Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Book Review: Total Abandon; The Powerful True Story of Life Lived in Radical Devotion to God

The Webster's Dictionary defines a martyr as "one who voluntarily suffers death as the penalty of witnessing to and refusing to renounce his religion." "Total Abandon; The Powerful True Story of Life Lived in Radical Devotion to God", by Gary Witherall, is the story of the life and death of Bonnie Witherall.
In surrender to God's calling, Bonnie and Gary Witherall traded the security of life in the U.S. for danger and uncertainty in the war-torn city of Sidon, Lebanon. This is the story of the Witherall's journey to Lebanon and the death of Bonnie at the hands of a terrorist gunman.

About the Author
Gary Witherall is an evangelist and speaker, continuing to travel overseas sharing Christ and challenging God's people to live totally surrendered to Him.

The Story of a Young Martyr
Gary Witherall understands what "total abandon" really means. He tells how he met his future wife, Bonnie Penner, while attending classes at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. They both felt the call of God on their lives to serve in the mission field.

Gary and Bonnie were married in April of 1997. After their marriage, they moved into a comfortable home in Portland, Oregon, and went to work in the debt collection department of a bank. Three years passed and they became supervisors at the bank but they were not fulfilled.

They both felt a burning desire to follow God's call to the Middle East to minister to Muslims in Lebanon. They realized what every missionary must realize: You have to die to yourself.

You have to be willing to say over and over, "Yes, Lord. Any time, any place, whatever you want, including dying." He says, Go. And we go.
Bonnie Witherall was working at a clinic for Palestinian women on the morning of November 21, 2002. She opened the door and a gunman shot her three times in the face. She died at the scene.

My Thoughts
This book is heart-wrenching and poignant but also inspiring and challenging. The Witheralls were passionately on fire for the Lord and followed His leading to the Middle East.

I think the author did an excellent job describing what it is like to be a missionary in a place where you don't know the language, you have no friends and you have to build a life from scratch. Well, they actually did have a friend and that ONE friend made all the difference in the world. The Witheralls were never alone because Jesus Christ was with them.

Mr. Witherall shared the grief that he felt in the days, weeks and months that followed his wife's murder. He has survived the pain and heartache of this tragic event and continues to surrender his life to God's service.

My Rating: 5 Stars Out Of 5

FYI ~ The minister of my home church, Pastor Dale Inman, highly recommended this book and let me borrow his personal copy. Pastor Inman has gone on numerous mission trips to the Mideast and continues to be active in this ministry.

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