Are missionaries unbalanced? Of course they are. I’m one. I ought to know.
A missionary probably began as an ordinary person. He dressed like other people, he liked to play tennis and listen to music.
But even before leaving for the field he became “different.’ Admired by some, pitied by others, he was known as one who was leaving parents, prospects and home for—a vision. So he seemed to be a visionary.
Now that he’s come home again he’s even more different. To him some things—big things—just don’t seem important. Even the World Series or the Davis Cup matches don’t interest him especially. And apparently he doesn’t see things as other people see them. The chance of a lifetime—to meet Toscanini personally—seems to leave him cold. It makes you want to ask where he’s been.
Well, where has he been?
Where the conflict with evil is open and intense, a fight not a fashion—where clothes don’t matter, because there’s little time to take care of them—where people are dying for help he might give, most of them not even knowing he has the help—where the sun means 120 in the shade, and he can’t spend his time in the shade.
But not only space; time too seems to have passed him by. When you talk about beatniks he looks puzzled. When you mention Harry Belafonte he asks who he is. You wonder how long he’s been away.
All right, how long has he been away? Long enough for thirty million people to go into eternity without Christ, with no chance to hear the Gospel—and some of them went right before his eyes: when that flimsy riverboat overturned; when that cholera epidemic struck; when that Hindu-Moslem riot broke out.1
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