Thomas Hale wrote this landmark book on missions in 1995. Every prospective missionary would benefit from reading it before leaving for the field, and every Christian should reread it annually. It is challenging and fascinating. The author pulls from his experience as a missionary in Nepal. The book is about being a missionary, what it’s like, the problems, the challenges, the heartaches and the joys.
Hale talks about what a missionary looks like. Every missionary must be ready and eager to share the gospel at every opportunity. Teachability is an absolute necessity if you don’t want to end up playing the part of a fool. He says that the single most important factor in predicting one’s future missionary performance is one’s past performance as a Christian. With that he says that nobody is qualified to be a missionary. Because being a missionary means denying self, and that is contrary to the teaching of modern secular psychology, which says, affirm self.
A missionary’s pilgrimage doesn’t end when he gets to the field; it simply gets bumpier. That’s when he discovers new weaknesses, temptations, and sins. These are at the root of most of the emotional struggle and pain we experience as new missionaries. Our character is revealed most clearly under irritating and difficult circumstances.
Too many Christians are mainly interested in what’s good for them, not what’s good for God. They check out missions as if they were trying on a new pair of pants. Hale challenges us all to change our perspective.