Friday, December 15, 2006


The Gold Medallion Book Award

From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya, originally published in 1983. This is my one and only "bestseller"--more than 100,000 copies in print in English, and translated into more than a dozen languages. In 2004, I did a major revision, only then realizing how awful the first edition was. It's amazing how language changes in 20 years. It seemed that every paragraph contained something that wasn't politically correct. With the revision, I cleaned up the language, updated the biographies, and added (and deleted) several individuals. I often tell my students that some of the greatest missionaries of the past would have failed the psychological exams missionaries are required to take today. These missionaries were often more than a little nutty. They were certifiably mental cases in many instances--but they accomplished a lot and left behind incredibly interesting stories. The book includes not just a subject index but also an Illustration Index that captures such topics as compassion, courage, depression, discouragement, failure, family problems, prayer, racism, sacrifice, and dozens more.

Below are two youtube videos related to the book.

To purchase books, go to Ruth Tucker's Books.

A Synopsis (from Zondervan Publishing House)

A long-awaited revised edition of a highly acclaimed textbook on the history of Christian missions by one of the most respected missiologists of our day.

This is history at its best. From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya is readable, informative, gripping, and above all honest.

From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya helps readers understand the life and role of a missionary through real life examples of missionaries throughout history. We see these men and women as fallible and human in their failures as well as their successes. These great leaders of missions are presented as real people, and not super-saints. This second edition covers all 2,000 years of mission history with a special emphasis on the modern era, including chapters focused on the Muslim world, Third World missions, and a comparison of missions in Korea and Japan. It also contains both a general and an “illustration” index where readers can easily locate particular missionaries, stories, or incidents. New design graphics, photographs, and maps help make this a compelling book.

From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya is as informative and intriguing as it is inspiring—an invaluable resource for missionaries, mission agencies, students, and all who are concerned about the spreading of the gospel throughout the world.


Below I have attached some reviews of the book, but what I am more interested in is how this book has changed lives. When I'm out speaking, people often come up to me and tell me how this book has impacted them. Please write if this book has influenced you. Make a comment or email me at


Amanda Porick "Mandie Porick" (Wheaton, IL) January 23, 2004

This book was required for a college class at Moody Bible Institute ( The author did a great job of caputring some of the interesting missionary characters over the years. No life is glossed over with flowery words or unrealistic statements. The good and bad facts are presented here.

Definitely an interesting read if you like history and missions. Good to read in short spurts as its set up similar to an encyclopedia. You can look up your missionary, read his or her blurb, and then skip around without missing much. I cannot think of a missionary that Ruth Tucker missed. She did a great job researching this book. Many missionaries I had never heard of with awesome stories are recorded here.

Debbie Lockey (Houston, TX USA), November 5, 2006

Great history of the church. One of the best overviews of the growth of the Church from the beginning.

A must read for Global-minded Believers. I have read, reread, and taught from this book and it is an inspiring discourse on how God uses ordinary men and women to advance the gospel. I find it very interesting to see the progression of Christianity into the modern world and to imagine our own personal impact on our generation.

It is an easy read that can be read by chronological order, by geographic regions, or by individual missionaries. Every time I pick up the book I am inspired to live a radical life of love in this broken world.

Reviewer: A reader, May 18, 2003

This is a very readable account of the history of missions. The author seemed to recount history without any favoritism, something that I could not easily do (there were a lot of pathetic missionaries in the past.) The book really showed the amazing sacrifice that many missionaries have made in the past to spread the Gospel.

The only major complaint I would have about this book can be found in the title. Irian Jaya no longer bears that name. The area is now known as West Papua. This shows that the book is fairly old and there has been a lot of exciting missionary activity since the writing of the book (1983).

This is a great book on the history of missions. The author starts with the apostle Paul and works her way all into the 1980's. Ruth Tucker writes in a very easy-to-read style. The book recounts many amazing stories about amazing people who desired to bring the gospel to the `ends of the earth'. Most of these men and women were faithful, effective missionaries. But others have been faithful but ineffective. As a missionary in training, I found the book helpful as I analyzed all the different situations and encounters that the missionaries found themselves in. I can learn from their successes and their mistakes. I would recommend this book to anyone (should be everyone) involved in missions.

Reviewer: Dave Tucker (Salt Lake City, UT) October 15, 2000

Enjoy a well written text book of Christian missions, from the eariliest beginnings to modern history. From the Apostle Paul, to Jim Elliott, each story will help you understand what the mission field is all about. It is so exciting to read about Patrick becoming a missionary to Ireland or Hudson Taylor going to China. It is exciting to read about David Livingston exploring Africa and William Carey in India. The book has exciting sections about Medical Missions, Single Women Missionaries, Twentified Century Martyrs and my favorite Missionary Aviation. Reading this masterpiece, you will learn by about these great men and women of God, how you too, can be an effective missionary. Learn about their trials they had to experience. From the South Seas, the Americas and to the remotest places on earth these missionaries traveled. Some lived long lives and others died for the cause of Christ. Some were even eating by cannibals. You can learn alot from their lives. This is must reading for every Christian in the world!!!