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Kate5 Stars Out Of 5Thrilling and fascinating storyFebruary 23, 2019Kate*I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.
Arlene's story is inspiring, intriguing, impressive, and surprising. I loved that the book started with her call to missions. I feel like not many of us get to experience such a clear call from God and it was inspiring to follow her journey. I feel like some missionary narratives are focused too narrowly on the individual, so I really appreciated learning about Arlene's family and the impact her call had on an entire community.
But for me, the best part of the book was all the stories from the Sudan. I was frantically turning pages to find out what happens with all the medical and political dramas and track the long-term impacts of Arlene's work. It was such a unique setting that I knew so little about (and kept making me think of The African Queen!).
I also really appreciated the broader context provided in the book. It was fascinating to learn more about the politics and culture of the Sudan (and honestly helped me understand the recent split of the country a little better) and eastern Africa as a whole. It was also interesting to get a glimpse of Reformed culture in middle America (for us religious history nerds).
A delightful and fascinating book that I highly recommend.
JournalOfABibliophileAge: 25-34Gender: Female4 Stars Out Of 5Great storySeptember 11, 2018JournalOfABibliophileAge: 25-34Gender: FemaleQuality: 5Value: 3Meets Expectations: 3*I received a free copy of this book from Hendrickson Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are 100% my own.*
Sioux Center Sudan is the story of ArleneSchuiteman, a missionary nurse who spent eight years in Sudan until her expulsion by the Muslim government. Arlene served as a public health nurse and teacher of nurses for over thirty-three years in Sudan, Ethiopia, and Zambia.When she turned ninety years old, she gave forty-six years worth of journals to Jeff Barker.
The story begins in 1944. Doctor Paul Harris was a speaker at the Mission Fest in Orange City. He had spent two World Wars in the Arabian peninsula (mostly in Oman and Bahrain). During the festival, Arlene felt like she was called to be a missions nurse, but she had just started teaching and put it off. Seven years later, Arlene was in church when she felt the call again. She talked to her preacher, and he told her to write a lady at the Board of Foreign Missions of the Reformed Church of America.
When Arlene heard back, she was told she was too old... But this didn't stop her. Arlene filled out nursing applications and was accepted to not one, but two nursing schools. Arlene attended Methodist Hospital School of Nursing in Sioux City, Iowa.On Christmas 1953, Arlene told her family that she was going to be a missionary.
On an average day, Arlene saw 200 patients. Most were recovering from surgery, had malaria, yaws (nonvenereal form of syphilis), pneumonia, worms, whooping cough, snake bites, broken bones, and tuberculosis.She saw a lot of things in the medical field, such as...
- A girl had a neck wound full of maggots.
- A woman had achild with a cleft palate, and it passed away. (In Nuer culture, it was the mother's fault for infant deaths.)
- There was a whooping-cough epidemic, but the vaccines hadn't arrived yet. Containing the disease was difficult, and a church elder lost his child. (He and his wife were Nuer Christians and became outcasts for not taking part in pagan rituals.)
- A young boy's stomach was ripped open by a cow's horn and his intestines came out.
- Arlene helped a women with female genital mutilation (FGM) give birth. That chapter really made me uncomfortable.
Other than the chapter on FGM, the chapter about flies and hygiene really stood out. The Nuer had a lot of weird customs with cow dung. They used it for makeup, rubbed it on their bodies to repel mosquitoes, put it in their mouths during labor, and put it IN their butts. You read that right.
With poop, comes flies, and with flies diseases.
The most common surgery was on the eyes due to a condition called trachoma. Trachoma was a result of flies spreading germs in people's eyes and could lead to blindness.Kuac, the man A Leopard Tamed was about, asked Arlene to start a health and cleanliness class for women, and "Vanny" (Eleanore, the author of A Leopard Tamed) helped with it.
In October of 1963, Arlene received a letter from the Commandant of Police telling her she had seven days to leave. I really wanted to read more about where she went and what she did afterwards, so I did a quick search and found out that after leaving Sudan, she went to Ethiopia and started a "dresser school"and taught wound care and medical skills.I'm really glad Arlene gave Jeff Barker her journals so he could tell her story.
Joanne Slanger5 Stars Out Of 5Sioux City SudanMarch 19, 2018Joanne SlangerQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0Sioux Center Sudan Jeff Barker
Jeff is a professor at Northwestern College in Orange City Iowa, where our son and daughter-in-law teach. We have known Jeff as a kind man who lives a life of faith and love. He has written, stories, poems, and plays, many that have been performed around the world. But what I didnt know is that Jeff is an exceptional non-fiction writer. I just finished his latest book, -Sioux Center Sudan-. Jeff spent years interviewing Arlene Schuiteman, a missionary now in her 90s, living in Sioux Center Iowa who served as a missionary nurse in Sudan during the time when the British left and the new government ascended in the1950s and 60s. This book is a beautifully written enlightening story about that time, revealed by interviews with Arlene and from years of her journal entries. Jeff has produced a written account of Arlenes time in Sudan with a voice that keeps the reader on edge with anticipation and an unwillingness to put the book down. We move from her childhood home in NW Iowa with her closely knit religious family to her calling to be a missionary and her experiences in Sudan. Arlene is filled with love for Jesus (Jeethuth) and she attempts to share her love though nursing the sick, teaching, prayer, and with her gift of grit. The reader is transported to a culture often led by superstition, animal sacrifice, and the onerous practice of female circumcision. We travel on rickety boats down rivers filled with crocodiles. Arlene learns to carry a rifle for shooting cobras or leopards as she makes home visits as a mid-wife. We are brought to tender moments of birth to death and redemption. We witness life changing events of faith and courage. We live through Arlenes exhaustion, depleting strength and her struggle with depression. We do this with Jeffs refined and excellent narrative that carries us though the text enthusiastically. What a privilege to have read this book and to realize that this outstanding author lives in a small town NW Iowa, where humble genius often does not cross paths with fame.
-Sioux Center Sudan- can be compared favorably to other great books about faith and commitment such as -Surprised by Joy- which I was when I read this book..
stripesngloves5 Stars Out Of 5Beautiful missions storyFebruary 6, 2018stripesnglovesQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5A true story of an endearing character with steady faith. Barker pulls you in and paints a beautiful picture of what it means to say yes to God.
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