Erin Brynn's travels have taken her from Africa to India to Southeast Asia and most recently to Afghanistan. As I do work with A Tour of Roses, I chose this book to review because of the title. And like myself she has 6 children. :)
Erin shares the history of Afghanistan and the people groups and cultures. The book is a compilation of letters written home and personal reflections as almost "post scripts", looking back on what she had prayed or hoped and how G-d fulfilled those.
Erin shares stories of trust, loss, hope and adventure. She shares with us the deep burden she acquired for the people and the country. I enjoyed the book very much. If you are interested in missions and adventure, you will enjoy this book.
"I knew the Lord had specific plans and purposes for the people we would encounter during our time in Afghanistan, but I never gave much thought to what He had in mind for me personally. God desires that we be His vessels of love toward others, but He also desires that we gain greater understanding of His love for us. Often, the Lord went to great lengths to show me something beautiful by simply showing me His heart. God’s heart is full of compassion and mercy towards people, and He desires each of us to know and experience that same compassion and mercy. God desires for us to extend His love toward others; but to do so, we must have a growing revelation of His love for us."
" As we were winding up the mountains, my view consisted not only of the city below me but of the small shoeless children walking up and down the steep terrain carrying plastic bottles and barrels full of water to their mountainside homes.
Some of the children I saw couldn't have been more than four or five years old. I wondered how many times each day they had to make that trip and if they ever had time to play and enjoy the beautiful fall weather. As far as I could see was city and dirt, not a patch of green anywhere. Donkeys attached to carts carrying goods up the mountain face as well as herds of fat bottom sheep lined the road. It was like stepping back in time. Most of the houses scattered upon the mountainside had no glass in their windows and their owners used old blankets and sheets to provide privacy from onlookers like me."
"While our girls’ team was playing, I heard our coach ask one of the players, “Who are you guarding?” The player answered, “The girl in black.” The other team was wearing black shirts, black pants, and black head wraps. The coach then asked, “Which girl in black?” The response, “The one wearing eyeliner.”
"Though the contrast is great and the emotional toll is heavy at times, we are so grateful for the provisions and blessings in our lives. On Friday, our family attended the memorial service for the ten team members killed here last month. The entire expatriate community came together to honor those slain. We heard story after story of the remarkable lives of these men and women: lives of love and honor that they lived for the people of this country, their commitment to live and work here in order that others may benefit. The experience was both humbling and challenging; it caused us to reflect on the important things of life, the moments, days and weeks that we have that are opportunities to live bigger than ourselves. The one theme that kept being expressed was that every team member who had lost his or her life would have gladly given it up over and over again for the causes he or she believed in and the beautiful people of this country. The “contrast” of life is not so difficult to contend with when one’s perspective is adjusted by an event like this."
"Yesterday was “National Women’s Day” in Afghanistan; sounds like an oxymoron to me. As a woman in Afghanistan, one has no real rights or freedoms. Women cannot choose who to marry or where to go to school or even whether to veil or not. They can never go out alone and can’t drive a car; but don’t worry, they will be celebrated one day each year. Actually, I wonder even how many of the women of Afghanistan even know there is holiday each year to honor them. Most don’t read or write and can’t afford a television.
As a foreigner, I was privy to several speeches and acts of kindness done throughout the city yesterday. I even received a rose from the children’s school for being a woman.
Someone said to me, “Women get this one day a year because 364 days of the year it’s ‘National Men’s Day!’ ” I think that sounds about right to me."
About the Author: Erin Brynn is a wife and mother of six with a passion for life. Her heart to serve the suffering and disenfranchised, along with a love of adventure and travel, has taken her to needy places around the world. Partnering with her husband in international disaster relief efforts and living with her family outside of the US have led to some amazing experiences and challenging situations. Her heart to serve the suffering, the broken, and the disenfranchised, along with a love of adventure and travel, has taken her to desperate and needy places around the world.
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"These letters chronicle a year of my life living in Afghanistan, a country filled with war, evil, beauty, revelation, and friendships. God, through the everyday, broke the lenses of my perspective and replaced them with a clarity of vision that I believe is closer to the vision of the Father than I could have achieved on my own.
My prayer is that as you take this journey with me, you will allow God to redirect your focus to what He sees and enable you to perceive and love the way He does.
Afghanistan is a country that has been torn apart and broken by war for generations. In the spring and early summer, beautiful wild roses miraculously appear out of the dust of the land. Some roses defiantly emerge from garbage heaps while others quietly appear in corners completely unnoticed by those passing by. The roses fill the land with bright spots of color and beauty where usually there is only dirt and broken debris. The roses remind the people of Afghanistan what their country was like before it was destroyed by bullets and rockets. They remind me of the beauty of the people of this harsh place and the love that our Father has for them. The roses also remind me that no matter where I lay my head at night, regardless of how hopeless and difficult my surroundings may seem, there are always beautiful roses waiting to push through the dirt of my life. God desires to feed, cultivate, and weed the garden of my heart so that the most beautiful and vibrantly colored flowers can bloom and turn their faces toward the “Son.” They reminded me to daily look for the beauty amid the brokenness, for there is always beauty if we look hard enough."