Out of Darkness Into Light

Non-Fiction - Memoir
208 Pages
Reviewed on 06/10/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Philip Van Heusen for Readers' Favorite

I have read missionary stories (starting with The Life and Diary of David Brainerd) for the past sixty years. Lauralee Lindholm’s Out of Darkness into Light stands with the best of the missionary books I have read. I have personal friends who were missionaries in the 50s-70s. Many people think missionaries live a life of exotic adventure and fun, but I can testify that they work hard. Lauralee shares the struggles, victories, and defeats often seen in the mission field. Before a missionary can reach the hearts of those they minister to, they must first meet their basic needs. The old saying, “Hungry stomachs have no ears,” is very true. Lauralee and her team taught the people of Menz, Ethiopia, how to make and sell woven rugs to supplement their meager income. Once the people learned to trust the missionaries, they were more receptive to the Gospel. This book will keep you on the edge of your seat as you see the hand of God at work and marvel at His miracles and answers to prayer.

Lauralee Lindholm shares the life and work of missionaries in Out of Darkness into Light. This book lifts the curtain and allows the reader to see the heart of missions. Lauralee writes in a simple style, including myriad Scriptures, that will clearly leave the reader wanting to learn more about missions and how to support missionaries. Her mission team produced no tangible results for six years, but God was still at work, and the harvest finally came. Missionary work aims to impact souls for the Kingdom of God and develop indigenous churches. The stories shared in this book are beyond fantastic and will enlighten you on what missionaries really do. This book should increase your prayer that God will send 'laborers into the field white unto harvest.' This is one book on missions that you don’t want to miss.

Jamie Michele

Lauralee Lindholm's Out of Darkness Into Light recounts her and her husband Ray's Ethiopian ministry since 1973. Their mobile teaching included literacy classes, medical aid, and Bible teachings, despite initial hesitation toward methods like a film program. Challenges, such as suspicions and accusations, were met with prayer, resulting in miraculous recoveries and spiritual encounters. Initiatives like a rug weaving project fostered economic and spiritual growth despite skepticism. As political turmoil and persecution grew, they continued to address societal issues like alcoholism and premarital sex, emphasizing faith's transformative power, as seen in the healing of a man with a twenty-year injury. Their Ethiopian journey culminates with farewells and reflection, and this book, in which Lindholm continues in her desire to share the Gospel.

A great deal has changed in Ethiopia since the 1970s, which is why I was drawn to Out of Darkness Into Light by Lauralee Lindholm. It's a time capsule between two covers, with the added benefit of a memoir that tells what it was like to be a missionary there nearly half a century ago. The most interesting person in Lindholm's recollections to me is Priest Girma, initially a practitioner of wizardry, who underwent such a transformative journey that he publicly burned his magic books. As far as Lindholm's experiences go, she describes a scene where an act of warfare in the form of the demonic possession of a man presents itself, and through rigorous prayer that leads to success, she says, “We knew how Elijah must have felt when he challenged the prophets of Baal and won.” The writing is clean and easy to follow, and I think this book will be well received by those who are interested in the history of Christian missionary work in the 20th century, as well as those who are familiar with Lindholm and would like to read her experiences firsthand.

Frank Mutuma

Out of Darkness Into the Light by Lauralee Lindholm is an account of her journey and experiences as a missionary in Ethiopia. In Menz, there is a lot of work to be done, not just spiritually but also in terms of development, which the mission achieves by starting development projects. In terms of spirituality, the mission embarks on teaching the people about the Bible and truly witnessing and acknowledging Jesus as their Lord and Savior. There are many challenges, but the missionaries remain steadfast in their work. One of the consequential converts was Girma, who was not just a priest but also practiced wizardry. Things were made worse by the start of the civil war, but the establishment of Addis Kidan Baptist Church is evidence that their efforts were not in vain.

Lauralee Lindholm is a true witness of how God works when we submit to His will and become good Christians. Despite the many challenges, the Lord always provides a way, something that is apparent in this great work. I loved the approaches used by the missionaries, such as respecting the culture, living among the people, and learning their language. The book also provides hope for those facing various problems, and it encourages people to work hard and trust in the Lord, whose grace is sufficient. The mention of the civil war and the impact it had on civilians, like the burning of homes, also got me thinking about the impact of war on society and a country in general. This was an inspiring read, and I look forward to reading something else by Lauralee on her missionary work.

Pikasho Deka

In Out of Darkness Into Light, Lauralee Lindholm shares her experiences in Ethiopia as a Southern Baptist missionary in the late 1960s to the 70s with this tell-all memoir. Lauralee and her husband, Ray, went to Ethiopia in 1967 with their three children to spread the word of God. They found themselves serving a community development program in Menz and began learning the local language of Amharic. As they witnessed extreme poverty, crime, adultery, and belief in pagan practices, Lauralee suspected the hand of Satan. They relived the days of Acts with Paul and the disciples with their own spiritual warfare. While Ray taught rug weaving, many from the Orthodox Church accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior. But political turmoil forced them to leave in 1976, and it would be decades before they set foot in Ethiopia again.

Out of Darkness Into Light is a remarkable story of faith, resilience, and perseverance. Lauralee Lindholm tells her story as one of the Southern Baptist missionaries in the 1970s and the challenges she and her fellow missionaries had to overcome to spread the teachings of Christ. These missionaries risked their lives during the war between government troops and the rebels in the 70s and held on to their faith as houses burned down all around them while people persecuted them for their faith. Men like Priest Girma, Abba Asefa, and Aschallew are truly inspirational. Lindholm gives an unflinching account of her time in Ethiopia and, toward the end, celebrates the rise of New Testament followers over the past few decades in the country. I found this memoir inspiring, informative, and motivational. This book is a must-read for Christians.

K.C. Finn

Out of Darkness Into Light is a work of non-fiction penned by author Lauralee Lindholm in the memoir, slice-of-life, and spiritual writing genres. Recounting the author’s fascinating life experiences whilst living in the highlands of Ethiopia, we explore a world where trust is scarce, violence common, and famine a constant threat. Lindholm, along with a community development team, sought to bring change to this troubled region. Through prayer and perseverance, they witnessed a spiritual transformation akin to the events described in the book of Acts, as the power of the Gospel illuminated lives and brought hope to a once-darkened community.

Author Lauralee Lindholm beautifully translates her vivid life experiences onto the page to craft a profound journey into the depths of human struggle and the transformative power of faith. Lindholm's bold and raw descriptions painted a stark picture of life in the Ethiopian highlands, where poverty, violence, and spiritual darkness loomed large, and it was easy not only to imagine these places but to feel the experience in a visceral, multi-sensory way. As Lindholm and her team embark on their mission of community development, readers are sure to be captivated by their unwavering commitment and reliance on prayer, and the parallels to the biblical narrative of Acts were a striking and clever addition to the narrative style, underscoring the relevance of God's redemptive work. Through Lindholm's narrative, it’s clear to see the very real impact of the Gospel as lives are transformed and hope restored, utilizing the very best aspects of spirituality and putting them to good use. Overall, Out of Darkness Into Light is a powerful work that will inspire good acts and positive change for anyone who reads it.