If you’re looking for engaging food for thought that brings biblical principles into contemporary environments, here are seven books to sink your hearts and minds into this summer. The following are books written by boldly obedient twentieth and twenty-first century Christians.
Chasing the Dragon by Jackie Pullinger with Andrew Quicke
Jackie Pullinger had an appetite for adventure. As a young adult, she felt assured that God was telling her to “go,” so on the advice of a minister, she went. With a one-way ticket for the longest boat ride she could afford, she trusted God to send her where he wanted her to be. In the end, she found herself in the formidable Walled City in Hong Kong, where God blessed heroin addicts with a baptism of the Spirit that allowed them to pray through their withdrawal. The walled city no longer exists, but Pullinger and many co-workers continue to help, heal, and speak Jesus’ love through the St. Stephen’s Society that ministers in Hong Kong and beyond.
Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson, John Sherril
David Wilkerson, a pastor in a quiet country church, never thought he and his family would find themselves in the roughest parts of New York City. But when God impressed His love for young gang members on Wilkerson’s heart, he visited the city in hopes of meeting young gang members who had already been arrested for murder. This story relates examples of God’s guidance and power to bring freedom and life through imperfect people. Wilkerson’s work with New York gang members developed into the international Teen Challenge movement.
Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose
Darlene Deibler originally wrote her memoir for her sons, so they would remember God’s goodness even in the most difficult of times. Like many others on this list, hers is the story of God’s faithfulness through not only the best, but also the worst of times. It starts with Deibler’s romantic life, then moves to her introduction to missionary work in New Guinea and the trials of jungle hiking to a remote tribal village. She finishes with the unimmaginable challenges of the Japanese invasion and her internship in a women’s prison camp. Through all her adventures and trials, she was acutely aware of God’s strengthening and comfort as a parental figure.
Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis, Beth Clark
At eighteen, Katie Davis took a short-term missions trip to Uganda. The country and its people stole her heart. Since then she’s made her home there and become an adoptive mother. The book challenges and encourages readers to engage in the trials and privileges of helping one person at a time. It’s a story that reminds us of the costliness of following God and of his persistent goodness. Davis is also the founder of Amazima Ministries International that serves the Ugandan community.
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom, John Sherrill, Elizabeth Sherrill
Corrie ten Boom grew up in a simple family home in Holland, living quietly, making watches, fostering children, and meeting with neighbours and friends. When war ravaged the country, she and her family stepped up to join an underground network for hiding Jewish people fleeing for their lives. Her family was betrayed and sent to prison camps. The book records examples of living in obedience to God in peace time and war and is a testimony to God’s sufficiency in all circumstances.
The Little Woman by Gladys Aylward, Christine Hunter
Gladys Aylward felt God was drawing her to China, but in 1932, with limited financial means, and no formal missionary society behind her, it seemed an impossible task. But where God creates the will, God creates the way. This book follows her harrowing travel through active conflict in Russia, into a nation she had yet to learn the language of, but would later adopt as her land of citizenship.
In addition to being easy reads and intriguing story lines, these books focus on growing our trust in God and encouraging us to follow and love wherever he leads. Each of these autobiographies is a meditation on what sharing God’s love in practical, tangible ways in contemporary circumstances can look like.