Last October when I was attending the Christian Writer’s Conference, at Glorieta, New Mexico, US., one of the presenters spoke about the reluctance of publishers to produce books about missionaries. The presenter was quite sad about this but realized that publishers only print books that sell and missionaries stories don’t sell. I felt quite sad too that these stories were not being published but then I thought, “Hey, wait a minute, I’m one of the people that don’t buy/read missionaries’ stories!” So I started thinking about why I don’t buy or read these books.
Recently some friends gave me a book that “I must read” which was a missionary’s story. I didn’t want to read it and was again faced with this dilemma – why don’t I want to read these stories? Out of loyalty to my friends I read the book but whilst reading it I was asking myself why I don’t like reading these type of stories.
I came up with a few reasons but I think the most pertinent one is that these books tell me about God’s deeds but don’t tell me about God’s ways. (“He made known His ways to Moses, His deeds to the people of Israel” Psalms 103:7.) I read these stories and understand that God has done amazing things but I don’t really learn any more about the way God works. Generally speaking the missionary themselves don’t write a lot about the way God has worked in their own lives or the things that God has specifically shown or taught them. This may be out of humility because they want to focus on what has happened or what God has done, however I find I don’t connect or relate to the main character in the story and that is the missionary themselves. For me to read a book, and maybe this is selfish, but there has to be something in it for me. There has to be something I can learn about life or about God that applies to my life.
My next post will be about the book that I did read which is actually an amazing story.