Winter Spring Summer Fall: Living and Lasting in Missions, by Ryan Murphy, is non-fiction book that tells what life is like as a young missionary in Kenya. I received the book courtesy of the author himself, after I expressed interest in reviewing it.
I really enjoyed reading WSSF. When I started, I expected a bland account of what life was like, and indeed, the first few pages did not exactly pique my interests. However, as I pressed on, I quickly realized my initial reactions were wrong. Because right after the Introduction, once the first stories from the field were played out, I was hooked. Murphy’s stories were fascinating and real. It was almost like a friend returning from vacation and telling you all the things he’d seen while he was away.
Murphy writes conversationally, and I thought the book read almost like a series of blog posts. The book chronicles his thoughts about different seasons of life, spanning opinions on things like racism, financial support, stress, etc. It’s easy to see that Murphy has a heart for Kenya and its people. He cares about the students at Rift Valley Academy. He cares about his family back in the States. And all of it is revealed to the reader, honestly and without any sugar-coating.
I suppose one reason I liked this book was that it was an account of something actually happening here on Earth, as opposed to other worlds or magic kingdoms. The Murphy family, along with other missionaries and nationals, are making a difference in Kenya. It’s inspiring to see people sacrificing much for the good of the world and the propagation of God’s Plan.
The book was filled with many striking moments. It had me laughing (especially the story about Ryan’s son being born in Kenya); it had me disturbed; it had me concerned; it had me joyous and thankful. I’m thankful that there are people out there like Ryan who are willing to travel and give of themselves so freely, letting the Lord use them as He will. I am thankful that there are people willing to pay and pray for missions.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Winter Spring Summer Fall. The slim book (~170 pages) is a very quick read. If you are in any way interested in what life is like as a missionary, check out Ryan Murphy’s newest book, Winter Spring Summer Fall. The book is not solely for missionaries, but for those left behind as well. Murphy writes of how many churches support missionaries and how the conventional support is flawed, and I heartily agree. I recommend it to anyone that is curious about anything related to missions, from the supporters and the friends left behind to missionaries travelling abroad. You can purchase the book from Amazon here. You can check out Ryan’s blog and podcast here.
FTC Thing: This book was provided to me for free by the author in exchange for a review. There were no hot dogs, Twinkies, or soda pops in the exchange. Just the book.