Five Lessons from an Unlikely Missionary

The first missionary I heard of was not Lottie Moon or Jim Elliot. It was Dr. Dolittle, the man with the curious ability to speak to animals. When I was a boy my parents read to me about his astonishing adventures and the way he traveled over oceans to care for a host of animals.

I admit, most of my memories of that book have faded, but one memory remains: the pushmi-pullyu (pronounced ‘push-me—pull-you’). In Hugh Lofting’s book the bizarre animal was a ‘gazelle-unicorn cross’ with two heads at opposite ends of its body. In the book, Dr. Dolittle first meets a pushmi-pullyu while in Africa, and is eventually awarded one after vaccinating a kingdom of monkeys. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?!

The gift of this animal sets Dolittle on a tour around England, the proceeds from which enabled him to retire to his home in Puddleby-on-the-Marsh. In all honesty, Lofting’s book is slightly absurd but it succeeded in charming readers young and old with this animal-loving ‘missionary.’ Continue reading