I defy you to read this book and not be moved by its unflinching commitment to bringing in God’s Kingdom. In it, Emily Foreman describes the decision she and her husband Stephen took to move their young family to a completely Muslim country in Africa, to work for an NGO and share the Gospel – with tragic consequences.
Emily’s writing style is incisive, uplifting and challenging. She holds very little back; being honest about their utter dependence on God’s strength, the obstacles to family life in an alien culture, and the wave of misunderstanding they faced from their American supporters in the aftermath of 9/11. Alongside this, she draws the reader into the huge obstacles and incredible encouragements they experienced in ministering to a people whose whole national identity was intricately bound up with Islam, and yet who also lived in dire poverty and needed professional expertise.
This, as a story, would be important enough to read. However, the pivotal event of the book is the most significant of all – Stephen was murdered by Islamic extremists. Mentioned in the introduction, but placed chronologically in the middle of the narrative, this tragedy colours everything. We read Emily’s description of Stephen’s utter conviction that as Christians, ‘we died before we came here’, and we see the way God was preparing them for the sacrifice they were going to make, and for the comfort He was going to provide for Emily and her children afterwards. We see how significant the progress in their economic work was, as it was going to be cut short. In the aftermath, we also see the way in which God used Stephen’s death to open doors and change hearts in that hostile country.
For us, this story offers a unique challenge to how we view Muslims, how we view our life on earth, and how we view our God and Saviour. It is at once a very ordinary story and an utterly remarkable one.
Miriam Montgomery, Free Church Books