Archives For Missions


The Napoleon Dynamite
of Missionary Biographies?

A Feature Review of 

Dangerous Territory: My Misguided Quest to Save the World
Amy Peterson

Paperback: Discovery House, 2017
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Reviewed by Matthew Loftus
Amy Peterson’s debut book, Dangerous Territory, is not your typical missionary biography and it is not meant to be. As Peterson recounts her story of teaching English as a Second Language for two years in Southeast Asia, she deliberately tries to subvert the conventions of the missionary memoir in order to change the way we talk about missions. In an article last year for Christianity Today, she wrote that “We need to hear stories about the real struggles and joys of missions work.” This is one of those stories.

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Meeting a Missionary for the First Time
A Review of

Running to the Fire:
An American Missionary Comes of Age in Ethiopia

Tim Bascom

Paperback: U of Iowa Press, 2015
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
Reviewed by Sarah Lyons


I have grown up in an evangelical church. When I tell you this, it will automatically bring to mind a hundred different ideas of what I am like or what I have experienced, even though I have not told you how old I am or what denomination church I attend. Still, a lot of your assumptions will not necessarily be wrong.
For instance, there certainly was a great number of missionaries who passed in and out of my church’s doors. It was common for the sermon to open with a prayer over the next traveling family, often a young mother holding a baby while the father’s hand rested authoritatively on the shoulder of an older brother. I had casual knowledge of at least a dozen families who would later put their feet in places like Thailand or India. And yet, saying this implies that I actually knew a missionary, or at least had a conversation with one—which I didn’t.

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Diversity as Missio Dei

A Feature Review of

Red, Brown, Yellow, Black, White, Who’s more Precious in God’s Sight?: A call for diversity in Christian missions and ministry

Leroy Barber

Hardback: Jericho Books, 2014
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by James Matichuk
Leroy Barber is my friend and mentor. I trust his voice when it comes to urban ministry and community. So when I saw that his new book was out, Red Brown Yellow Black White Who’s more Precious in God’s Sight?: A call for diversity in Christian missions and ministry, I was eager to read it. I knew it would be a game changer.
But it was much more than that. Red Brown Yellow Black White (RBYBW) is a summons for those of us who ‘say’ we care about reconciliation and justice to quit playing a it; it calls us to get on with working for real change in how we minister across the racial divide. In these pages, Barber opens up about his sometimes painful journey in the urban ministry world, how discrimination from fellow leaders and boards, locked him and fellow minorities out of key leadership positions. Because Barber is such a great relational leader, he sets his story alongside friends and co-conspirators.

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Both Inspiring and Terrifying

A Review of

To All Nations From All Nations: A History of the Christian Missionary Movement
Carlos F. Cardoza-Orlandi and Justo L. González

Paperback: Abingdon Press, 2013
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Douglas Connelly


I haven’t read widely in the story of Christian missions, but what I have read has focused on the modern missionary movement – 19th and 20th century evangelical Protestants, prompted by a compelling desire to preach the gospel to every person, going to Africa and Asia and Latin America with the message of Jesus’s saving grace.  Even as a boy, my parents put biographies of Adoniram Judson and William Carey and Hudson Taylor in my hands to bolster my vision of a world waiting to hear the good news.  (And if those names don’t ring any bells, you really need to read this book!)  So I picked up this new history of Christian missions expecting pretty much the same focus.  I was in for a surprise – and an education.

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Book Giveaway - Everyday MissionsOur Latest Book Giveaway…

We’re giving away 5 copies of :

Everyday Missions: How Ordinary People Can Change the World.
Leroy Barber.

Paperback: IVP/ Likewise, 2012.


Enter to win a Free copy of this book (It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!) :

NOTE: You may enter to win once per day as long as the contest is running…
(Additional entries only need to complete steps #2 and #3.)

1) Receive our free weekly online edition via email – or – LIKE our Facebook page (LGT: More info… )

2) Post the following message on your blog, Facebook Page, or on Twitter:

I just entered to win one of 5 copies of EVERYDAY MISSIONS by Leroy Barber from @ERBks! You can too:

3) Leave a comment below noting which option you chose for #1 **and** a link to your post for #2 before 12AM ET on Friday August 24, 2012.
(Leaving a comment is essential as we will draw the giveaway winners from among the comments left.)


We will draw the winners at random after the Book Giveaway ends, and will notify them within a week.


Leroy Barber - Everyday MissionsA Spectacular Penchant for Story

A Review of

Everyday Missions: How Ordinary People Can Change the World

Leroy Barber

Paperback: IVP Books, 2012.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Sam Edgin

Everyday Missions: How Ordinary People Can Change the World is a book for those who seek faith as defined apart from the social rules our culture has thrown on us. Leroy Barber reaches out and pulls the reader out from the muck of contemporary ideas on success, faith, and personal mission, wipes their eyes and points towards a different path. It is for those who seek to live, love and serve without moving into a far-away jungle, but aren’t quite sure how to go about doing that. Filled with fresh theology pulled from Biblical examples and with stories of others busy searching for and finding their way in their faith, this could be the book that incites massive change in your life.

But, it’s also a book for the uninitiated.

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A Brief Review of

This Our Exile:
A Spiritual Journey with the
Refugees of East Africa
by James Martin, S.J.
New Paperback edition: Orbis, 2011.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Laretta Benjamin.

How high and long and wide and deep is the Kingdom of God!  Most of us need to be reminded of that from time to time, especially those of us within Western culture.  This book is not only a powerful reminder of all the ways God is at work in God’s world, but it is also a reminder of our connectedness with brothers and sisters in so many places.  This is a wonderful, easy-to-read, “don’t want to put it down” kind of book.  The author is a great storyteller and quickly draws us in to the places and lives he is sharing with us.

James Martin, the author and a Jesuit Priest, was sent to Kenya to spend two years (1992 – 1994) working with East African refugees as part of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), a Catholic Relief organization.  His focus was to help the refugees begin small businesses in order to help provide a way for them to make a living and enable them to at least have a start at putting their lives back together.  This two-year experience was to be part of his training as a Jesuit.  This book is a wonderfully written story of those years – the building of relationships and the sharing of life with people in a reality very different from our own.  In the author’s own words:

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This Terrifying and Beautiful World

A Review of
Kingdom Without Borders:
The Untold Story of Global Christianity.

by Miriam Adeney.

Reviewed by Laretta Benjamin.

Kingdom Without Borders:
The Untold Story of Global Christianity.

Miriam Adeney.

Paperback: IVP Books,  2010.
Buy now: [ ]

“I will build my church,” Jesus said, “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18)  Today we have the great privilege of being part of that together, linked as never before.  (40)

Miriam Adeney - KINGDOM WITHOUT BORDERSFor those of us who daily pray the words Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”, this book comes as a joyous account of many of the ways God is working to answer that prayer.  I am extraordinarily grateful to Miriam Adeney for the time, research and thought that went into the writing of this very encouraging and hopeful book.

Ms. Adeney takes us on an incredible journey to meet and share in the lives and experiences of our brothers and sisters from all across this planet…China, Africa, Latin America, the Muslim world, India, the Philippines…just to name a few.  Do you know what we discover on our journey?  God is present everywhere.  He is at work – and has been all along – building his kingdom in very powerful and creative ways in the midst of great challenges and sometimes great opposition.  You won’t find too many of the facts, figures and statistics  that one usually finds in books such as these, mostly you will be drawn into the stories – stories of God’s kingdom coming in the lives, families and communities of people all around the globe – stories that come from Ms. Adeney’s own travels.

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[ Editor’s note: This week saw the 100th anniversary of the birth of missiologist and theologian Lesslie Newbigin.  Our friend, Andy Rowell has written a wonderfully engaging tribute on his blog, and gave us permission to reprint it here… Thanks, Andy! ]

Ten Things You Probably Did Not Know about Lesslie Newbigin
in Honor of the Centennial of his Birth

by Andy Rowell
8 December 2009

10.  Newbigin means “new building” according to the first page of his autobiography.

9.  Though only three years apart in age, Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Feb 4, 1906 – Apr 9, 1945) and Lesslie Newbigin (Dec 8, 1909 – Jan 30, 1998) never did to my knowledge meet one another though the 27 year old Bonhoeffer was in London pastoring a German congregation from 1933-1935 while the 24 year old Newbigin was training for the ministry in Cambridge.  Both were very involved in ecumenical affairs and international relationships but Bonhoeffer was active in the 1930’s with the World Alliance, Life and Work, and Faith and Order; and Newbigin was primarily involved in the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s in the International Missionary Council, World Council of Churches, and Faith and Order.  Though both were highly effective in the international sphere, both ended their lives more optimistic about the local church and somewhat disappointed in the theological compromises of the large ecumenical organizations.

8. Newbigin was sent out as a missionary by Presbyterians (the Church of Scotland) to India in 1936 but in 1947 the Presbyterians, Methodists and Anglicans in that part of India joined together and became The Church of South India.  He was elected a bishop.  That is how a Presbyterian–they do not have bishops–became a Bishop.

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A Brief Review of

In God’s Womb: A Spiritual Memoir.
Edwina Gateley.

Paperback: Orbis Books, 2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Laretta Benjamin.

I have written several book reviews over the past couple of years for the Englewood Review, and  I must confess this one has been the most difficult.  My thoughts after reading this book seem to range from one extreme to the other.  I had to remind myself more than once during my time of reading that this book is meant to be a memoir, which inherently brings with it a particular perspective and way of writing.

After reading Edwina Gateley’s memoirs, I was more than interested in what some of the “fruit of her life” might look like.   I took the time to research the Volunteer Missionary Movement, the organization she founded in 1969.   She devotes a full chapter to its formation and beginnings (chapter 3). The organization’s purpose was “to call Christian men and women to respond to the Vatican II’s call for full and active involvement in the Church’s life and mission.”  The Volunteer Missionary Movement is still in existence today and, according to its website, has had more than 2000 people serving in 26 different countries over the course of its history.  The organization has brought together teachers, engineers, agricultural and healthcare experts as well as many others to work in various different areas of community development and support.   I was also able to find and read (online) Spirit and Lifestyle, her foundational treatise for the Volunteer Missionary Movement organization.   Her writing there touches on many of the things that continue to be on our minds here at Englewood – issues like justice, compassion and faithfulness to God’s call.

I have always greatly appreciated the reflective and contemplative writings of many of God’s people through the years – which is what much of Edwina’s memoirs seem to be as she shares her story.  The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas a Kempis, has always been one of my favorites.  In my mind, the purpose of those kinds of writings are to draw us out of ourselves and into the life and work of God.

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