by Joy Loewen
Loewen’s purpose in writing this book is to encourage the Western woman who wants to get beyond fear to learn to love Muslim women, be at home with them, and share the love of Jesus.
Chosen Books, P.O. Box 6287, Grand Rapids, MI 49516, 204 pages, 2010, $14.99.
—Reviewed by Mary Ann Cate, mentor and trainer in ministry with Muslim women at Christar.
Joy Loewen combines her knowledge of Islam with personal stories from her rich experience of over thirty years making connections with Muslim women in a variety of countries. Her boldness in approaching women in the context of their daily lives with the gospel contrasts sharply with her early fears of foreign cultures, God, and death. Her triumph over fear leads her to speak to the ongoing uncertainties many westerners still have of Muslims in spite of a greater knowledge of those who come from this faith bloc. Stereotypical ways of seeing Muslims (such as all of them being terrorists) may keep Christians from extending hospitality and God’s love with refugees, Loewen suggests. But God has brought them to us and we mustn’t miss the opportunity to lovingly share Jesus.
Currently living in Canada, the author encourages Christian women in the West, in particular, to reach out to our veiled sisters who share our homeland but don’t feel at home here. Her purpose in writing the book is to encourage the Western woman who is still afraid but wants to get beyond fear to learn to love Muslim women, be at home with them, and share the love of Jesus.
One of the strengths of the book is the way Loewen weaves common cultural practices (e.g., weddings, arranged marriages, occult arts, community pressure, fasting, and coverings) throughout her stories so that those not acquainted with the customs of Muslims become more familiar with practices which appear very strange in the West. Primarily cast in the homes of friends she meets through English classes, Loewen seeks to share Christ in the context of their lives. A conversation on the importance of virginity at marriage leads to a discussion of contractual marriage versus covenantal marriage. A discussion of babies and motherhood (from which many Muslim women find their sole value) leads to a discussion of Jesus, our treasure.
When talk of the Muslim woman’s covering, hijab, comes up, Loewen turns the conversation, saying, “Wearing a chador may cover our bodies, but it doesn’t cover our hearts—which God sees” (p. 118). Bathed in love for her friends, a desire for them to share heaven with her, cultural sensitivity, and awareness of the spiritual battle she and they face, she perseveres, seeing some join her in the kingdom, and others perhaps still on the road. She envisions for the reader the joy of seeing multitudes of Muslim believing women around the throne of God, dressed in his righteousness, worshipping King Jesus forever.
When asked by curious Muslim women, “What do you do, Joy?” she answers, “I help prepare people for the next life” (p. 16). May that be our passion.
EMQ, Vol. 46, No. 3, pp. 382. Copyright © 2010 Evangelism and Missions Information Service (EMIS). All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from EMIS.