Benefice of Bethersden with High Halden and Woodchurch

Know God, Show His Love, Spread His Word

  • The Rectory, Bull Lane
  • Bethersden
  • Ashford
  • Kent
  • TN26 3HA

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JANUARY 2019 BOOK REVIEWS

Midwife of Borneo - The True Story of a Geordie PioneerJanuary reviews
They Called Us Love - The Story of April Holden and Africa's Street Children
Dying Well - Dying Faithfully
Dream Chasers - The Journey of Nine Ordinary People Who Became Extraordinary
Baby's Special Bible
Followers of the Way - Ancient discipleship for modern Christians
Anxious Times
Take This Bread - A radical conversion

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Midwife of Borneo - The True Story of a Geordie Pioneer

by Wendy Grey, SPCK, £7.99

1959. Newcastle nurse Wendy Grey leaves her comfortable life and answers a call from people in Borneo to run a clinic in a place so remote, many there have never before seen a white woman. Until her arrival, medical witchcraft has been the norm. Nevertheless, Wendy quickly gains the trust of the locals, and they begin to flock to her for treatment. And – terrifyingly – when some require emergency surgery, she must also become anaesthetist and surgeon . . . or watch her patients die.

From treacherous journeys on land and water to tea parties with the governor; from tussles with snakes and scorpions to Scrabble with nuns; from struggling with illness to suddenly falling in love – this unique glimpse into contrasting sides of a lost colonial world is possible thanks to Wendy’s detailed diaries, written by the light of an oil lamp in her bamboo and palm-leaf house.

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They Called Us Love - The Story of April Holden and Africa's Street Children

By April Holden & Deborah Meroff, SPCK, £7.99

April Holden was told Africa would lead to her death. She went anyway.  Despite chronic health problems, she was accepted by a mission, which sent her initially to Egypt. Then she seized the chance to move to one of the toughest, most war-torn countries in North Africa, pioneering homes for street boys traumatised by war or fleeing abuse. In these loving homes, the youngsters could recover and, repeatedly, she saw miracles of provision and protection.

April returned to Britain in 2013, utterly exhausted, but was soon back in action with a new mission, working with Operation Mobilisation from a base in Zambia to train workers helping homeless children.  April Holden has discovered a strength beyond her own.

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Dying Well - Dying Faithfully

By John Wyatt, IVP, £9.99

We cannot choreograph our own death, but we can die well.  This is a book for those who are facing death. It is also for their relatives, friends and carers.

John Wyatt looks at recent trends in dying. He examines the 'art of dying', a Christian tradition from the past. We see opportunities for dying well and faithfully, real-world examples of personal growth and instances of reconciliation and personal healing in relationships. On the other hand, there are also challenges to face: the fears and temptations that dying can bring.

We learn from Jesus' example as we focus on His words from the cross. The wonderful news is that we can look forward to 'a sure and steadfast hope', the amazing hope of resurrection and its implications for our lives today. 

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Dream Chasers - The Journey of Nine Ordinary People Who Became Extraordinary

by Uta Schmidt, Lion Hudson, £9.99

Have you ever known the pain and disappointment of a shattered dream, a hope deferred, a vision put on hold? Maybe you started out with a dream in your heart, but it got buried beneath the rubble of life's challenges. Whatever it may be, life took some unexpected turns and threw you off-course.

Dream Chasers follows the lives of nine ordinary people, who overcame great hardship in order to follow their God-Given dreams. In doing so, they became extraordinary. Through exclusive interviews with these leaders, Uta Schmidt uncovered that in chasing their dreams they do not avoid life's disappointments and hardships. They endure suffering and experience crises of faith, but ultimately they find a way through.

And we can all do the same on the way to our God-given dreams. Through their inspiring stories you will gain insights into the process of becoming who God called you to be, and you will grow in determination to follow your dreams straight through the fire of transformation.

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Baby's Special Bible

by Corien Oranje & Marieke Ten Berge, Lion Children's, £12.99

Perfect for reading aloud to your baby, together you will feel the sun on your cheeks, bump along with Abraham on the camel and make music for the Lord. A shared experience that you will treasure with your baby, as you look at baby Jesus surrounded by the animals, and you are welcomed by Jesus for a blessing.

Cuddle together and feel safe as Jesus carries home the lost sheep and calms the storm. Baby's Special Bible is stunningly illustrated with high contrast black-and-white illustrations, which babies can distinguish. Older children can also share in the experience.

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Followers of the Way - Ancient discipleship for modern Christians

by Simon Reed, BRF, £7.99

One of the most pressing issues in today's church is encouraging people to become true and effective disciples of Jesus Christ. Discipleship is about connecting more deeply with God and connecting God with the whole of life, and so it is a lifelong process.

The Celtic and Desert Christians, drawing on Old and New Testament practices, taught and modelled how to do this through the practice of living by a Way of Life. By drawing together today's need for disciples and Celtic Christianity, this book inspires authentic Christian discipleship for the contemporary world.

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Anxious Times

by Carmel Thomason, BRF, £4.99

Here are 24 undated reflections drawing on a range of relevant Bible passages to offer genuine hope and encouragement in anxious times. Our fear and anxiety are very understandable, but these reflections encourage us to draw comfort and strength from God's Word even in those times when He seems silent to us. Trust and hope in God's goodness will give us strength to face our fear with courage and confidence.

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Take This Bread - A radical conversion

by Sara Miles, Canterbury Press, £12.99

The story of an unexpected and terribly inconvenient Christian conversion, told by a very unlikely convert.

Take This Bread is not only a spiritual memoir but a call to action. Raised as an atheist, Sara Miles lived an enthusiastically secular life as a restaurant cook and writer. Then one morning, for no earthly reason, she wandered into a church.

She ate a piece of bread, took a sip of wine, and found herself radically transformed, embracing a faith she'd scorned and which would lead to feeding others in a way that she'd never imagined. Sara started a food pantry giving away literally tons of food from around the same altar where she'd first received the body of Christ,  providing hundreds of hungry families with free groceries each week.

Take This Bread is rich with real-life Dickensian characters-church ladies, millionaires, schizophrenics, bishops, and gangsters - all blown into Miles' life by the relentless force of her new-found calling.