruth were two that beat the odds, and lived to tell and write about their adventures. And they were worth reading.

God comes through for those who depend on Him. Having been to developing countries on mission trips, I’ve seen how destitute people do not depend on doctors to cure them; they pray for healing, not “wisdom for the doctors.” They cry out to the Lord for help, and don’t depend on social services. Often there are none. No, the Lord is their provider and their Healer, and because there isn’t all the “baggage” in the way like we have, they truly believe that He will help. And He doesn’t disappoint them. Miracles do happen.

Reading the miracles that happened in Henry Garlock’s life in Africa was truly uplifting. If only I could depend on God in the same way, I often think. If only I had that kind of faith.

I’ll share only the bit that is on the back cover of the book, one of those stories that truly makes you realize that God comes through for those who cry out to Him:

[The Pahn warriors] made a mad rush toward me with drawn knives, shouting “Kill him. Kill him!” The leader lunged at me with his cutlass raised to behead me. When it seemed that end had come and my head was about to be severed from my body, I closed my eyes and committed myself to God, repeating over and over again the one name that is above every name, ‘JESUS, JESUS!’ Suddenly there was a deathlike stillness.

That’s all there is of that story on the back cover, but in the book the story goes on. What struck me was not only that the cannibals halted like statues, but that a few moments later, a man seized Henry by the ankles and pleaded with him to have mercy on him and his men, and to spare their lives – and Henry had done nothing but call out to Jesus! What had these Pahn warriors seen? What did God show them to terrify them so?

Stories like this make me want to chuck it all and move to Africa with my family to experience that kind of power.

1 comment:

a kelly said...

Wow. Must get that book.

What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
— Albert Pike, Scottish Rite Freemason (1809-1891)