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Our witchdoctors are too weak

By Davey and Marie Jank
July 2011 | Review by Timothy Alford
  • Publisher: Monarch Books
  • ISBN: 978-0-85721-008-1
  • Pages: 256
  • Price: £8.99

Book Review

The arresting title of this book is just right for the captivating account it gives of missionary life in the Amazon jungle. Two young American missionaries are exposed to a world of witchcraft, fear, isolation and danger. How they face and overcome it is a story worth reading.

Davey and Marie Jank are motivated by zeal for the reign of Christ in the hearts of the Wilo people, and struggle to identify with them and bring them ‘God’s talk’. After years of patient listening and learning, they succeed in deciphering the tribe’s unwritten tongue; and the Wilos have the gospel in their own language.

The story is told in 66 short chapters. Each one is a fascinating insight into the mindset of the missionary, as he observes in detail the life styles and practices of his adopted people. He gets as close to them as he possibly can and should, without compromising his calling.
The inconveniences and embarrassments are all accepted as worthwhile, and the humour with which he relates it all is quite remarkable. It would be unfair to compare this story with some of the classic accounts of pioneer missionaries of earlier times.

Such visionaries lacked the medical, technical, transport and other facilities available to Davey and Marie Jank. But the courage and commitment of this 21st century couple challenge the comfort zones that most of us accept as normal and justifiable.

You will not be able to read this book without being drawn into another world, not of yesterday, but of today’s global complexity. With great skill the authors draw us into a real world of need. And, despite the ease with which each chapter may be read, their penetrating observations and conclusions deserve careful reflection.

After reading chapter one you will not be able to put the book down until you have reached chapter 66.

Timothy G. Alford

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