My rating: 4 of 5 stars
While the book may be published, the journey itself may never be over. This book is about Steve Peifer, former middle-manager in corporate tech America, who ventured beyond his comfort zone. Both him and his wife were expecting child. During a medical visit, they were informed their soon-to-be son had trisomy 13 and would not survive. Instead of seek an abortion, they determined to carry the child to term and as a result, had a son for eight days, before the child’s unfortunate, yet expected, death.
To help cover the pain, Steve and his wife journeyed to Africa for a one-year mission to help the hurting people there. While it was not a goal of Steve to be in Africa, his wife longed for the experience, and so they went. Ten years later, this book was published to tell of their experiences in Africa since that time. To quote Steve at an awards ceremony for their work, “Africa gets under your skin and won’t let go.” Steve was transformed by a simple visit, from ideal American life to the mission field. This book, by Steve himself, captures the hearts of those who read it and draws them into the field as well. It’s much like the land, in that regard: infectiously addictive.
When I was contracted to review this book, I asked my wife to read it and I would hold a guest review for her. Instead, these are my words, at no offense to her. This book is one to inspire missionaries, and my wife has always had a missionary’s heart. Her inability to pick up the book, however, is not because of that, but because of the part of her heart that is a mother and not wanted to feel the pain of the lost son. That said, I can totally understand: Steve writes very convincingly and openly. Such said, while this book may be perfect for ministries, it may not be perfect for those with small children in their lives. It is a heart-wrenching tale that brought them to their point, but also a solid point as well: G-d takes the broken hearted, heals them, and uses their wound to heal others as well. In reviewing this book, Steve has a detailed accounting of their work, both successes and failures, in Africa. From providing lunches and improving attendances in schools to teacher strikes and the murder of replacement teachers, Steve shares it how Africa really is. This isn’t the typical missions report at the local church (condensed with highlights of successes, requests for more funding, just a general overview) – this is a missions ledger.
For those considering missionary work, this is a good book to read before you go. Consider it a primer on missions work. While I may not be the right one to enjoy the book, as it is not much traditional read, I do admit this: Steve tells it like it is and does so unapologetically. It’s a great book in that regard.
View all my reviewsDisclosure: I have received a reviewer copy and/or payment in exchange for an honest review of the product mentioned in this post.