Tuesday, March 18, 2014

In The Presence Of My Enemies by Gracia Burnham with Dean Merrill (Book Review)

I've really enjoyed a book club I've recently joined. We get together once a month and have supper and discuss a book we all read together. Mostly homeschool moms, we take turns picking the books, and the theme for the meal. It's been a huge encouragement to me, and I'm thankful to my friend for hosting it.

We recently read In the Presence of My Enemies by Gracia Burnham with Dean Merrill. I picked up a copy from PaperbackSwap.com, and while there, got it on audio as well. I struggle with my schedule of work and homeschooling, and the audio book made it possible for me to keep up with the club reading schedule and keep up with my laundry folding at the same time. I LOVE audio books. My son loves his cassette "walk-man" that his grandma gave him. I had to borrow it to listen to this book. What a fun trip to my younger days using a cassette walk-man and headphones again.

The book is written from Gracia's personal perspective, and starts out with a good bit of background on how she and her husband got into missions in the Philippines. I discovered that her husband was in a Bible class with a pastor friend of mine, and their families were all within a short drive (in high plains terms) of where I live, so these were not some far off folks from some far off place.

Gracia tells of how she knew that God placed them there, and processes some of her "what-ifs" early on. The book unfolds day by day through their terrible ordeal as hostages of a terrorist group in the Philippines. Ultimately they spent over a year in captivity, an ordeal which her husband did not survive. But the day to day struggles, inwardly... as they kept their faith and prayed for their fellow captives and captors, and outwardly... as they physically fought the jungle, hunger, and grueling  pace of constant movement, were a testimony to the God they personally knew, who was with them all the way.

My entire book club enjoyed reading it, and we all had a different take-away. Each of our mother-hearts ached for her children losing their dad altogether, and a whole year away from their mom. We each wondered, how would I handle the same thing if I were in her shoes? After I finished reading the book I let both of my older kids (ages 12 and 11) listen to it. It is very intense at times, and there are descriptions of violence, but nothing else of an inappropriate nature is shared. The grief is overwhelming, but the peace of God triumphs. Both of my kids were glad to read it. I wouldn't recommend it for younger children, or children who struggle with fears.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and would recommend you get a copy. If you have paperback swap, I'll be re-listing mine, and you can request a free book there just by setting up an account. *I do get referral credits for telling you about my favorite free book swapping service!* Please see my disclaimer above for more about affiliate links.

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