Beyond the Rapids: One Family's Triumph over Religious Persecution in Communist Ukraine
Living Your Faith
What an amazing book! Once I picked it up, I could not put it down. It is a rather fast read, and written as though you are standing there with them. The most amazing thing is that it is a true story!
The book takes place in the Ukraine beginning in the 1930's and ending in the present.
This the Byrnza families story. Beginning with the Reverald Alexei and his wife, Valentina, their children Yakov, Viktor, Lena and Veniamin. We travel with them and their many trials. First and foremost they are Christians, and have learned that there is a high price to be paid for being one.
Each of the children tell the story of their lives, the hardships, and the joys. We take so much for granted living in the US, never having to risk my life for my beliefs. To be a Baptist in the Communist, Atheist Ukraine, is to be a very low life. You never know when the car will stop outside your home and take you away.
Loved how people like Igor, Lena's to be husband, come to the Lord. Amazing and yet not, for we all have the chance. It is a real joy to read these stories, and realize that God is with them. He answers their prayers, not always as they wished, but he sure heard them.
Once you read this book, it will linger with you for a long, long, time. Thank you Evelyn Puerto for the gift of such a book. I am thankful!
I received this book through First Wild Card Book Tours, and was not required to give a positive review.
February 27, 2013
Great for a family to read together
This book will change the way you think about your religious freedom. In Beyond the Rapids, author Evelyn Puerto, tells the story of the Brynza family. Their life in the Ukraine is an amazing story of courage and perseverance.
I am sure most of you have read stories about people lives that are just full of dates and facts. This book is nothing like that! The children of the Brynza family help retell the story of their family. First there is the daughter Lena. She retells incidents in her life that show the faithfulness of the Lord. She shows how her parentsÃ¢ÂÂ influence changed her outlook on life and her future relationship with the Lord.
The oldest child of the Brynza family, Yakov, also retells events that helped shape his future. He recounts the prayers of his mother that kept him safe and many different times he felt the Lords presence with him. Both other sons and the son in law also retell events that shaped their future.
Through this book you will see how the father, Alexei Brynza, was a real man of God that stood for what he believed in during some tumultuous times. Through is wife, Valentina, you will be encouraged that prayer does work. You will learn through the stories of the children what faithful, loving and Godly parents they were.
The Brynza family story is one that will encourage you daily. No matter your circumstances or family situations you can remain faithful to the Lord and his Word. They were not a perfect family or one that did everything right but they remained faithful to the best of their ability. The Lord rewards those that follow him and this book tells the story of a family that deserves to be admired. May we all remain faithful and pass on to our children the legacy of the Brynza family, living for the Lord no matter our circumstance.
I would highly recommend this book for families to read together. This would be a perfect family devotional book for parents with Jr. High and High School age children. There is much to be discussed and your family will grow together and in the Lord as you follow the BrynzaÃ¢ÂÂs family struggle to stay true to Him!
I was given this book to review.
March 1, 2011
An amazing book on faith and persecution
It is rare when a book so effects me that when it is over I feel like I have been on an emotional journey. So is the case with Beyond the Rapids by Evelyn Puerto. This amazing book chronicles the persecution of Alexei Brynza, his ancestors and his immediate family due to the fact that they were Christians. Their story in any telling would be incredible, but the manner in which Puerto tells it, just makes it that much more affecting. Each chapter is told to Puerto by a member of the family. Now using this type of structure presents several potential problems, not the least of which is risk of a lack of fluidity in the narrative. In the skillful hands of Puerto this never happens. Each chapter you truly feel like you are sitting next to the family member hearing their story and the words just flow so well you get lost in them. Plus it is utterly fascinating to hear the story told from so many different viewpoints. Just a magnificent job by Puerto and all those who assisted her, of whom she graciously gives credit.
What I also really liked about the book was the way Puerto had Alexei Brynza's daughter Lena use the first several chapters to give background history on her father and mother's family and struggles. This really set the tone of the story and kept things very much in perspective. The chapters on The Great Terror and famine are horrifying. There are so many memorable people in this book that you will never forget them. One is Lena's husband Igor. His chapters on how he courted Lena are just stunning. Of course this book is not merely a romance but a real thriller through the history of communist Russia and the struggles believers endured just to practice their faith. The frightening elements, such as the abuse heaped on them by neighbors , are needed to paint a picture of how deep atheism was thrust down the throats of the Russian people. As a lover of history books, Beyond the Rapids really showed me an inside look into communist Russia that I never before experienced. I am heartened that not all the non-Christians are painted in one brush and this really adds to the legitimacy of the story. By the time you finish this book you will truly feel your faith strengthened.
So I give this book my highest recommendation. Rarely have I felt such feelings after finishing a book. I must again applaud Evelyn Puerto for putting into written words a story of faith that needed to be told.
October 6, 2010
I highly recommend this book. I finished reading it in nearly one sitting; I couldn't put it down! Rather than overly somber, the book is overflowing with optimism, hope, and sincerity. The narrative switches between the members of the family giving the story a feeling of memories told at an intimate family gathering and drawing the reader in. It was amazingly eye-opening to read first hand accounts of religious persecution happening just a few decades ago. It made me feel so thankful for the freedom we currently enjoy and so encouraged to read how this family persevered even when they were facing so much opposition. This story has truly been a blessing in my life.
October 1, 2010