Forty years a missionary in Japan, Reverend Henry Rector is not one to give up even when he must achieve the impossible. Communist pressure is trying to drive him out, the mission board is ready to retire him and he is finally betrayed by his health. While he is in the hospital, recovering from an operation and making a firm friend of the colonel surgeon, his helper, Fletcher, and newcomer Johnson create further situations that imperil the already delicate situation and Rector wins his demand for a six month attempt to save the mission. His delaying tactics with the Communists, with Kayabashi, the oyabun playing both sides to his advantage, with the mission board, involve the colonel, the Fletchers, the Johnsons and Rector's devoted Japanese friends in several diversionary actions, and his success at the end is accomplished through his intent to deceive. A look at contemporary Japan, the practical mechanics of the missionary field, and the conflict between an ideal to be attained and the reality that must make it possible, reveals, with understanding and some humor, much of interest in an area not over-exploited.