“The Life of Missionary Knute Hjalmar Ekblad to North China”
For obvious reasons, someone recommended this book to me a while ago, and I am sure glad they did. Missionary biographies have always attracted me, specifically those set in Asian contexts (in fact, although I do not recall too many things from my childhood that could have predicted God’s ultimate calling on my life, I do recall loving one particular Gladys Aylward biography called These are My People). And so this book, set in the early part of the 20th century and about a man whose name I still cannot pronounce, fit right in with one of my many favorite, unique genres.
Joy Mielke is the granddaughter of this very Swedish-American missionary to China, and she produced this book by listening to and putting down into print the reel-to-reel recordings by Knute Hjamlar Ekblad of his life from Sweden to the States to China and back. In the course of this semi-autobiography, the reader comes to understand the passion it took for any believer at the turn of the century to sacrifice what little they had to cross the ocean and reach a people who had never heard the Truth. The reader follows Ekblad through his years of ministry in China and furloughs in the U.S., as through the loss of several children and several wives as he plugged on for the Lord in a land that was and is still hard, both physically and spiritually. Ekblad speaks candidly of his trials overseas, of his feelings of ineptitude, but always of the sovereignty of God and the strength He gives His children when they submit to His will and take up their cross to follow Him.
This book is an encouraging testament to the faithfulness of God who sees beyond this life and who will soon reward openly those who today sacrifice everything in the ruts of obscurity for the sake of taking the Good News of Jesus Christ to the lost throughout the world. Knute Hjalmar Ekblad may have been an ordinary man, but he certainly did serve a Great God.