‘In this life, I have lost. I lost my husband and best friend. My children lost their father. But Stephen didn’t lose his life. He found it.’
Emily Foreman, We Died Before We Came Here: A True Story of Sacrifice and Hope (2016).
As the title suggest this is a true story of sacrifice and hope. This is a biography written by Emily Foreman about her husband Stephen. It tells the story of how they felt a calling to leave the comforts of America and go out and spread the Christian gospel to Muslims in North Africa. A few years into their mission tragedy struck. One seemingly normal morning, Stephen was gunned down and murdered by al-Qaeda extremists as crossed the street outside of their house.
The opening chapters look at how they struggled on short-term mission. They returned to America exhausted and drained but felt that God was calling them to go back out. Despite what their friends and families were saying they were determined to go back out and share the hope of Christ with the Muslim community and in a country where Christianity is illegal.
The book looks at how they built up relationships and a good reputation with the people of the city that they were in and, how they kept their trust in an unfailing God throughout all trials that they faced. And when all seemed to be going well the Foreman family were stunned by the tragedy of Stephen’s murder. The following chapters look at how she dealt with that grief and how amazingly, she showed the highest form of Christlikeness that a human can show, she overcame bitterness and was filled with compassion for the very men who killed her husband desiring that God save them, an attribute that most us can only dream of.
Most importantly it shows the desperate need that the Muslim world is in to see Christ for who he really is. Jesus, according to Islam was just a prophet. The reality is that he is much more than that. He is the Saviour of the World and is worth everything that we have, Stephen Foreman’s story is a testament to that.
As I started to read this I was not prepared for what I would see written on the pages. This really is a tear jerker, and that is coming from a reformed, evangelical Welsh bloke, so it must be.
She leaves the reader with this incredible challenge: ‘To live without purpose is worse than dying.’ And that purpose is found in Christ.