Let Us Not Forget

I would love to say that it is rare that I climb up on my soapbox to preach a sermon, but that is not me.  I climb upon my soapbox every time something  breaks my heart or inspires my sense of justice and mercy.  Today I am not only on my soapbox, but I brought along my megaphone so that others will hear.  The authors of Daughters of Hope, Kay Marshall Strom and Michele Rickett have written a book that had me crying, angry, and hurting.  Forgotten Girls Stories of Hope and Courage is a book of short stories of girls and women who have been oppressed, held captive, raped, beaten, and forced into lifestyles that were not of their chosing.  Stories of girls from Nepal, Indonesia, North Korea, China, Senegal, Egypt, and the Sudan (to name a few of the countries of origin) who were sold into prostitution or forced marriages, were held either kidnapped or abandoned, were ostracized, and who felt unloved or unwanted.

In the introduction, the authors wrote, “Have you ever noticed how seldom something “life changing” really changes your life?  The term gets tossed around a lot – to describe watching the sun set in a gorgeous blaze of color, for instance, or to rave about an exciting adventure.  Consider the number of books with the phrase splashed across the front cover.  Good things, all.  Inspiring and helpful and memorable.  But life changing?  Yet truly life-changing events do occur.  Events that forever mark a divide between the then and now of life.  Between despair and hope.  Between ignorance and understanding.  Between death and life.”  I can tell you that this book IS life changing!

Living in the West, we can read about the horrors of war and dictatorships, but after a time we become immune to the stories or we learn to tune them out.  However that is not what Jesus called us to do.  Jesus called us to live as Micah described in verse 8, “No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”  To do what is right is to seek justice for those that are widowed, orphaned, captive, and oppressed.  Our hearts should be broken for the same reasons that Jesus’ heart was broken.  Strom and Rickett’s book will open your eyes, your heart, your sense of justice and mercy.

The Kidnapped Bride video

I read this book as part of the United Methodist Women’s Reading Program.

Sisters in Service
Reaching Out to the Unreached
News from the Frontlines of Persecution
Human Rights Watch
International Center for Research on Women
United Nations Children’s Fund
World Vision

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Free From the World’s Captivity

Since the beginning of creation, God has desired daily interaction with His children. At the same time, His children have desired to interact with the world that He created rather than Him. That has left each of us, at times, feeling a void and deep pain. God has also desired to teach us His ways instead of the world’s and yet we are continually held captive by the world and its many snares, oases, and traps. In Into the Free by Julie Cantrell, we are introduced to a cast of characters, each with his or her own desires, snares, oases, and traps. Millie Reynolds is a young girl who is trapped by the conditions of her home but also by the fears and disappointments of her life. Her parents are trapped by failed dreams, addiction, and loss. Millie’s foster family is trapped by outward appearances, lost dreams, and blindness.

However, within this imperfect world are guardians and angels who teach us about God’s love, grace, and mercy. They teach us how to forgive and unconditional love. In Millie’s world she encounters Sloth, her elderly next door neighbor in the former slave quarters where Millie and her family lived. Later she meets the gypsies, the Romany travelers who teach her about herself and her strength. There is also Mabel, the housekeeper who works for her foster family, and Bump, the cowboy who wins her heart by teaching her about love, patience, forgiveness, and ultimately freedom.

If you have battled with the forces of this world and feel trapped, downtrodden, and scared – then this book is for you. If you are a champion of the outcasts of this world – then this book is for you. If you are a child of God – then this is definitely for you!

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I received this ebook free for review from Net Galley at netgalley.com.

Houses Built Upon the Sand

Abigail Sinclair and her family have temporarily moved from Edenton, South Carolina to the Outer Banks for the summer. Gone was the ordered life that Abigail was familiar with. Instead she found herself in an environment that was very different in part due to the fact that her father had contracted to have the house built relatively close to the ocean. Most of the other people that she knew did not have their houses built like a shanty teetering on the brink of destruction at the whim of the ocean. In addition, Abigail’s father offers to have her teach a local “banker” how to read. Benjamin Whimble opens her eyes and mind to new sights and sounds. He also opens her heart to the possibility of a life so different from her “normal.”

Encapsulated within this story, The Outer Banks House A Novel, is also the story of the scales removed from Abigail’s eyes about her mother’s fraility and mental breakdown as well as the prejudice and hatred that her father believes. Abigail witnesses the horrendous murder of a black man at the hands of her father and his friends in this post-Civil War story of innocence that is destroyed just like a house that is built upon the sand. Abigail begins to question all she knows and believed in. This powerful story gives the readers a glimpse into the mind of Southerners following the Civil War and also into the mind of innocence.

I received this book for free to review from Read It Forward.