Monday, December 22, 2014

Church Behind the Wire: A Story of Faith in the Killing Fields by Barnabas Mam

Church Behind the Wire: A Story of Faith in the Killing Fields
Church Behind the Wire: A Story of Faith in the Killing Fields by Barnabas Mam with Kitty Murray

  One cannot survive the genocide of one's own people and not know something is terribly wrong with all of humanity. Barnabas Mam ''Church Behind the Wire pg. 28

  One cannot read this book and be unchanged. Although I have read dozens of books about wars, massacres and genocides, every one I read affects me as if it were the first time I realized how sinful man's heart is. This book is another testimony to God's faithfulness through times where sin is especially rampant. Chapter after chapter, I was overwhelmed by the struggles the author and fellow Cambodians experienced under the terror of the Communist Khmer Rouge regime. Most of all, I was amazed by the faith God granted his people during this horrible time. Although it sounds contradictory, considering what a hard topic this book covered, I loved reading this book. 
  To critique the way the book was presented: I assure you it is not overly graphic. I find that survivors of genocides and such are more discreet in their explanations and descriptions than other authors who have never experienced the heartache. Still, the stories are enough to bring tears. 
   Secondly, I found the format a little confusing since Barnabas Mam goes back and forth in his biography instead of just telling it from ''A-Z''. However, if you pay close attention you will not get lost as I did at one portion. 
   Thirdly, there is a lot of political history in this book which may get tedious for those who, like me, don't know much at all about Asia during those tumultuous years. I encourage you to be patient and read through those portions; you will not be disappointed!

I close with some quotes from the book: 
No political liberator, no cultural Messiah, no social savior can rescue us from the jungle we all live in. 

It is human nature to think we must have deliverance from something, when usually our souls truly need deliverance in that something (author is thinking of situations such as the genocide he lived through). page 30

...context for the believer has another dimension. Christians stand with one foot in this world and one foot in another. And that other world is our real home. Sometimes the contrast between these two worlds is especially jarring. This world is full of hate and revenge and insecurity. That other world is full of love and redemption and stability. This world hurts us. That world saves us. This world makes no sense. That world gives us perspective. But one is no less real than the other.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

More about the book: 
From the oppression and terror of the killing fields in Cambodia, this is the story of how one man's conversion led to a rebirth of faith that brought hope to a nation. Commissioned by Communists to spy on a Christian evangelistic crusade, Barnabas Mam instead discovered Jesus and came to faith in Him. After spending four years in prison camps at the hands of the Khmer Rouge Barnabas emerged as one of only 200 surviving Christians in all of Cambodia. God raised him up to became the foremost evangelist and church planter in a land broken by genocide. An inspiring story on a personal, church, and national level, this is more than a narrative--it's a blueprint for success for church growth of the most powerful kind.