Shaping the Future: Girls and Our Destiny

by Phyllis Kilbourn, ed.

This book is for people reaching out to children and women in any kind of context.

William Carey Library, 1605 E. Elizabeth St., Pasadena, CA 91104, 2008, 295 pages, $19.99.

Reviewed by Hannelore Zimmermann, SIM’s international coordinator of children’s ministries, Peru.

This book is for people reaching out to children and women in any kind of context. What are the issues involved in preventing girls in different parts of this world from reaching their full, God-given potential? How does the development of a girl and the way she is treated affect the future of a community or a whole nation? What can Christians do to help a girl “claim her inheritance of hope”?

These are some of the key questions considered in this book. It gives a global overview of forms of discrimination and abuse—such as child marriage, exploitation, girl child labor, female genital mutilation, selective abortion, and unequal treatment in the area of education, and health—toward girl children. The reader gains an understanding about how the different issues affect the life of any child, and specifically the girl child. With stories like Toria’s, a young African mother who is loving and fighting for her girl child against an environment that interprets the birth of a girl as a disappointing event, the topic becomes alive. Examples from different continents, including Western society, help to get a deeper understanding of the complex topic. The last part of the book provides the reader with strategies for effective ministry. Here, readers find principles and guidelines as practical examples about how everyday men and women in local churches around the world can make a difference in the lives of the girls in their communities and free them to become all God intended them to be.

While the issue of the girl child is considered in different places in secular literature, this book makes a special contribution by giving a theological perspective and reminding readers that girls are precious in the eyes of God and that he has created them with a potential and a purpose for their lives. The book also helps readers to see how God wants to use them to bring healing into broken identities and wounded hearts. Many of the examples and the statistics used in this book are shocking. However, Kilbourn and her team of writers do not leave the reader overwhelmed with a sense of helplessness. Rather, it is a book that encourages everyone to get involved—by praying, by reflecting upon their own values regarding girls and women, by advocating for the girl child, and by thinking about concrete strategies to make a difference in the community in which they live and work.

Check these titles:
Miles, Glenn and Josephine Joy-Wright, eds. 2003. Celebrating Children. Cumbria, U.K.: Paternoster Press.

Myers, Glenn. 2006. Children in Crisis. Cumbria, U.K.: OM Publishing.

Copyright  © 2009 Evangelism and Missions Information Service (EMIS).  All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from EMIS. 


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