Book Review: No Distance Too Far

No Distance Too Far is Book 2 in the Home to Blessing series by Lauraine Snelling. Dr. Astrid Bjorkland, the daughter of Norwegian immigrants, has planned to help her doctor sister-in-law in their home town of Blessing, North Dakota in 1904. But after hearing the needs of Africa, she feels perhaps God is calling her there. With a great measure of reluctance but a desire to be obedient and to test whether this is really God’s call, she enrolls in a missionary school. There she enjoys classes from godly teachers, makes wonderful friends, has her faith challenged and stretched, but she also encounters negative responses both from male students and some board members who feel that a woman, especially an unmarried one, has no place as a missionary to Africa. Further complicating her efforts to discern her call are the needs back home as Dr. Elizabeth falls ill, needs that Astrid seems uniquely fitted to meet, as well as the desperate needs of an nearby Indian reservation, and the attentions of Joshua, a young man who works with her brother.

Though it’s been over 30 years since I was in college, it doesn’t really seem that long ago that I struggled with discerning God’s call and wondering whether that call meant the mission field. I empathized with Astrid’s struggles and thought the author portrayed them genuinely.

In some Christian books, the pastor is sometimes brought in as the voice of authority or the one with the answers to the dilemma, but I found Astrid’s discussion with her pastor quite natural. He doesn’t tell her what to do but helps her as she wrestles through questions.

I thought I was reading the book that immediately followed the one I had previously read, but I discovered afterward there was one book in between. That contributed to my feeling like I was missing something from references to events I couldn’t remember, but after a while I was able to piece together enough to comprehend the implications of those past events.

The only very minor negative was that there were so many people it was hard to keep them all straight. There were two sets of series before this one concerning the whole family when they first came to the States, and therefore there was a lot of history and family expansion leading to this book which I had not read. But early on I decided not to try to keep straight who everyone was and how they were related and just to concentrate on the main characters, and eventually those other relationships did become clear. I do think this book could be read as a stand-alone book without having to read all the ones that came before to understand it.

I didn’t necessarily agree with every little point made throughout the book, but overall I did enjoy it and did agree with the overarching principles, and I am happy to recommend it.

(This review will also be linked to Semicolon‘s Saturday Review of Books.)

3 thoughts on “Book Review: No Distance Too Far

  1. I get a little lost in books with lots of characters too. I tend to ignore my confusion and just read on till it starts to fall into place.

    Discerning God’s will is something that I revisit in different seasons. I still wonder if we’ll go overseas at some point.

    Sounds like a good book that inspires reflection on worthwhile things.

  2. Pingback: What’s On Your Nighstand: July « Stray Thoughts

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