MONDAY MORNING FAITH
"Monday morning faith" is the kind of faith that sounds great while you're sitting in the pew on Sunday morning but seems to lose its power as the week goes on. And when a single, 40-year-old librarian falls in love with a doctor who has been called to the mission field, she will need a strong faith in God to help her make the biggest decision of her life. So begins this delightful journey for Johanna Holland and Sam Littleton as they watch God work to resolve a seemingly insurmountable barrier to their future together.
Christians sometimes seem to speak a language of their own --- not quite as unusual as the patois spoken by the natives in Papua, New Guinea but still strange to those "outside the fold." Having "gifts," "being called" and "serving the Lord" are but a few phrases that Christians take for granted, but this may puzzle those not of the faith. So when we read that Dr. Littleton has been "called" to the mission field, we need to understand that this is an undeniable desire put into his heart by God. And when Johanna Holland believes that her purpose is to "serve" her parents, she not only gladly cares for them but devotes her life to them as well.
With Johanna "serving" in Saginaw, Michigan and Sam being "called" to Papua, New Guinea --- both eager to please God by using the "gifts" they've been given --- we have the setup for a romance that seems doomed to fail. In this case it is not some deep secret from the past or any hidden motive that creates the conflict but a sincere love for one another that appears to be at odds with their love for God. When Johanna's parents suddenly decide to move into a Senior Community, it seems that the problem is solved. Now she's free to travel with Sam wherever he's "called." But instead of being happy, Johanna feels cheated of her "service."
In addition, we discover that this isn't the only problem. Johanna, like many of us, has a fervent prayer: "Lord, please, whatever you do, do not call me into the mission field. I don't want to leave the comfort and familiarity of my home for some strange and dangerous foreign land." We may not express it quite so honestly, but there it is just the same!
And in case you've never noticed, God has a sense of humor and can be a great practical joker. So before you can say adios, you find yourself in the middle of "a land that is beautiful and exotic and totally terrifying"; a hot and humid jungle filled with biting insects and screeching monkeys among a people with strange customs who chew beetle nuts until their teeth fall out. But you're with the man you've come to love and adore --- so how hard will it be to live here for a month and see if you can be a missionary wife? The answer to that question is not surprising but definitely enlightening.
Lori Copeland writes with charm, insight and a delightful sense of humor as she brings together the threads of this entertaining and thought-provoking story. She provides a realistic look into the hardships and dedication of those who answer the "call" to foreign missions. Although it repeats different versions of the same scenario as Johanna struggles with culture shock in Papua, New Guinea, MONDAY MORNING FAITH is an enriching read nonetheless.
--- Reviewed by Maggie Harding, a substance abuse counselor in Phoenix, AZ who wanted to be Brenda Starr before life intervened. She reviews for www.bookreporter.com and www.womenonwriting.com. To contact Maggie, e-mail Magster2@cox.net.
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