I just finished reading Safely Home, Randy Alcorn's novel about the persecuted church in China. As most novels are, this one is about so much more than one thing. In addition to an American's slow realization that life in China is not always as the government portrays it, Alcorn's novel is also about the reunion of two old college buddies, the breaking apart of a marriage, and as most good novels are -- a person's discovery of a part of himself that he didn't know existed.
Several people commented about their love of the book when they saw the book on my Nightstand list last month or in my "Currently Reading" section on my sidebar. It took me a while to get into it. Li Quan and Ben Fielding had been roommates at Harvard. Li Quan had returned to his humble roots in China and Ben Fielding had become everything that he wanted to be in the business world. They lost touch, but Ben Fielding regained contact with his old roommate as he planned a long visit in China in order to do market research for his company.
I enjoyed watching the story unfold, predictable as parts of it were (Ben Fielding coming to realize how far off the path he had strayed, and Li Quan having to prove his faith again and again). One part of the book that I didn't particularly feel was well done was the interaction of those in the spiritual world. I definitely believe in a Spiritual Realm that is active, however I think that this could have been left to the imagination. I found it to be distracting. I think that the end of the book, left as is, could have accomplished the author's intent there.
However, it did make me think hard about my impression of heaven and what a perhaps different reality is, which I'm sure was the author's intent.
A friend lent this book to me because Terry and I have recently begun working with the international students at a local university. Our church as well as a couple of others in the community provide a meal each month as well as other activities to help ease the transition for these students who are mostly from Asia (China primarily).
I had been wanting to learn more about their culture, and since most of them are not Christians, I don't think that this is the culture that they've experienced, so I'd actually still love any recommendations of novels set in contemporary China.
Today our church recognized the International Day of Prayer for the persecuted church. My experience with the novel made it even real to me, so as I finished reading it this afternoon, it was with the reality of the risk that so many take to follow Jesus heavy on my heart and mind.
At the end of the book, Randy Alcorn disclosed that the proceeds from this book go towards funding the persecuted church as well as providing Bibles for those who have a hard time getting them.
I will also match any of my associates earnings from any sales of Safely Home via my links here in this post (a few cents per book) and donate them towards the same cause.
Have you read this book? How did it affect you?