The Astonishing Adventures of Missionary Max is a surprisingly enjoyable read. It’s pleasant light fiction with enjoyable characters most of whom seem like real people. If you enjoy Clive Cussler-esque fiction, but would prefer it if all the characters kept their clothes on, then you’ll really enjoy Missionary Max and his adventures.
Max arrives on a fictional island (with a surprisingly well developed political history) planning to lend his construction skills to a missionary church project. Instead, he finds himself caught up in a political and criminal situation far larger than he could have anticipated. Through a series of events that are not only entertaining to read, but also completely consistent within the established history of the book, Max learns to love the people and culture of Cabrito and makes the commitment to stay on as a missionary.
Max himself is a fun guy, who is a relatively new Christian, but seems to have a genuine relationship with the Lord. He has both genuine struggles and genuine success in his walk with the Lord, and seems to make decisions based on a relatively consistent Christian ethic. Because of the genre, Max has a past, but he is neither running from it, nor haunted by it. There are some moments of genuine humor, moments of redemption and only one overly sentimental moment. I really did enjoy reading how Max became Missionary Max and managed to save the girl at the same time.
My only problem with the book is that Max is a young believer with no theological training who ends up leading an established church with no mission organization, or accountability of any kind. At one point in his astonishing adventures, Max turns to a biography of Adoniram Judson for inspiration and instruction. I couldn’t help but think that Judson’s admonition to Max would be “Get some education, get some accountability and then come back.” I hope that future volumes in the series will include Max seeking out some of those much needed resources.
As far as a fun work of fiction for some light, but wholesome escapism, this is a great book. For a more accurate missiology, maybe take a page from Missionary Max’s book, and look into Adoniram Judson, Eric Liddell, or Hudson Taylor.