Journey to The Ghost of Africa

April 25, 2016 - Writing

DON AND GWEN ON SOFAYears ago my wife, Gwen, encouraged me to become a writer. We shared a wild, two-fold dream. I would write, and we would go, together, to serve the poor in Africa. She wanted to be just as involved as I was. She was my number one fan.

We thought we had it all figured out—God would allow me to write, and she and I would work to bring hope and healing to the hurting.

But, not too soon after we’d mentally penned our life plan, we were given a new script of sorts. Gwen was diagnosed with an aggressive form of stomach cancer, and our world was changed forever. It wasn’t a shock to God but it was to us.

During the course of her treatments I started writing a daily blog to keep everyone up to date on Gwen’s journey, and that became a story in itself. I discovered that Gwen was right—I loved to write . . . to put my deepest thoughts on paper, was rewarding and therapeutic in that difficult time. Interestingly, I developed a following of those who cared about us and they all urged me to continue writing.

For thirteen months my beautiful bride fought for life, for more time with her family, for our future. But it was not what God had planned.

On July 14th, 2008 I held Gwen’s hand as I sat in a chair beside her bed, watching her as I’d done countless times before. Exhaustion got the better of me and I dozed off, but woke to see her smiling face looking back at me.

“There’s something you need to do when I’m gone.”

“Come and sit beside me,” she said as she patted the bed next to her.

I pulled myself close and held her in my arms as she lay against me softly breathing. For a moment I thought she’d fallen asleep, but then she looked into my eyes.

“There’s something you need to do when I’m gone.”

I swallowed hard.

“We know I don’t have much time left, but there are two things I want you to do. First, promise me you’ll write. We’ve talked about it for years and it’s time. Second, I know I’ve always said you couldn’t go to Africa without me, but . . . you’re going to have to, and it’s OK. It’s what God wants.

It was difficult to imagine either of those without her, but a week later, on July 21st, 2008, God took Gwen home.

Since that time I have traveled to Africa thirty-two times, met wonderful villagers and chiefs, shared their tragedy, joy, healing, suffering, faith, and concerns. I care for as many as I can.

In the midst of my ventures, came the story of Dr. Paul Branson, a physician working in the African bush who must face his worst enemy after losing his own wife. Tomorrow, April 26th, my first novel, The Ghost of Africa will hit the shelves and it is a mixed cup of emotions. I’ve worked hard on this book, but Gwen isn’t here to smile and share in this dream come true with me.

Gwen assured me that if I wrote a book, everyone would love it. I hope that’s true.

In The Ghost of Africa, Paul Branson struggles with being chosen for a mission he doesn’t want—a mission he didn’t choose. Sometimes that’s what God does. His plan is Rel 1not always our plan. But, He has a purpose for each of us—we are His chosen.

Thank you for being loyal readers. For traveling this road that God chose for me, both here and abroad, and in my writing journey. It’s my deepest hope that you love this book and the characters you meet within its’ pages.

I journeyed to Africa as a grieving husband who set out to save the children. Instead, they saved me.

The Ghost of Africa may be pre-ordered in paperback, Kindle, Audible, or MP3 CD today at a discounted price at