26 April 2015

Africa, A.W. Tozer & Robert E. Lee

About seven or eight years ago, a good friend of mine surrendered to a call to Africa to become a missionary. Our church gave him, his wife and their three children a going away party. Many church members gave gifts of all kinds. I gave this preacher several books including Richard Ellsworth Day's Rhapsody in Black: the Life Story of John Jasper. Like Jasper, my friend hails originally from Fluvanna County, Virginia. I thought the obvious connections were fitting. I also gave him a copy of the first book I wrote, The Maxims of Robert E. Lee for Young Gentlemen.

I've not heard from him in years, but early this morning, I received the following message from this missionary:
I wanted to let you know that I am reading,"The Maxims of Robert E. Lee for Young Gentlemen". I had misplaced the book and recently found it while here in ______, Africa and God has revealed it to me at the perfect time! My greatest work as a Shepherd is to disciple and I have been studying feverishly Discipleship and THIS book that YOU gave me is timely, powerful, and greatly enjoyable! Thank you so much for your gifts for me and my boys so many years ago!
Wow. What an encouragement. As most history related writers know today, you don't make a whole lot of money from your books. Some, yes, but not a lot. I think most of us do it for the passion that we have and the desire to share our knowledge and interest and preserve the history discovered in our research. But you never really know what kind of impact your books have on folks. 

When I first read this message from my friend, I was immediately reminded of something A.W. Tozer wrote and which hangs on my office wall as a daily reminder:
The printed word may lie unnoticed like a seed through a long winter, only to burst out when a favorable time comes and produce an abundant crop in belief and practice. ~ A. W. Tozer
I've had enough encouragement today to begin thinking seriously about my next project(s).