SWBTS General 1

BOOK REVIEWS: Novels expose readers to Christianity in Muslim contexts

April 5th, 2017 / By: Danette Seffens / comments

BOOK REVIEWS: Novels expose readers to Christianity in Muslim contexts

Side by Side and Door to Freedom by Jana Kelley provide an insightful look at life and ministry in a predominantly Muslim country. Jana Kelley—Texan by birth, missionary by heart, and author because of the burden of a story needing to be told—leads the reader on a journey of heart-racing excitement and love inspired by real events. This fictional portrayal of life in the Sudan for a family of five from Texas allows readers to experience the day in day out struggles of faith, family and work in a land foreign in more than location. The author masterfully weaves the hardships of housework in a land full of wind, dirt and heat with the emotional battles of a homesick mother and wife living far away from Texas, family and the comforts of home. 

Mia and her husband Michael move their family to the Sudan to be part of God's work while sharing their faith with Muslims. Mia struggles to adapt to the land, culture and most of all the lack of connection. The author openly explores Mia's doubts, struggles, challenges and victories, revealing a transparent look at life through a missionary’s eyes. Struggling with life to the extent of checking prices for tickets back to Texas, Mia needs connection. At the same time, a young Muslim lady in the Sudan struggles in her own way.

In Side by Side, as Mia struggles with life in the Sudan, Halimah, struggles with her faith in Islam. In Door to Freedom, Halimah's sister, Rania, seeks to find out why her sister disappeared from her life so quickly. Rania struggles with fear as Mia continues to fight the hardship of life in the Sudan with an increasing trust in God. Both books deliver insightful understanding of the never-ending battle of a faith boldly lived.

This insightful look at missionary life in a predominantly Muslim land will open eyes and hearts to be intentional in prayers for brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. The struggles of workers and seekers are heart wrenchingly portrayed in this fictional account that mirrors reality.  A greater understanding of Islam is provided in a more winsome way than a textbook. A love for Muslims is created as the veil is lifted on life inside a Muslim home. The reality of daily struggles of the missionaries will create more effective prayer. You need these books … and the third one releasing this year.