Last year I did not keep a list of books read as I usually do, but I did keep in mind four that I wanted to highlight on this blog. Each was written by and about a woman missionary: Kim Abernethy (two books) in Liberia and Ivory Coast; Nadine Hennesey in Kosovo; Katie Davis in Uganda. I am currently in the middle of a new book which I'm going to add along with its author to the list: Carrie Ann Hudson, an ex-pat wife and mom to five children in China.
Kim Abernethy has published two books largely based on her detailed journals kept as a young, new missionary to Liberia and later to the Ivory Coast. Highly descriptive and with a commitment to being "real," her stories of life in Africa are both entertaining and convicting. In her first book In This Place, Kim writes of the many "cultural collisions" she experienced as a new missionary during her first term in Liberia. In her second book In Every Place, she shares honestly about how God allowed her to be stretched "beyond her human capacity" in the Ivory Coast, Canada and Jamaica. I highly recommend her books because the reader will see that missionaries are real people with real emotions and real struggles and victories
When You Don't See His Plan: The Nadine Hennesey Story is a riveting account of an ordinary woman whom God chose to do something extraordinary. As a young woman, Nadine found herself suddenly widowed while expecting her first child. What a tragedy, yet it was this very status of being a widow and a single mother that created an undeniable bridge between Nadine and the women and children of Kosovo who had also lost husbands and fathers in that war-torn country. Nadine's story is genuine and full of emotion - from tears of loss and questioning, to joy at God's amazing grace and restoration.
I think of Katie Davis as our modern-day Amy Carmichael. It is inexplicable that a young American woman, barely out of her teens, would accept God's call to leave her comfortable, middle-class life to live among the poorest of the poor in Uganda and raise thirteen daughters as her own. Yet that is exactly the tale recounted in Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption. It is impossible to read Katie's book and not be moved and furthermore, challenged to examine our own priorities and walk with God.
In an entirely different tone, Carrie Anne Hudson's book Redefining Home: Squatty Potties, Split Pants, and Other Things that Divide My World is guaranteed to make you laugh out loud while challenging your assumptions about life overseas and granting you a glimpse of the reality that ex-pats experience in their existence of living between two worlds. Raising five children - one of whom was adopted from Ethiopia - in a small apartment in the one-child-policy country of China presents many moments of tension and amusement that make for an entertaining and thoughtful read.
What I love about all of these books is the reminder that God uses women - real women - today for His work around the world. I was encouraged in my own life through reading them. I hope that if you take the time to read one or more, you will leave a comment and let me know your thoughts, too!