CONGO MISSION – A Jack Sharp Novel
“Congo Mission” is a book I have long desired to write. As short-term missionaries my family (wife and three children at the time) and I traveled to the nation called “Zaire” (now known as The Democratic Republic of the Congo or just Congo). We spent over a year learning the language and culture and participating in mission work. I worked at the hospital in Tandala with my good friend Tim Wester. The purpose of having me there was to try to fill in while another missionary doctor, Bill Colby, and his wife Norma returned to the U.S. for home assignment. I worked in the hospital and clinic, taking call, assisting in surgery, and performing obstetrical deliveries. As portrayed in “Congo Mission” we had a decent concrete block home with screens for windows on a mission station with about twenty other missionaries and kids. “House guys” helped with meals, cleaning, laundry, and general yard work. My wife taught our oldest daughter as a first-grader and cared for our other two children. We had electricity only a few hours a day and no air conditioning, but one becomes accustomed to living in the warm, tropical climate. We never lacked for food, though we didn’t have a local bakery. Local people sold vegetables, fruit, and eggs at the door. Staple items had to be ordered from Kinshasa, over a thousand miles away, to be transported by barge up the Congo River.
“Congo Mission” features a young Dr. Jack Sharp as he travels to Congo as a medical missionary. His experiences are a little more exciting than the author’s, but not unrealistic. The fictional story depicts some of the social issues of the nation, which has had intense growing pains over more than one hundred years. The diamond trade and exploitation of the nation is touched upon as the intrigue and plots move along. Jack experiences life in the mission field, much like any short-term missionary doctor in a remote mission station. There are joys and dangers. Health can be snatched even from the strongest people and missionaries are not exempt. The people and the events may resemble actual occurrences, but all of the accounts are fictional. This work of fiction is not intended to be offensive or to misrepresent missionary work in any way. I have the greatest respect for men and women who dedicate their lives to serving the Lord far from their homes. They carry God’s message of salvation through Jesus Christ to people who may never have heard. Today’s missionaries go with the message and with a desire to serve the people – as doctors, nurses, teachers and in many other ways.
My year in Congo changed my life and perspective. I have desired to tell others about this work and, though I tried to write accounts of my year, it wasn’t until I had a character, Jack Sharp, who could provide a way of tell the tale that was more exciting, yet accurate. This is my second novel. The first, “A Step Ahead of Death,” takes place twenty years later, about 2008 with Jack well established in Lincoln, Nebraska as a family physician. The reader may choose to read “A Step Ahead of Death” first, though each book can stand on its own. There is a connection and “Congo Mission” clarifies some things mentioned in the first novel, but does not give away its secrets. Purchase “Congo Mission” HERE
Both novels may be downloaded at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com . Likewise both are available in paperback at Amazon.com. Unfortunately Barnes and Noble carries only “A Step Ahead of Death” in paperback at this time, though I am working to remedy this if possible. Go to www.smashwords.com to download DRM free versions of the novel in almost any electronic format.