“Missionaries are not supposed to have doubts, Lord. But these questions worm into my head, and I cannot seem to keep them out. Help me to see beyond them to You.” Audra wrote this on page 87 in talking about her doubts that if she had been raised as her Yemeni friend, Fatima in Islam, would Audra, too, believe strongly in Islam? Later chapters answered that question.
Audra Grace Shelby is a missionary with her husband in Yemen. She writes of all the health problems that plagued them and the difficulties, but also the love she feels for the Yemeni people. Fatima teaches Audra Arabic daily. When Fatima gives birth to a baby boy, she sees the God of the Bible work miracles as the Christian women, including Audra pray for the baby. Fatima learns about Jesus, but still holds firmly to Islam. Audra suffers from new missionary jitters, feeling uncertain, and trying to be bold in proclaiming the truth. But still the above question confused and worried her until God answered that prayer.
“I remembered more questions I had asked the Lord: If I had been raised to believe Islam, would I be a devout Muslim instead of a devout Christian? Was the difference only in what we had been taught? In the quiet of my beating heart, the answer whispered clearly: You asked for our crates to arrive the week after the children began school. The Boones’ crates were delivered on time, but your crates were lost, beyond the reach of man. Yet I knew where they were and when they would be delivered. Now you have your crates, delivered at the time you asked. Only I could do that.” (pg. 101-102)
God created us. He knows the very hair of our heads. I had a similar question and Audra answered it by telling us of her questions. The book is fascinating and colorful. This book used all five senses. From my comfortable American home, I walk Audra’s steps and experience Yemen. There was only one issue.
I expected more serious problems in the Middle East than a riot. Teaching Christianity is dangerous in the Middle East, and yet Audra seemed to encounter little danger. The tag line on the front of the book says, “How an American woman risked her life, family and faith to bring Jesus to Muslim women.” Besides visiting solitary villages and speaking to Muslim women and participating in their culture, Audra reports very little danger in that (though I’m sure there was). I think if they are going to have an exciting teaser on the front of the book, the book should live up to those expectations. The book in spite of the let down is worth reading. I enjoyed getting to know the people of Yemen through Audra’s eyes and how she challenged me in my faith.
Leave a comment and I will put your name in a book drawing. Deadline: November 30. Book given by Bethany House to review. You can also visit Audra’s web page here. Updated 12/01: The winner of this book by random drawing was Monica Austin.