Title: Living on the Devil’s Doorstep
Author: Floyd McClung
Series: International Adventures
Major Themes: Missions, Missionaries, Hippies
Synopsis: Floyd McClung learns to trust the Lord’s guidance while learning to minister to hippies, drug addicts, and prostitutes across Europe.
Well, it seems like if you want some good, solid books to read, some of the ones YWAM has published are a good idea. I just finished Living on the Devil’s Doorstep a few days ago, and even though it actually isn’t as much of a favorite for me as others of their stories, it is still an excellent book.
Floyd McClung didn’t expect to end up being a missionary in the area where God called him. As a semi-normal American Christian, with a desire to spread the good news of the gospel somewhere in the world, he had taken training with YWAM. But as he prayed about where to go and what to do with his training, he had a strange desire to minister to the down-and-outs along the notorious Trail leading from Europe through the Middle East to India. This was a path trod by many different young people, from many different backgrounds, but with one common goal: To get as much out of life as possible, and to perhaps find some meaning in life in doing so. These young people were the hippies, the ones trying to find fulfillment in drugs, drinking, and immorality. Many longed for spiritual experiences, and searched for deeper meaning in Eastern religions. So Floyd, along with his wife Sally, began to minister to the young people in Kabul, Afghanistan. Being a missionary isn’t easy, though—would they ever be able to break through the walls these hippies have built around themselves, and help them find new hope in Christ?
Reading about different missionaries is always encouraging to me, and I love some of the things we can learn from them. Living on the Devil’s Doorstep, despite some of the difficult things that are described in the book, is another excellent story, one that I found incredibly challenging. Floyd, his wife, and his family, were out there serving the Lord with their whole hearts. Am I doing the same? No, I might not be witnessing to drug addicts and prostitutes—but am I witnessing at all? Is my life a testimony to those around me that I’m a Christian, or am I hiding in my own little closet hoping no one will ask me questions I don’t know how to answer?
It was really good to read this story, and although I struggled with some of the descriptions at times—it almost felt like too much in places—I hope I can continue to ponder the thoughts I had from it as I go on. There was a quote I loved in the book that I thought I’d share. It is a bit lengthy, but I believe it’s worthwhile considering:
“[During a period of separation, God taught me some valuable lessons about proper priorities of family life.] First and foremost we must nurture our relationship with God. […] Second comes family relationships, both with the natural family and the wider family of believers […] it should be God first, then our families, and after that God’s work. […] Third is our responsibility to non-Christians. […]
“The reason for this order is that out of the richness of one’s relationships at each level flows the emotional and spiritual energy for the next. As we develop a closeness with God, so the capacity for meaningful relationships with our family and Christian brothers develops. As these bonds are enriched, they in turn provide the strength and inspiration to reach the lost and to share spiritually and emotionally with them. The key is that the levels must be addressed in proper order. Too many times we become so obsessed with doing God’s work that we neglect our relationship with Him, or we are so busy trying to communicate God’s love to sinners or to the work we do for God that we neglect our own families—and communicate unconcern and lack of love to them.”
WARNING: Drugs, sex, prostitutes/prostitution, the occult, and eastern religions are all mentioned fairly often in this story. At different times, there are people threatened with knives or worse. Chapter 5 describes someone shooting morphine. Due to this violence, I’d recommend it for those 18 and older—some descriptions are pretty strong.