At the conclusion of my junior year in college, I studied abroad in Moscow, Russia. Despite the fact that at the time, Russia was safe, to my parents – who came of age during the Cold War – Russia was a very scary place. The idea of their daughter going there terrified them.
A decade later, as a youth pastor in a local church, I offered an international mission trip to Rwanda to my high school teens. As part of my vetting process, I talked to my colleague – who had a daughter who'd just graduated high school – in order to better gauge how parents would react to this trip. The second I said “I think we're going to Rwanda”, her mouth fell open. For her and many others, Rwanda was known for one thing: Genocide. Given this, she explained that more than any other thing, if I was going to convince parents to let their teens go on this trip with me, I'd have to convince them that it would be safe.
Because of these experiences, I was intrigued by Kate McCord's book, Why God Calls Us to Dangerous Places. In this book, Kate chronicles her experience of being called to war-torn Afghanistan and the very real danger she (and others) faced there. She also shares the experiences of others who are called to dangerous places in their own words.
In addition to sharing the experiences of those called to dangerous places, Kate also explores a theology of missions and in particular, her own question: Why does God call people to dangerous places? In a nutshell, she concludes that he does so because “sending is the heart of God, who sent his own Son into the world.” In Jesus, “He himself came to a dangerous place.” What's more, “He loves the perpetrators of violence and the victims of violence. He loves the children and the old, the men and the women, the rich and the poor.”
While Kate's book will certainly appeal to those called to dangerous places, it will also appeal to all those wrestling with what it means to follow God's call on their life, a theme that Kate explores in-depth throughout Why God Calls Us to Dangerous Places.
More specifically, Why God Calls Us to Dangerous Places will also appeal to the families of those called to dangerous places as well as to those who support them. In addition to giving such people insight into what their loved one will experience, Kate emphasizes the role families have in the sending process. She readily admits that “When Jesus called James and John, He called their parents too.” She also acknowledges, “Both we who go and those who love those who go, face the deep evil in the world and turn to God with all our human fragility.” Why God Calls Us to Dangerous Places would make a fabulous resource for families who have someone leaving for the mission field to read together before that person departs. Doing so would help entire families better understand what the other side – either the one going or the one staying - is experiencing.
For those who have served in dangerous places, Why God Calls Us to Dangerous Places will affirm and remind them of their call; For those who have never ventured further than their own city, Why God Calls Us to Dangerous Places will remind and challenge them how to support those who are sent. Either way, Why God Calls Us to Dangerous Places is a worthwhile read that will draw you into Scripture and a closer look at God's heart for those who live in dangerous places – whether those dangerous places are next door or half-way around the world.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of Why God Calls Us to Dangerous Places in exchange for a fair and honest review.