Comments from recent presentations:
I just wanted to let you know HOW IMMENSELY grateful we are for your visit to UF last week. 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.
Our group was really blessed by your experiences and presence here with us. So great to see where God has taken you! -Time Luepke, Rwandan Anglican Church, D.C.
The ten suggestions for practical activism were really helpful. Several of them were things that get overlooked in other books or information but made a lot of sense–such as developing practical skills. The slideshow was gorgeous. -Melissa Sakow, Gordon College Human Rights Week Coordinator
It was humbling to get to listen to your presentation. 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. Thanks a lot for sharing with us your amaizing stories. God bless you! -Alinda Charity, Urban Promise Volunteer
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.
(From a woman working in development in Africa.) 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.
(From a friend living where the book takes place.) Thank you for bringing a fresh perspective of our area and these people and the uniquness of their situations on the one hand, but also the commonality of their place on this planet. Having lived here for a long time and knowing some of the characters, I felt extremely moved by your protrayal of their influence in our community. The chapter on Phoebe and the Emmaus Hospital was particularly emotional for me – not sure why.
I am not a religious person, and my perception of missionaries in Africa was primarily influenced by my reading of Things Fall Apart and Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible. I appreciate the respect you showed the Zulu culture and your sincere longing to understand the people and befriend them on an 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 cried at the end.
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.
I pray that your stories will stir up the compassion of many not only for those in Third World countries but also for those who live next door, for family members who may be estranged, and for the lost wherever they may be.
Awesome book! I felt like I could picture the people, their homes, the village, riding a motorcycle on rutted walkways, large green puddles with metal trips as a bridge, Glen Isla, the crowded hospital… I really, really appreciated their every day faith struggles, and your struggle to do what was right, and to serve Christ in that culture, the struggle to define Christianity in Africa, the struggle to be a friend vs. a donor, an employer, an outsider.
How exciting to sit with your book in my hands! I have read through it eagerly and quickly, marvelling at the variety of people you befriended and the experiences you had in the relatively short time you were here, confirming my opinion of you as a person who isn’t easily intimidated and can get along with anyone , intuitively understanding where they’re at, in spite of differing backgrounds.To me sharing this is the gift you’ve given us all in writing Into the Mud.THANKYOU! -A friend from Winterton, South Africa
I read over 100 pgs in one sitting!! Touching, inspiring, and a very good read.
Described in University of Wisconsin Alumni Magazine here.
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