When he was eight years old, Bennie Carson had his most spectacular Christmas ever. His mother, his aunt, and his uncle swamped the two Carson boys with toys to try to make up for the departure of his bigamous father. It was also the year of his first religious experience, the year he came home to the heavenly Father.

Pastor Ford of Detroit’s Burns Avenue Seventh-day Adventist Church had just told the suspenseful story of a missionary-doctor husband and wife who were miraculously rescued from a gang of bandits. As the congregation sang the invitation song, the inspired Bennie decided he wanted to follow Jesus, he wanted to be a missionary, and he wanted to be a doctor.

Today he is an active Christian, a leading pediatric neurosurgeon, and a missionary of sorts. Sitting in his cramped cubicle in the Johns Hopkins University Medical Center, he says with quiet passion, “There is a great deal of missionary work that can be done right here in this country. And I spend a fair amount of time trying to do it. I feel that the US is in a crisis situation, educationally and spiritually.

“We are rapidly approaching a Third World situation,” he says, citing ominous statistics. Our young people’s ability to understand science and math is thirteenth out of thirteen of the major industrialized countries.”

Though he gave up his plan to become a foreign missionary, Dr. Ben Carson is an avid preacher of the gospel of hard work, dedication, and achievement.

He can preach these things because his own achievements are remarkable: by age 33, the chief pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins; the surgical-team leader in the first completely successful separation of Siamese twins joined at the head; ...

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