Saturday, May 9, 2015

Side by Side by Jana Kelley

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Litfuse Publicity Group book blogger campaign. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  

About the book: 

Side by Side (New Hope Publishers, April 2015)

In the dusty, Islamic country of Sudan, Mia's life collides with that of another young woman.

A young Christian American mother, Mia finds more than one dark secret on the streets of Khartoum. She finds Halimah, a young, upper-class Arab student with a bright future in her family's business whose risky and secretive decision has put her life in danger. What happens when the path of young mother intersects with that of a spunky Sudanese student? God transforms them both . . . forever.

Part of New Hope® Publishers' contemporary missional fiction line, Side by Side opens the reader's eyes to the life of Muslims in Sudan as well as some of the struggles that Christians face when living under Islamic law. The reader will be inspired to pray for those who are persecuted for their faith as well as pray for the salvation of those who persecute.
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About the author: 

Jana Kelley
 is a Texan who hardly ever lives in Texas. Raised in Southeast Asia, Jana developed a love for cross-cultural living early in life. Her love for writing came soon after. Jana returned to Texas to attend college. She and her husband married a month after she graduated and by their second anniversary, they were living in a remote African town. Together with her husband and three boys, Jana enjoys travel and overseas living. After thirteen years in Africa and the Middle East, Jana and her family moved to Southeast Asia where they currently live.

Find Jana online: websiteFacebookTwitter

Dynamic Uno here: I must admit that I have a fairly romanticised view of Missions.  As a Christian, I dream about going off to a foreign, possibly exotic, land to bring the good news of Christ dying on the cross so that we can be forgiven of our sins. In my fantasy, I see the unsaved people of this faraway land, clamoring to learn more and falling to their knees to accept Christ as their personal savior so that they too can spend eternity learning more about and worshipping Him.  Never in my mind do I have the issues of language barriers, cultural customs, and hostility towards the Christian faith.  Sadly, this is exactly what Mia faces when she and her family move to Sudan to work on the "mission field."

Ms. Kelley does a phenomenal job of bringing first-hand experiences of the harsh realities a missionary faces in an Islamic-based society to her characters.  The fact that this book is based on real-life events makes it even more so.  The characters of Mia and Halimah bring the reader face to face with the reality of what life is like harboring an "infidel," and the overwhelming cost of becoming a Christian and leaving the Islamic faith in modern society.

While there were many things I learned about the Muslim culture in Sudan, the main thing that stood out to me is the bravery and character of Halimah as she became a Christian.  Facing her family's wrath, relying on the kindness of strangers, hiding in fear of death, and still managing to reach and disciple others in Christianity, are all things she was able to accomplish.  It really made me take a step back and realize how "cushy" my American life is and how tepid I am about sharing my faith. 

If you've ever wondered what real-life is like as a missionary in an Islamic society, or even how one copes with the severe consequences of becoming a Christian in a Muslim culture, then you definitely want to pick up a copy of this book!

Let me know what you think!  Happy Reading!

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