A couple of months ago I wrote about my reluctance to read books about missionaries. The other day I came across Green Leaf in Drought by Isobel Kuhn which I read 25-30 years ago. I remembered this book had greatly impacted me at the time so I decided to read it again to figure out why this missionary book had this effect on me whereas others don’t.

Isobel Kuhn has written Green Leaf in Drought (OMF, 1986) from material supplied by Arthur and Wilda Mathews who were missionaries in China in 1950 when the communists assumed power. Right from the outset Isobel has used Scripture passages to enrich the story. The title of the book comes from Jeremiah 17:8 – He shall be as a tree planted by the waters … but her leaf shall be green … in the year of drought… Kuhn employs this verse throughout the book by using the word “drought” to indicate the drying up of the physical resources of the Mathews and the word “green” to indicate their attitude to these deprivations.

Kuhn quotes from the letters Arthur and Wilda wrote during this time and from this we get insights into their thoughts, their prayers and their general state of mind. It is thrilling to see the many different ways God spoke to them and taught them spiritual truths in a very difficult situation. Kuhn’s conclusion is enlightening as she looks at God’s deeper purposes for this couple’s suffering.

Though my situation is vastly different to the Mathews, I could relate to the book because it focused on God.