As the child of missionary parents, award-winning author and journalist Jeanette Windle grew up in the rural villages, jungles, and mountains of Colombia, now guerrilla hot zones. Her detailed research and writing is so realistic that it has prompted government agencies to question her to determine if she has received classified information. Currently based in Lancaster, PA, Jeanette has lived in six countries and traveled in more than twenty. She has more than a dozen books in print, including political/suspense best-seller CrossFire and the Parker Twins series.
Kim: Betrayed is the first of your novels I’ve ever read. However, as I researched your work on the internet, it became apparent that all of your stories carry strong faith messages that can powerfully impact lives! In this story, you use Sarah from the Old Testament in a way that was new to me, but was very meaningful throughout the story. Can you tell us, did Sarah “inspire” the story, or did the story “inspire” Sarah’s example of faith in your mind? Truly this is a unique blend!
Jeanette: To be honest, the story and Sarah’s example of faith grew so much together, I’m not sure which came first. I was speaking on the story of Sarah for a series of women’s retreat, and that theme impacted me personally so powerfully as I taught it that as I began researching for my next novel, it crept immediately into the story line. I will say that all of the themes of my books have come from faith lessons God was teaching in my own life at the time of writing.
Kim: In your life experiences throughout similar regions of the world, has it been common to observe such extreme duplicity among folks native to that area? If so, what challenges does this bring to sharing the gospel and having them place their faith in Christ?
Jeanette: The challenges of sharing the gospel haven’t changed since New Testament days. Man is infinitely capable of sin, and God is infinitely more powerful and sovereign. Yes, there is no duplicity in Betrayed I have not personally witnessed over and over in too many dark and dangerous corners of the world. But I have also witnessed the courage and self-sacrifice of Christians, many in the poorest and most difficult situations, who are willing to make a stand against evil and oppression and share God’s love at whatever personal cost. My greatest privilege has been to stand and work together with so many such servants of God around the globe.
Kim: It is frightening to realize that the “trade-off” of the lesser evil to capture the greater evil is at work among government officials. Do you think people understand the reality of that power and how it impacts today’s “war on terror”?
Jeanette: No, I don’t think they do; otherwise they’d be asking harder questions: why, for instance, we keep pouring billions into Musharef’s govt. in Pakistan while weakly protesting his throwing his entire opposition into jail to squash any opposition, or into Karzai’s govt. in Afghanistan where a young journalist recently received a death sentence just for printing off an ‘anti-Islam’ article from the internet, or into Saudi Arabia where Christians are jailed for praying in their own homes even as we’ve poured new advanced arms into their laps. We are arming making deals with the devil now that make our deals in the ‘war on socialism’ look like an afternoon tea.
Kim: There are many significant passages in this book that reveal the spiritual struggle and growth of the characters. Joe states on p 361, “Whatever happened here – of good or evil – is still in God’s control and His plan.” He goes on to state on page 362, “Don’t forget: this life isn’t our real destination or our real home. In fact, it’s just the start.” Why is this truth so hard for believers to understand and embrace? What is gained when we finally do understand the sovereignty of a loving God?
Kim: As someone who grew up on the mission field and has served as the spouse of a missionary throughout your adult life, what do you see as the greatest challenge facing Christians in 2008?
Jeanette: For Christians in many parts of this world, especially among the three billion living under Islam, Hinduism, and communism, the challenge is to stand strong in the faith under a growing tide of persecution. For Christians in the West, to make a stand on the truth of God’s Word regardless of opinion polls or of personal safety and well-being; I see too much pursuit even in the church of the world’s good opinion as opposed to right and wrong, of watching our own backs, placing our own safety and that of our loved ones as a first priority, demanding as our right to be free from the danger and risk and storms so much of the rest of our world is facing.
This above all is the challenge highlighted in Betrayed. What is our call, how can we know what to do, when our world falls apart? The answer is as simple as it is profound. At every step and with each crossroads that opens up in front of us, simply ‘do what is right, and do not give way to fear’(1 Peter 3:6). That is all we are called to do, not to manipulate, try to figure out the future, or weasel our way out by any means possible. If we follow that simple challenge, then the Almighty God who wrote every moment of our lives before we were born and holds us in the palm of His loving hand will take care of the outcome, whatever He chooses that to be.
Kim: The ending of this novel is ripe with possibilities! Will we see any of these characters again? How soon?
That I could not say. I am currently finishing a book set in