Discovery House Publishers. February 1, 2017.
Genre: Christian nonfiction, missionary, memoir.
Source: Complimentary ebook copy from Netgalley and Discovery House Publishers.
Rating: Very Good.
To read an excerpt: Dangerous Territory.
Amy Peterson was a 22 year old graduate student who was ready to embark on a mission trip. However, she did not want to call herself a missionary. She did not want people to know she was going on a mission trip. She stated she was ready to, "change the world for God" and she was ready for "adventure", but she did not want to be marked as an "imperialistic" traditional type missionary. Peterson grew up in a Christian home. She had read books about missionaries. She was drawn to becoming a missionary; however, she was reluctant to do things the way she'd judged past missionaries had done.
When I first began reading Peterson's story, I was shocked at her naivety about serving God as a missionary. I was shocked at her cutting remarks about Missionaries. I wondered, had she prayed about becoming a missionary? I wondered, if this is how she felt, why did she go? She seemed so unprepared about being a missionary. She seemed so unprepared about the world beyond her life in America. With reluctance, I continued to read. As her mind-set and spirit transformed during the story, my attitude changed about reading the story. I understood she was a young idealistic young woman, but I saw an arrogant and prideful attitude. She stated, "I wanted to be the greatest." I'm reminded of what James and John's mother asked Jesus, "Promise, that these two sons of mine may sit, one on your right and the other on your left in your kingdom." Jesus asked the two disciples if they were, "able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?" They said, "We are able." Matthew 20:21-22. CSB.
No human understands the cost of being a missionary. Further, no human understands the cost of marriage or being a parent. We have an inkling of difficulties ahead, but not of what will really happen. Only God knows our future. But God does equip us, and He is whom we serve. We certainly don't tell Him how we will serve. I appreciated Peterson's candor and transparency in the story, especially in regards to her struggles with belief and faith, it prepped the story for her later transformation.
I loved the story once Peterson arrived in the (secret) country she served in as an English teacher. It was a southeast Asian country. It was a large city, rice fields were nearby, and the people were not free to worship as Christians. While working as an English teacher, teaching the English language to the locals, she was able to share the Gospel. She came to understand quickly, it was not her work that brought these people to her to hear the Gospel, but the work of the Holy Spirit. This was a significant moment in her mission work, understanding who was in control, God.
I loved reading about Peterson's assimilation into this new culture. Her perspective on the people group and their perspective of her.
I loved reading about Peterson's additional chapters on history of missions and the history of women missionaries.
Most of all, I loved the change I saw in Peterson. She went from a prideful young woman to a woman of humility. Living far away from family, friends, and the life in America grew her up, in both character and spirit. She came to realize several significant points:
No vocation is more spiritual than another. And every Christian is called to share the gospel.
To put it plainly, I was discovering that restlessness is not always a virtue. For anyone to have a meaningful presence in the world at some point the desire to go must transform into a desire to stay.The last chapter is a reflection of things she learned and hard questions she asked about doing mission work. Some examples of these questions, "What if we could cut costs by creating more local partnerships?" and "What if we had more bi-vocational missionaries?"
The following is a short list of books I've read about missionaries:
Peace Child by Don Richardson
A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael by Elisabeth Elliot
Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot
Jim Elliot by Susan Martins Miller
The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken
The Insanity of Obedience by Nik Ripken
Dispatches From The Front by Tim Keesee
Scripture links courtesy of Bible Gateway.