Home > Culture > Committed to following God’s call

Committed to following God’s call

This is the story of young missionaries Don and Olive Boorman, who left Brisbane in the 1930s to serve in Fiji with the Methodist Missions and their momentous decision to leave in 1940, as researched by their daughter Noela Boorman.

Tala Tala by Noela Boorman

Tala Tala by Noela Boorman

In times past, in missionary biographies, faith conquered all, and missionaries were venerated as superhuman. In Tala Tala (Fijian for “minister”) Noela Boorman tells with down-to-earth honesty, the story of her parents’ experiences during their time in Fiji.

This is an account of real people with real needs. Olive is the fragile wife, terrified of childbirth and childrearing on an island 200 miles from civilization. Don is the protective husband, very much in love with Olive, experiencing conflict between this love, his commitment to his call to missionary service, and the unheeding demands of the church hierarchy. The warmth and understanding of the Fijians, as well as their adaptability, in spite of deeply embedded cultural practices, contrasts with the coldness and rigidity of the church hierarchy. Eventually, Don and Olive’s decision to leave is made with sorrow, but also with courage, reason and faith.

Noela relates a personal account of her emotional journey of discovery in piecing together the story of her parents’ struggles in Fiji. In particular, she describes her excitement at the discovery of her father’s letters in the Suva archives which she says are well expressed, showing a young man of “deep passions and gentle humour”. The inclusion of some excerpts from these letters would have allowed the reader to hear Don’s voice for themselves.

If you have experienced conflict between deep personal faith and commitment, and the practical exigencies of everyday life, if you have ever asked in seemingly impossible circumstances, “Where are you Lord?” this is the book for you.

Dr Betsy Wearing
Sociologist (retired)

Tala Tala is available in print or Kindle on Amazon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *