Wednesday, 08 November 2017 08:53

Books to Read

Written by  Tim Challies
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If I Had Two Lives

by Dan Vorm


I feel like I should have been familiar with the name Costas Macris, but confess it was unknown to me until a biography unexpectedly showed up in the mail. Written by Dan Vorm, If I Had Two Lives is a stirring tale of an amazing life. I don’t know how it got to me, but I’m glad it did.

Born in Greece, Macris was raised in a Christian home, heard the gospel, believed it, and was saved. This made him among the one tenth of the one percent of Greeks who are evangelical. A man of unusual zeal, he became convinced at a young age that God had called him to missions. After attending Bible college and marrying, he took his family to the remote jungles of Irian Jaya.


His time in Irian Jaya was marked by the significant struggles and small but very real triumphs familiar to most missionaries. He was at first responsible for “station-sitting” for missionaries on furlough (including Don Richardson of Peace Child fame), then began to establish new outposts of his own. In every place he poured his heart and soul into the work and saw many precious souls come to faith. By the time jungle living broke his health and forced him to return to Greece, he left behind an organization comprised of a thriving central compound, thirty-seven school teachers, twenty-two evangelists, twenty airstrips, a three-plane local airline to serve missionaries, annual conferences, a children’s hostel, and, of much greater importance, established churches and baptized believers.


He survived the terrible illness that had forced his return, then got to work on his second great mission—reaching his own countrymen with the gospel. His nation of millions had merely thousands of believers, so he had his work cut out for him. He poured himself into this work tirelessly and, once again, experienced both triumphs and sorrows. Yet once again he saw the gospel drawing people to salvation. He died in 2006, leaving behind another thriving ministry.


There is no greater legacy to leave. For that reason alone, consider reading If I Had Two Lives. You’ll be blessed if you do.



The Waiting

by Cathy LaGrow


There are some stories that are too remarkable to not be told. This one begins in 1928 with sorrow, with tragedy:


My dear madam,

I have an unfortunate girl in my congregation that expects to give birth to a child about the end of this month. I have investigated her case and am convinced that she was the victim of a dastardly crime of assault. She comes from a good family and has been staying with relatives in Sioux City. Could you take her in and help her when her time comes? Her family is not wealthy, but they will pay whatever your regular fees are.


I must mention, too, that her people want her to give her baby away since the father is a fugitive criminal, but the girl seems rather inclined to keep it, possibly you can give them the best advice. Do you find good homes for such children? Of course, they would prefer a Lutheran home.


I would greatly appreciate an early reply.

Faithfully yours,

Reverend Kraushaar


The girl in question was 16-year-old Minka DeYoung, and as her pastor explained, she had been the victim of a violent assault. She and a friend were walking together one afternoon, when they were lured by strangers and raped. They had no categories for what had happened, for they had little knowledge of biology and not even a rudimentary knowledge of sexuality. Yet they understood that what had happened to them was shameful, so they told no one. It came as a complete shock to Minka when, several months later, she learned she would have a baby. At that time there was only one recourse for an unwed mother in respectable society—she would be sent away until she gave birth, and her child would be adopted by another family. This was done to protect the reputation of both mother and child.


Minka did not want to surrender her child. She loved her baby from the moment she learned she was pregnant. When she at last gave birth, she loved her even more. She was willing to be scorned for the sake of her daughter but, convinced that it would in the girl’s best interests to not have to bear the shame of an illegitimate birth, Minka gave her away. It nearly broke her heart.


But that is not the end of the story, of course, and that’s why Minka’s granddaughter wrote this book all these years later. For almost eighty years Minka prayed for her daughter, dreamed of her, and longed to know what had become of her. Then, in her nineties, as she watched one after another of her friends and family members go the grave, she prayed these words: Lord, I’d like to see Betty Jane before I die. And, wouldn’t you know it, a series of events unfolded that finally brought them together.


The Waiting is their story, “The True Story of a Lost Child, a Lifetime of Longing, and a Miracle for a Mother Who Never Gave Up.” It is a powerful, beautiful read and I can’t recommend it highly enough.



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