In the Land of Blue Burqas
Kate McCord (pseudonym)
Summary: It's amazing what kind of discussions one can have over a cup of tea. In this book the author travels to Afghanistan to start a non-governmental organization with the goal of helping Afghan women. Over tea, our author slowly introduces the Honorable Jesus and His ways in real life situations that these Afghani women face every day. Combatting aggressive stereotyping against western ideas and promoting forgiveness, love care and generosity is a herculean task in a war torn country, full of pain, revenge, suppression, fear and tradition. But despite the odds, God is at work in the hearts of the Afghanistan people. Watch as faith begins to grow. Learn of Afghan tradition, worldview and culture. Recognize that God's love can shine anywhere. And it all starts over a cup of tea.
Personal Thoughts: The entire strength of this book lies in the last chapter--but you have to read the whole book to build a proper understanding and love for the Afghani people before you understand the punch line. Simple, quick answers are seldom the correct ones. Often we have much of our information wrong when it comes to understanding the people in the Middle East. We look at them and judge their hearts and circumstances through our western ideological glasses. If this book has taught me anything, it is that when people are willing to listen to one another, understanding and friendship can grow. If we can drop our biased opinions, don a burqa, learn the language and sit down with these people over a cup of tea, special conversations can take place. If we can learn the learn the Afghani's worldview, we can also learn how to share our biblical worldview in a way that might be effective. Afghanis have seen the practicality in biblical thinking. They are willing to listen. The gospel can be shared in the Middle East--all over a cup of tea.
Quote: "We foreign aid workers, doctors and educators who move into their communities shatter the stereotypes many Afghans have been taught to believe. We non-Muslims are supposed to be evil, and yet we cradle their dying children in our arms. We make arrangements for their sick to get medical care. We feed their widows and orphans. We give blankets against the cold, and in hundreds of other ways we demonstrate a different way to live. We tell a different story.
If, instead of loving my neighbours, I had brought lies, deceptions, corruption and immorality, I wouldn't have been considered a threat. I would have been held up as an example of what's evil and wrong in the world. But when I told Afghan Muslim people that God is good and God loves them, when I told them God forgives us and invites us to forgive others, when I told them God's kingdom was made for us and we were made for God's kingdom, and my stories resonated in their hearts, worldviews did change, attitudes shifted and new actions followed. --Pg. 302
The Korean Pentecost
William Blair & Bruce Hunt
Summary: This book took over 100 years to write. Two authors wrote it: the first was one of the men who initially brought the gospel to Korea and experienced the amazing outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Korean Church. The second author, William Blair's son-in-law, experienced Satan's rebuttal to the Light through an intense persecution. Follow both of these writers as they talk of their experience of coming to Korea, learning the language, gaining the trust of the people and preaching the Gospel. There's a great chapter that talks about the experience of one church in Anju. Another chapter gives a mini-biography of five Korean Christians who became martyrs. Best of all, there is a great chapter detailing that wonderful Pentecost.
Personal Thoughts: These first generation babes in Christ understood the cost of following their Master and willingly gave their lives to gain eternity. 5 wars, the occupation of the Japanese who imposed shrine worship and a Communistic regime wreaked havoc on the church. Pray for these Christians today as North Korea is currently a closed country. We have little access to the news of the well being of the church. Remember our brethren in chains.
Quote: "The great wars that have shaken the nations and changed the course of history have focused in Korea during the short period of the church's history. Nothing but the guiding presence of the Lord's Spirit has brought the church in safety to this hour. Nothing but the Spirit of the Lord poured forth from heaven in Pentecostal power could have saved the church at the time of its great testing." --pg. 70
Torches of Joy
John Dekker with Lois Neely
Summary: John Dekker and his wife Helen answer the Lord's call to bring God's Word to the Dani people of New Guinea. This primitive, stone age people who did not even possess a written language, were incredibly receptive to the Gospel, not only making great strides in spiritual maturity and embracing change, but becoming the forerunners in evangelizing the untouched tribes around them.
Personal Thoughts: This is a tremendous story about the power of the Gospel and of the work of the Holy Spirit overcoming language barriers, primitive conditions, illiteracy and superstition. In less than 20 years an untouched tribe becomes a leading force in evangelism, zeal burning in their hearts for the Lord Jesus! As you read you will love John's 'make work' projects. You will sympathize with Helen's struggles and respect the Dani's for giving up so many years of traditions in exchange for a hunger for the Truth.
For a Testimony
Summary: The author, an American, is a missionary in Munchuria to the Korean people during the 1940's. As the Japanese take over the country during World War 2 and impose shrine worship, Bruce Hunt opts to stay with his congregation and suffer hardship, imprisonment and torture rather than return home to safety.
Personal Thoughts: I can really respect this man and his wife who counted it an honour to suffer alongside their Korean brethren. Oh that we would be ready to offer Christian testimony day in and day out even at the cost of our lives!
A Pastor's Sketches
Summary: Referred to the Bunyan of Brooklyn, Ichabod Spencer was a master at conversing with souls. Averaging 800 visits a year for the 25 years he was a pastor is incredible, but the fact that he meticulously made notes on each of these visits is nothing short of amazing. And that is primarily what makes up this book. It is a book filled with conversations between a pastor and unconverted sinners. He tears down every obstacle people erect to keep themselves from God. He allows no excuse for delaying repentance. He lovingly pursues his flock, caring deeply for their souls.
Personal Thoughts: Oh, I WISH I could get more people to read this book! I enjoy it so much. Conversion is most fascinating. I have learned so much about the human heart in these chapters. I have learned much about the work of Satan. I have found similar obstacles in these stories that I too have had to overcome in my spiritual life. This book gives the reader a very solemn view of the soul. It is indeed able to be lost forever and that is a grave matter we think little about.
Chapter 8: Reliance on Man
As I was leaving the place of a morning prayer- meeting, which was attended, in a time of revival,
very early in the morning; a young man about sixteen years of age came to me, and asked permission to accompany me home ; for " he wanted to talk with me."
" What do you wish to say to me ?" said I.
" Why — I want you to tell me what to do."
" I have told you, again and again. I can tell you nothing different — nothing new. You must repent, if you would be saved. You must give up your self-righteousness and flee to Christ. The Law condemns you. The sovereign grace of God only can save you. You must give up your miserable and long-continued attempts to save yourself. You must give God your heart, as he requires, and as I have explained to you already, many times."
" Yes, I know that ; but I am so distressed ! I cannot live so ! I want you to tell me some- thing else."
" I cannot relieve your distress. Christ alone can give you rest. I have nothing else to tell you. I have told you all
the truth — all you need to know."
" I thought," said he, "Perhaps you could say something, that would help me ; if I went to your house."
" So you have said to me more than once, and I have told you better. God only can help you. You must rely on him."
" But I should like to talk with you again about my feelings, in your study."
" It would do you no good. You have nothing to say, that you have not said before ; and I have nothing new to say to you."
" Well — may I go home with you ?"
" No. Go home. Man cannot help you. The whole matter lies betwixt yourself and God."
He turned away, the most downcast creature I ever saw. It seemed as if his last prop was gone. He walked as if his limbs could scarcely carry him.
I had not been at home an hour, before he came to tell me, that his burden was gone. He said, that after I " had cast
him off," all hope forsook him, and he " had nowhere else to go but to God." Before he reached his home, (about a mile,) he had given all into the hands of God ; and he felt so much relieved of his burden of sin and fear, that he thought he " would turn right about, and come right back and tell me." —
But," said he, "I do not believe I should have gone to God, if you had not cast me off."
Summary: Jonathan Goforth's wife writes of her experiences as a pioneer missionary in China. They had many hardships but won many fields for Christ. They travelled often, buried sons and daughters, battled disease and lived in appalling conditions at times. And yet God was so faithful to them and blessed their work immensely.
Personal Thoughts: First, I love Rosalind's perspective. It is not often that one gets to read a story from a missionary wife's perspective. Second, it took a bit to get used to her style--all the stories kind of run together which makes it hard to tell when one ends and the next begins. Third, this book has prompted me to hunt down another book entitled 'Goforth of China' to know more of this amazing couple.
Jacob DeShazer: Forgive Your Enemies
Janet & Geoff Benge
Summary: The true story of a young man, far from Christ, who goes on a bombing mission to Japan. He ends up having to bail out of his plane and gets captured by the Japanese. The next 40 months are spent in various prisons, with much of his time spent in solitary confinement. Eventually Jake is given a Bible and becomes a Christian. After his release he determines to return to Japan as a missionary.
Personal Thoughts: The first 2/3 of the book was very good. After that, it became quite repetitious. But I would definitely read something like this to my 10 year old son.
God's Double Agent
Summary: The true story of a pastor who taught English in a military communist school by day and faithfully
shepherded the flock at night. An eye witness to the massacre at Tiananmen Square and imprisoned for his activities, Fu eventually made it to the States where he is an enormous advocate for the persecuted church in China. Fu brings many awful truths to light in a country that appears Westernized--especially in regards to human rights.
Personal Thoughts: I did not know that China still persecuted the underground church. The fact that there still is an underground church in China speaks volumes. Chinese authorities have done a masterful job in obscuring these details. Also, I was incredibly impressed at what George W. Bush did for persecuted Chinese believers. You do not often hear these types of details regarding world leaders.
Brother Andrew with John and
Summary: Told that is was impossible to minister behind the Iron Curtain, Andrew knew there was nothing too hard for the Lord. Crossing 'closed' borders he would often pray, "Lord, in my luggage I have Scripture I want to take to your children. When you were on earth, you made blind eyes see. Now, I pray, make seeing eyes blind. Do not let the guards see those things You do not want them to see." This is a tremendous story (always been one of my favorites) which introduces you to oppressed churches and Christians in Bulgaria, Romania, Russia, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Macedonia, Hungary and one man who felt burdened to place the Bible into the hands of Christians who were denied one.
Personal Thoughts: This book gives a great overview in a biography format of the different trials that beset the churches in eastern Europe. And the story is just fascinating. When the author describes his journeys and
experiences it makes me want to join him in meeting these oppressed brothers and sisters. How can one not be greatly moved when they read of how a congregation shares one Bible, or weeps to hear when a congregation is touched to know they have not been forgotten by fellow Christians in the West.
Excerpt: Peroff took me over to his desk. On it was an ancient typewriter with a sheet of paper in it, and next to the typewriter a Bible, open to Exodus. "Three weeks ago I was extremely lucky," said Petroff. "I managed to find this Bible." He showed me a second volume on the small dining table. "I got it for a good price too. Only a month's pension. The reason it was so cheap is that the books of Genesis, Exodus and Revelations have been cut out and--"
"Why?" I interrupted.
"Who knows? Perhaps to sell. Or perhaps to make cigarettes from the thin paper. "At any rate," Petroff went on, "I was lucky enough to find it and have the money to purchase it. Now all I have to do is fill in the missing parts from my own Bible--and I have another complete book! I ought to be finished in another 4 weeks."
"And what will you do with the second Bible then?"
"Oh, give it away."
"To a church in Plovtiv," said his wife, "where there's no Bible."
I wasn't sure I understood. No Bible in the entire church?
"Certainly," said Petroff. "And there are many such churches in Rumania and Russia."
My sense of excitement mounted. I could hardly wait to show Petroff the treasure I had waiting for him in my car.
That night I drove up to the apartment, checked the street to make sure it was empty, and then took inside
the first of many, many cartons of Bibles I was to deliver to this man over the years. Petroff and his wife watched me put the box on their one table, their eyes wide in frank and open curiosity.
"What's that?" Petroff asked.
I lifted the top and took out a Bible. I put it in the trembling hands of Petroff and another into the hands of his wife.
"And...and in the box?" Petroff asked.
"More. And still more outside."
Petroff closed his eyes. His mouth was working hard to control the emotion he was feeling. But two tears rolled slowly out from between his closed lids and fell on the volume in his hands. --page145, 146