The material on this British missionary to Morocco leaves a great deal to be desired since it gives no information regarding his actual date of birth, the time of his going to the field, the length of his service in Morocco, or of his spiritual background. It is evident that he was a very godly man, probably from a Plymouth Brethren background. The source of this information is a small book called The Prickly Pear, which is "must" reading for anyone involved in Muslim evangelization. This book reveals that he was involved as a medical officer in World War I and evidently served as a missionary in Morocco for many years.
He very accurately portrays the role of one who reaches out arms of love and compassion to the people of a very strong Muslim nation and spells out the many aspects of this type of ministry—the importance of learning the language accurately, of understanding the historical background of the people among whom one is working, of leaning about the various sects of Islam, and of being thoroughly acquainted with every aspect of the culture of the people. He also makes it very clear that it takes a long time to gain the confidence of the people and to see them come to faith in Jesus Christ.
It can be a very disappointing work because of the severe pressure that the community puts upon one who steps out of the faith of the majority of the people and publicly confesses Jesus Christ. How disappointing it is when someone who seemed to have made a genuine commitment of faith in Jesus Christ reverts back to his old ways because of severe peer pressure. Mr. Fisk emphasizes the necessity of strong, believing prayer on behalf of such ministries.
It never does good to debate or speak in a derogatory way about Mohammed, the Koran, or any of the teachings of Islam. At the very beginning of the book regarding his ministry, Mr. Fisk mentions that Islam is the devil's reply to Calvary and Pentecost. He states very clearly that he determined never to preach from the Koran, nor to attack or use it. He had nothing to say about Mohammed or about Islam as a religion. He had not been sent to refute Islam but to preach the Gospel. He said, "My instructions were very clear: ‘Preach the Word.'" And, by the grace of God, he did.
Although there were times he felt like giving up and going to fields that apparently were much more fruitful, he sensed that God had given him a call to the Muslim world; and he was faithful to that task. Where the Word of God is properly preached and lived, there will be fruit. He gave some very interesting case histories of those who came to faith in Jesus Christ and were lights in a dark world in spite of severe persecution.
He speaks highly of the missionary women, particularly the single women, who have labored long and diligently in Muslim lands. He said, "Women stick it better than men, and they often stick it with much less equipment. They put us men to shame. God bless the faithful and noble army of women workers in Morocco and elsewhere who have endured. Theirs will be a big reward when the Lord comes and reckons with His servants."
He particularly mentions the role of the missionary nurse/midwife, who oftentimes lives in the Muslim home and has a tremendous influence upon the household in which she is waiting to help in a delivery.
Greta Robinson is one of those very unique and dedicated nurse/midwives who served in Morocco for many years. She was an English lady and highly qualified in her field of nursing and midwifery. She lived a lonely life on the back side of the Atlas Mountains. By the back side, I mean the desert side of the mountains in a small native village and in native housing. She labored there alone for many years. During World War II she was drafted, as I understand it, by the British Army in North Africa and became a ranking medical officer and superintendent (matron) of a large military hospital in North Africa. As Mr. Fisk indicated, she often was called upon to minister to women in a prenatal capacity at the time of delivery. In fact, many of the royal family benefited from her expert care as she was called upon to live in a royal household, sometimes for several months at a time. In a very quiet but firm way, she gave a clear witness of the Lord and of His saving power and was highly regarded by the royal family.
She was welcomed back to Morocco after the war and continued her ministry until her retirement, at which time she returned to England. But she was not one to lay down her armor. She did benefit from the largess of a well-to-do Englishman who built a number of nice retirement complexes for missionaries, and she lived her last few years in a suburb in the north side of London. She still volunteered time in the Mildmay Hospital and in other capacities of visitation, etc.
Some of her support was from the United States, and our home church in Columbus, Ohio, had a part in the support. When she on rare occasions came to the U.S.A., she usually stayed in the Columbus, Ohio, area; but her travels often brought her to Greenville, where she was a guest in our home. Even at her advancing age, she was remarkably abreast of current medical trends; and my wife, who was on the Bob Jones University faculty in the nursing department at that time, would have her speak to her students. The students were amazed at her understanding of current medical practice, particularly from a nurse/midwife standpoint.
She was on visitation in London and was getting off a double-decker bus when the driver, not aware that she was not completely off the bus, started to go forward. Her foot was caught in the closing door of the bus, and she was dragged along the street for a number of meters. Pedestrians, seeing what was happening, cried out and were able to stop the bus; but she was very badly bruised and beaten by this incident and never fully recovered from those injuries.
She is one of those rare, dedicated, single ladies who gave her life for the cause of Christ in a Muslim context; and we learned much from her by our association with her. At the time she was in retirement, one of our sons was a doctoral student at Oxford University. Whenever the load got too heavy and he needed a break, he would go down to London and spend a few days with "Aunt Greta." He highly regarded her and enjoyed his days of respite in her retirement home.
Mr. Fisk is entirely right in commending missionary women, particularly the single ones who, I have commented, have a great deal more courage and stick-to-itiveness than men. Greta Robinson was one of those rare single lady missionaries who spent and was spent in the Lord's service in a Muslim context. Her reward, I'm sure, is great.