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“The question should not be: ‘Why are others persecuted (around the world)?’ Perhaps the better question is: ‘Why are we not?’” That is the central theme of The Insanity of God, a book written by Nik Ripken, a modern-day American missionary to Somalia who first-hand saw great suffering, tragedy and spiritual darkness.

Interestingly, the book, which has been endorsed by household-name Christians leaders including David Platt, Frank Page and John Maxwell, is written under a pseudonym. Ripken shares his story, as well as dozens of stories of other Christians facing persecution around the world, in places like North Africa, East Asia and the former Soviet Union.

In dramatic fashion, Ripken describes himself as an unlikely choice to become a missionary. Without a significant Christian background and upbringing, this boy from Kentucky is radically born again, preceding his college years and senses a call to take the Gospel around the world.

“I simply assumed that a person could be saved and called to serve God in the very same moment. That’s exactly what I believed was happening to me. I answered God’s voice and I put my life in His control,” he said.

Ripken takes Christ’s Great Commission literally and soon finds himself (and later his wife and children) as real-life missionaries in one of the hardest mission fields, the “horn of Africa” in the 1990’s.

With vivid descriptions of a country racked by starvation, intimidation, depravation and darkness, Ripken takes you into the moments within his front-lines ministry. At risk of spoiling one part of the plot, a tragedy takes Ripken and his family out of that ministry setting, and the remainder of the book is spent following his Boswell-like research of persecution around the world.

The stories of the book will move you. The call of the writer will challenge you. Certainly this is a book that any Christian who wants to learn obedience to Christ, “even when it doesn’t make sense,” should read.