Awaken your Faith! My review of "Behind the Veils of Yemen" by Audra Grace Shelby
Publisher: Chosen Books
Publication Date: September 1, 2011
Book Synopsis as provided by the publisher:
Women began to arrive in the entry hall, peeling away their black outer coverings. I watched in amazement as shimmering bodies emerged from the black shrouds. One woman sparkled in a purple silk caftan, her arms gleaming with gold jewelry. I smiled to myself. If people only knew what was under those veils. I looked at their faces, artfully painted with makeup, not at all how they appeared in public: dark eyes in narrow black slits. They were like the beauties of Arab folklore. I was awed by the transformation.
With only prayer and a faith that always seemed too small, Audra Grace Shelby departed with her husband and children on a one-way flight to Yemen...deep into the heart of conservative Islam. With honesty and passion, she shares her harrowing journey as a Christian woman thrust into a culture dangerously different from her own. From the friendships she forged, to her gnawing doubt and fear, to her offers of hope when her new friends' religion failed them, she gives us glimpses of a world most have never seen: behind the veils of real Muslim women--and how the grace of God touches lives in the midst of an Islamic stronghold.
I will be the first to admit that I prefer a good fiction novel to a non-fiction book. But something about Behind the Veils of Yemen called to me to choose it first from the stack of books sitting on my desk waiting to be read. I am so glad I picked it up, as the author's heart-felt, grace-filled writing captured me from the first page. Shelby's book is unbelievably moving, a very well-written account of a true story that has the potential to change lives. I got so wrapped up in the story that I read it in one sitting!
What I appreciated most about this book is that the author does not attempt to hide behind religious platitudes, doesn't attempt to pretend to be the "perfect" Christian who is untouched by earthly worries. Instead, her writing is honest and raw, and reveals the depth of the emotions of her heart, her struggles to believe in moments of crisis but also the triumph of God's grace and the power of the name of Jesus. The truth contained in the pages of this book will need time to mull over, to think about what God is trying to reveal to us personally through it's message. And it would be impossible to read this book without coming away with a new appreciation for those living in Muslim countries, people like you and I, people desperate to know that God loves them and that his love is not dependent on their own actions.
I love what the author writes near the beginning of her book, where she states about God that "He had chosen me not because of who I was, but because of who He is". Now, there is a God worth serving, a God who loves us just the way we are, but who doesn't leave us there either, a God who chooses to use us to change the world, even when we don't deserve that honor. Thank-you Jesus!
I highly recommend this book and give it 5 out of 5 stars. If you don't plan on reading anything else this year, please do read this book!
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Chosen, a division of Baker Publishing Group.