Enter the Hero Missionary

I was seventeen, sitting in my high school’s weekly chapel, and picturing my future self. I called him Missionary Matt, and he was super cool:

I’m in a thatched-hut village in the Congo. I kneel beside a war orphan, checking his ears for infection and telling jokes to lighten his mood. The sun beats through the ferns, bronzing my arms and beading sweat on my skin-tight v-neck. Finishing the treatment, I stand up and pat the boy on the head. He scampers off to his family, prattling about this amazing American stranger. I stride toward the Chief to discuss the well I’m building for the village. But then my Bantu friend, Shaka, bursts through the underbrush with wild eyes. Western poachers have entered the jungle, he cries, and they’re after the gorillas! Nodding, I grab my machete and bullwhip from the jeep, readjust my cowboy hat, and barrel into the heart of darkness. Continue reading “Enter the Hero Missionary”