Lessons from a Broken Chopstick is the personal memoir of Mary Anne Phemister, a missionary kid who grew up in the 50’s and 60’s in several different areas of Asia. Separated from her parents at the age of four, she and her siblings were sent away to boarding school along with other missionary kids. They were bounced from school to school, and from one caregiver to another over the years. This is Mary Anne’s journey to discover who she is, in spite of her unusual and sometimes peculiar childhood.
I found this book very interesting, as I had never before looked at missionary life from the children’s perspective. The iron-fisted ways of Mary Anne’s father demonstrated his passion and dedication to missions, but at what expense? Mary Anne’s submissive mother endured great loss and pain as she was separated from her children, yet she chose to follow her husband’s bidding. She believed this was the will of God as his wife.
Mary Anne’s honesty and transparency has helped me to understand so much about missionary life that I had never thought of before. Her memories shed light on the entire family and how they were affected by the choices of her parents. She raises questions as to whether the missionary life that her parents chose was really worth it all.
Read this book … and you will be enlightened as to what missionary families sacrifice in order to bring the gospel to the nations.
Thank you to Hannibal Books for providing a complimentary electronic copy of this book, for the purpose of review.