Today on the blog we have the privilege to share a book review written by Dr. Doug Priest at CMF (Christian Missionary Fellowship). Not only have Doug and his wife been friends of the Congdons for many years, CMF is an organization that Amor looks up to and respects greatly. We appreciate Doug taking the time to write this review for us.
Disrupted: Cultivating a Mission-focused Life
It was recently reported that for every one person from America who becomes a missionary for two years or more, there are sixty people who go on short-term mission trips. And every one of those people going on a short-term mission trip should read Gayla Congdon's engaging book, Disrupted: Cultivating a Mission-Focused Life.
Gayla Congdon is the founder of Amor Ministries, a ministry dedicated to loving the urban poor in the name and spirit of Christ. Amor sponsors short-term mission trips, primarily for young who visit Mexico and construct homes for people who are homeless or live in miserable conditions. She has been doing this for over thirty years, so thousands of homes have been built by thousands of short-term trips. The work of Amor has expanded to adults and to South Africa as well.
Disrupted opens with several chapters of best practices for short-term trips. These three chapters are well worth the price of the book, because short-term mission trips can be done either excellently or very badly. But the real gems of the volume are the 52 following devotionals—one a week for an entire year. These thought provoking devotionals lead the reader into a closer relationship with Jesus and answer the question of most who have come home from their short-term mission trips: "Now what do I do?" Each devotion concludes with personal and discussion questions, and each month there is a specific life challenge put forth to the reader. If one is diligent in reading, thinking, and acting, Congdon believes his or her life will be changed. I must agree. Tying the book together are stories from Gayla's life, with touching incidents, not all of them showing her at her best. She comes across as a real person, not a missionary heroine.
The book is especially helpful for those who lead short-term mission trips as it provides practical exercises and tasks that mission trip returnees can do to move into a deeper mission commitment with their life. As the church seems to be losing so many of its youth following high school, and since so many of these have been on a short-term mission trip, having worked through this volume should help keep these people engaged with Christ and His church.
Dr. Doug Priest
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