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MY HANDS CAME AWAY RED by LISA McKAY REVIEWED

My Hands Came Away Red
By Lisa McKay
Published by Moody Press
ISBN#978-0-8024-8982-1
389 Pages

ABOUT BOOK: Cori signs up to take a mission trip to Indonesia during the summer
after her senior year of high school.  Inspired by happy visions of building
churches and seeing beautiful beaches, she gladly escapes her complicated love life
back home.

Five weeks after their arrival, a sectarian and religious conflict that has been simmering for years flames to life with deadly results on the nearby island of Ambon.  Within days, the church building the team had constructed is in ashes, its pastor and fifty villagers are dead, and the six terrified teenagers are stranded in the mountainous jungle with only the pastor's teenage
son to guide them to safety.  Ultimately, Cori's emotional quest to rediscover hope proves as arduous as the physical journey home.

REVIEW: I’m thankful for the review copy that introduced me to Lisa McKay and this powerful story. The author notes say, “The 1999 fighting between Christian and Muslins in Ambon triggered a virtual civil war that spread to other parts of the province; the characters (in this story )were fictitious, but the violence in the Maluke Islands of Indonesia has unfortunately, been a realty for much of the past decade.”

Kyle, Drew, Elissa, Mark, Cori, Gary, Diane and Brendan meet at a missionary boot camp. The camp is meant to help them prepare for a three month mission trip to Indonesia. They had to carry all their supplies on their backs to get them to the remote location where they were to build a church. They had to get ready physically and mentally for the challenge ahead.

Mani and Tina are the first kids they met in Indonesia, along with their parents. Mani helps translate his language to English for the others to understand what is being said. He also teaches them the social rules his village lives by and their customs.

One rule the kids were surprised by and have a hard time following is the one about not touching the opposite sex in public. Cori says, “I never realized how often I touched other people, even friends, until I was forbidden to do so.”

I enjoyed this authors writing style and the transparent way she described the youth, the mission trip and this situation. It was interesting to hear each share the reason they decided to go on this mission trip and what they thought they’d be doing.

Each of the members on this mission team struggled to believe their eyes as things got crazy and life threatening. Their faith was put to the test. They started reading the bible out loud. It became important. Scripture takes on a whole new meaning as they were face with real danger.

Psalm 55 says, “Listen to my prayer, O God. Do not ignore my cry for help! Please listen to and answer me, for I am overwhelmed by my trouble….”

Cori says, “I didn’t want to be reading scripture as I was…I didn’t want to know what a wild storm of hatred really meant. I wanted to be in my bed at home, waking up on Saturday morning to hear lawn mowers going outside, knowing mum and dad were downstairs drinking coffee and cooking Saturday morning pancakes. That was the safest feeling I could think of.”

You never know what you’ll do in a dangerous situation. You’ll never know the strength, endurance and courage you have until it’s tested! Eight young adults take a trip that changes their lives forever. Their experience bonds them together and sets them on a journey they never expected to be on.

I like that the author kept it real, not graphic and did not tie everything up in a neat bow at the end. She had a satisfying ending to a story you won’t soon forget!

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org
The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com
Book Fun Magazine www.bookfunmagazine.com

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