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Wildly popular blogger "Jamie the Very Worst Missionary" delivers a searing, offbeat, often hilarious memoir of spiritual disintegration and re-formation. As a quirky Jewish kid and promiscuous punkass teen, Jamie Wright never imagines becoming a Christian, let alone a Christian missionary. She is barely an adult when the trials of motherhood and marriage put her on an unex Wildly popular blogger "Jamie the Very Worst Missionary" delivers a searing, offbeat, often hilarious memoir of spiritual disintegration and re-formation. As a quirky Jewish kid and promiscuous punkass teen, Jamie Wright never imagines becoming a Christian, let alone a Christian missionary. She is barely an adult when the trials of motherhood and marriage put her on an unexpected collision course with Jesus. After finding her faith at a suburban megachurch, Jamie trades in the easy life on the cul-de-sac for the green fields of Costa Rica. There, along with her family, she earnestly hopes to serve God and change lives. But faced with a yawning culture gap and persistent shortcomings in herself and her fellow workers, she soon loses confidence in the missionary enterprise and falls into a funk of cynicism and despair.

 Nearly paralyzed by depression, yet still wanting to make a difference, she decides to tell the whole, disenchanted truth: Missionaries suck and our work makes no sense at all! From her sofa in Central America, she launches a renegade blog, Jamie the Very Worst Missionary, and against all odds wins a large and passionate following. Which leads her to see that maybe a "bad" missionary--awkward, doubtful, and vocal—is exactly what the world and the throngs of American do-gooders need.


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Wildly popular blogger "Jamie the Very Worst Missionary" delivers a searing, offbeat, often hilarious memoir of spiritual disintegration and re-formation. As a quirky Jewish kid and promiscuous punkass teen, Jamie Wright never imagines becoming a Christian, let alone a Christian missionary. She is barely an adult when the trials of motherhood and marriage put her on an unex Wildly popular blogger "Jamie the Very Worst Missionary" delivers a searing, offbeat, often hilarious memoir of spiritual disintegration and re-formation. As a quirky Jewish kid and promiscuous punkass teen, Jamie Wright never imagines becoming a Christian, let alone a Christian missionary. She is barely an adult when the trials of motherhood and marriage put her on an unexpected collision course with Jesus. After finding her faith at a suburban megachurch, Jamie trades in the easy life on the cul-de-sac for the green fields of Costa Rica. There, along with her family, she earnestly hopes to serve God and change lives. But faced with a yawning culture gap and persistent shortcomings in herself and her fellow workers, she soon loses confidence in the missionary enterprise and falls into a funk of cynicism and despair.

 Nearly paralyzed by depression, yet still wanting to make a difference, she decides to tell the whole, disenchanted truth: Missionaries suck and our work makes no sense at all! From her sofa in Central America, she launches a renegade blog, Jamie the Very Worst Missionary, and against all odds wins a large and passionate following. Which leads her to see that maybe a "bad" missionary--awkward, doubtful, and vocal—is exactly what the world and the throngs of American do-gooders need.

30 review for The Very Worst Missionary: A Memoir or Whatever

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lacey Michael

    2.5 stars TBH. Why did I do this to myself? Frankly, this book popped up on my Hoopla app and I was in desperate need of an audio book to take up time during a recent bus ride to PDX. I'd heard about Jamie's blog and had even read a few posts. But, let's just say that as soon as I realized the forward was by Jenn Hatmaker, I knew I was in for it. Positives: Jamie sheds much needed light on how many versions of "The Mission Field" need to be reformed and even abandoned. God does not "need" more imp 2.5 stars TBH. Why did I do this to myself? Frankly, this book popped up on my Hoopla app and I was in desperate need of an audio book to take up time during a recent bus ride to PDX. I'd heard about Jamie's blog and had even read a few posts. But, let's just say that as soon as I realized the forward was by Jenn Hatmaker, I knew I was in for it. Positives: Jamie sheds much needed light on how many versions of "The Mission Field" need to be reformed and even abandoned. God does not "need" more impractical, wide-eyed, "God laid it on my heart", white, American Christians to travel across the world and impose themselves on others to "save" them. God is already saving people across the world. This is true and she said this many times throughout her story. I found her story of conversion to be fascinating and amazing and I appreciated her humility in certain parts. BUT All the rest... Wright is freely crass, crude, swears and uses the Lord's name in vain. She prefaces her story and her habit of swearing by admittedly calling herself a terrible missionary, thus rendering valid criticism impotent. I've read many reviews of this book saying things like, "If you watch 'R' rated movies you shouldn't have a problem with someone swearing in their own memoir." As well as, "I'm sick of Christians who live with terrible atrocities happening all around them but clutch their pearls at a few swear words!" I balk at being put into this category of people and yes, I do watch R rated movies...but something doesn't sit right with me when I read a sentence that includes "Jesus Sh*tballs Christ!" as an expletive, from a follower of Christ. I also find it sadly immature that she calls a fellow believer who disagrees with her "Mrs. Eatad*ck" throughout her book. Mocking someone with a hangup, quite possibly a "weaker sister" is rude at best. Yeah. SO there's that. I cannot explain fluently what exactly bothered me so much about her book. Maybe I'm just tired of hyperbolic writing that is self deprecating to such extremes that it sounds fake. I'm tired of this cool new trend to buck the older women with "out dated" opinions. I'm sick of women idolizing weakness instead of boasting of Christ's power through our weaknesses. Wright herself seems to fight an internal war, often oscillating between praising her sweet and kind, white suburban church and then flipping the switch, mocking the terribly backward and dumb western Christians...even including herself. It was like 'biting the hand that feeds you' and then making a little joke about it and then saying "God bless their little hearts" condescendingly to make things all better. Because of Christ, we will endure many hardships, trials and persecutions in this life...but I don't think Wright should take the valid criticism of her self professed spiritual immaturity as a sign of true persecution.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Fergus

    I was a lot like Jamie when younger, but for a radically different reason... For, buoyed up by the incessantly simmering hyperbole of my bipolar brain, I was peremptorily propelled by the stonewalling of health authorities into a steaming cauldron of outrage over their injustice. Faith or no faith. I could henceforth only be a missionary to myself. So that’s exactly what happened next. A perfect storm... Because two monumental weather systems suddenly collided, out of the blue. My screaming outrage a I was a lot like Jamie when younger, but for a radically different reason... For, buoyed up by the incessantly simmering hyperbole of my bipolar brain, I was peremptorily propelled by the stonewalling of health authorities into a steaming cauldron of outrage over their injustice. Faith or no faith. I could henceforth only be a missionary to myself. So that’s exactly what happened next. A perfect storm... Because two monumental weather systems suddenly collided, out of the blue. My screaming outrage at a perceived miscarriage of justice met the contrary peaceful power of the Gospel. And it FLATLINED my lifelong anger into a luminously warm old age of steady peace. The Lord, as He himself tells us, was sent not to bring peace, but a sword - at first. For, by provoking an inner battle, that very AGON HEALS and gives peace through faith. So it is with Jamie. But at time of writing she was right in the thick of it! A Christian who never could quite discipline her outrage and discomfiture at the usual polite platitudes - She is on a Journey of Faith. It's like Jacob and the angel: it hurts, but it works, if you believe. The conflicts of every one of us here are a masterpiece in progress! And the results are wisdom and peace, if we have faith that we'll make it through. So this book is wonderful! Off the wall, maybe, because it's jarring - But wonderful. But take my advice. Don’t use it for bedtime reading... Read & heed: THIS BOOK MAY GET YOU TO THE SAME PEACE IN THE END - Taking the incredibly HARD way, which is probably the RIGHT way.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I was involved with Campus Crusade in college and still to this day, I remain uncomfortable with the ways they use to carry the message of sharing the gospel. This memoir by Jamie Wright is honestly refreshing and who cares if she uses profanity? She is as real as anyone can get and she will admit that she is not a good missionary. It did take till the end of the novel before she talks about what is wrong with missionaries and their missions today. I do wish she would have expounded more on that I was involved with Campus Crusade in college and still to this day, I remain uncomfortable with the ways they use to carry the message of sharing the gospel. This memoir by Jamie Wright is honestly refreshing and who cares if she uses profanity? She is as real as anyone can get and she will admit that she is not a good missionary. It did take till the end of the novel before she talks about what is wrong with missionaries and their missions today. I do wish she would have expounded more on that, so maybe in another book she will. (I don't read blogs ... don't have the time to unless they come in the form of a paperback book, which I can carry with me wherever I go.) Jamie Wright grew up in a Protestant family, though her parents did convert to Judaism when she was a child, though that didn't last long. Long story short, she met her soon-to-be husband, got pregnant, then married him and after a few turbulent years of marriage, they both came to realize that they were called to be missionaries. They were sent to Costa Rica, where they spent five years there with their three sons. For a slim book, she packs a lot in it. She is hilarious. Yes, she swears, but so do I. She isn't like all those do-gooders, who gasp at the slightest provocation, which is really refreshing. She doesn't use preachy terms at all, which I absolutely love. She points out that the missionary programs really need a makeover, which I totally agree because for one thing, it's condescending to the people who live in those countries; it doesn't solve the issues of poverty and how we can make their lives better, by addressing the issues of poverty and frankly, Jamie rips the band-aid off and there's this ugly gaping wound of real life that is hard to keep under the covers. There are no simple answers but she points out that it's time to start addressing it. Jamie doesn't offer any solutions in this book, just shared her experiences as a missionary and what they have discovered while serving in Costa Rica. Yes, she uses profanity in this book, but seriously, she's honest and more real than most of those do-gooder books that are out there.She admits that it is hard being a missionary and it's hard to feel like she is doing anything worthwhile there and it just brings up all these questions that she doesn't have the answers for. But to me, that's what makes this book a refreshing change from all these religious tomes out there. She is honest. She is real. She is seeking the answers that aren't readily available and for the first time, in a long time, I feel hopeful that there are other Christians out there that are seeking the truth that isn't covered up in the floral language that is so common among what passes for Christian literature these days.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kayo

    Hilariously funny, but oh so truthful. And while I understand some "good" Christians might take offense to her book, I think God will be laughing right along with her. Loved this book. Thanks to author, Crown Publishing and Netgalley for the chance to read this book. While I got the book for free, it had no bearing on the rating I gave it. Hilariously funny, but oh so truthful. And while I understand some "good" Christians might take offense to her book, I think God will be laughing right along with her. Loved this book. Thanks to author, Crown Publishing and Netgalley for the chance to read this book. While I got the book for free, it had no bearing on the rating I gave it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    Unlike most, I'm not rating this book low because of the author's "crass language" nor because I disagree with her critiques... rather because I think this book didn't deliver much of what it appeared to offer. This book promised to be, at the very least, very interesting, especially to other missionaries like us. However I feel like it only half-delivered even on that. While I expected the main topic of this book to be regarding missions, either the author's experience in missions or her though Unlike most, I'm not rating this book low because of the author's "crass language" nor because I disagree with her critiques... rather because I think this book didn't deliver much of what it appeared to offer. This book promised to be, at the very least, very interesting, especially to other missionaries like us. However I feel like it only half-delivered even on that. While I expected the main topic of this book to be regarding missions, either the author's experience in missions or her thoughts on it, the truth is that missions as a topic barely filled maybe 10% or 15% of this book. Most of it was about the author's life, all the way from her early childhood until now, including her spiritual growth and general thoughts on Christianity and spirituality (and what she calls "practical magic") - and of that, the author's experience in missions was such a minor part of her life, that I suppose it got accorded the same amount of space in her book. Yet with the title (that I know she's "famous" for) including the word "missionary", I unfortunately assumed the book would have much more to do with missions. So a large part of my rating of this book is that I feel like it offered one thing and delivered something entirely different. If not for this disappointment, I might have given the book 3 stars here on Goodreads (for "I liked it"). So what it did offer was a frequently funny, and occasionaly hilarious, take on the author's experiences in life, in the American church, and for a short time her participation in American Christian missions. Throughout the book she gave a *few* relevant critiques of the institutional church or the institution of Christian missions or voluntourism / short-term development or that sort of thing. She gave more anecdotes of funny mishaps in the church or in missions than she actually gave specific critiques of it. And she didn't even give that many of those in terms of the overall content of the book. I was actually very much hoping for much more direct and relevant critiques, or at the least a lot more anecdotes of missions gone bad (or just "missions gone ridiculous"). Not only that, but I felt like the earlier parts of the book (which had nothing to do with missions and not necessarily much to do with the church) had funnier scenes or statements than later parts of the book (particularly by the time she discusses Christian missions). Where was the snarky and abrasive humor applied to her experience in missions? Not entirely absent, but mostly lacking, I'd say. And that's the thing: in this book, the author identifies herself with Christianity, but distances herself from the institution of it, and certainly puts forth enough effort in her choice of words to challenge what would normally be considered "acceptable". And for anyone who's not squeamish with swearing, particularly swearing that's united with Christian terms or Christian situations, you might find her wording very funny. I often did, sometimes just out of surprise, but sometimes because of its actual appropriateness. And I thought that in her use of this language, she was paving the way to directly challenge head-on a lot of the church's assumptions about missions or evangelism or something like that. But she didn't. She just sort of said it wasn't great, it's kind of a mess, and she was part of that mess. That's really all she got around to saying. Very few direct statements about things like: this, in particular, is messed up. Or: this, specifically, needs to change. Almost none of that. And you'd also be incredibly hard-pressed to find her offering (in her book) any alternatives to the few problems she points out. Like really, she says God has equipped her with great perspective over the course of her life, with great experience in doing missions wrong - you think she'd be able to offer at least a *little* suggestion for what we *might* do instead to do it right? Because that's the thing, I'm a missionary myself. I took a bit different route towards the "equipping" than she describes for herself or for most missionaries that she mentions. Maybe the author is unaware of those who actually spend many many years getting well-trained academically, spiritually, and practically before they embark on Christian foreign missions. And yet, even taking my path the long way through, now that I'm here (and have been serving overseas for 10 years now) I can't help but notice TONS of problems in the way the Christian Church has done and for the most part still does missions. Sure, a lot of the problems I've noticed are echoed in this book (and I've seen many more types of problems that she didn't even hint at). But where are the considerations of how to do it better? I've got plenty of ideas. And then I try to implement those ideas. And similar to the author's description of "practical magic", when things don't work out and I see where the problem was, I seek God on it and try something better, not getting *too* discouraged because of his grace. So all that's good. But the thing is, I have some REAL ideas on what should be done better and I don't mind sharing them with anyone even slightly interested. So why doesn't the author share her considered solutions in this book? Why didn't she try them out (or if she did try them out, why didn't she describe them more)? Again, it comes down to the fact that for a book about missions, particularly one from an author who says God has specifically equipped/called her to critique missions and/or the Western Church, she spent very little time in the book actually considering missions - neither with what's bad nor with what might be done better. And unfortunately, I noticed a fair bit of hypocrisy (or just self-contradiction if there's a meaningful difference between the two) in this book. Initially, her self-deprecating style made it seem like there was no room for hypocrisy (great!). But then she included a whole section on a homosexual pastor's kid later getting married (and I feel like the author was trying to congratulate herself for being supportive in this situation), but the point of the story turned out to be regarding some portion of the author's legs being visible when she hugged those getting married. It's like, "where did that come from in the middle of this story?" The point was that she wasn't too self-aware to let it bother her, but she demonstrates being caught up in self-awareness by actually noticing at all and then writing it all down for a faceless public to read. The author constantly speaks against "Christianese" (church lingo) and I totally agree with her on that point. Then she apparently coins the phrase "practical magic" and starts implementing it ad infinitum in the book as if it should be the new big Christian catchphrase. Her use of this phrase is no better (or worse) than Christianese lingo. The author speaks against "butterfly eater" (a very crazy story my wife and I still bring up and laugh about), a fellow missionary that the author used as an example of why some people (i.e. "butterfly eater" himself) should *not* be on the mission field. And I don't disagree with her. But then later, the author describes herself as being particularly ill-equipped for status-quo missions and yet saying God specifically equipped her and called her (mainly through her ability to offer snarky critiques with thick skin) and how therefore everyone is specifically made uniquely by God to have something to offer. I'm thinking, "OK, so what about 'butterfly eater'? Did he not have as much to offer as you, as bizarre as it sounds?" And all of this is after she critiques the Christian missions practice of everyone claiming a "calling" and using that as the right to go anywhere and do whatever they want. And I agreed with her critique of the way the word "calling" is thrown around in the Christian Church and missions and the way it's used to justify all sorts of poor missions practices and poorly-placed missionaries. But then she uses the word "calling" the *same way* to justify the position she's found herself in today - a critical voice that (to be fair) the Church really doesn't want to listen to anyway (since so few leaders in the Church seem to be able to tolerate profanity). And she says her "practical magic" (i.e. the way she describes God equipping and calling people) needs to be measured in terms of actual results. So I ask, "well, in your own calling as a critic of the Church/missions, what positive impact have you had? Have you actually changed the way Church does missions such that it's actually had positive success on the field?" I don't know the answer to that, but it's a question that her statements beg to be asked, and yet I didn't see the author either suggesting any answer to it, or even asking that question regarding her own "calling/equipping". So yeah, those bits of hypocrisy and/or self-contradiction (demonstrated in the limited content of the book) made me more disappointed with it. I imagine most poor reviews of the book are based on people not appreciating her crass language or the critiques she's making. To be fair, the language didn't bother me in the slightest, and quite often I found it even fairly appropriate. I also agreed with nearly every critique she offered and wish she would've given many more. But I think the book didn't deliver what it appeared to promise, and I don't find the author applying many of her critiques to herself (though she claims she does on several points). At the very least, she could've made the book more entertaining or funny by offering much more content from her time as a missionary, much more direct (and "in-your-face") snippets and stories of how screwed-up status quo missions is. Because I don't doubt that a country like Costa Rica, there are plenty of examples of bad and/or superfluous missions (because that country probably has literally ZERO need of foreign missionaries, beyond possibly those with a mission to generally foster good reciprocal relations within the global Church). So if she wasn't going to offer more specific criticisms, or some solutions to her few criticisms, why not at least offer an entertaining and/or funny book about missions stories? But there was very little of that here. I really wanted to get more out of this book and be able to recommend it to more people, but I don't see that happening. Maybe I can recommend it to some of the missionaries (who often contact me) who say they want to come out here and join the work, but they honestly don't appear as if they have any idea what they're getting into... maybe reading this book can help them realize that most people *don't* know what they're getting into (including themselves) and they usually quit trying long before they figure it out. Maybe this book will either discourage them from ever starting (which is a fine result), or it might encourage them to stay long enough to learn more than this author did, or to come out with more concrete goals and a better plan in mind. Other than that, I don't see a lot of potential benefit coming from this book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    My first alarm bell when I opened this book was that the intro is written by Jen Hatmaker. I'm not a huge fan of hers, but she didn't write this book - just the intro - so I didn't want to let that color my impressions of Jamie's writing. Then, I flipped over to the prologue. First page of the prologue has profanity in it... Next page drops the f bomb. When a book is advertised under the label of Christian, that's not what I'm expecting. I'm disappointed because Jamie's sorry sounded really inte My first alarm bell when I opened this book was that the intro is written by Jen Hatmaker. I'm not a huge fan of hers, but she didn't write this book - just the intro - so I didn't want to let that color my impressions of Jamie's writing. Then, I flipped over to the prologue. First page of the prologue has profanity in it... Next page drops the f bomb. When a book is advertised under the label of Christian, that's not what I'm expecting. I'm disappointed because Jamie's sorry sounded really interesting, but I don't think it's appropriate to include foul language and cursing throughout. Just my opinion and obviously others disagree. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a copy for review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Jamie Wright is a Christian woman with a huge set of balls. If you found that sentence completely distasteful, this may not be the right book for you. The author is a former missionary, and she tells her story without any of the holier-than-thou stuff that people often mistake for Christianity. She's funny, often cynical, profane, and I give her all the credit in the world for writing this book and telling her story. Self-awareness is a challenging thing. Not only do you see all the flaws, but yo Jamie Wright is a Christian woman with a huge set of balls. If you found that sentence completely distasteful, this may not be the right book for you. The author is a former missionary, and she tells her story without any of the holier-than-thou stuff that people often mistake for Christianity. She's funny, often cynical, profane, and I give her all the credit in the world for writing this book and telling her story. Self-awareness is a challenging thing. Not only do you see all the flaws, but you will inevitably feel the hypocrisy of doing things wrong while trying to do the right thing. That's pretty much Jamie's tone when she writes. Despite good intentions, her time spent with her family as a missionary in Costa Rica opened her eyes to a lot of problems with the church and the missionary process. So, she tells it like she sees it. I imagine it is not well-received by some Christians, which is why I admire her so much for doing it. I found it inspiring. I was not raised with religion, other than summer Vacation Bible School, which I soon realized was a way for my mother to have some time to herself during the summer. Faith is something I've thought a lot about in my adult life and I enjoyed this book. It has given me much food for thought. Many thanks to the author for sharing her story, and to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an advance copy for review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    A wealth of beautiful truths revealed here, about God's unconditional love for us, and the world's dire need for grace, Jesus-style. An interesting, clear-eyed look at mission trips in general, from an idealistic, well intentioned, but brave missionary family. Living in Costa Rica sounds like an amazing experience, but not without challenges and sacrifice. I also believe that God uses willing but broken people to do His good works. And the importance of forming meaningful relationships, being a A wealth of beautiful truths revealed here, about God's unconditional love for us, and the world's dire need for grace, Jesus-style. An interesting, clear-eyed look at mission trips in general, from an idealistic, well intentioned, but brave missionary family. Living in Costa Rica sounds like an amazing experience, but not without challenges and sacrifice. I also believe that God uses willing but broken people to do His good works. And the importance of forming meaningful relationships, being aware of cultural differences, and avoiding delusions of trying to save the world. It's just too bad people reading Jamie's blog or book got their knickers in a knot over colourful language and missed the point of a great adventurous and spiritual story. I wasn't offended due to exposure during my high school years as an outcast 'headbanger' in the 'smoking area'. (Since I was not debate team material, had two left feet, and couldn't afford the preppy clothes that were in style.)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Read my full review at jenniferneyhart.com Basically, I loved it. I first stumbled across Jamie Wright's blog in March of 2011. I immediately loved her writing, her stories, and her perspective. If you are offended by "profanity", this *might* not be the book for you. (However, as one of the reviewers on Amazon said "if you are a Christian and have watched a rated R movie recently, you can handle this book. And you should." - which made me laugh, but it's also a valid point!) Jamie's memoir is h Read my full review at jenniferneyhart.com Basically, I loved it. I first stumbled across Jamie Wright's blog in March of 2011. I immediately loved her writing, her stories, and her perspective. If you are offended by "profanity", this *might* not be the book for you. (However, as one of the reviewers on Amazon said "if you are a Christian and have watched a rated R movie recently, you can handle this book. And you should." - which made me laugh, but it's also a valid point!) Jamie's memoir is hilarious, but also honest. I think she is asking good questions and pointing out things that need to be brought into the light regarding short-term missions and the Missionary Machine in general. I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Madeleine Lambert, and I didn't want to stop listening. It's just under 5 hours and I could have kept listening for 5 more. I hope Jamie writes more books in the future. (By the way, if you tend to buy books on Kindle, and you buy this one on Kindle, you can add on the audiobook for $7.47, which is what I did.) To see some of my favorite quotes from the book Read my full review at jenniferneyhart.com

  10. 5 out of 5

    SheAintGotNoShoes

    I loved this book ! I think a woman who has a very checkered past due to abuse, drugs, alcohol, negative zero self love, neglect and extremely bad choices will easily relate to Jamie's early years as a teenager. I saw myself in many of her choices and the results of those choices. At 57 I live with so much regret, self disgust, anger, bitterness and disappointment over what was done to me, what I allowed and what I did to myself. Her time in Costa Rica had me thinking that many would call her whi I loved this book ! I think a woman who has a very checkered past due to abuse, drugs, alcohol, negative zero self love, neglect and extremely bad choices will easily relate to Jamie's early years as a teenager. I saw myself in many of her choices and the results of those choices. At 57 I live with so much regret, self disgust, anger, bitterness and disappointment over what was done to me, what I allowed and what I did to myself. Her time in Costa Rica had me thinking that many would call her whiny and that her problems were '1st world ' ones but I don't. To have lived there for 5 years in many of the conditions she described was brave and dedicated, not whiny and complaining. ( not many women if they are honest want to find a gecko two inches away from a body part that a gecko has no business peering at ! ). The language did not bother me, I wear no halo. Her snarky humor was up my alley. A++++++++++++++++

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ansley Gerhard-Roberts

    I’ve been following Jamie’s writing for about two years now and I adore her. She’s smart, she’s funny as hell and she’s an important voice as we talk about mission work. This book however, is not the book to read if you’re looking for a cut and dried book about the Christian Missionary Industrial Complex. This is first and foremost a memoir and it is very good. As a fellow pain in ass cynic with an attitude, Jamie’s story is a reminder that we too belong. The secondary topic of this book is miss I’ve been following Jamie’s writing for about two years now and I adore her. She’s smart, she’s funny as hell and she’s an important voice as we talk about mission work. This book however, is not the book to read if you’re looking for a cut and dried book about the Christian Missionary Industrial Complex. This is first and foremost a memoir and it is very good. As a fellow pain in ass cynic with an attitude, Jamie’s story is a reminder that we too belong. The secondary topic of this book is mission work which as a failed missionary to Costa Rica Jamie can speak on. She raises important questions about the harm perpetuated by missionaries and the arrogance of American churches to send unqualified people to “save” souls. I look forward to her next book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amber Balash

    I really enjoyed the writing style & thought that she had a lot of important things to say, but I felt like the subtitle could have read "And it's okay for Christians to swear" because the foul language was definitely distracting. Regardless, I feel like it's a timely call and an important conversation. I really enjoyed the writing style & thought that she had a lot of important things to say, but I felt like the subtitle could have read "And it's okay for Christians to swear" because the foul language was definitely distracting. Regardless, I feel like it's a timely call and an important conversation.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Heather Lloyd

    This book was everything. Brilliant. Hilarious. Meaningful. Jamie’s story is written in a voice and style so unique, and so powerfully engaging I couldn’t put it down. Bravo! Highly recommend.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Laura Shannon

    I received a copy of this book through netgalley. I found the book hilarious, makng it easy to read. I appreciated Jamie's firsthand account of her disillusionment with missions and the church. If I hadn't bothered to read the whole book, I would have thought she was completely against cross cultural attempts at sharing the gospel. I am a mssionary myself, in a part of the world where the church is far less established then Costa Rica. I choose to work out my own faith and love my chosen neighbo I received a copy of this book through netgalley. I found the book hilarious, makng it easy to read. I appreciated Jamie's firsthand account of her disillusionment with missions and the church. If I hadn't bothered to read the whole book, I would have thought she was completely against cross cultural attempts at sharing the gospel. I am a mssionary myself, in a part of the world where the church is far less established then Costa Rica. I choose to work out my own faith and love my chosen neighbors trusting God to work with whatever He has given me. I realize we are broken and, therefore, missions, the family of God that is the church, and I need to be ever working out our salvation with fear and trembling . I so appreciate her openly addressing some of the problems in missions. I do object to the portrayal of these issues as universally true. I have seen and worked with well equipped, culturally sensitive , relatively well adjusted missionaries. We work at lovng neighbors who otherwise would have had no Christian neighbors. I have also seen mentally ill missionaries who needed as much love as the non missionary neighbors. The snarky tone and language created ambiguous feelins for me. The humor helped overcome some of the judgmentalism I felt as she critically addressed her own missions experiences. I reacted to the vulgarity of her language in much the same way I did to Dr. Anthony Campolo's use of swear words from the pulpit: I appreciated the attempt at addressing a larger audience in inclusive language, but cringed at the sensationalism. Does using 4 letter words reach a larger audience or exclude a larger audience. I do know that plenty of people succeed at communicating without obscenity whether in Christian or non Christian circles. I hope and pray that the church and missions groups who need to be confronted can get beyond the language and openly address the issues Jamie brings into focus. I, myself, have used this book to examine the realities of my own life as a imperfect child of God trying her best to love my neighbors across language and cultural barriers.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Elise Volkman

    This was well-written, funny, and so honest in a way that I found enjoyable and lovable. Jamie Wright has a good sense for how to make people laugh, and to hit important nerves while doing it. There are a lot of good points in here. I think I got a few timely pieces of marriage advice out of it too. Her story astounded, bewildered, and amazed me in all the best possible ways. This book also lumped all Christian mission, all Christian everything, together and basically told the world to torch it. This was well-written, funny, and so honest in a way that I found enjoyable and lovable. Jamie Wright has a good sense for how to make people laugh, and to hit important nerves while doing it. There are a lot of good points in here. I think I got a few timely pieces of marriage advice out of it too. Her story astounded, bewildered, and amazed me in all the best possible ways. This book also lumped all Christian mission, all Christian everything, together and basically told the world to torch it. It ignores the complexities of the over-the-top-numerous Christian denominations, and assumes that all Christian mission endeavors throw random white people into a random less-developed country with little to no preparation or training. I'm a missionary kid. This is not the case across the board for Christian mission. To me, that makes the message in this book misrepresentative, ignorant, and potentially damaging to a great number of strong organizations who do (and continue trying to do) a lot of good. That's a lot coming from a missionary kid who spent the last 5-7 years of her life hating the very air that Christian mission breathed. It's too easy to take our individual, painful experiences and use them as a lens by which to colour the world. I'm just as guilty of it as Jamie Wright is with this book. Her experience overseas was horridly hard, as it is for many, many, many missionaries. So was mine. But that doesn't give us the licence to say it's the bane of the earth. I believe that identifies us as emotionally compromised. I've been back "home" for five years, and it's taken me until this year to begin to give Christian missionaries the grace Jesus asks us to give to all. I lumped them all together too, ignoring the nuances and believing I had it all figured out. But I don't. Another thing this book does really well, is it gets Christians to ask the super important hard questions about their seemingly innocent, altruistic work. No one has it right and perfect. Many carry forward with dangerous flaws. We need people and books that force us to ask ourselves how we can improve, and whether or not it's time to pull the plug... or keep plugging away.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay Ferrier

    I really liked this book for the most part. I found Jamie's thoughts on 'Churchianity' to mirror my own. Christians are all about accepting the 'fallen' into their fold, but once you're there, you'd better toe the party line or you'll find yourself on the outs with all the do-gooders who initially made you feel welcomed. Or is that just me? ;) Jamie also includes an eye-opening account of becoming a missionary overseas, where she quickly discovers that the people she's supposed to be ministering I really liked this book for the most part. I found Jamie's thoughts on 'Churchianity' to mirror my own. Christians are all about accepting the 'fallen' into their fold, but once you're there, you'd better toe the party line or you'll find yourself on the outs with all the do-gooders who initially made you feel welcomed. Or is that just me? ;) Jamie also includes an eye-opening account of becoming a missionary overseas, where she quickly discovers that the people she's supposed to be ministering to perhaps don't need saving, the sensitivity training for many missionaries is appallingly lacking, and the vetting process is non-existent. She and her husband eventually abandon their posts, completely disillusioned, and Jamie vows to expose the seedy underbelly of missionary life as her new ministry. But while I enjoyed about 90% of the book, I have to admit the last section irritated me. After telling her story and making herself very relatable and vulnerable, Jamie got a little preachy at the end, asserting that the missionary industry is misguided and ineffective and then telling us all how we should love if we REALLY want to be good Christians. For one thing, while I'm absolutely certain there are some really bad missionaries out there, I'm equally certain there are some really honest, sincere, and effective ones (I even know a few). For another, I don't understand why even the most relatable books on Christianity almost always seem to end with the author asserting his/her spiritual authority and instructing the reader on how to behave. I wish Jamie had simply laid out her personal experience with honesty and humility and then let the reader decide for herself what to think. Had Jamie done this, I probably would have come to many of the same conclusions she drew at the end of the book, without feeling like she was wagging her finger at me and telling me what to do and how to do it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Holly Splawn

    Just because I gave this book 4 stars doesn’t mean you are going to like it. And it doesn’t mean I’m recommending you to read it. But I read it and liked it. I don’t agree with everything Jamie Wright writes or believes. I think she is little liberal and her language is too much like a sailor’s for my taste, but I can relate exceedingly to her experience. Our family did the same thing as hers, but we went to a South American country. In retrospect my overall feeling about our time there is confusio Just because I gave this book 4 stars doesn’t mean you are going to like it. And it doesn’t mean I’m recommending you to read it. But I read it and liked it. I don’t agree with everything Jamie Wright writes or believes. I think she is little liberal and her language is too much like a sailor’s for my taste, but I can relate exceedingly to her experience. Our family did the same thing as hers, but we went to a South American country. In retrospect my overall feeling about our time there is confusion (Thank you Jamie Wright for opening Chapter 18 with those words.) And a dissatisfaction with the way missions is done. And a gross feeling of being mislead and misleading others. Do I think God called us there? Undeniably. Do I understand why? Hardly, but I can live with that. Would I go back? Not under the same circumstances. Thank you Jamie Wright for speaking up. Thank you for sharing and not holding anything back. Thank you for putting into words some of my own thoughts and feelings.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Marika

    Jamie Wright, a debut author, writes with honesty and clarity about her life as a Christian and becoming a missionary to spread God's love. (like spreading butter but healthy) Not a perfect Christian or missionary, but a perfectly, imperfect one. Jamie pulls back the curtain on doubts, thoughts and deeds that many Christians have about the church and the effect that missionaries have on local communities. E.g. loss of cultural identity, ecological problems, self pride in providing for one's fami Jamie Wright, a debut author, writes with honesty and clarity about her life as a Christian and becoming a missionary to spread God's love. (like spreading butter but healthy) Not a perfect Christian or missionary, but a perfectly, imperfect one. Jamie pulls back the curtain on doubts, thoughts and deeds that many Christians have about the church and the effect that missionaries have on local communities. E.g. loss of cultural identity, ecological problems, self pride in providing for one's family etc. Her lack of pretense and her use of humor make for one funny book. A book that highlights how broken we all are. The humor and language might offend some with a heavy religious spirit, but it's refreshing to read a book that talks how many of us feel and think. - I read an advance copy and was not compensated.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Alise Chaffins

    I don’t know if Jamie is actually the very worst missionary, but she’s probably one of the least typical missionaries. And in her first book, you can see why that is a very good thing. Jamie shares stories from her life, growing up Jew-ish, her difficult adolescence, life as a young mother, all the way through to her five year stint as a missionary in Costa Rica. Like her popular blog, her writing is filled with humor and with heart, and you come away from this book feeling like you have a new fr I don’t know if Jamie is actually the very worst missionary, but she’s probably one of the least typical missionaries. And in her first book, you can see why that is a very good thing. Jamie shares stories from her life, growing up Jew-ish, her difficult adolescence, life as a young mother, all the way through to her five year stint as a missionary in Costa Rica. Like her popular blog, her writing is filled with humor and with heart, and you come away from this book feeling like you have a new friend who will hang out with you at the mall or the bar or the church. And I’m pretty sure that’s who Jamie is. An honest, beautiful, broken, strong woman. If getting to know someone like that better appeals to you, get this book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    100 Pages per Hour

    ***So I really only read and review Christian Fiction, clean mainstream fiction, Christian Living, and/or clean memoirs. So I feel the need to be really honest with this review of this MEMOIR from a FAITH PERSPECTIVE (notice I didn't call it a Christian Memoir?!?) up front before I even start my review. This book has some things I feel very passionately about (missions trips and "white people" saving the world) but it also includes some things I really don't care for (profanity...and lots of it) ***So I really only read and review Christian Fiction, clean mainstream fiction, Christian Living, and/or clean memoirs. So I feel the need to be really honest with this review of this MEMOIR from a FAITH PERSPECTIVE (notice I didn't call it a Christian Memoir?!?) up front before I even start my review. This book has some things I feel very passionately about (missions trips and "white people" saving the world) but it also includes some things I really don't care for (profanity...and lots of it) but all that being said I'm still glad I read it. And unless you are a stay at home person who only watches Christian TV and only listens to Christian music I'm guessing you hear profanity every day. I know I do and I know my husband does. It doesn't mean that we cuss, but we do hear it.*** Now that that's out of the way. Here is my real review: I believe I was in Bolivia, South America the first time I ran across Jamie Wright's blog because a friend told me about it. I was there as a volunteer at a baby orphanage for 3 months but I did not consider myself a missionary and I was not there with any money that I had fundraised and I did not think I was saving the world. I was just holding babies, doing lots of laundry, washing dishes, and supporting my friends that worked at the orphanage. I wasn't taking anyone's job from them but I was lightening the load a little. But even then there were times when I wondered if it was fair to the kids to only be there for a limited time. In the end, I decided it was since they were truly too young to remember me anyway and I knew the tias appreciated the help. I'll admit that Jamie's language sometimes grates on my sheltered ears but what she has to say is so important. I loved reading about how her childhood shaped her life, about the early years of her marriage, how they decided to go to Costa Rica as missionaries for five years, and ultimately how they decided to return to the United States. There is a lot of truth in the beginning of this memoir as she talks about how she was able to learn about faith without the bias or expectations of her past. When you grow up in the church there are a lot of things that you can't easily change your intrinsic beliefs. I honestly hadn't ever thought about that and appreciated her perspective. It was interesting to read about her youth, the early days of her becoming a Christian and also their marriage. I love that she might have started out quiet in small groups but eventually found her voice and that it wasn't any different than this book or her blog. I really value people who are honest and I love the stories she shared but I won't say why so as to avoid spoilers. The biggest reason I read this book was to learn more about their time as missionaries - especially because I spent 7 weeks in language school in Costa Rica where they served as missionaries for five years. There were so many anecdotes that made me smile in remembrance of my time there. Most notably her opinion of papaya, her description of the rain, and even the mention of Coke light in a baggie. I appreciate her honesty in that they discovered that not all missionaries should be missionaries. That sometimes it shouldn't come down to whether an organization believes you were "called." I love that she and her husband actually made the most friends and had the most impact through his time playing football. I love that she calls out people who perpetuate the problem by going down for a week, doing something the locals could have done on their own, hand out a bunch of stuff, and then go home. All while spending thousands of dollars. When they came back to the States she quickly realized that God's command to love your neighbor works everywhere for everyone. That our true calling is to love. She shares so many truths that this book really is worth the read. It gave me a lot to think about and hopefully, this book will be eye-opening for a lot of people. One last warning if you made it this far. In addition to the profanity this book also talks about premarital sex, drugs, homosexuality, and pornography. I received an advanced copy of this book through the publisher, Convergent Books, on NetGalley. All opinions are my own. From Convergent Books' website: "Convergent Books publishes exceptional nonfiction that inspires, entertains, and illuminates meaning while helping readers and communities thrive through a faith perspective."

  21. 5 out of 5

    David Ward

    The Very Worst Missionary: A Memoir Or Whatever by Jamie Wright (Convergent Books 2017) (266.0092) (3393). As far as I can tell, author / blogger Jamie Wright has written the first honest book about what Evangelicals refer to as “The Mission Field.” The author is an unrepenant hell-cat whose language will likely turn many readers away from this little volume, for Jamie Wright can cuss like a sailor. But she is also a strong believer who deems it her mission to question religious authority, dogma The Very Worst Missionary: A Memoir Or Whatever by Jamie Wright (Convergent Books 2017) (266.0092) (3393). As far as I can tell, author / blogger Jamie Wright has written the first honest book about what Evangelicals refer to as “The Mission Field.” The author is an unrepenant hell-cat whose language will likely turn many readers away from this little volume, for Jamie Wright can cuss like a sailor. But she is also a strong believer who deems it her mission to question religious authority, dogma be damned. And she does. Very effectively.Jamie Wright and her husband uprooted their three boys from their suburban California existence to become missionaries in Costa Rica for five years.I come from a family of believers in a staunchly religious culture. I sat quietly in church for many years and listened as ministers and various laypeople flogged the congregation with pleas for money to send missionaries out into “The Mission Field” to “share the good news of salvation” with the unwashed unchurched unbelievers, who generally speaking were brown, black, poor, and live in some other country.Wright contends that this view of the world as a “mission field” is outdated and must be reformed if not abandoned altogether. I never thought about it until the author pointed it out, but there are only two requirements to become a missionary: (1) A profession that the reason one is entering the mission field is that “God laid it on my heart” (for who can argue with that?), and most critically, (2) the ability to raise (beg) enough money to fund the trip and to support themselves for the duration of their “mission.” According to Wright, anyone can be a missionary. She states unequivocally that if a prospective “missionary” has raised the money to pay for his or her trip, some religious group will send him overseas – even if the prospect is Charles Manson.After reading this little book, it should be clear that God does not need any more naïve white American Christians (Protestants / Catholics / Mormons / Jehovah's Witnesses) spreading across the globe to impose their own religious indoctrination on others to “save them.”While “in the Mission Field” in Costa Rica, the author developed a special distaste for the ubiquitous “mission trips” that many mainstream American congregations send out to developing nations, usually during Spring Break in the US. These “mission trips” are generally week-long packaged tours which amount to little more than vacations for the participants, who have either begged enough cash to pay for the trip or have written a check themselves to cover the cost. Their “service” in the “mission field” often amounts to little more than dropping off a few garbage bags of used clothing along with a hearty “Jesus loves you.” My takeaway: As pointed out by Jamie Wright, the people in developing nations are poor, not ignorant. The missionaries who make a difference and who actually do God's work are those who combine real world skills and knowledge with the ability to communicate and who teach, not preach.That's the way to make a difference. And I agree with the author that this makes God happy.It reminds me of a joke: When I was a kid, my parents filled my head with with imaginary beings like the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny. Now that I'm older and wiser, I don't fall for that stuff any more, thank God.You want to make a difference? Remain a believer, but forget missions. Join the Peace Corps instead!My rating: 7.5/10, finished 9/18/19 (3393).

  22. 5 out of 5

    J.D. DeHart

    I found the voice in this book to be full of humor, self-awareness, and humanity. This approach to a reflection on faith immediately grabbed my attention. I appreciated the honesty I found in this book, and would recommend The Very Worst Missionary for readers looking for some clear and pristine reflection on life and spirituality.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lori Neff

    A quick read. I've enjoyed Jamie's blog and this book is similar. Funny, honest, forthright. I appreciated the points she had about missions, church, identity, purpose - that was rather encouraging. Sure, there's a lot of profanity. But if you've ever read her blog, that won't be a surprise. A quick read. I've enjoyed Jamie's blog and this book is similar. Funny, honest, forthright. I appreciated the points she had about missions, church, identity, purpose - that was rather encouraging. Sure, there's a lot of profanity. But if you've ever read her blog, that won't be a surprise.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Fenda Talibah

    An easy read that is very open about the fallacies of organized western missions. As a former missionary I delighted in her truth telling while she stayed true to the love she had for the people she served. All of us have to heal the wounds of our time on the mission field who have served and this book can add to that process. Thank you Jaimie!

  25. 5 out of 5

    The Rudie Librarian (Brian)

    Sometimes we lose sight of the messiness of our Faith walk. We try to sugar coat and deceive everyone into thinking we have got it together. That mindset does us damage. This book is about the real story, the real truth. The language is coarse, but it is so good and so necessary.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Melanie Springer Mock

    Jamie Wright is an excellent storyteller. I devoured this memoir because of the narrative, but also because I resonate so much with Wright's worldview. Her willingness to speak truth about the brokenness of Christian missionary institutions is courageous but necessary. This should be required reading for anyone with dreams of going to the mission field, and I will make sure my students who feel this calling get their hands on this book. Jamie Wright is an excellent storyteller. I devoured this memoir because of the narrative, but also because I resonate so much with Wright's worldview. Her willingness to speak truth about the brokenness of Christian missionary institutions is courageous but necessary. This should be required reading for anyone with dreams of going to the mission field, and I will make sure my students who feel this calling get their hands on this book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I read and followed Jamie’s blog many years back when I was also on the mission field, so I was fully aware of what I would be getting with this book. I am not bothered by cursing, but I will admit some of her unconventionally irreverent descriptions of things even made this easy-going reader a little uncomfortable. It is part of her plan and please know going in that that is not the point. Please see past all that for the point. Be prepared to pull your boots up and be slapped around a bit. The I read and followed Jamie’s blog many years back when I was also on the mission field, so I was fully aware of what I would be getting with this book. I am not bothered by cursing, but I will admit some of her unconventionally irreverent descriptions of things even made this easy-going reader a little uncomfortable. It is part of her plan and please know going in that that is not the point. Please see past all that for the point. Be prepared to pull your boots up and be slapped around a bit. The author holds nothing back. She will make you look at your own life in a new way as she lays hers open for inspection. Her authenticity and humor will hold you as you read her crazy antics, and possibly your heart will be changed. My “Missional Mama” blog title paled in comparison to the ultra cool swag like name, “Jaime, The Very Worst Missionary”. I was a little envious. Being a former missionary, I think it is very pertinent that you understand that what she is saying about missions was also what I experienced. I had many quandaries about being in South America and if what we were doing was in fact worth the huge sacrifices being made to keep us there. There were so many questions and not many answers. Plus we dealt with the craziness of life abroad including electrical house fires, boils, having money stolen, our car being broken into, and deep depression. So, her stories resonated from a place of understanding and head nodding. This is an important conversation starter. Please read this book with friends and talk about what stirs your heart. Give it to your Pastors and leaders, your friends interested in missions, and send it to your missionaries. Look deeply at the conversation Jaime is starting here and see what your is your part in the next best thing to do *This book was given to me by NetGally in exchange for my honest review. originally posted here: https://amyconcafe.wordpress.com/2018...

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This is an honest look at the author's life leading up to (a Jewish background and a teen mom) and during her family's time as a missionaries in Costa Rica. She begins to point out flaws she witnessed in the Christian missionary world that she was a part of. I actually wished she would have given more examples, so those who sponsor missionaries would have more information to take under advisement. (I'm guessing more of this is on her blog, which I intend to check out.) I enjoyed this book and re This is an honest look at the author's life leading up to (a Jewish background and a teen mom) and during her family's time as a missionaries in Costa Rica. She begins to point out flaws she witnessed in the Christian missionary world that she was a part of. I actually wished she would have given more examples, so those who sponsor missionaries would have more information to take under advisement. (I'm guessing more of this is on her blog, which I intend to check out.) I enjoyed this book and received an advanced copy via NetGalley.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    I loved this book! I love Jamie's honesty and openness with her struggles regarding modern missions. I will post a full review on my channel once the book is released, but if you have an interest in missions, read this. It goes really well with the book When Helping Hurts to understand the impact modern missions has on developing nations and the people who live there. I received this book from Crown Publishing in exchange for an honest review. I loved this book! I love Jamie's honesty and openness with her struggles regarding modern missions. I will post a full review on my channel once the book is released, but if you have an interest in missions, read this. It goes really well with the book When Helping Hurts to understand the impact modern missions has on developing nations and the people who live there. I received this book from Crown Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Marie

    I loved this book. Jamie is refreshing and honest asking the hard questions about missions and the Church. Additionally, Her honest discussion about her youth and marriage are the things I would want to hear from a best friend. Her writing is energetic and intertwines stories throughout without being choppy. I would 100% recommend this book to anyone, salty language be damned.

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