Because life moves more slowly in our small town, I have a lot more time to read than I did in the US. So, I thought I'd share with you some of the books I've read since returning to Niger. These aren't necessarily my favorite books in the world. I don't think any of them have been life-changing or earth-shaking. But if you don't know what to read next, this might give you some ideas.
The Bride Price by Buchi Emecheta. This book takes place in Nigeria and is the story of a girl who dares to fall in love outside of her caste and what happens as a result. And that's all I'm going to say, but I really do recommend this book if you enjoy reading about Africa.
I've read several books by Beverly Lewis about the Amish. This is light reading, but it does make you long for a simpler life.
Mountain Breezes: The Collected Poems of Amy Carmichael. This is a huge book of Amy Carmichael's poetry. She was a missionary in India in the early 1900's who rescued many children from child prostitution in the temples. With this many poems to choose from, there were many I didn't care for and several that really moved me. Here's one that really spoke to my heart as I've been depressed over the believers not attending services.
Not in Vain
Not in vain, the tedious toil
On an unresponsive soil,
Travail, tears in secret shed
Over hopes that lay as dead.
All in vain, thy faint heart cries.
Not in vain, thy Lord replies:
Nothing is too good to be;
Then believe, believe to see.
Did thy labor turn to dust?
Suff’ring – did it eat like rust
Till the blade that once was keen
As a blunted tool is seen?
Dust and rust thy life’s reward?
Slay the thought; believe thy Lord!
When thy soul is in distress,
Think upon His faithfulness.
Though there be not fig nor vine,
In thy stall there be no kine,
Flock be cut off from the fold,
Not a single lamb be told,
And thy olive berry fall
Yielding no sweet oil at all,
Pulse-seed wither in the pod –
Still do thou rejoice in God.
But consider, was it vain
All the travail on the plain?
For the bud is on the bough;
It is green where thou didst plow.
Listen, tramp of little feet,
Call of little lambs that bleat;
Hearken to it. Verily,
Nothing is too good to be.
Robert Whitlow writes books revolving around courts and law. The flyleaf compares him to a cross between John Grisham and Frank Peretti. That pretty well sums it up. They are real page-turners that you can't put down. I'm not sure I agree with his theology right down the line, but they will certainly motivate you to be more involved in serious prayer.
Strong Women, Soft Hearts by Paula Rinehart has also encouraged me. Here, in our situation, surrounded by hurting people with proud, hard hearts, you have to be a strong woman to survive. But to be strong often means that you harden your heart so you don't feel the pain. She shows how we need to be feeling, loving people while remaining strong. A strong woman can also have a soft heart.