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In South Africa, anything that is really good or awesome is considered “lekker.” We have read some pretty incredible books since we’ve been here. You might want to check them out too! I separated the books into three categories: books to challenge you, books to inspire you, and books about South Africa. One thing all these books have in common is that they are lekker! 🙂

Books to Challenge You

Abba’s Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging
by Brennan Manning

We both found this book to be quite eye-opening. I’ve never had a book call out who I try to hide my real self behind. It also helped me understand who I am in God, what God thinks about me, and the grace and love he extends to us. It’s a heavy read – I actually read it twice to try to absorb and process everything – but so worth it. I’m pretty sure I highlighted the entire book, but some quotes that jumped out as I re-skimmed it just now: “Contempt for the false self gives vent to hostility, which manifests itself as general irritability – an irritation at the same faults in others that we hate in ourselves.” “We give glory to God simply by being ourselves.” “The life of Jesus suggests that to be like Abba is to show compassion.”

Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest by Bonnie Gray

I’ve just recently started this book. It was recommended to me by a dear friend. Its the first time I’ve read a book that is filled with such real honestly. Bonnie tells of her path of finding healing in her rather painful childhood and then gives us, the reader, space to sit with God and process through the hard questions. If you are looking for a book to just sit and read through, this isn’t it. But if you want to take the time and work through the questions she poses at the end of each chapter I guarantee you will find deeper rest in the love of Jesus. Some quotes: “Spiritual whitespace makes room – room in our hearts for a deeper, more intimate relationship with God, room in our lives for rest, room in our souls for rejuvenation.” “[Jesus says] I don’t just want you when you are strong. I love you when you are broken. And I don’t find it shameful that you are wounded. You want to only speak in that voice that feels safe and good. But I want you to speak in your full voice. Where I am your only safety. Where I am your only good.” “What if our brokenness revealed more about God’s love for us than our efforts to cover it up?”

Books to Inspire You

Always Enough: God’s Miraculous Provision Among the Poorest Children on Earth by Rolland and Heidi Baker

So I had never heard of Rolland & Heidi Baker but after reading their book I feel like I am on a personal friendship level with them. I’ve cried out to God with them. I’ve celebrated with them. I’ve even gotten online to watch their bizarre youtube videos. This couple loves the people living in the garbage dump, the witch doctors, the poor, the abandoned, the smelly-disease covered ones who no one else would dare to touch. Read their story and be inspired by the power of love.

No Compromise: The Life Story of Keith Green by Melody Green

Wow! What an inspiration! Keith Green was an extremely talented musician in the 70s who was signed by recording artists at a young age. Once he found Jesus he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was the real deal. He spent the rest of his short life laying it down for the sake of Jesus and was serious about following God in a very honest way. If you don’t know who Keith Green is, I bet you know a lot of his worship songs. He and his wife, Melody, opened up their home to people who needed a place to stay and eventually filled three houses! I loved reading their story of sacrifice, community living, and passion for Jesus. Keith didn’t shy away from sharing what God wanted him to tell the world. He challenged Christians and the way they were living out their lives. What kind of God do we portray to those around us? In the epilogue Leonard Ravenhill said “I don’t think Keith Green was preoccupied with the gospel of Christ as much as he was with the person of Christ.” I think the true heart of God is seen when we share our stories out of that place of knowing His love and grace.

Passion and Purpose: Believing the Church Can Still Change the World by Jimmy Seibert

This book is all about the beginning of Antioch Church. We found it super challenging as the founding pastor walked through how he would trust God for everything: down to the dollar or spaghetti noodle. Read it. Even if you aren’t a part of Antioch Church, it gives a picture of what The Church should look like. The central quote of this book “God has called us to be a people who passionately pursue him with all our hearts and are deeply committed to his purposes.”

Books About South Africa

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela

Initially I was incredibly overwhelmed by the size of, what I assumed would be, a very dry book. However, I found Nelson Mandela to be an incredible storyteller. I was sucked into the history of South Africa and my respect for Nelson Mandela grew as I began to better understand what he had overcome. There were so many good quotes that really made me think…. “Perhaps it requires such depth of oppression to create such heights of character.” “Courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” “…people must learn to hate…”

Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton

Such an interesting book. Written mid-1900’s it gives a better understanding of the tensions that led to Apartheid. Very poetic and profound. My favorite quote “I have one great fear in my heart, that one day when they are turned to loving, they will find that we are turned to hating.” This book talks about suffering, love and hate in a very tangible way.

Power of One by Bryce Courtenay

This was such a beautiful & touching story. Well written and quite immersive. It gave a really good perspective on the different racial tensions in South Africa in the 1930s and 1940s, obviously setting the stage for Apartheid. There is also a movie that is very very very loosely based on the book. As is usually true, the book is so much better.

Categories: Mission

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