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God’s Needle

By L. Gaynor & J. Butterworth
April 2014 | Review by Gladys Nash
  • Publisher: Monarch (Lion Hudson)
  • ISBN: 978-0-85721-456-0
  • Pages: 208
  • Price: 8.99
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God’s needle

L. Gaynor & J. Butterworth
Monarch (Lion Hudson), 208 pages, £8.99
ISBN: 978-0-85721-456-0
Star Rating : 4

This book was published on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Worldwide Evangelisation Crusade. A biography of one of their missionaries is a good way to mark this important milestone.

Convinced from an early age that God was calling her to be a missionary, Lily Gaynor qualified in nursing and midwifery, and completed missionary training and her Portuguese language study. She arrived in Guinea-Bissau, one of the poorest countries in the world, at the age of 30.

God met her material needs in remarkable ways, and there were times when she felt God urging her to give what little she had for the needs of others, only for her needs to be supplied in even greater measure!

Lily tells of a primitive lifestyle, with no water, no electricity, but plenty of snakes, rats, cockroaches and other unwelcome beasties.

She spent her mornings holding clinics under the mango trees. Initially, fellow missionaries had reservations about her medical work, and local people viewed it with suspicion. Eventually her reputation grew when the effects of ‘God’s needle’ (penicillin injections) were seen and people began to trust her.

She spent the afternoons visiting local people and learning the Papel language, and there she met the witchdoctors and fearlessly explained the gospel to them.

Already a nurse/midwife, and often working at the level of a doctor, she learned emergency dentistry, and veterinary medicine on the job. Cows, rabbits and hens were all brought to her!

Using knowledge gained from Wycliffe Bible Translators (WBT), she spent her evenings working out an alphabet in Papel, so that she could translate the Bible into the tribal language of the Biombo district. A lifetime work, this was eventually published by WBT.

This is a story of traditional pioneer work carried out in the second half of the 20th century. It is easy to read and written with honesty about personal struggles and mistakes. 

There are accounts of courage, heartache and many moments of humour, together with amazing answers to prayer, moving stories of people coming from paganism to Christ, churches established, pastors trained, death threats from witchdoctors who later came to faith in Christ, remarkable recovery from disease, and much more.

Today the national church in Guinea-Bissau is the largest in West Africa. This book is a gem and will inspire and encourage readers of all ages.

Gladys Nash
Greens Norton


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