Book Review - Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God (and other missionary biographies)


Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God is a book I return to often and one that I eagerly recommend to other women when they ask for nourishing book ideas.  The author, Noel Piper (John Piper’s wife), tells the stories of five “ordinary women [who] had an extraordinary God who enabled them to do extraordinary things.  And he’s the same today for us” (11).  

Noel tells the life stories of these faithful women who live in six countries over a span of 250 years.  The women are Gladys Aylward, Lilias Trotter, Esther Awn Kim, Sarah Edwards, and Helen Roseveare.  We hear about their very ordinariness: their weakness, their doubts, their physical limitations, fears, and frustrations.  Noel draws us into their daily lives and their inner thoughts.  As the reader we become firsthand witnesses to God’s extraordinary work in their ordinary, but faithful lives.  Truly, each woman’s story is heroic. 

I have read this book alone and in groups, out loud and to myself.  It’s a work that spurs deep thinking and soul searching.  It testifies to the goodness of our God and his ability to carry out his will through us, ordinary and often weak vessels.  I love reading missionary biographies like these, because they remind me of our the nature of our God.  I think such stories are ideal nourishment for the soul, as they remind us of what’s true.  They are invaluable sustenance for any reader.  

Lastly, missionary biographies are an excellent resource for children.  This particular book would best be reserved for a teen.  But when I am asked by other parents what they should be reading or providing to their children, I always say missionary biographies.  Such stories will shape their children’s faith and image of God.  As we see what our extraordinary God can do through our faith, we are moved to trust and take action when he calls.  I happily and heartilyrecommend this book and other missionary biographies.

The series "Christian Heroes, Then & Now" is an excellent resource for kids!