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'I was aware of a slight unease. In all my years at the hospital, I had never had a hoax call. Suddenly out of the darkness ran two masked figures in camouflage clothing pointing something shaped like a gun, covered in leaves. "You won’t scare me. You won’t get the better of me." flashed through my mind as I reached out to grab the weapon …'
When twenty-five-year-old Maud Kells gave up her home in Ireland to replace martyred missionaries in Congo she was acutely aware of the risk she was taking. Despite the state of the war-torn country, her own reserved nature and the objections of her family, she chose to follow the God who promised, ‘I am with you. That is all you need.’ This is the remarkable story of an ordinary woman who decided to walk through the door God opened for her, whatever the cost.
What others are saying about An Open Door:
"Remarkable, inspirational, heart-warming." — Rev Dr Paul Bailie, Chief Executive Mission Africa
"As I read, I was challenged to walk closer with the Lord, to become more like Him each day, and to finish well the work the He has given me to do. A life of significance can be a great adventure! This book reveals the secret of how to make it so." — Jon Cadd, MAF Pilot and Program Manager East Congo
"A wonderful account of an extraordinary life. A truly exceptional woman." — Lady Sylvia Hermon, MP
"A power-filled story of God at work." — Pauline Kennedy, PCI Women’s Ministry and Presbyterian Women Development Officer
"This book will leave its reader amazed at what one life can accomplish when poured out in love toward God and others in total self-sacrifice." — Dr Pat Morton
"Inspiring." — Dr John Murton, HM Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo
"Maud’s story is an inspiring example of life in the service of our Lord, an example that is needed in today’s world." — Susan Sutton, International Director WEC International
"I was gripped by the fear of some moments and great rejoicing in others." — Dr Philip Wood, WEC Canada
Prepare to be carried here, there and everywhere with Maud Kells, who could not bear to be away from her home in the Congo for any length of time - even after she was shot. This biography shows not only the love of an individual for another people group, but illustrates the importance of light aircraft and their selfless pilots who enable people like Maud Kells to do the work they do. You may also learn some midwifery tips - and will surely appreciate the NHS even more than you do now. Highly recommended.
I enjoyed reading An Open Door. It reminded me very much of the biography of Mary Slessor of Calibar. Whilst it is tempting to say that both were remarkable women, they would both probably say that it was their trust in a remarkable God. Both had a deep love for the people they served, and both were dearly loved in return. If you have ever been tempted to say “What can one individual do?”, then reading this book will show you how much one person can achieve when they are wholly trusting in God. Having said that, there are also many other individuals (doctors, pastors, pilots, friends, etc) who make a brief appearance in this story, but without whom Maud's work would have faltered. Read it and be encouraged that ‘in the Lord your labour is not in vain’.
Maud Kells, much like her close friend and mentor Helen Roseveare, is one of those Christians who inspires, awes and shames other believers in equal measure. Maud has lived her entire life in committed and self–sacrificial service in the name of Jesus Christ, and yet and she would be the last person to claim that she has done anything unusual or beyond the call of gospel duty. Her life story, however, tells a different story. From her churchgoing but ambivalent childhood, through her nursing training and incredible decades of mission work in Congo, right up to the infamous gunshot injury and OBE shortly before her retirement, Maud (and her imperceptible co–author Jean Gibson) leads the reader through the highs and lows of her walk with God. It is a tale which is incredibly readable, and yet remarkably detailed, and full to the brim of God’s leading hand and powerful Spirit. It is a book that one could read again and again, and gain new spiritual insights each time, but I was particularly struck by two things. The first is Maud’s heartfelt commitment and trust in our Lord to provide, sustain, protect and often, save. She faced greater dangers than most, but she never lost hope, and her primary thought in those times was always to ensure that she was right with her Saviour. This is an example we would all do well to follow. The second feature of Maud’s story that moved me was her reliance, and gratitude, on multitudes of other faithful friends and strangers to assist and support her. She names a huge number of them, and the reader can tell that they truly touched her heart. Our gospel journey is one that we do not walk alone, and Maud’s story proves this many times over. I would highly recommend this book to all, whether they have a particular heart for international mission or not.
This autobiography tells the story of a 25–year–old woman who gave up her life in Ireland to replace martyred missionaries in the Congo. Maud entered the Congo in the period when it was considered safer for missionaries to return in the aftermath of the Simba Rebellion. Helen Roseveare was one of those who also returned to the country around that time. Maud was a trained midwife and had completed her Bible College training to serve with WEC in the Congo. She knew well the legacy of death and suffering that awaited her. The story is an honest telling of the realities of missionary life in those days, days of adventure, excitement and sheer hard work. The story reads like a novel, but of course, it is a true story. Throughout the ups and downs of missionary life, we have a glimpse into the faith of this remarkable woman. She was not afraid to question on one occasion, ‘I began to wonder what God was doing?’ Who amongst us have not had that experience? Maud had to adjust to life without mod cons and the great need to train more midwives with little resources. She learned to be resourceful, always calling upon her greatest resource – her Lord. Her awareness of the spiritual need of her patients meant that she was eager to share the gospel and to encourage hospital staff to do the same. She joined in at the Bible School, teaching Old Testament to the third years. More political trouble ensued, and Maud had to leave the country. Trouble in Zaire also made the whole region unstable. Was this the end of missionary work in this part of East Africa? Maud’s sense of God’s calling on her life was such that her eyes were always on the country and when she returned determined to work tirelessly to re–establish the work. But instability meant that the missionaries had to leave. A foray into Sudan brought Maud into danger again – more challenges to face. In October 2000 Maud was able to get back to the Congo – perhaps the most dangerous time for her. She got to know more about God’s refining fire and how the Lord had purified his church in the Congo through decades of tribulations. This book is an exciting, gripping read. Let me leave the last words with Maud: ‘In the midst of crisis, God was near. He is in control of everything that happens. When we truly believe this, it brings peace.’
This was an excellent biography of God’s grace being sufficient for a life lived in service to Christ. Maud Kells served for many years as a WEC missionary in the DRC at personal cost, but trusted in God through the difficulties and challenges that arose. The biography is very readable, details her comings and goings from the Congo, and God’s encouragement to her when she needed it. It is an excellent story and a recommended read! It is so good to see what God can do with a life lived in service to Him and others.
This is the description of An Open Door, on the cover: and it really is that story. I think it was in 2019 that I heard Maud Kells speak about her lifelong missionary experiences, at The Keswick Convention. She was truly inspiring and self–effacing: a role model of quiet resilience and determination to rely on and totally trust in the Lord. Her stories come alive both in her talking and in the written word of this book, as you experience what she does, vicariously. You really do think about how you would have faced the same trials, and reading about them, did put my life into a better perspective! And she even wore that same white jacket when I saw her! Wonderful to see her faith and trust in God, and wonderful to see our faithful God working His purposes out for the people of Congo and for Maud, herself. This book teaches us about this great God; an area of His world and its recent history; and the life of one of His people as she trusts Him and interacts with others who co labour in His world.
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