Distant Fields by Jed Gourley (paid link to the left) proved to be one of those books, one of those stories that would confirm that God can use anyone regardless of background, if they would surrender completely to Him. I’ve always enjoyed reading missionary stories such as the Hudson twins to Asia, or of the Elliots and their fateful trip into Inca territory. I’ve enjoyed stories such as “God’s Smuggler” about Brother Andrew, “Tortured for Christ” about Richard Wirmbrand, and like George, I too have read “Revolution in World Missions”. So to read George’s story and to discover myself a contemporary to half his children, was amazing. Then to discover that he had some of the same character-quirk hang-ups that I do, made the ability to relate even stronger.
The style of writing was very personal, like that of reading a memoire more than a biography of one’s life. Eventually I’d discover that the author was (spoiler alert) married to one of George’s kids. This made the telling of the story very personal, and it was impossible to miss the growing sense of “goodbye” that was looming as the author approached the latter pages of the book. Most professional editors would have had a conniption at Jed’s sentence fragments, or worse, at his use of the occasional single-word sentence, but he was writing this way on purpose. This book is a very personal work, and to remove some of the conversational structure of the writing would have been to render its heart anemic. The telling of this story was both personal and introductory.
As I sit here now writing out my thoughts, I too am left with a sense of what this world has lost. I look forward to meeting George in heaven one day and am grateful to hear that his family continues to reach out to people on the mission field and at home.
Thank you Jed, for letting me read this story (paid link). God truly can use anyone if they will let Him.