In the final entry of the True Tales Trilogy, prolific memoirist Hawron (Just Good Clean Fun, 2017, etc.) lovingly details how his three decades of missionary work changed his life.
While the first entry in Hawron’s series featured the author’s escapades and the second, the beloved townspeople of New Boston, Texas, this final installment gives praise to the “unseen personage who has made all these events possible.” He begins with revelations derived from his upstate New York, Catholic upbringing—a belief system that became continually and frustratingly challenged by his college classmates while he was at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the 1970s. It was also during this period that he narrowly escaped being mugged at knife point by exclaiming his faith in Jesus. Hawron began his work as a missionary, dubbed his lifelong “walk of faith,” in New Zealand at 21 and shares pages of anecdotes, dreams, visions, and episodes of déjà vu from his time globe-trotting and spreading his spiritual message of hope and glory in God. Through these stories, the author depicts the missionary life as one of economy and conservation yet supremely focused on faith and benevolence. A consummate storyteller, Hawron draws extensively on a barrage of experiences from his time in Australia and Hong Kong. Events included mysterious black-clad figures on rooftops, a particularly angelic hitchhiking incident, and a life-threatening “wall of flames” that nearly engulfed him and his family in the mountains of China. Other anecdotes encapsulate what the author believes to be repeated episodes affirming the miraculous healing power of prayer, lessons on the pitfalls of parenting (his own foibles raising 12 children included), and the ways openheartedness can work wonders. This final entry in the trilogy is more religiously focused and dogmatic, which might prove a bit too heavy-handed for more secular readers, though the author welcomes all. Even for nonbelievers, Hawron’s uplifting message remains compassionately humanitarian and expresses a grand appreciation for the gift of life and the wonders of faith and divine benevolence.
A shimmering, fitting coda to a memoir series grounded in tradition and a zest for life.