Top 10 Tuesday — Books for The Mission-Minded

12 Apr


Thanks so much to the folks at The Broke And The Bookish who every week bring us Top 10 Tuesday. This week’s theme is 10 Books Every X Should Read. To find out what other bloggers are suggesting, click HERE.


I wasn’t going to participate this week, but after attending a dinner last night where two women, one a newly returned missionary and one a new missionary about to embark on an exciting journey with God, shared their hearts, I thought that there may be others whose passion is missions. All but one of the books on my list are fiction, but are inspired by people and places where the Gospel of Christ is being shared. If you know of other books that should be added, please let me know.

Top 7 Books for The Missions-Minded


 UnknownThe City of Tranquil Life by Bo Caldwell — Will Kiehn is seemingly destined for life as a humble farmer in the Midwest when, having felt a call from God, he travels to the vast North China Plain in the early twentieth-century. There he is surprised by love and weds a strong and determined fellow missionary, Katherine. They soon find themselves witnesses to the crumbling of a more than two-thousand-year-old dynasty that plunges the country into decades of civil war. As the couple works to improve the lives of the people of Kuang P’ing Ch’eng– City of Tranquil Light, a place they come to love–and face incredible hardship, will their faith and relationship be enough to sustain them?

Told through Will and Katherine’s alternating viewpoints–and inspired by the lives of the author’s maternal grandparents–City of Tranquil Light is a tender and elegiac portrait of a young marriage set against the backdrop of the shifting face of a beautiful but torn nation. A deeply spiritual book, it shows how those who work to teach others often have the most to learn, and is further evidence that Bo Caldwell writes “vividly and with great historical perspective” (San Jose Mercury News).

412060Farewell, Four Waters by Kate McCordAll she needed were stamps and signatures. Marie and her translator stood in the government offices in Kabul, Afghanistan to complete the paperwork for her new literacy project. The women in her home town, the northern village of Shehktan, would learn to read.

But a spattering of gun shots exploded and an aid worker crumpled. Executed. On the streets of Kabul. Just blocks from the guesthouse. Sending shockwaves through the community.

The foreign personnel assessed their options and some, including Marie’s closest friend, Carolyn, chose to leave the country. Marie and others faced the cost and elected to press forward. But the execution of the lone aid worker was just the beginning.

When she returned home to her Afghan friends in Shehktan to begin classes, she felt eyes watching her, piercing through her scarf as she walked the streets lined in mud brick walls.

And in the end . . .

It took only 14 days for her project, her Afghan home, her community – all of it – to evaporate in an eruption of dust, grief, and loss. Betrayed by someone she trusted. Caught in a feud she knew nothing about, and having loved people on both sides, Marie struggled for the answer: How could God be present here, working here, in the soul of Afghanistan?

Unknown-1Jungle Sunrise by Jonathan Williams — A unique and captivating novel by a member of the Xtreme Team, who risk their lives and endure unthinkable physical deprivation while assisting native people in the most remote areas of the world. This novel has been written out of the rich background of that experience. It is evident the author has been there! He unlocks the secret of how to begin life anew, as the book’s central character moves from a depressing, directionless life to a rewarding and incomparable adventure, discovering the ultimate meaning in life through trials and tragedy. One warning: do not start reading until you have some time because you won’t put it down.

517owNW3fgL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_More Than Conquerors by Kathi Macias True love ignites their passionate pursuit of His call. With violent crime on the rise and the political climate changing throughout certain parts of Mexico, the opportunity for open Christian witness, particularly in some areas of Chiapas State, is rapidly decreasing. Hector Rodriguez pastors a small church in the tourist-popular border town of Tijuana. He also routinely carries Bibles deeper into the hostile areas of Mexico, where he ministers despite increasing difficulty and persecution. Hectors mother accompanied him on one of those trips and felt God called her to stay in the little village of San Juan Chamula, where she uses the Scriptures to teach reading to the families who are open to it.

img240014b28699d1c4f7Red Ink by Kathi Macias A young Chinese woman, Zhen-Li raised to observe the party line, including its one-child-per-family doctrine falls in love with and marries a Christian, and adopts his faith. Though the couple downplays their Christianity in an effort to survive, Zhen-Li’s family is appalled, and she and her husband are ostracized. When she becomes pregnant for the second time and refuses to have an abortion, the persecution begins in earnest. Zhen-Li’s parents, under pressure from the government, pay to have Zhen-Li kidnapped and the baby aborted. It is then Zhen-Li decides she must live up to her name Truth and take a firm stand for her faith, regardless of the consequences, and so she begins to regularly teach children about Zhu Yesu Lord Jesus and to distribute Christian literature every chance she gets. Based loosely on the life of Christian magazine editor Li Ying, currently serving a ten-year prison sentence in China, the story of Yang Zhen-Li tells the desperate tale of her incarceration and separation from her family, as she continues to minister to other prisoners, and even to her guards.

sidebyside300dpi-662x1024Side by Side by Jana Kelley — In the dusty, Islamic country of Sudan, Mia’s life collides with that of another young woman.
A young Christian American mother, Mia finds more than one dark secret on the streets of Khartoum. She finds Halimah, a young, upper-class Arab student with a bright future in her family’s business whose risky and secretive decision has put her life in danger. What happens when the path of a young mother intersects with that of a spunky Sudanese student? God transforms them both . . . forever.

Part of New Hope® Publishers’ contemporary missional fiction line, Side by Side opens the reader’s eyes to the life of Muslims in Sudan as well as some of the struggles that Christians face when living under Islamic law. The reader will be inspired to pray for those who are persecuted for their faith as well as pray for the salvation of those who persecute.

51snqrtf3gl-_sx342_bo1204203200_Why God Calls Us to Dangerous Places by Kate McCordSoon after 9/11, Kate McCord left the corporate world and followed God to Afghanistan —sometimes into the reach of death. Alive but not unscathed, she has suffered the loss of many things: comfort, safety, even dear friends and fellow sojourners.

But Kate realizes that those who go are not the only ones who suffer. Those who love those who go also suffer. This book is for them, too.

Weaving together Scripture, her story, and stories of both those who go and those who send, Kate considers why God calls us to dangerous places and what it means for all involved.

It means dependence. It means loss. It means a firmer hold on hope. It can mean death, trauma, and heavy sorrow. But it can also mean joy unimaginable. Through suffering, we come closer to the heart of God.

Written with the weight of glory in the shadow of loss, Why God Calls Us to Dangerous Places will inspire Christians to count the cost — and pay it.

What books have you read that reveal a heart for missions?



8 Responses to “Top 10 Tuesday — Books for The Mission-Minded”

  1. Kate @ Midnight Book Girl April 12, 2016 at 9:46 am #

    I haven’t read many books that feature missionary work, but I did just finish The Color Purple, and one of the characters spends time as a missionary in Africa in the 1930s, and the missionary chapters were among my favorite parts of the book. I’ll have to check out the books you mentioned!

    My TTT

    • rbclibrary April 12, 2016 at 5:13 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by. I will be visiting you too!

  2. Carrie April 12, 2016 at 1:24 pm #

    what a great list!!! I always recommend Safely Home to people getting ready to start any form of mission work – not because it’s missionary-oriented per se but because of its perspective on the Church outside the United States. It was life changing for me. Also, anything related to the story of Jim Eliot and Nate Saint and their fellow missionaries in Ecuador.

    • rbclibrary April 12, 2016 at 5:13 pm #

      I have not read Safely Home. I’ll have to check it out. I have given Farewell, Four Waters to two returning missionaries because it speaks of how her heart was left in Afghanistan. It gave me a perspective I didn’t have before. My son’s friend AK visited us after returning from N. Africa. She was there just under 2 years, but was homesick for what she felt was her real home. It was hard for friends and family to understand how she felt. Her mother grabbed it first, so I think that helped with understanding AK’s grief in leaving Africa.

      • Carrie April 12, 2016 at 5:23 pm #

        Safely Home is a MUST READ!!

      • rbclibrary April 12, 2016 at 5:24 pm #

        🙂 🙂 🙂

  3. Barbara H. April 12, 2016 at 1:38 pm #

    Interesting list! I had not heard of any of these except the first. Most of what I have read concerning missions has been non-fiction, usually biographies. The only fiction I’ve read along these lines is No Graven Image by Elisabeth Elliot, but that was so long ago I need to read it again some time. Oh, and when my kids were young we read Peanut Butter Friends in a Chop Suey World by Deb Brammer about a girl in a missionary family adapting to life in Taiwan.

    • rbclibrary April 12, 2016 at 5:09 pm #

      Although they are fiction, many are based on real stories — the names having to be changed to protect the missionaries. Farewell, Four Waters is one of those. The author (her name is a pseudonym for safety) was going to write a memoir first. Her publisher urged her to change it to fiction, again for safety.

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