Held captive for Christ

COUNTING THE COST: Kidnapped in the Niger Delta
By David & Shirley Donovan
Christian Focus. 220 pages. £9.99
ISBN 978 1 527 103 061
Buy online from Amazon

countingcostDavid and Shirley Donovan, medical missionaries in the Niger Delta, were living for Christ. Doing vital work in a dangerously volatile part of the world, they had already left all to Him. But on 13 October 2017 the cost of so doing was taken to a new level.

This is the gripping account of a kidnapping. It is outrageous, terrifying, and the writing is graphic. You can smell the swamp, hear the jungle insects. If you have ever mused in your armchair with your slippers on and a mug of tea in your hand what it is like to be taken hostage by a bunch of murderous, drug-taking thugs with absolutely no scruples, this story will take you there – so be careful with that tea. Or if you have ever tried to find the words to pray for brothers and sisters in captivity for Christ’s sake, this book will show you how.

This book has two enthralling stories. The first concerns the facts about the kidnapping and the experience of being a hostage. But the second is the inner story of what was going on in the hearts and minds of those taken captive. The experience made these brave believers question many things and engage in some deep heart struggles. They write: ‘For so many, faith remains a cerebral assent to an intellectual theology. Lying exhausted and soaked upon this remote, hidden platform with men of no moral compass and with no way out, and intellectual understanding of the claims of Jesus Christ simply will not do.’

They discovered, as we all must, that living for Christ means changing on the inside. They found that unforgiveness was ‘a burden they could not carry’, and they struggled and learned to consciously every day ‘put down the sin of hatred’. They found ways to surprise their captors with compassion and hope. They who had given up so much for Christ faced squarely the question ‘Is Christ enough?’ Salutary questions for us all.