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FACING TERROR: The True Story of How an American Couple Paid the Ultimate Price Because of Their Love of Muslim People
Carrie McDonnall
Integrity Publishers
Inspirational
ISBN: 1591453437

An international relief worker and missionary since 1999, Carrie McDonnall fell in love with the Middle East and married a man with the same passion, David, in 2002. On March 15, 2004, the couple, along with three other aid workers, spent the day surveying the needs at a refugee camp in northern Iraq. On their way back into the safe zone in Kurdish-held territory, militants ambushed their truck and Carrie would be the only one to survive.

FACING TERROR, written by Carrie with help from popular author Kristin Billerbeck, recounts the harrowing events of the day that would forever change her life. But far from being a cautionary tale, FACING TERROR is a call to serve Christ wherever one lives and is, at its core, a love story --- a story of love between a man and a woman, and a story of the love those two people shared for the Arab world.

David and Carrie met in Bethlehem on New Year's Day 2000. Despite the location, it was a rather inauspicious start to their romance. Introduced by fellow "journeymen," Carrie spent the time mistakenly calling David "Nathan" and thought little about him when the holiday was over. But when they were re-introduced several months later at a sports camp for local youth, she took more notice. "There was a spark within him that just lit up the dark sky. He was genuinely warm and friendly, he was a wonderful storyteller, and he was funny. I hoped this wasn't the last time we'd met, and although I can't say my romantic pursuits were obvious, I didn't want this man just to walk out of my life," she writes.

During that stage of their ministries, Carrie was living out of a converted shipping container in Israel's West Bank and David was traveling all over Africa and the Middle East. They exchanged emails and the relationship deepened through what would become sometimes-daily missives. At the same time, both had a deepening sense of love for and calling to the Muslim people of the Middle East. "David asked what I would do after I finished my term of service in Israel. I told him that I would return home to attend seminary and then come back to the region to work among Arab-speaking Muslims. He then asked how I came to that decision. I explained that it was nothing I had decided --- the Lord had just put a passion for these people within me and anything different would mean being disobedient to Him."

She continues, "He seemed surprised to find a girl who wanted to live in such a strict culture and shared with me the experiences he had seen the girls on his team go through. David then told me of his love for Sudan and some of his adventures. He said that he too felt called back to this area, but didn't know exactly where --- just that it was with Arab-speaking Muslims."

The couple spent two years getting to know each other, and FACING TERROR follows what each of them were doing in their individual ministries as they grew closer and closer to one another. Of primary concern for both of them was that their desire for each other not usurp the call each of them felt to mission work, so they took their time before making the decision to marry. Once they did, in Texas, the couple put their energies into getting back onto the mission field, and the book provides an engrossing account of the days that lead up to March 15, 2004.

Carrie is inspirational; there's no two ways about it. On top of losing her husband and three dear friends, her own body was gravely injured in the attack and she's had to undergo multiple surgeries to restore all that can be restored. And yet, there is a glow in her face, in her eyes, that reflects a passion for Christ that pain and suffering can't diminish. I saw it when I met her in person last summer, and I can see it in the pages of her book.

"I live my life without David, but am grateful for the time I had with him," she writes. "The world is not our place of rest; it is a time to work and follow hard after Jesus. When we get home, we can rest. But for now, God is calling his children to share the gospel of the cross, the power of our Holy Father; it's time we obediently follow Him. May we all live our lives in a manner worthy of the calling we have received in Christ Jesus. May we live lives we will never regret." Amen.

   --- Reviewed by Lisa Ann Cockrel

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