One of my favourite books in the Bible is Ruth, because it tells the story of my favourite missionary: Naomi.

Naomi is a strange and unlikely candidate for a favourite missionary. First of all, she did not go to school or receive training, and I am an advocate of the scholarly life. Secondly, her beliefs might have been heterodox, if not outright henotheistic and universalist (Ruth 1:15)—again, qualities I tend to find most irritating in believers. To further complicate the matter, she does not strike the reader as terribly positive or as possessing great faith (Ruth 1:11-13, 2:20-21). She wants to change her name to “bitter”! I confess, I cannot judge her on that one. Lastly, she did not travel very far to an exotic location. She basically went to the country next door, Moab, and ended up only converting one person! And her daughter-in-law Ruth at that! Not a…

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