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5 Stars Out Of 5
November 9, 2014
Wherever the River Runs is the recounting of Kelly Minter's travels to the Amazon Jungle. The idea of going to Amazon was first planted in her mind by John Paculabo, the founder of Ray of Hope and Managing Director at Kingsway Distribution. The book is a memoir telling about the travels of the author to the Amazon. She went to Brazil seven times, each trip adding a new perspective to the work she is to do for the poor abroad and in her community. It's a great lesson and reminder for the reader as well.
I really enjoyed reading this book. I personally enjoy reading memoirs, but this one was a bit different. I don't recall having read (or not that many) memoirs of people who were missionaries, so this one was a fairly new reading experience for me. I am sure the writer wouldn't call herself "missionary" in the traditional sense of the word, but she kind of was. For several years, she and a group of people spent a week in the Brazilian jungle, on the Amazon river, helping and ministering to the people living along the river.
This book, beyond the easyly read style, yet very engaging, was eye-opening for me. I kept highlighting a lot. Everything she said rang so true and it hit close to home. Basically, it was her telling the reader how the ministry of Ray of Hope helps those less fortunate. The stories and the people she tells about give a new perspective on how Christianity is more than a nicely boxed theology, how Christ-following means living it daily, not just talking about it. What I would have loved was probably a bit more about the specific work that goes on when the team is not visiting the country, and how the things are kept working smoothly. This was probably left out because the behind the scenes mechanism is usually not that entertaining. For those interested in helping the ministry, Justice and Ministry Amazon is now the one carrying the legacy started by John Paculabo, and their site offers info about the ministry and ways to get involved.
As I said, I enjoyed this book tremendously. Minter's style is great, in my humble opinion. This is her first book I've read, but now I'm ready to try some of her other writings as well. I think what I really liked about her was her willingness to be honest about her shortcomings, quick to acknowledge that she's still a work in progress, that there is still a lot she must learn. She's also funny, which is always a plus in my book. All in all, this book has been a great read.
I requested this book via Net Galley from David C. Cook for review. All thoughts expressed here are my own.
Kelly Minter took me on a journey down the Amazon river I will not soon forget.
Wherever the River Runs kept me reading late into the night and during lunch breaks at work. Minter had me laughing out loud, feeling convicted, and wiping away tears falling down my face. She shares her story of how God took broken dreams and a struggling music career to only take her on a journey of a lifetime.
God tossed her into a double-decker boat called "The Discovery" where you string your hammock up and settle in for a ride down the Amazon river. Here God introduced her to pastors who traveled all day just to share the good news, a pastor who lives in a house that floods half the year just because there are people there and many women who have lived a life of hardship. When Kelly asked one woman how she survives the difficult days she replied, "I don't know, I guess I don't have any difficult days."
I don't feel called to stop everything and head for the Amazon, but this book is convicting and renews a person's passion to share the good news. I love Kelly's authenticity throughout the book, she does not sugar coat her adventures. God does amazing size God work.
I strongly encourage you to read Wherever the River Runs by Kelly Minter.
This book contains fascinating true accounts of Kelly Minter's experiences on trips she made to South America. Little did this Nashville author know that when she signed with a Christian record label, she set in motion events that would ultimately lead her to the Brazilian Rain Forest. The head of the record label had a heart for the native people, sometimes called the forgotten people, who lived by the Amazon River. He encouraged the artists to go with him to see for themselves, and to lend a helping hand.
Kelly found the rain forest was hot, humid, and uncomfortable. The people were poor, living in desperate conditions. However, the Amazon River itself was so spectacularly beautiful that it was awe-inspiring. It was also filled with deadly creatures such as piranhas, caimans and anacondas. Kelly, along with the group she came with, would travel down that river on a boat called the Discovery. It would take her to places that would change her life.
She met many of the local people, and saw first-hand the challenges they faced, and their struggles. Often the pastors in the jungle were some of the poorest people. Many had just one set of clothing. Some had no place to live so took refuge in the church if they were lucky enough to have a building. If not, they made do with a hammock strung between the jungle trees. Yet these ministers were happy to do God's work, and joyfully talked about their lives.
After her experience in the Amazon, Ms. Minter's return to Nashville made her view everything with new eyes. Not just the obvious excesses that many Americans are blessed with, but the simplicity of faith the jungle people have. Her trip changed how the author lived, and worked among those around her in this country. She stepped out of her comfort zone to do things she might not have done before. She also wanted to return to the jungle again, which she did.
Ms. Minter's writing makes you feel like you are in the canoe with her as it makes its way down the Amazon, or inside one of the hot, humid dwellings along the river. Her words clearly give the reader the sights, smells and tastes of her travels. Not everyone will get the chance to go to the Brazilian rain forest or have the adventure of floating down the Amazon, but with this book, you will get the next best thing. I highly recommend this 5-star book to anyone who likes true stories, is interested in foreign lands, or just enjoys good writing.