What I’m Reading Wednesday—Contemporary Missionary Books

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For today’s post, I’m going to share briefly about two books–one that I read about a week ago, and another that I read last year.

I enjoyed both books, which were written by contemporary missionaries who are currently on the mission field.

Missions: Ministering Beyond Our Borders (Missionary Edition): What “Missions” Means For The Missionary by Jeremy Markle is an interesting read for anyone who is just starting out in missions, who is teaching a class about missions, or who has been on the field for awhile and maybe needs a booster shot of edification as they walk through the daily struggles and blessings of missionary life. It’s also a great read for anyone who is interested in understanding the daily lives of today’s missionaries a little bit better.

I’d describe it as a general survey type book. What I most appreciated about it was the way the author presented a realistic portrait of the missionary as a real, everyday Christian who faces the same human struggles that every other Christian faces, without downplaying the fact that the mission field does take the spiritual battle to a completely new level of struggle and hardship. I appreciated that he was not afraid to be real about the hardships that missionaries face in a regular basis, and that he calls on the missionary supporter to pray for empathy and understanding towards the missionary.

A couple of quotes that I highlighted:

“As a servant of God, you must never seek to “protect” your children from God’s will. You should enjoy the opportunity to accomplish God’s will with your children by your side, so that they can learn by your example of serving the Only True God of heaven.”

“Missionary in Service -Please press on in faith, knowing that God knows your every personal and ministry need. Please press on by not trusting in your supporters but in the God who provides for them to provide for you.”

 

The second book I’d like to share with you is one I read awhile back, Confessions of a Transformed Heart – Second Edition by Nancy D. Sheppard, who is a missionary in Liberia. I absolutely loved this book.

Nancy’s story begins when her family’s entire life and ministry is turned upside down due to a brutal civil war in Liberia. They are forced to relocate and rethink everything through incredibly trying circumstances, and the result is the story of how God reveals Nancy to herself and begins a transformation of her heart one little piece at a time.

Confessions is convicting, inspiring, and humorous. Although I have (so far) never experienced anything like a civil war on the mission field, I could relate to many aspects of Nancy’s story and was reminded to examine my own heart often as I read through the pages. It is also an informative and interesting read about the conflicts in Liberia and the many challenges that today’s missionaries in Liberia face daily.

Some highlighted portions:

“I’d given God my life in missionary service because I thought it was what He wanted. I understood now that what God had wanted all along was my emptiness…All Nancy Sheppard had to give God was nothing. Absolutely nothing. But, When you are empty, it is enough.”

“As scary as physical or political threats were, I had to admit I feared the expectations of people even more.”

“I wasn’t to feel some kind of weird pressure to love a people group; I was to love individuals. I may have been called by God to work among the Liberian people, but love was given to Liberian people one at a time. When I loved Susanna and Eugene I loved as Jesus loved—individually. This clearer understanding of love in real life and practice was tremendously freeing.”

I’m excited that this book is also available in Spanish,as it may be a useful ministry tool later on down the road. Nancy has written another book, In Harm’s Way:: A View from the Epicenter of Liberia’s Ebola Crisis which looks very interesting as well, about her experiences during the recent Ebola crisis.

   

Naturally, I didn’t necessarily agree with everything presented in either of these books, but I’d definitely recommend them to anyone who has an interest in missions today.

(Obviously, as with any book, I do not necessarily endorse everything in the books I have shared, or anything else the authors may have written.)