Endorsements

God made the first human by breathing into dirt.  Jesus healed a blind guy by picking up mud, spitting in it and wiping it on the man’s eyes.  Jesus interrupted a death penalty case by drawing in the sand as people dropped their stones, and he told a bunch of religious folks if they want to enter the Kingdom of God they need to play in the dirt with the kids.  The Scriptures are full of stories of a God who is not afraid of dirt, who is just as likely to show up in the sewers of the slums as in the polished halls of the temples.  Christine has felt the mud between her toes and has seen God at work in the dirt.  This is a book of dirty theology.  It’s about a God who is not scared of getting dirty, and invites us to join him in the mud. May we have the courage to roll up our pant-legs and follow.

Shane Claiborne, author, activist, recovering sinner

Here’s evidence that with God’s help all things are possible. These remarkable stories of South Africans who overcome economic, social and spiritual oppression through faith are testimonies that missionary efforts are bearing incredible fruit.  Two thumbs up for a great book.”

 

Tony Campolo, Ph.D.  Speaker, professor, author.

If Jesus loved to use story in order to teach the crowds, then it is clear that Christine Jeske is surly one of his disciples. Into the Mud sings in well-written narrative the glories of God in a context of hardship and joy, suffering and victory. It’s one of those books that beg for the page to turn in order to discover what happens next. Christine walks us through the South African dust in the dry season and the mud in rainy season and in the process we discover Christ and his coming kingdom – sometimes with great challenges but often with rewarding surprises. I urge you to journey with her into the mud and straight to the heart of God.

Scott A. Bessenecker, Associate Director
InterVarsity Missions

God is calling his people to a strange joy, the kind that comes only by borrowing the discomfort of others.  Some hear the call, many do not. Christine Jeske hears it and passes it on to us in Into the Mud:  Inspiration for Everyday Activists, Stories of Africa.  You don’t have to love Africa to hear the invitation.  Africa’s stories are like all stories in the hard places.  The invitation is to accompany one another in the pilgrimage of faith.”


Michele Rickett, Founder and President, Sisters In Service,

and co-author of Daughters of Hope and Forgotten Girls: Stories of Hope and Courage.

Beautifully and engagingly written, Christine Jeske brings us deep reflections and poses important questions from the front-lines of ministry to the poor in southern Africa.  Through a series of sensitively written, engaging and evocative stories of ordinary people, a mosaic of Africa as it is today emerges before our eyes — complex, deeply Christian, caring and humane.  The key issues of mission, poverty, development and justice surface through these compelling lives.  This is a book that you must read.

Bryant L. Myers, Ph.D., Professor of International Development, Fuller Theological Seminary


If Jesus loved to use story in order to teach the crowds, then it is clear that Christine Jeske is surly one of his disciples. Into the Mud sings in well-written narrative the glories of God in a context of hardship and joy, suffering and victory. It’s one of those books that beg for the page to turn in order to discover what happens next. Christine walks us through the South African dust in the dry season and the mud in rainy season and in the process we discover Christ and his coming kingdom – sometimes with great challenges but often with rewarding surprises. I urge you to journey with her into the mud and straight to the heart of God.


Scott A. Bessenecker, Associate Director, InterVarsity Missions, Author


Africa is a rich, harsh, diverse land not made for sissies!  In this riveting book Christine Jeske invites you to experience, and possibly wrestle with, many massive burdens encountered by authentic 21st Century Africans .  With few creature comforts and minimal Western luxuries, we are drawn to the reality of living out Christ in the midst of trials, tradition and tribulation.  The “mud” of each situation forces every reader to examine the impact of God’s Living Water to cleanse, clarify and cultivate.  This is a book we should all read, it expands the mind and softens the heart.

Rona Miller, Executive Editor Christian Living Today Magazine (South Africa)

Most of the success stories we Christians tell each other are inspirational tall tales.  Even when the facts are technically true, we ministry people generally edit ourselves in such a way as to dazzle – and raise money.  So then, both the good news and the bad news is that Christine Jeske’s collection of stories about the common, un-miraculous transformations of common, un-miraculous people is both rare and remarkable.  If you are looking for some honest hope in a world full of trouble, here it is.


Bart Campolo, Author, Speaker, and Leader of The Walnut Hills Fellowship

Through raw, honest, careful and dignified re-telling of still-in-process stories of people in South Africa, “Into the Mud” shows how our Creator and Redeemer enters into the pain of people surrounded by injustice in order to provide comfort and strength as these everyday heroes encounter and embrace faith, hope and love. I was inspired and deeply moved.”

Benjamin Homan, President, Food for the Hungry

Into the Mud is an engaging picture of how to enter another culture from the position of a learner and a fallen human being but still with a view to bring about positive change.  Christine Jeske’s carefully chosen well-written stories all have lessons to be learned and are followed by questions for discussion and reflection.  I recommend this book highly for those thinking of cross-cultural ministry, be it short or long term.”

Jim Tebbe, Urbana Director, Vice President – Missions, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

Into the Mud is an adventure from cover to cover!  A young mother from Wisconsin rides her motorcycle across the South African countryside, searching for the Africa of which she had dreamed back on her college campus.  What she found instead was more than colorful folktales and exotic music – she found miracles of faith and God’s love at work in the “mud” of extreme poverty, violence, racism, and disease.  This book is full of love, hope and inspiration, and it is sure to launch a huge Christine Jeske fan club.  I’m already eager to see her next one!

Don Mosley, Jubilee Partners, Author

Jeske offers winsome, colorful exhibits of God’s grace and Kingdom movement in a landscape of globalized juxtapositions.  Into the Mud reminds us that indeed, every story is a travel story as the journey of becoming and hope are inextricably woven together in the face of everyday people.  One need not have traveled to the southern tip of Africa to appreciate a literary arousal of the senses as the author walks the reader through the social and physical topography of the Zulu nation.  Of course, if one has traveled to this mountainous region of South Africa, these stories ring with authentic detail and perspective.  A wonderful read for anyone who wishes to understand this nook of our planet or who just long to hear more evidence of God’s redemptive work in the muddy places of life.

Gary T. LaVanchy, Adjunct Instructor and Discipleship Coordinator, Wheaton College

Comments from readers:

Once I started reading, I could not put the book down.  God has used you in such an amazing way!  Your honesty and love for Jesus and all of the people around you shines through in this book.  I read the last page and said, “Bummer.  I finished it aleady.”  Tomorrow, I’m starting it over, with my Bible and journal at my side so that I can take extra time to really concentrate on the things that God wants me to hear through this book.  There are so many amazing things about this book and the things that spoke to me in it that I am speachless.  I want to run up to Sofi and Thembi and give them great big hugs.  I love how you sat on the couch with Thembi as she shared her story.  I could just picture it and how special that is between friends.  I love how this book is a witness of Jesus’ love not only for Africa but for everyone.  I love how you shared all of the different ways that God shows his love for us–not only in good times but also in bad times.  I love what Madondo says on page 100.  “God was training me to not just follow the blessings of God but to follow God.  To know Jesus–that’s a blessing!”  Reading about all of their faith even through hard times really makes me want to jump in and really get on fire for Jesus and to truly live every day for him.  I guess I’m not as speechless as I thought because now I could go on and on.

I am not a religious person, and my perception of missionaries in Africa was primarily influenced by my reading of Things Fall Apart and The Poisonwood Bible. I appreciate the respect you showed to Zulu culture and your sincere longing to understand the people and befriend them on equal footing. The chapter on Sabelo and your response to the student’s question of why you were there brought tears to my eyes.

I have just finished reading your book and I wept and wept.  I feel that you have expressed in words the emotions i have been struggling so much to understand and sort out for myself, that God has given me the answers i have been searching for for so long in what you wrote in your book.

What a wonderful book!  What an easy, accessible read. The appalling statistics are there, but they are overshadowed by the gentleness and exquisite common details you share about the lives of these precious children of God. I so appreciate your honesty and transparency. You do not romanticize, and you do not sensationalize. You simply let the truth shine through the dirt and the imperfections that only the llife of Jesus Christ can resurrect from the trials, losses, pains, sicknesses, and feelings of hopelessness. The people’s voices are simple and eloquent about that, and their lives hidden far away on the other side of the world become a testimony to God’s eternal faithfulness and goodness. What a message for our culture so often poverty stricken and lonely in the midst of plenty, even too much.

See more blogger reviews here and here.

Described in University of Wisconsin Alumni Magazine here.

Comments from presentations:

I just wanted to let you know HOW IMMENSELY grateful we are for your visit. I wish I could describe the response we had. I had people coming up to me saying things like, “I wasn’t going to come, but I’m so glad I did because this is exactly the inspiration I needed in my life right now.” We talked about your visit for several days afterwards as well. I appreciated the down-to-earth attitude and ways you connected so well with students. A couple students commented about how you made them feel like they were already friends with you.  Over all, I felt like this was probably one of our most impactful events of the semester.  

Leah Arnold, University of Florida Coordinator of International Justice Mission Chapter

The More Than Money workshop was a valuable learning experience for my students. It allowed them to think reflectively about issues of class and examine their lives through the lens of socioeconomic “hidden rules”.  The content of the workshop created great discussion within the group even after the exercise was completed.  I recommend the workshop to any leader who wishes to challenge their group’s ingrained stereotypes concerning the materially poor.”

Val Buchanan, Director of Office of Community Engagement, Gordon College

Really helpful. Several suggestions them were things that get overlooked in other books or information but made a lot of sense. The slideshow was gorgeous.  

Melissa Sakow, Gordon College Human Rights Week Coordinator

I was so glad to know that there people out there that are able to transfrom peoples lives with a lot of passion. Your stories help to show other poeple that there is a different life style out there. 

Alinda Charity, Urban Promise Volunteer

Add your comment…

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.