What Are You Doing To Do? – Eric Wilson and Matt Bronleewe

What Are You Going to Do?: How One Simple Question Transformed Lives Around the World: The Inspiring Story of Everett Swanson and the Founding of Compassion International by Eric Wilson, Matt Bronleewe
Also by this author: 1 Step Away, The Best of Evil, A Shred of Truth, Expiration Date, Dark to Mortal Eyes, American Leftovers, What Are You Going to Do?: The Inspiring Story of Everett Swanson and the Founding of Compassion International

It’s no secret that the subject of missionary work is growing increasingly controversial in discussions of religion, cultural identity, and national sovereignty. Much has been said about the wrong turns and misguided efforts of Westerners attempting to rescue people of other cultures, both from their circumstances and themselves. In the midst of this ongoing debate, What Are You Going To Do? by best-selling author Eric Wilson and Grammy-nominated Matt Bronleewe takes a painstakingly informed, refreshingly straightforward look at the missionary efforts of a genuinely good man: Everett Swanson.

Swanson is a good man, but he’s realistic and imperfect—dealing with youthful doubts, the strain that his evangelistic and missionary work takes on his family, as well as what some might call a persistent case of naivete. He is most famous for founding Compassion International, but in this book, we also see how important the role of father and husband were to him. Swanson gets married, disappoints in-laws, raises children, makes friends, and learns about the world.

What Are You Going To Do? is also a book about a divided and recovering Korea, and those compassionate Koreans who sacrificed much to save children that were not their own. Their homegrown efforts, as much as Swanson’s, are responsible for saving the lives of thousands of war-orphans. To their credit, Wilson and Bronleewe are careful to include them and their efforts throughout.

The whole book is solidly anchored in the headlines of its timeframe, giving the reader the ability to fix its events alongside the lives of our parents and grandparents (or great-grandparents, give me a second for that one). The politics of war, of retaliation, and reconstruction are weighed on the page by Swanson in ways that, I believe, people on either side of the issue could feel comfortable by his understanding of them.

At times, anecdotes from Swanson’s life are sure to bring a chuckle or a cringe, depending on how familiar you are with Christians struggles with things like playing cards, dating, and dancing; that’s part of its charm.

In the end, Eric Wilson and Matt Bronleewe have crafted a biography that dips its toes in the pool of hagiography. Everett Swanson is a saint, with all the trouble and turmoil that comes along with the title. He understands love, fears falling short, and wrestles with the anguish of betrayal. Anyone who is, has been in, or who has walked away from the ministry will recognize and sympathize with our main subject. What Are You Going To Do? is an encouraging foray into the life of a man who understood hope and put everything on the line so that others’ dreams might come through.