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Showing posts from February, 2010

Never Say Die by Douglas Hsu

Never Say Die is the story of David Yone Mo, once "Burma's most reckless gangster," who, when supernaturally cured of his drug addictions "on his hospital deathbed," becomes Myanmar's most fearless preacher and evangelist.

The story is an amazing one as David stumbles into one ministry after another--helping men beat their drug addictions, leading them into the kingdom of God, opening his home to orphans and eventually building an orphanage, travelling around the country promoting Jesus and abstinence from drugs, working with lepers, opening a Bible college and even developing a musical band that reached number one status on the secular charts.

"...ex-alcoholics and ex-drug addicts made the boldest, most fearless and most sacrificial preachers.  ...they understood at a deep level how wicked and sinful they were."  They were the ones most willing to trek through hostile and dangerous jungle to reach isolated people for Jesus.  They often stayed in …

Imprisoned in Iran: Love's Victory over Fear by Dan Baumann

Dan Baumann is a YWAM (Youth with a Mission) missionary in Turkmenistan, born and raised in America but holding a Swiss passport.  When he has an opportunity to visit Iran with the hope of finding additional Turkmen to witness to, he runs into obstacles that eventually land him in Iran's most infamous prison--a place from which few leave.

He has a choice to make when he is arrested and questioned.  Will he be honest about his reasons for visiting Iran?  He knows that doing so could seal his death.  But because of his honesty, unexpected things happen.

Duane Litfin, president of Wheaton College writes, "Dan Baumann's harrowing experiences in Iran were the stuff of nightmares.  Yet his is a story of faith and courage, and of God's protection.  This detailed account has the power to encourage many in the midst of their own trouble to abandon themselves, as Dan did, to the providential care of the Lord."

I hope I could be as courageous as the author if I ever faced …

Secret Believers by Brother Andrew

I've been devouring books lately and have made my way through a number of those I bought at Missionfest earlier this month.  The most recent book I've finished is Secret Believers: What Happens when Muslims Believe in Christ by Brother Andrew and Al Janssen.

It's tricky talking about Christian believers in Muslim countries because the Muslim extremists are very good at tracking down who they think the stories are about and responding in cruelty--even when they have guessed wrong. Brother Andrew's solution to this problem is to tell true stories and actual events, but creating fictional characters in a country, city and towns that remain unnamed.  He's done an excellent job.  I could hardly put the book down.

What are some of the problems Christian believers have in the Muslim world?  There are three distinct groups of Christians to consider: indigenous people who have been Christians since the apostles first took the Gospel to their countries 2000 years ago, ex-pat…

Joy and Protection

While I was praying this morning, a couple of things jumped out at me.

My prayer room, which I have been using for a number of years, has many symbols I use as reminders of what I want to pray and I've created a meaningful ritual as I move from object to object, touch it with my hand and give thanks to God or make a request of him.  Of these symbols, the crown of thorns and the water fountain were what stirred up some realizations.

With the crown of thorns I pray, "God, give me joy and gladness in the midst of suffering and pain."  That prayer is based on Jesus' admonition, "Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."  As I prayed this today, it hit me!  Perhaps one of the reasons I have responded the way I have to my son's death is because God has been answering my prayer.  Not that Mikael's death is persecution in any way but Paul and Peter talk about how we s…

The Soul of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by Gene Veith

Unlike some of his other Narnian tales, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe seems very clear in its symbolism—Aslan is the Christ figure, the stone table the cross; the white witch is Satan, Edmond the betrayer and the one for whom Aslan dies and, like Christ, Aslan does not stay dead; his resurrection defeats the power of the evil ones.But there are other, more subtle truths demonstrated in the story.
In regards to Edmund’s sin: “...sin is very ordinary.It does not have to be dramatic, breaking out into some monstrous crime, to be deadly and soul-killing.... [Sin’s] home is in our thoughts and feelings and attitudes, in the deepest recesses of our heart.”
“Satan and the witch in reality are hideously monstrous in their true inner selves, but they appear attractive, persuasive, and good.”
In comparing Turkish Delight to addictions to drug, alcohol, illicit sex: “Their bondage may start with an exhilarating sense of freedom, of rebellion against the norm, of an exciting exercise of pers…

Kiss Goodbye: The Story of God’s Presence in the Dark Night by Deb Watson

Deb had raised six daughters.At the time of the story, her youngest was 14 and the eldest 25, married with one child, expecting another and just recently moved a thousand miles away.Her third daughter, Cathy, almost 20, was struck by a truck as she was rollerblading on the shoulder of the highway and killed instantly.
I chose to read the book last week because I figured I was ready to hear another parent’s story of loss.How did they respond?How did they deal with their grief?In truth, I wanted something to provoke my own grief.I have done little crying over Mikael’s passing.I would like to believe it’s because, like John and Eloise Bergen of the previous post, I have lived a life of intimacy with God so despair is not a factor.Is that the case or am I still in shock and denial and the grief will hit me unexpectedly sometime in the future?
Certainly my body has felt the stress of grief and has responded with exhaustion that keeps me sleeping more than I’m awake.Yesterday I slept for ten …

Forgiveness in the Face of Terror by John and Eloise Bergen

Missionfest happens every year in Winnipeg and all else in my life gets cancelled for that first weekend in February.The speakers whose story and message struck me the most this year were John and Eloise Bergen.
The Bergens are an elderly couple who sold all their possessions so they could move to and live out their last years as missionaries in Kenya.They purchased a farm and started a garden to provide food for the orphans in town.They had been there only four months when they were attacked.
John had heated and poured bath water for Eloise and, while she soaked, went outside to check on things.It was a dark night but the only oddity, the only cause for concern was that the night guard wasn’t answering his calls.Then he saw it, inches from his face and moving closer—a large black hand that grabbed his throat and held, leaving him struggling for air.While he was thus held, other hands beat him with clubs, hacked his body with machetes and dragged his lifeless body under a hedge where th…

Fifth Tuesday of Epiphany--Beauty

The editors of the Mosaic Holy Bible chose “beauty” as the theme for this week’s liturgical readings from Isaiah, Psalm, 1 Corinthians and Matthew.Where is the beauty in each passage?What is beauty?
Isaiah 9:1-7 Light and glory vs. darkness and despair A government of peace, fairness and justice vs. slavery and oppression
Psalm 19 Beauty in the skies—the stars and sun Beauty in God—perfection, trustworthiness, truth, clearness Beauty in man—cleansed of and free from sin
1 Corinthians 12:12-31 Beauty of man—many different parts make the whole Ears, eyes, hands, feet, liver, heart, genitals, bowels Beauty of the Church—many different parts make the whole Apostles, prophets, teachers, etc. Jew, Gentile, slave, free, Catholic, United, Mennonite, Vineyard, Orthodox
Matthew 4:12-23 Beauty in Jesus—prophecy fulfilled
Love is the beauty of the soul. --Augustine of Hippo
God, I want to walk in beauty.

I Love Books about Missions

Ever since I've had access to money as a kid, I have loved books about missionaries.  Yesterday at Missionfest I bought a ton of them and am looking forward to reading them over the coming year.

Miracle in the Forgotten Land: From the Killing Fields to New Life in Christ by Setan and Randa Lee with Terry Hill

Clay in the Potter's Hand by Dorothy Sun
--a third generation Christian in China when the Communists took over, she paid the price of staying loyal to Jesus and to her family.  Mrs. Sun and her husband were guests in our home many years ago and I found them inspiring.

The Man in the Fiery Furnace: The Compelling True Story of Freddie Sun
--While many in China were trying to flee from the Communists, Mr. Sun travelled back to China from the USA and was eventually imprisoned because of his faith.

The Little Ones by M. D. Meyer
--A novel about two foster parents and two little native girls "who have been damaged and wounded by abuse.  The author was foster sister to "h…