I just finished reading the above-titled book that Mr. Skinner, Andrew's Father sent me to read about a month ago. I have been asking people in my life which books they would recommend I read this upcoming year, and as the new year has come, I began asking those same people for book suggestions that would increase my faith, grow my walk with Jesus, strengthen my marriage and help mold me into a better woman of God.
Honestly, when Rick sent me a few books, I put them in my closet, thinking that it was a nice gesture but I would probably never read them. And a few days ago (probably four), I was hunting around for something to read and I picked this one up. And started reading. And haven't stopped reading it until just now, when I finished with the short paragraph on the author's biography. Here is the description from the back of the book:
"Is this the day I die?"
Quan stiffened at the shout behind him. The voice rang with the authority of the Gong An Ju, trhe Public Security Bureau. 'You meet in the night like the criminals you are. How dare you defy the law? In three minutes,' Scarbrow said matter-of-factly, 'we will shoot every man and woman - an child - who does not declare himself loyal to the people rather than the gweilos, foreign devils.'
'Surely this is the day'.
American business executive Ben Fielding has no idea what his brilliant old college roommate is facing in China. But when they're reunited in China after twenty years, the men are shocked at what they discover about each other. Thrown together in an hour of encroaching darkness, watched by unseen eyes, both must make choices that will determine not only destinies of two men, but two families, two nations...and two worlds.
This book is a fictitious story - but has been researched profusely. The sad thing: this is just a small sliver of the picture of what happens every day to those being persecuted because of their faith.
Reading this book I have been....Challenged. There is Scripture woven through out this story and as I am reading, I know those references - I have recently just read most of them! Is this not God speaking to me? I cried towards the end of the book - at the cruelty, at the forgiveness, at the martyrdom, at the grace and mercy shown.
Read this book if you would like to be challenged in your faith - and how you view yourself and the world around you. http://www.epm.org/store/product/safely-home-anniv-ed/
A couple of years ago, I faced a pivotal moment in my walk with God and since that day, the best way I can describe the change is that even though I had grown up in a Christian home and had gone to church and youth group all my life - even going to a Christian College (which I would never trade for anything) - I never felt more alive than I did in that moment. It was if I wasn't really living until that very moment and now I could see everything I had been missing out on. I was alive.
There have been periods in my life since then that haven't been as wonderful as I would have liked them to be. But things are changing. I am stepping up to the plate. I have continued in reading the Couple's Devotional Andrew and I received from my dear friend Elaine Gratton and reading the scripture verses. I asked for a devotional called Jesus Calling by Sarah Young and was very pleased when I received it as a gift for Christmas. I started it immediately and have already seen and felt the benefits. The readings are short, so I've taken to reading it, reading the verses in my Bible, reading the whole passage to get a bigger picture (sometimes even the whole chapter) then re-reading the devotional for the particular day. Sometimes I then read a portion of the Bible that has no relation to what the devotional was about! I am getting more and more interested in the Bible and all it has to teach me and I am so super excited!
One of my desires this year is to continue to be refined into the woman God has created me to be, but also to be molded into the supportive, creative, spontaneous, generous, loving, praying wife that Andrew needs me to be.
One thing I do ask of those who read this: that you would pray for my husband. He is going through a desert place in his faith right now, and I fear he has been in this place for some time, and he is discouraged because he can't see the edge of the desert.