Sarah’s Journey of Faith Vol. 2 Book Review

Water to Fire: the Prison Years 

See book details.
Sarah’s Journey of Faith Volumes 1 and 2 bear the account of a young woman’s true life experiences during the six years she spent in a Chinese prison and labor camps. This review gives details for the latter book, Volume 2. 

When Sarah wrote her books it was with a specific mission in mind. Her desire is to raise awareness of the persecuted church in current day China among the Body of Christ.  Her hope is to expose the injustice bestowed on Christian’s by the Chinese government, so that believer’s will be released from prison and permitted to worship Jesus freely. 

When I first glanced through the book I thought, “Oh, it’s another devotional and Bible study.”  Then I started to read.  Only being a few pages in I realized it wasn’t a devotional at all, but actually an unfolding of a young Christian’s life in a country where faith in Jesus Christ is forbidden. 

Although Sarah doesn’t give detailed or graphic information of her transformation or the “reality show” version of her time spent in prison, you can imagine how the events play out in your mind as you read. 

In order to understand what took place in the six year time span in prison, you need to be aware of certain cultural facts in China and the legal issues when it comes to Christianity.  There is restricted freedom of religion in that country and it is against the law to believe in Jesus Christ. 

Communist China for the most part is almost 45% non-religious, with only 8% being Christian. Those who turn from the “normal” religious customs of their nation are punished severely, tortured and sometimes even to the point of death.  They are punished for what governmental officials call “breaking harmony” in the country by following cult practice, referring to the belief in Jesus Christ. 

China is among the nations that deny the right to practice religious freedoms such as witnessing and is identified as a violent nation (and district) meaning it persecutes Christians. They commit torturous acts on the individuals until they renounce their faith in the Lord.  Sarah was one of those who received such punishment for her faith.

In the video produced by VOTM (The Voice of the Martyr) “Sarah’s Trail of Blood,” she portrays herself reenacting the events of her first arrest.  This short six minute vignette powerfully conveys what really happens in nations that forbid people to follow Jesus. I shared this on my Daily Favor blog Strings of Christmas Lights post and that I would also be adding this review to round out the article subject. 

In the acknowledgement section, Sarah dedicates the book to her mother and you can clearly see why.  Throughout the book Sarah’s mother plays a vital role in her faith, the prison years and the aftermath when she finally says good-bye for the last time before her exile from China.  The relationship between the two women is inspiring and it helps build the foundation of how God and the help of her mother were the key to Sarah’s survival. 

When I think of my early Christian years I can still see myself in various churches, praying, singing and openly participating in religious activities.  My mother’s impact on my life has influenced much of what I do when it comes to religion or my faith.  Not once have these activities led me to exile or collecting dung piles! 

Beginning Basics 

The book is set up as a thirty (30) day interactive book with each day having the reader reflect on the life lesson and ending in prayer. 

This is actually the second book in the series. Sarah’s Journey of Faith was based on the years before she came to Christ. In the first book she shares some of the background and culture in the part of China where she was raised. 

Her second bookSarah’s Journey of Faith – Water to Fire: The Prison Years” discusses her conversion and the events that took place with the government and her six prison years. 

Before we’re taken on the prison journey, Sarah gives a little more background of how her father and family responded to her conversion. The tides turned completely when she announced she had accepted Christ as her Savior.  The events she shares are heartbreaking and could easily have led her into returning to the father's beliefs, but that didn’t happen because Sarah was always mindful of what Jesus did for her on the cross. 

Make-Up of the Book 

The chapters are set up as thirty days for reading sessions, not thirty days in prison.  Daily readings aren’t very long (only a few pages), but are thought driven.  Each “day” begins with a verse to ponder as you progress through each lesson.  Most are from the book of Acts, the life of Jesus and Paul or the early church. 

They end with Sarah asking the reader a question where we put ourselves in a certain situation contemplating what we would or should do as a believer.  Following the question there is a place to write (journal) what you experience during the session or in some aspect in your own life. At the bottom of the section Sarah invites us to jot down a short prayer reflecting on what the Holy Spirit has revealed to them on that given day.  

The chapters/days are chronologically listed by the events that transpired in Sarah’s life during her prison time and in labor camps.  They are divided into sections so it’s easy to follow and understand. 

There are basically three parts, even though there are sub-categories relating to each time of imprisonment.  The first part is entitled “Called to Be an Evangelist. Here we discover how Sarah was converted to Christianity and the events that led to her being sent away from her home and family.   

In part one we learn about the activities schedule of when Sarah was sent to “Heaven School” which is a seminary college. Here is where she received her Biblical training in becoming a missionary evangelist for Jesus.  The day began for each of the thirty plus students at 5:30 a.m. with the class retiring to bed at 10:00 p.m. daily. 

Those who attend this school know it’s not like the ordinary place of higher education.  Heaven School isn’t the typical Bible college, but is a training ground preparing them on how to survive also referred to as “Preparing for Flight.” Students learn how to avoid being arrested, their escape and how to remain in faith to Jesus through it all even if they end up in prison or are martyred.

It is in this part of the book we begin to understand the secret underground house church and how much at risk the people are once they turn their life over to the Lord.  One thing in particular that I picked up on was how the believers in her village protected one another. They were willing to hide them in their “safe” homes like we read in the Diary of Anne Frank, only this is happening in the twenty-first century!  There is an unbelievable bond between Christians that I have yet to witness here in America. 

Parts Two & Three  

Here Sarah discusses her baptisms, one by water and the other by the fire of the Holy Ghost.  By day seven Sarah begins to walk us through her time and experiences that led her to being arrested and when the torture began. 

She shares how each of the three arrests were different, the time in labor camps and the pressure that came from family visitations asking her to renounce her faith in Jesus.  Sarah admits that there were times when she felt the urge to give in and sign documents by the government, but God gave her strength each time it became more difficult not to turn her back on what she had come to believe as the truth. 

Sarah begins to describe her torture and persecution for simply being a Christian.  She never thought of herself as a criminal she says, but after her arrest Sarah was shunned, abused and mistreated by her beloved family, friends and yes, country.   

We get a glimpse of what it is like in present day in China in the life of a Christian.  The secret life of a person who follows after “The Way”, referring to Jesus as the first church was recognized, when they converted.  Sarah shares daily activities, what holidays were like, secret prayer meetings, the underground house churches, the rarity of a Bible and how she hid her most prized possession (a small New Testament) on prison grounds. 

During her six years of incarceration, Sarah had many “jobs” depending on which prison she was in at the time. The harshest time was during her sentences at Lao Jiao, the worst labor camp.  The days consisted of long hours of labor, little sleep, meager portions of food and scarce medical care. 

Overview 

Reading through the book was easy, especially being in a large print font type.  It flows and even though it’s set up for a thirty day period.  The first time I read it I couldn’t put it down wanting to find out what happened next.   

Although the storyline is intriguing, full of suspense captivating us to read on, that’s not why Sarah shares her story.  The main message of Sarah’s Journey of Faith Volume 2 lies in the thought provoking questions she asks at the end of each day’s reading.  

After you read each one you can’t simply write down a few words or notes to “describe what you’ve learned” kind of things thinking you have finished the assignment.  They make you question your own life, belief, walk with God and faith to the point you want to do something. 

Here is a sample of a few of the questions in the book we are asked to answer in our own lives. 

“How hard is it to surrender (all) your possessions even when the cause is good or loving?”  This is something Sarah had to do if she was to serve the Lord.   

“Has the Lord ever taken you to a place, a situation that you felt inadequate?” 

Sarah talks about those she served with and the injustice showed them by the Chinese government.  She tells how like Joseph in the Old Testament in the Bible, she found favor in prison by the guards and inmates. 

We learn how she escapes from prison and was re-arrested, her release and final exile from China where she left everything behind from possessions to family.  The book goes on to cover how her Christian friends sacrificed for her so she could carry out her mission concerning the persecuted church in this present age. 

The First Step 

Coming to the close of the book, day thirty (30) is really the first step to an entirely new way of life for Sarah. As she prepared to embark on a world she never knew, we empathize with her envisioning what it must have been like.  I remarked to my husband that her journey reminded me of the film “The Great Escape”, when each part of the escape had to be meticulously planned and where they learned to trust people they never met. 

Sarah describes her journey and how with each encounter her trust in the Holy Spirit grew as did her faith and favor from God. 

With testimonies, new clothes to meet important people,
and a Wuchang fish, I was ready to begin my month long
voyage to America.” – Sarah 

You’ll have to read why Sarah packed a fish as I don’t want to share all the goodies of the book.  Sarah’s Journey of Faith Vol. 2 has humor, suspense, intrigue, joy and rays of hope scattered through its pages. 

Our last encounter of Sarah’s journey in China has us envisioning her standing in the train station waving good-bye to people she would see no more.  Suspense builds as we read each secret activity in leading up to Sarah’s freedom as she approaches the borders edges, crossing waters alone to a new life and country she would now call home. 

I really enjoyed this book and was enlightened to even more aspects of a believer's life in a "hostile" country. Through all Sarah has endured, she has learned that in doing the will of the Lord all a believer needs to do is simply trust Him.  He will be with you throughout the journey. 
 
 

Book Specifics:
Available in eBook and Hard copy versions.
Easy Read Large Print Softbound 156 text pages.
 


Maybe you don’t know the Living God that I know, but would like to have this kind of favor in your life also.  Click on the above tab “Tell Me” for more information on becoming a child of the Savior.

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Scripture reference was taken from the New King James Bible Version provided by Gateway Bible
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WOW Christmas CD Albums Review

If you enjoy Christian songs, you’ll love Christian Christmas music.

Each year WOW Hits puts together the best collections of songs from artists around the world for their regular albums, and a special Christmas CD.

I’ve been listening to these albums for years and really don’t have one favorite, because they’re all so good. 
Some of the old time favorites are newly recorded with the artists twist or “take” on the song.  
Each WOW Christmas CD album is noted by a color such as this "blue" Delux Edition.  There is a blue, whitegreenred and a gospel CD collection.
You’ll find that you love the new versions as well as the old ones.  Here are a some of the songs from a few of their CD’s.  Many of the songs are also available for MP3 download.

 

Wow Christmas Blue Delux Edition CBD
Sample of the songs on this set.
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day by Casting Crowns.
The Christmas Song by Francesca Battistelli
O Come O Come Emmanuel by Matt Maher
We Three Kings by Tenth Avenue North
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas by Sidewalk Prophets
O Come All Ye Faithful by Britt Nicole
Joy to the World by Chris Tomlin
The Heart of Christmas by Matthew West
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen by Hillsong
Away in a Manger by Jeremy Camp
Silent Night by Big Daddy Weave
 
 
Some of the songs you’ll enjoy on this CD are:
WOW Christmas 2 CD Set (White)
Joy to the World by Casting Crowns
Christmas this Year by Toby Mac (love this song)
O Little Town of Bethlehem by Steven Curtis Chapman
You’re Here by Francesca Battistelli
Born in Bethlehem by Third Day
Emmanuel by Christ Tomlin
Deck the Halls by Tenth Avenue North
Joseph’s Lullaby by Mercy Me
The First Noel by Crowder
Angels We Have Heard on High by Mandi9sa
What Child is This by Building 429
Jingle Bell Rock by Newsboys
O Come All Ye Faithful by Jeremy Camp
One Last Christmas by Matthew West
Hope Was Born This Night by Sidewalk Prophets
 
 
WOW Christmas (Green)
Sample of the 30 songs on 2 disk set.
A Christmas to Remember by Amy Grant
Joy to the World by Natalie Grant
Hark the Herald Angels Sing by Rebecca St. James
What Child is This by Zoe Girl
The Christmas by Newsong
I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Jaci Celasquez
Little Drummer Boy by Jars of Clay
O Holy Night by Barlow Girl
Don’t Save it All for Christmas Day by Avalon
We Wish You A Merry Christmas by CeCe Winams
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen by Bethany Dillon
Welcome to Our World by Michael W. Smith
It Came Upon A Midnight Clear by Kutless
Silent Night by Selah
 
WOW Christmas (Red)
A few of the songs from this 30 song CD.
Winter Wonderland by Avalon
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas by Yolanda Adams
Hallelujah by Soulful Celebration
A Strange Way to Save the World by 4Him
O Come O Come Emmanuel by Nicole C. Mullen
The Night that Christ Was Born by Kirk Franklin
Mary Did You Know by Kathy Mattea
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing by Donnie McClurkin
Ave Maria by Rachael Lampa
Do You Hear What I Hear by Third Day
Sing Mary Sing by Jennifer Knapp
This Christmas by Toby Mac
O Little Town of Bethlehem by Out of Eden
Go Tell it on the Mountain by Fred Hammond
O Come All Ye Faithful by Stacie Orrico
 
 
WOW Gospel Christmas CD
Recoded by various gospel singers for this special gospel Christmas 30 song album.
Do You Hear What I Hear by CeCe Winams
O Holy Night by Smokie Norful
His Name Is Jesus by Fred Hammond
Go Tell it on the Mountain by LaShun Pace
The Little Drummer Boy by Darwin Hobbs
O What A Night by Richard Smallwood
God Speaking by Mandisa
Joy to the World by T.D. Jakes
It’s Christmas Time by Juanita Bynum
Holy Holy Holy by Kurt Carr
O Come by Israel Houghton
This Christmas by Kierra Shead
The First Noel by Aaron Neville
Lamb of God by Nicole C. Mullen
Give Love on Christmas by Myron Butler & Levi
How Great is Our God by Dijon
Sweet Little Jesus Boy by Take 6
For Unto Us by Bebe and CeCe Winans
What Child is This by Shirley Caesar
Born to Die by Hezekiah Walker
 
Songbook by Word Entertainment
WOW songbooks allow congregations to sing the songs you love in church without wondering if you're breaking any infringement laws. Use the songbook for church services, sing-a-longs or for use in your own home.
The WOW Christmas (Blue) Songbook includes songs from the top Christian recording artists. There are 30 selections with chords for piano, guitar and vocals.
What I like besides the book has chords, is that the songs it also includes the keys that they were originally recorded in by the artist.
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Maybe you don’t know the Living God that I know, but would like to have His favor in your life also.  Click on “Tell Me” for more information on becoming a child of the Savior
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Christmas: A Season of Hope with Don Moen CD Review

Purchase A Season of Hope Christmas Album
Don and I go back at least a few decades ... well, his music and I do that is. For as long as I can remember I have been singing Christian music in church and at home recorded and written by this legendary artist.

Every year I look forward to the new music that ushers in the Christmas spirit. Last year I received an e-mail from Don Moen and Friends that offered a free download of his newest recording A Spirit of Hope.

This would be Don's first attempt to produce his own record, and with much prayer and diligence it was first released in October 2012.

As he put it for this recording project: "This time, I followed my heart and not my head."

Continuing in his spirit of giving, Mr. Moen gives free downloads to new releases or specials throughout the year as a gift of thanksgiving to God and to his faithful partners in ministry through prayer or support.


Why I like this CD

If there is anyone who knows how to celebrate the joy of the Lord through the message of hope, it is Don Moen. I was so delighted when this CD, Christmas: A Season of Hope was released. This music surely brings the Light of God into each heart that listens to them.


When listening or watching a concert of Don's, you are always mindful that he is singing to the Lord and not trying to make a spectacle of himself or bring attention to his work. It's all about the love of the Savior. As he sings each song and invites all to share in the experience, Mr. Moen brings us into the presence of the Lord as we worship. It works for me every time!

In this particular album there are many favorites that we love such as Mary Did You Know (written by Mark Lowry) and Joy to the World, but they aren't performed as we normally would sing them. Each of the ten songs are performed uniquely and intertwined in a series of medleys that draw the peace of God near.

Worship leaders will appreciate the fact that this CD is also available in split track as a digital download from his website, with additional training resources that include charts for music, parts and vocals. It is available on MP3 as well. I love this idea, because it makes sharing the songs with the church body easier, especially if you are using any of them for special music.

The album closes with Don singing a Christmas prayer and wishing everyone a very "Merry Little Christmas." If you have never heard of this gifted musician, songwriter and singer I have included his theme song to this CD on video below. Listen to it and let me know what you think.

As Don would relay to you, with a warm heart I wish God's Spirit of Hope be full in your house this Christmas Season.

Don Moen - Christmas : A Season Of Hope
http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Season-Hope-Don-Moen/dp/B00KROSKR4%3FSubscriptionId%3D14H876SFAKFS0EHBYQ02%26tag%3Dhubpages-20%26linkCode%3Dxm2%26camp%3D2025%26creative%3D165953%26creativeASIN%3DB00KROSKR4/////////


BUY IT: Christmas: A Season of Hope by Don Moen
You can purchase the CD or just a single MP3 selection.

 May the Season of Hope bring the Lord's blessings for the New Year.

 
 
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Favored1 is on Facebook, TwitterGoogle+YouTube, Pinterest  and HubPages Articles.
Maybe you don’t know the Living God that I know, but would like to have His favor in your life also.  Click on “Tell Me” for more information on becoming a child of the Savior