One of the things I love most about summer is the opportunity to do more adult reading. A couple of books from the summer…
THE GIRL WHO SMILED BEADS by Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil
Clemantine Wamariya was six when she and an older sister, Claire, fled their family's home to escape the genocide in Rwanda. Together, the two journeyed from refugee camp to refugee camp to refugee camp in Africa, and ultimately ended up in Illinois. This was a hard, sad book for me, but also a book that grew my understandings of the Rwandan genocide and of the challenges some of my immigrant children face.
I can't remember where I heard about this book, first published in 2012, but evidently a lot of other people heard about it too, because I was on a wait list for six weeks at the library. Goff is a lawyer, and adjunct law professor at Pepperdine University, and most importantly a follower of Christ. Goff is also the founder of an organization that fights for children's rights in countries like Uganda, Nepal, and Iraq. This book is a series of short narratives, all stories from Goff's life, and the lessons or truths he has learned from each of these times. A couple of favorite quotes…
The world can make you think that love can be picked up at a garage sale or enveloped in a Hallmark card. But the kind of love that God created and demonstrated is a costly one because it involves sacrifice and presence. It’s a love that operates more like a sign language than being spoken outright. What I learned from Randy about the brand of love Jesus offers is that it’s more about presence than undertaking a project. It’s a brand of love that doesn’t just think about good things, or agree with them, or talk about them. What I learned from Randy reinforced the simple truth that continues to weave itself into the tapestry of every great story: Love does. pp 8-9
Maybe Jesus wants us to be secretly incredibly instead. That was His plan for self-promotion. Secretly incredible people keep what they do one of God’s best kept secrets because the only one who needs to know, the God of the universe, already knows. 160
God pursues us into whatever dark place we’ve landed and behind whatever locked door holds us in. He holds our unwashed and dirty hands and models how He wants us to pursue each other. Sometimes that means picking up a phone and asking a stranger to do something crazy at first. He invites us to leave perfectly fine careers like Charlie did, and rather than having us apply for a position, He says our lives are the position. And He says to ordinary people like me and you, that instead of closing our eyes and bowing our heads, sometimes God wants us to keep our eyes open for people in need, do something about it, and bow our whole lives to Him instead. 181