Monday, August 26, 2013

Recent Reading

I thought I would share a bit of what I have been reading recently. As we were leaving Asia, I picked up a book, Not Less Than Everything by Valerie Griffiths.

Here is the summary from Amazon, "The book traces the stories of some of the early women missionaries in China who tried to tackle the painful custom of foot-binding. Often struggling with poor health, isolation and criticism from the expatriate community, the women of the China Inland Mission pioneered initiatives into the vast interior."

The book began with the early women missionaries to China beginning with Maria Tarn Dyer who sailed to Penang in 1827. Her daughter, Maria, married Hudson Taylor. Susie Garland was a new person to read about. She was from Australia. She was concerned about the blind people and so she developed a new way to teach blind Chinese to read. The Trio was about group of women, Mildred Cable and sisters,  Eva and Francesca French spent 20 years in one area and then later in life began traveling along The Silk Road. The book went on through to the 1950's and Phyllis Thompson.

I started and finished the book on our flight from Asia to England. It was about a 12 hour flight so that does give plenty of time to read and the book was written in such a way that I wanted to keep reading. The book also made me want to read more about the Trio especially Mildred Cable.

When I arrived here and wanted something else to read, I picked up a copy of Mountain Rain: A New Biography of James O. Fraser by Eileen Crossman. I had heard about J. O. Fraser and his work among the Lisu people. I had watched Breakthrough the other year.

Here is the summary from Amazon, "James Fraser was only twenty-two when he abandoned a promising career and went to China. At first sight of the Lisu tribes people of Yunnan province he felt an immediate affection for them, and for the rest of his life he labored to bring them to Christ and to Christian maturity. Packed with personal letters, insightful anecdotes and riveting stories of missionary life in China, this superb biography by Eileen Crossman, his daughter, shines with God's constant faithfulness and power over evil."

This book was not as easy to read as Not Less Than Everything based on the fact that it took me longer to read. Some might have been the writing style and some was the fact that I felt there were parts of the story that were missing that I would have liked to know.  I did come away from the book aware of J.O. Fraser's dedication to the Lisu people and the difficult task of living, working, and traveling in such a difficult area. He also felt strongly that prayer was what was going make the difference in the work. There are a number of quotes from him are prayer that personally remind me of the importance of that in our daily life.

One quote in the book that really encouraged me was, "James believed it was no more necessary to be faithful in preaching the Gospel than in doing something like washing up dishes in the kitchen. 'I am no more doing the Lord's work in giving the Word of God to the Chinese,' he wrote, 'than you are, for example, in wrapping up a parcel to send to the tailor. It is not for us, . . . to choose our work. And if God has chosen it for us, hadn't we better go straight ahead and do it, without waiting for anything greater, better or 'nobler'."

The last book on my stack of recently read books, is The Power to Save: A History of the Gospel in China by Bob Davey. The book begins with the Nestorians and some of the Catholic mission work. That is just given as background and the book is clear that Catholic and Protestant are not the same. In September 1807 is when Robert Morrison arrived. The book continues giving various key people and events in China both with missionaries and with the Chinese believers. This book condenses almost 200 years of history into about 300 pages. It is a good overview and history of missions in China.

Yes, there is a Chinese theme to what I have been reading. These are just various books that I picked up to read. These are just my comments on what I was reading. I was invited to spend time in the CIM archives and do more reading. I realize the sacrifice, the dedication, and the love for God and the Chinese people that so many of the early missionaries had.

Just sharing a bit of what I have been reading. We have another flight this week. I guess I will need to find a book or two to read though it is not as long of a flight.

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  1. Have you read "A thousand miles of miracle in China"? This is a story of a missionary family at the time of the Boxer uprising. It is quite hair raising in parts and kept me awake, at night, to finish.

  2. Thanks for the recommendation, I will look for that book.

  3. Love the book reviews, Beth. Saying a prayer about your upcoming travel this week.



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