The missionary biography has become a standard, classic genre of Christian literature. Those considering becoming missionaries are considered great fools unless they have digested several of these (for how else will they study the task ahead of them?), and those believers who have no intent of being missionaries nonetheless still love to read about the great conquests of Christ elsewhere in the world. For either kind of reader, there is no shortage of great books. One can easily find the biographies and journals of well-known missionaries like Hudson Taylor or John G. Paton, books that continue to shape and prepare Christians to fulfill the Great Commission of Christ.
With that in mind, we would like to recommend to you this short, neglected autobiography of a largely unknown man with the unremarkable name of Dan Smith (1907-1988). Dan Smith was a bashful, Scottish shipyard-worker who eventually ministered in England, China, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Canada, the United States, several nations in Africa, and even the Caribbean. Such a story sounds borderline epic, and Smith’s does not disappoint. And yet he tells of conversions, revivals, and great works of God with such simplicity that you almost forget the glory of what’s happening—almost. Here we have the classic example of God taking a nobody and winning great praise for Himself, showing His own power in our weakness. As you read, you will also be amazed at the remarkable provisions God makes for Dan throughout his life.
Another notable trait of this autobiography is the inclusion of an appendix, written by one of Smith’s sons, giving his own view of life as a missionary’s child. There is also a final “word of exhortation” from Granted Ministries Press, which serves as a sober reminder to servants of Christ that one duty should not be used to destroy another.
As usual, the reader who stands to gain the most from such a book is the Christian thinking of going into mission work. Smith paints a gritty, down-to-earth picture of mission work, even in the midst of its great triumphs, so the potential missionary is sure to get an honest view of his future. Those thinking of ministering in Southeast Asia would especially do well to consult this book, as that is where Smith spent most of his ministry.