Education is about getting to higher ground. You can see more and gain perspective.

On Sunday at Church, I was given a book called ‘Jungle Doctor’s Tug-of-War’, by Paul White. It was first published in 1958. The significance of the book is twofold.

Firstly, it was originally my Dad’s book. He was (still is, in his semi-retirement) a Baptist Minister. I was raised in a home that had a high value for education, especially credible literature. Like the author Paul White, my dad loves people and is also a good story teller. I learned from the elderly gentleman who handed me the book, that he had borrowed it from the church library, and forgotten to return it many years ago. Hahaha!!! … The book looks like it’s been forgotten too! I suspect the elderly gentleman’s dog enjoyed the book’s corners more than the others in his household! My dad had donated the book for others to enjoy. For as long as I can remember, it’s always been in his nature to share things of value, especially the Good News of Jesus Christ. In every sense, my parents have been extraordinarily generous, locally and overseas.

Back to the book. The author’s dad died when Paul White was only 5 years old. Paul became a Christian at 16, and decided to study medicine to fulfil his dream of becoming a missionary in Africa. Married with a son, he left for Africa in 1938, but had to return in 1941 because of his wife’s illness. Whilst he was devastated by the unexpected ‘failure’ to continue in Africa, God used his circumstances (and his great sense of adventure) to become a published author in over 109 languages, across a wide range of media. His stories inspired many others to serve God as a missionary. When I opened the dog-chewed front-cover, I read the first story called ‘Toto Rises’. You can read more about him at

The only Toto that comes to my mind is the popular 80’s band TOTO who belted out the popular hit ‘Africa’ singing: “I hear the drums echoing tonight …  .“ My 20 year old daughter is a contemporary singer at WAAPA and loves one of their other hits ‘Hold The Line’. She tells me the 80’s were awesome for music. Of course my wife and I agree! The first story in Paul White’s book is set deep in the African Jungle.  It’s the story of Toto the monkey, who has been attracted into a lower part of the jungle floor, often frequented by ‘evil eyed’ predators that included a hyena, jackal, crocodile, crow and vulture. Toto has become distracted by a meal of tasty beetles. Toto doesn’t notice black clouds forming above him, and is unaware of the imminent flooding that is coming. He is at increasing risk, but unaware. Looking on, the predators smirked and sniggered.

Fast forward, …. when Toto became fearful, he called for help, he was rescued by Nhembo the elephant. The story describes Toto’s rescue, which concludes up on a rise in the Jungle. Nhembo suggests: “You’re better in the sunlight. If you keep your eyes open you can see the danger up here, and keep out of its way. Up here … is friendship and help.” 

The book my dad donated to a library reminds me that being better informed and more aware (i.e. better educated, and wise) is a way of helping us navigate out of difficulties and problems. Real peace is not the absence of problems, but the ability to deal with them, by finding ‘higher ground’.

We are committed to helping your children gain God’s sense of ‘hilltop’ perspective, by increasingly equipping them to identify risks, solve problems, and prosper.

Des Mitchell