My mom was an MK (missionary kid), and I grew up on missionary stories. The miracle stories you find in books, yes, but also the down-to-earth, “this is what it was like growing up under a microscope” stories. And some really good karaoke impressions too. I love a good missionary story. Fiction or non-fiction. Janette Oke’s The Calling of Emily Evans is one of my favorites. So a book about a young couple on the mission field in Nigeria? Had to read it.
This post was originally shared on the Real World Bible Study Blog.
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I had mixed feelings about Hannah Claire’s Wilderness, but at the end of the night, I was glad I read this fictional missionary story. On the one hand, Hannah Claire’s attitude really annoyed me. And on the other hand, should she have really been on the mission field? I have an opinion about this: If you’re called to missions before you marry, you shouldn’t marry that person unless they share your call. Why? You don’t want to put yourself in the position of having to choose between God and your spouse. If you’re called after you marry, it should be something you’re in complete agreement on, not just acceptance of. God will call you both. It may take time. So when Hannah and David are on the other side of the world from home, in 1970, without the closeness of family or the conveniences of home or even the assurance of safety, and Hannah really doesn’t want to be there…it’s both of their faults, really. But Hannah is so young and immature and fearful, and David has his head in the clouds.
I also had some theological challenges, though they were pretty minor. For example, Hannah is miraculously able to speak the languages of the people around her, permanently it seems. I believe God can totally do that. I also come from a Pentecostal background, where people do speak in tongues. And in the early years of my denomination, we sent missionaries on the field expecting that they would be able to communicate the gospel through speaking in tongues.
And then we started sending them to language schools. It seems that while God can totally do that, he often works through teachers, relationships, and a crazy amount of hard work instead.
That being said, as much as Hannah annoyed me, at the end I was glad to have seen her wrestling and her struggle, because the transformation is so real and evident. What else did I like? That kid is adorable. I liked seeing God’s miracles in the form of supernatural language ability, dreams and visions, healing – we forget that God still works that way. I think he does so even more where people will be receptive to it! I was convicted by the time David (and later Hannah) spent in prayer, and the result it had on their lives.
There was one other thing that bothered me. It had to do with how Muslims were described. The thing is, it was very accurate to how most people would have felt in that time and place. People were hurting because of what radicals who identified as Muslims had done, and they lived and spoke in fear. But my Muslim friends are the people of my heart, and what I read could be hurtful. What I read about what Muslims believe, too, was accurate to what people thought (and many still think!), but not in line with what many Muslims believe. Hannah has one potentially positive encounter with a Muslim woman, but I would have liked to see more to counter the stereotype that this terrified young woman believes. Could this story have been written in a way that was faithful to the historical aspect of it but left more room for redeeming that view? Perhaps. But I wouldn’t expect most people to jump all over this or be bothered by it. I have a trained eye for this kind of thing.
Overall, yes, I would recommend this book, even with the things that were a little off-putting. Hannah’s attitude annoyed me, but what about my own? What do I need to give up and trust God with?
Hannah Claire’s Wilderness is on Tour with Celebrate Lit
About the Book
Author: Caryl McAdoo
Genre: Christian Women’s Fiction
Right after she marries in 1970, love carries Hannah Claire to Nigeria, following her husband David to the mission field—for only two years, she thinks. Miracle upon miracle brings five-year-old African orphan Adaolisa into the young wife’s life and she becomes a mother. Can the love for a child keep her where she doesn’t want to be? The children of wickedness threaten to make her a widow; they threaten everything, and danger abounds! Only by obedience can Hannah and her revivalist husband survive and prosper in a land torn by violence.
Click here to purchase your copy.
Caryl McAdoo prays her story brings God glory which is what she lives to do. Her award-winning, best-selling novels enjoy a lion’s share of 5-Star ratings from Christian readers around the world. With forty titles, it’s obvious she loves writing almost as much as singing the new songs the Lord gives her—listen to a few at YouTube. She and high school sweetheart Ron celebrated fifty years of marriage June 22, 2018 and share four children and eighteen grandsugars. The McAdoos live in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County in far Northeast Texas, waiting expectantly for God to open the next door.
Guest Post from Caryl
Have you ever thought you heard from God, and acted on that in obedience—oft at great sacrifice—only to doubt that you heard Him at all when things don’t go as you’d planned? Actually, everything almost goes just the opposite, and your world is turned upside down.
Did you really hear Him?
That’s what my heroine Hannah Claire faces, when a two-year stint looks like it’s turning into a lifetime commitment. Though I’ve never been abroad to the mission field, I’ve faced much the same thing as Hannah, believing I heard Him and then nothing happening as expected!
Personally, I’ve been waiting over thirty years, but have found great peace in that waiting and trusting God—knowing that He is on the throne and in control. I will never doubt that the vision He’s given, the call He’s placed on mine and Ron’s lives WILL come to pass, just as it did for Abraham.
Hannah doesn’t have to wait that long, but her experience takes her to the depths of fear and depression before she comes to know her Heavenly Father is altogether trustworthy. The Shepherd walks her through the valley of the shadow of death and makes her to lie down in green pastures. He stills the raging waters and leads her beside them.
Book three, King David’s Tabernacle, coming sometime in 2020, will bring the reward and give you glory bumps every step of the way as God makes Himself known in a mighty way, but first . . . there’s the refining. Gold is passed through the fire seven times to be purified.
Silver as well, until the smith can see his reflection. Followers of Christ are all being made into the image of God’s Beloved Son, and we can rest in the fact that He who began that good work in us at salvation will be faithful to complete it until His coming again.
I pray you will enjoy your journey through Hannah Claire’s Wilderness.
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