As a practicing Christian I like to read Christian literature to help with the growth of my faith and to hear what other Christians have to say. I also enjoy memoirs. So when I saw inspirational, memoir Face to Face with Jesus by Samaa Habib and Bodie Thoene; I just had to read it.
This memoir begins one sunny, autumn morning. Samaa, her sisters and many of her friends have gathered for morning worship at their church. When suddenly the joy and peace is shattered by an explosion. A bomb had been left, in a rucksack, in the midst of the congregation. Samaa is shocked but unharmed so begins to help evacuate people from the building. While helping others she leans on a fire extinguisher, which is concealing another bomb, and there is another terrifying explosion. This is when Samaa has her face to face experience with Jesus.
We are then taken back in time to when Samaa was born, who was originally named Mariam. Samaa is, the youngest child, born into a large, traditional Muslim family. During her childhood the country is thrown into chaos due to a bloody civil war. It was a little annoying we are never told what country this is. Only that it is a Middle Eastern country which had been under Communist rule. I didn’t really need to know but it did leave me trying to guess. To protect herself in this turbulent times Samaa takes free Taekwondo lessons from a Christian group. It is through this group that Samaa came to convert from Islam to Christianity.
This is a very honest memoir, with a simple and innocent style to it. Samaa is open to sharing the many miracles and blessings that came with her conversion. But also open to sharing the danger her conversion put her in. As she was born Muslim she is expected to stay in that faith. To leave it, is to become an infidel. It was heart breaking to read about the violence and cruelty Samaa and her sisters are subject to because they are women and infidels. This is perpetrated by nurses, doctors, the police, neighbours, and worst of all their own family. Yet they do not waver in their faith. Samaa forgives and prays for the very people who hurt her. I had to admire her. I wish I could be as strong and forgiving as her. I also liked how Samaa used biblical passages in her prayers and narration.
Face to Face with Jesus was a moving and inspirational read for me. I recommend if you enjoy Christian memoirs and/or are interested in the lives and faiths of the Middle East. Good read.
Thank you to Chosen Books for providing a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
Have you read this? Have you read any other books about the Middle East?