Campaigning for Christ is the memoir of Conrad and Myrtle Baehr. Although this book is the story of their lives, focusing primarily on their mission work in Asia, it is also an introduction to the many individuals they encountered in the course of their ministry. Campaigning for Christ is a heartening account of high caliber missionary service during a time when Christian mission work was especially difficult. Despite the challenges they faced, the Baehrs worked tirelessly to tell the story of Christ not just in China, but also in Japan, Taiwan and the United States. They reached thousands of people in their sixty-three years of active service, and this book illuminates why their missionary work was so successful. One of the most striking characteristics of this memoir is that the Baehrs took time to acknowledge and describe the people who shaped their experiences overseas. The Baehrs give as much attention to these individuals as they do to their major projects. These character sketches illustrate the humbleness of the authors, and they also help convey the extent of the work that the Baehrs were able to accomplish. Introducing the individuals they worked with adds fullness to their narrative and amplifies the impact of their lives on the reader. A good example is their efforts to produce a Chinese language hymnal and the Chinese believers who helped bring this goal to fruition.
In order to achieve as much as they did, the Baehrs had to make sacrifices. This concept of surrendering to God’s calling, even when it entails hardship, is a prominent theme in their memoir. Their family was placed in dangerous situations. For example, as bombs fell from the sky, they fled a Japanese air attack during World War II. At times they were separated, and they were constantly adapting to new environments. Yet, they still managed to put the salvation of others before their own worldly needs. In Campaigning for Christ, the Baehrs stress that the Lord always provided for them, especially in the face of seemingly insurmountable adversity. This is a strong message to take away from the book.
I recommend this book to anyone who would like an in-depth look at the actuality of pursuing mission work in Asia, especially in the historical context of World War II and the communist revolution in China. The challenges of learning a new language and cultural mores, and reaching out to a foreign people are all well-addressed. Their tale is a charming and upbeat recollection that is an easy and informative read. The book will be a great encouragement for all Christians, but in particular for those who envision missionary work in their own future.