Well, friends, here I am again with a book that has spoken deeply to me. I feel sorry for you sometimes, because I post so many reviews…but that’s my job, and I’m not going to change that! I must say, though, this is quite easily among the top non-fiction books I’ve read this year (but you are allowed to laugh, because I’ve read four excellent non-fiction titles this year, and it would be a toss-up as to which is actually my most favorite!). I don’t know if my reading tastes have changed over the years, or if I’ve just been able to find books that really, genuinely interest me, but I’ve been enjoying a few more non-fiction titles the last few years than I have in the past—a win for me!
NOTE: Links in this post may be affiliate links. Your purchase through these links helps support the blog at no extra cost to you. Thank you! Also, I did receive a complimentary review copy of this book from Crossway Publishers. This is my honest opinion of it.
About This Book:
“All Christians should read this book.” —Rosaria Butterfield
Across the globe, the gospel is advancing through the work of Christians willing to risk everything in the hardest places.
This book, written by a missions journalist as he traveled throughout twenty different countries, is filled with stories of Christians past and present whose examples of endurance, courage, sacrifice, and humility connect readers with Gods unstoppable work across the world. These heroes are simply ordinary people who have experienced the transformative power of a Savior who is alive and moving—and their stories will inspire readers to take faith-filled risks for the gospel.
Of all the nonfiction books that I could read in the world, missionary stories and biographies are by far my favorites. I love hearing about Christian brothers and sisters from ages past—and even now!—who are seeking to follow the Lord and bring others to know His wonderful love. Last year, I read Shandong: The Revival Province by Paul Hattaway, and I doubt I’ll ever forget that moment after finishing that book when another puzzle piece to the overall picture of the Church was snapped into place for me. It’s so precious to see how Jesus has worked and is working! And that’s why I keep my eyes open for other books along the same lines—so when I saw A Company of Heroes available from Crossway soon after I completed another review for them, I knew I wanted to read it, as well! I’ll share a few of my favorite quotes as we go, too.
“He said that for him the only way to break fears chokehold was to pray and then go out immediately and tell someone about Jesus—and so that’s what Aaron did. In the name of Jesus, demons are cast out—and in the name of Jesus, fear is cast out too.” —Aaron
This book is set up differently compared to some stories. Told in the form of a traveling journal, we skip all over the world and meet different missionaries in their settings. The first stop is Morocco (including Peruvian missionaries!), then there are places like the Arabian Peninsula, Central Asia, India, USA, England, Indonesia, and I’m sure I’m missing a good half of them! Each story has a point—something you can take away and apply to your own life, and often something you can use when you’re praying for others you know too! I love how self-teachable the lessons are here; nothing is pulled out as an example to say “this is how you should do it!” or, “think about this point especially!”. Yes, there are those, but the main part is just the daily ins and outs of life, expressed with a love for Christ and a love for those around us.
“He who religiously obeys Mahomet [Mohammed] may yet be doing grievous moral wrong; but it is never so with the disciple of Jesus: obedience to Jesus is holiness.” —Charles Spurgeon
Four or five years ago, while I was still in school, I started a church history course. One of the required books to read was From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya by Ruth A. Tucker. She shares a lot of different missionaries stories from a very interesting perspective—not necessarily focusing on just their accomplishments, but their methods, and the things they struggled with. I found the book very inspiring and insightful. A recommended read!
Samuel Zwemer’s story is told in some detail in From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya. I’d never heard of him before reading Tucker’s overview, but his mission, goals, methodology, and results were fascinating. The part I loved about A Company of Heroes, then, was reading all these quotes from Zwemer that were highly applicable to a lot of the other content! Makes me want to go back and re-read Tucker’s snapshot of his life, as well as try to find some of his books to read. I really enjoyed having a bit of background on him when reading this book because it helped me to relate to the content a lot more. Yay for church history as a school subject!
“They have a verse of this song [I Have Decided to Follow Jesus] in Arabic that we don’t have back home: If Im put in chains, or go to prison, no turning back, no turning back.” —Tim Keesee
Probably one of my most favorite aspects of A Company of Heroes—aside from the chance to get a glimpse into modern-day missionary’s lives and struggles, of course—was the focus on missions in the difficult countries. Especially places like Afghanistan or Morocco where Muslims are the majority, and Christianity is on the edges of such societies (if not, of necessity, in hiding all together). I loved seeing how the Lord is working in such places—I’ve never heard of them as being easy outposts—but seeing His love expressed toward the Muslims through His children is very special. And inspires me to love the ones around me more, too. It’s so easy to fall into a fearful, self-protecting mindset, but that’s not God’s heart at all. And I loved the expressions of love for Him that were laid out in the daily living and sacrifices the saints of the Lord made within these pages.
“The right question to ask isn’t ‘Why should I go?’ but rather ‘Why should I stay here?’ That’s the question we really need to wrestle with.” —Danny Brooks
In all, A Company of Heroes was a great book. I loved everything that was shared in these pages, and hope I can get my own paperback copy one day. I loved being challenged to seek the Lord more and pour my life out for His sake, and how that was lived out before my eyes, so to speak, in these pages. If you wish to be challenged in your Christian walk, or want to learn more about current missions around the world, I would recommend you check out this gem!
About the Author:
Tim Keesee is the founder and executive director of Frontline Missions International, which has served to advance the gospel in some of the worlds most difficult places for over twenty-five years. He has traveled to more than eighty countries, reporting on the church from the former Iron Curtain countries to war-torn Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Keesee is the executive producer of the DVD documentary series Dispatches from the Front. Learn more at frontlinemissions.info.
What challenging non-fiction books have you read lately? Or if you haven’t read one lately, what is one that is still very memorable to you?