Reading is one of my favorite things to do. I read my Bible, library books, Kindle books, study books, Readers’ Digest, old books I’ve already read–even cereal boxes. I love to read and I read every day. Last week I found one of those free ebook sites and I clicked on a book that is really worth recommending, not knowing it was a Christian book until I started reading it. I’ll Cross the River, by Hope Flinchbaugh, tells the story of two women–one in North Korea, the other in China. It’s based on truth although the people are fictional. I was very shocked to read how terrible life is in North Korea. People are dying of starvation every day as a result of the government’s policies. They are brainwashed to believe that they have it better than anyone else in the world. Some learn otherwise and try to escape into China. If caught, they are sent back to be tortured and killed. The North Korean woman decides to escape across the river with her baby and son. She has been told there are people in China who will help hide her. These helpers who risk being sent to prison are part of the underground Church in China.
The other main character is a young Chinese woman who sets out to take the Good News of Jesus to remote villages. Reading about her faith touched me deeply. She left on her dangerous journey, on foot, camping unless someone gave her shelter, and she left with no plan except the rough map that showed her how to find the villages. She literally had to trust God for every step, for every bite of food, for direction, for who to trust, and for what to say to those she met. Speaking of “the God who loves” could land her back in prison where she had already served three years for telling her classmates about Jesus. Regardless of what was going on, she and her traveling companion kept saying to each other, “We must pray.” Their dependence on God is inspiring and humbling.
As you can already imagine, these two women’s lives cross, but I won’t give away the ending as to how. If you like to read, I hope you will check out this book. It will challenge you to follow the Lord unreservedly. If the Lord brings it to mind, pray for our oppressed brothers and sisters who suffer beyond what we can even imagine.