About the book:
Side by Side (New Hope Publishers, April 2015)
In the dusty, Islamic country of Sudan, Mia's life collides with that of another young woman.
A young Christian American mother, Mia finds more than one dark secret on the streets of Khartoum. She finds Halimah, a young, upper-class Arab student with a bright future in her family's business whose risky and secretive decision has put her life in danger. What happens when the path of young mother intersects with that of a spunky Sudanese student? God transforms them both . . . forever.
Part of New Hope® Publishers' contemporary missional fiction line, Side by Side opens the reader's eyes to the life of Muslims in Sudan as well as some of the struggles that Christians face when living under Islamic law. The reader will be inspired to pray for those who are persecuted for their faith as well as pray for the salvation of those who persecute.
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“He wanted to use someone like… her!” (p. 217)
The development of the character of Mia closely resembles the realization that most believer’s have a difficult time accepting. Our efforts seem insignificant compared to the “important” work of the missionary. Mia was a stay-home mom to three little ones while her husband took care of refugees. Her heart’s cry was to bring others to Christ like her husband and his missionary friends. Her journey to the moment when she realized that God was indeed using everything about her life and circumstance to accomplish an eternal difference is recorded in Jana Kelley’s novel Side By Side. It is a journey that was convicting to me, and, like Mia, I began to wonder about my own significance in God’s plan.
Mia was working in a Muslim country, and salvation through Christ came at a very dear price! Halimah is the young Arab student that God brings into Mia’s life at just the right moment – the moment of deliverance. Halimah’s faith both encouraged and convicted me. But overall, I was just so thrilled by God’s hand in every situation! And I realize that He is just as present in my every circumstance, and I rejoice!
The time element of Halimah’s deliverance into safety may have seemed laborious to many, but, in fact, it was very realistic. I’ve learned from missionaries I know that the most effective way to minister to those who follow Islam is just to develop relationship with them over time and allow God to draw them to Himself through whatever circumstances He designs. The way Mia comes to understand this, and how God used her when she didn’t even realize she was being used….such a tender thing to “watch”!
The more impactful thing, for me, was to realize that this story is based on the author’s real-life experiences as a missionary’s wife. I have MUCH to be thankful for when I think that God has allowed me to support missionary work in many ways, and to know that He is using me on the job and within my family just as much as those on the “mission field.” God is sovereign over all of our lives, and Side by Side is a beautiful testimony of how God uses all of us to lead others to the foot of the cross! Rejoice with me and enjoy this incredible story of God's grace!
About the Author:
is a Texan who hardly ever lives in Texas. Raised in Southeast Asia, Jana developed a love for cross-cultural living early in life. Her love for writing came soon after. Jana returned to Texas to attend college. She and her husband married a month after she graduated and by their second anniversary, they were living in a remote African town. Together with her husband and three boys, Jana enjoys travel and overseas living. After thirteen years in Africa and the Middle East, Jana and her family moved to Southeast Asia where they currently live.
Find Jana online: Website, Facebook, Twiitter.