Category Archives: Middle East

The questions I want to ask you… (Book: In the Land of the Blue Burqas)

My preferred reading genre is autobiographical faith-journeys… I don’t really like to hear WHAT you believe out of context, but I love to hear how you got to your beliefs.

I also kinda stink at casual conversation, since I am really hoping to discuss something meaningful… but getting there is sometimes awkward, and often doesn’t happen.

I have been reading In the Land of the Blue Burqas, an amazing model by a Christian living in Afghanistan of living out her faith in Jesus, while at the same time asking meaningful questions of her neighbors.

Her chapter titles reveal the questions she is resolving in her book:

  • Whose example do we follow?
  • Who is God?
  • How do we respond to evil done to us?
  • Who can judge?
  • Who protects us from temptation?
  • How do we learn to live our faith?
  • How should we pray?
  • How should we fast?
  • How do we live with open hands?

I have been intrigued to see how carefully she resolves these questions Biblically, so that her example is informed by her teacher, Jesus Christ.

Her respectful examination of the Afghani worldview has been a great lesson.

Here is my most challenging, but favorite section so far:

The kingdom of God is like a farmer who plants seeds. He sleeps and wakes, and the seeds grow. He doesn’t know how they grow; he only knows they do. My confidence is in this: If the seed I planted was a good seed and the soil that received it was ready, the seed grew and that gentle lady found peace.

Sometimes we imagine that all this is good in God as revealed in Christ only belongs to those who’ve adopted a complete framework of theological beliefs. We imagine that until a person understands and confesses belief that Jesus is God, that He died on the cross for our sins and rose the third day, the teachings and blessings of God remain inaccessible.¬†We sometimes make the mistake of viewing ourselves and others as either in or out, as either wearing our team’s jersey or not wearing it.

How much better to remember that we are all on a journey. Each time we see or hear or in some way grasp a teaching or revelation of Christ, we are drawn out of an area of darkness within our lives into His light and truth, into His beautiful kingdom. He invites us to walk with Him, to learn from Him, and to find in Him the healing, love, joy, and peace that our souls desperately need.

Sometimes, this is a real confusion for me. I am confused about what hope I can offer someone who does not believe in Jesus as Lord.

This passage, and the examples given, are refreshing. Because I know the design of the Kingdom of God is best no matter what. Being generous, humble, kind, forgiving, faithful to your spouse all lead to a more peaceful life on earth.

I am very thankful for this book!


Book: Prisoners of Hope

My first missionary biography read was Prisoners of Hope.

What I learned:
In reading the experience of 2 women’s experience being imprisoned for sharing their hope in Afghanistan, I was able to compare and contrast their methods and reactions.
Heather, the younger of the 2, with less experience in the culture and a shorter planned commitment, reacted most like I think I would… meaning, we share character flaws. She alienated herself from the 5 Christian women imprisoned with her sometimes, she dwelled on her fears, she placed her home in rescue by America – I do not want to sound like I am criticizing her. I can’t imagine living through this experience. I just want to learn from her, so if I am ever there, I will able to make choices, rather than just default in my weaknesses.
Dayna, who had a 3 year commitment, seemed to know how to draw strength from disciplined reading of the Bible. She seemed to be able to step outside the fear about not choosing to be in the prison, and follow Paul’s example in seeing the opportunity that she had to ministry to women that she wouldn’t have had access to otherwise. She seemed to be logical about weighing out the fact that she had chosen to come there, intended to be there, and nothing about that needed to be altered for her to minister hope.

I also learned about the political system of a country in chaos. I was surprised to see that they were visited by their family, yet still imprisoned. I realized that I assumed if I could see people who cared for me, I would assume they had the power to rescue me. I think this is a good thing to process – if I am ever imprisoned, I want to be able to thank the Lord if I see my loved one, without putting all my hope in them.