“The reason you love Jamie (or are about to) is because she says exactly what the rest of us are thinking, but we’re too afraid to upset the apple cart. She is a voice for the outlier, and we’re famished for what she has to say.” –Jen Hatmaker, New York Times bestselling author of Of Mess and Moxieand For the Love
Wildly popular blogger “Jamie the Very Worst Missionary” delivers a searing, offbeat, often hilarious memoir of spiritual disintegration and re-formation.
As a quirky Jewish kid and promiscuous punkass teen, Jamie Wright never imagines becoming a Christian, let alone a Christian missionary. She is barely an adult when the trials of motherhood and marriage put her on an unexpected collision course with Jesus. After finding her faith at a suburban megachurch, Jamie trades in the easy life on the cul-de-sac for the green fields of Costa Rica. There, along with her family, she earnestly hopes to serve God and change lives. But faced with a yawning culture gap and persistent shortcomings in herself and her fellow workers, she soon loses confidence in the missionary enterprise and falls into a funk of cynicism and despair.
Nearly paralyzed by depression, yet still wanting to make a difference, she decides to tell the whole, disenchanted truth: Missionaries suck and our work makes no sense at all! From her sofa in Central America, she launches a renegade blog, Jamie the Very Worst Missionary, and against all odds wins a large and passionate following. Which leads her to see that maybe a “bad” missionary–awkward, doubtful, and vocal—is exactly what the world and the throngs of American do-gooders need.
The Very Worst Missionary is a disarming, ultimately inspiring spiritual memoir for well-intentioned contrarians everywhere. It will appeal to readers of Nadia Bolz-Weber, Jen Hatmaker, Ann Lamott, Jana Reiss, Mallory Ortberg, and Rachel Held Evans.
I read and followed Jamie’s blog many years back when I was also on the mission field, so I was fully aware of what I would be getting with this book. I am not bothered by cursing, but I will admit some of her unconventionally irreverent descriptions of things even made this easy-going reader a little uncomfortable. It is part of her plan and please know going in that that is not the point. Please see past all that for the point.
Be prepared to pull your boots up and be slapped around a bit. The author holds nothing back. She will make you look at your own life in a new way as she lays hers open for inspection. Her authenticity and humor will hold you as you read her crazy antics, and possibly your heart will be changed.
My “Missional Mama” blog title paled in comparison to the ultra cool swag like name, “Jaime, The Very Worst Missionary”. I was a little envious. Being a former missionary, I think it is very pertinent that you understand that what she is saying about missions was also what I experienced. I had many quandaries about being in South America and if what we were doing was in fact worth the huge sacrifices being made to keep us there. There were so many questions and not many answers. Plus we dealt with the craziness of life abroad including electrical house fires, boils, having money stolen, our car being broken into, and deep depression. So, her stories resonated from a place of understanding and head nodding.
This is an important conversation starter. Please read this book with friends and talk about what stirs your heart. Give it to your Pastors and leaders, your friends interested in missions, and send it to your missionaries. Look deeply at the conversation Jaime is starting here and see what is your part in the next best thing to do.
*This book was given to me by NetGally in exchange for my honest review.