I have been on a binge lately reading stories about persecuted Christians and missionaries. I find such encouragement for my own walk with Christ by reading how these individuals persevered in their faith in the midst of great suffering and tragedy. Recently I finished both Hearts of Fire by The Voice of the Martyrs and Bruschko by Bruce Olson. The former contains the testimony of 8 persecuted women throughout the world within the last century. The latter is the story of a 19-year-old-American who traveled to the Motilone tribe in Columbia to share the gospel with them. I highly recommend both of these books!
When Faith is Forbidden: 40 Days on the Frontlines with Persecuted Christians is another book from The Voice of the Martyrs family. Honestly, I expected the format to be similar to Hearts of Fire, but it is actually more of a devotional than a non-fiction book. Each day contains a Scripture passage that relates to the personal story of a persecuted Christian somewhere in the world. The testimonies are short, usually around 3-4 pages long. Although I would have liked to learn more about every individual, the author, Todd Nettleton, does a good job of detailing each Christian's struggle and perseverance. Their stories are followed by a brief Reflection that details a lesson from the passage. He asks questions of the reader that are bound to make you examine your own walk with Christ more closely. I'll admit I felt both uncomfortable and convicted with some of my answers. He also provides a prayer and some journaling space to reflect on your answers. There's not a lot of space to write, so if you really intend to reflect and answer, you're probably going to need extra paper. Last of all, Nettleton includes personal entries from his journal during these visits. However, many times they added nothing to the story and could have easily been left out of the book.
As with most things in life, you'll get out of this book what you put into it. If you want to learn a little about the lives and struggles of other Christians, there are plenty of stories to satisfy your curiosity and you can read them quickly. But if you want to grow deeper in your walk and know better how to fulfill the Great Commission, this is a great guide to use as your daily devotional. When persecution comes your way, you'll have a better understanding of what others have gone through and how to bear up under it.
I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.
I was gifted a copy of this book from Moody Publishers in return for my honest review.