Marilyn Faye Bennett

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This is the story of two years of my life. They were perhaps the busiest, the most interesting, and yet the most frustrating I may ever experience. In retrospect I seem to have lived a lifetime in those twenty-four months. In these pages I have opened my heart and have shared with you my thoughts, my doubts, my fears, my blunders, my failures, and my triumphs. I have never claimed to be a writer, and it was not my idea to write this book. But the publishers persisted, friends have encouraged me, and I have finally complied. In order to write honestly, one has to relive the events, to re-create the emotional atmosphere, to recall myriads of details. Some of my Saigon memories are painful, and yet I have had to reopen the wounds, regardless of the discomfort they bring, and I have wept all over again as I recalled the sad times. Yet many of my experiences were happy, and I have loved reliving them. At times my sides have been sore from laughter in reminiscence. Some of the experiences may seem farfetched. Do not doubt their validity—all of them actually happened. Someone with a different personality and background might have laughed when I cried or marched forward valiantly when I cowered. My towering perplexities might have seemed inconsequential to another. But, on the other hand, perhaps someone else might have broken under the same circumstances. Missionaries have no immunity from making mistakes. They do not come especially equipped with tremendous reservoirs of saintliness, patience, tact, wisdom, strength, or courage. Instead, they are just ordinary human beings, subject to all the common frailties, who find themselves placed in extraordinary circumstances. That God can take such imperfect instruments and use them is the miracle of Christianity. I hope that you will see how God worked in one missionary’s life.
—Marilyn Faye Bennett
After finishing her assignment in Saigon, Marilyn Bennett went around the world to sort out her thoughts and feelings. She did public health work in Borneo, hitchhiked alone across the Altiplano of Peru, walked 180 miles through four mountain ranges in Nepal with only a guide and two porters, and climbed part way up Mount Everest. Returning to the United States, she taught at Southern Missionary College and took graduate work at Loma Linda University. While at Loma Linda she helped in the Vietnamese refugee program.

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