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13 Books to Help You Love Your Neighbor (and grow in your faith!)

APRIL 2020

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by the EM Staff

In a season of social distancing and staying home more, you might find yourself with some extra time on your hands. While it may be tempting to fill your time with Netflix and video games, it’s important to turn away from your devices every now and then to serve your neighbors from a distance and look for ways to deepen your relationship with God.

There’s not much more important to the Experience Mission team than loving and serving others like Jesus. As we seek to continue doing this (and helping others do it!) even when mission trips aren’t currently an option, our team put our heads together on some books that have impacted their faith journeys personally. If you are looking for ways to grow in your faith and understanding of God and serving others, check these recommendations out (and maybe even order a few from your favorite online book store).

Love Does by Bob Goff

“This book, filled with humorous short stories and real-life adventures, challenges us to see every day as an opportunity to love and serve others. It's a light-hearted read to pick up for a few minutes each day or straight-through in a season when you need laughter, depth, and encouragement all at once.”
- Heather Reynolds

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer

“If you feel like you don't have enough time in your life serve others or have a deep and meaningful relationship with God, there's a good chance you're addicted to 'hurry.' This book opened up my eyes to what's possible in our lives when we get rid of the heaviness and anxiety our culture and technology has thrust upon us and, instead, embrace a slower pace of life filled with the things that matter most.”
- D.J. Morgan

Rescuing the Gospel From the Cowboys by Richard Twiss:

“Having spent so many years serving among the Diné People (Navajo) as a person of faith, out of respect for my brothers and sisters there, my heart is pointed to learn the whole of history that often remains untold in our history books especially as it relates to Christian missions. It is a painful history to be sure and one to be lamented. This book tells a challenging and beautiful story of God's love for all First Nations people from an indigenous perspective.”
- Kristy Clum

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

“Her family is Dutch and Christ-followers and they would hide Jews during the Nazi regime. This is a true story of how their faith abounds in the most difficult of circumstances. I was both encouraged by their faith and wowed by the story. Their faith and wisdom awestruck me.”
- Kelsey Bennett

Reaching Out by Henri Nouwan

"Nouwan explores his own faith journey and his pursuit of unity with God, which ultimately led him to service toward others. This timeless book (published in 1975) opened my eyes to new faith practices and the way that God sees each and every one of us. My faith journey and relationship with God has been forever changed by this book.”
- Abbie Thiebaut

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

“This book is based in Afghanistan, and provides a unique glimpse into the gender roles of society and religion- historically and current. Two women find their lives intertwined in unexpected ways, and it provides a layered reality of how we can love others well in the most unlikely circumstances.”
- Amanda Delbeke

The Broken Way by Ann Voscamp

“A beautiful book on embracing our brokenness, living with authenticity and in the midst finding deeper intimacy with God and our relationships with others.”
Kristy Clum

The Crescent Through the Eyes of the Cross by Dr. Nabeel T. Jabbour

“This book is one we encourage our teams serving in the Holy Land to read before their IMMERSION trip. It's an essential read for Christians who are trying to love their Muslim co-workers, friends and neighbors or simply for those who want to better understand the current conflict in the Middle East. It's a book that educates Christ Followers about the roots of our own faith while helping us better understand the historical perspective of others.”
- Heather Reynolds

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Gregory Boyle

”This book forces you to see every single person—regardless of where they're from or what they've done—as a child of God, holy and dearly loved. Boyle's stories will stop you in your tracks and wreck you in the best ways, and hopefully bring forth new compassion and understanding for people everywhere.”
- D.J. Morgan

Irresistible by Andy Stanley

“This is a book is about the irresistible nature of Christ and how we have strayed from his original idea of church and following him in a lot of ways and taken that irresistibility and changed it into things Christ wouldn’t want (judgment, country club nature of the church rather than loving all).”
- Kelsey Bennett

Becoming Human by Jean Vanier

“As the founder of La Arche communities, Vanier explores what it means to have a deep connection with those who seemingly have nothing to offer the world. It's a triumphant reflection on what it means to choose to "love anyway" and the transformational power that dignity can have. This book changed my attitude and posture toward loving my neighbors and my creator.”
- Abbie Thiebaut

The Lemon Tree by Sandy Tolan

“This was the first book I read about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that brought awareness to both sides of the conflict and the honest value of all the narratives there. I loved it because it helped me learn about something that I sadly had been so ignorant of for so many of my years in the Christian faith. It gives a human voice to the stories being lived in the Holy Land in the midst of fear and oppression on both sides of the barrier. It helps to give context for those who may have never considered the validity of both sides of the conflict in this very complex region.”
- Kristy Clum

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