Naomi Reed was a missionary in Nepal and has written a number of books about that experience. Many readers I know, including myself, especially enjoyed her first book: My Seventh Monsoon, which is written about their life in Nepal and delves into how we should views the season of life that God brings. It was a very open and challenging read, as I discussed previously. Her second book, No Ordinary View, took you to their final years in Nepal and the things she learnt about God during that time.
Now, we come to the third in the series: Heading Home: My Search for Purpose in a Temporary World. Just like her other books it is a great story about their life, but more than that it is again a reflection on what God taught her in that time. It covers the years after they returned to Sydney from Nepal and faced the challenges of re-entry many missionaries face. The cultural changes and uncertainty, the materialism in the west, the commercialisation of Christmas, the feeling their neither Sydney nor Nepal was truly home and neither were they completely comfortable in either. It also charts how her books came to be written and published and how it affected her life and perspective.
I found this was a book you could read on two levels.
1. You could just read it as the next instalment into her life story. The challenges they faced, decisions to be made and what it was like to re-enter life in Australia. Just like her two previous books, it is highly personal and very open and so is a very helpful insight, especially for those of us who want to understand what life is like for returning overseas workers. It is also an insight into what it is like to have a book published.
2. However, it can also be read on a much more ‘devotional’ level. Each chapter addresses some sort of issue, such as trusting in God, where we find our value, where our home is, wanting to be liked, etc. At the end of each chapter is a prayer she has written that was her response to the situation. Each prayer is reasonably specific, but at the same time could be easily adapted to suit your own personal situation. As you know, I am a fan of written prayers, yet it wasn’t until I was a few chapters in that I realise what a gift these prayers are. They help us to stop, think about the point of the chapter in our own situation and then turn to God in responsive prayer, whether it be confession, thanksgiving, praise or request. For this reason I think I read this book too fast. I should go back and read it again, thinking about it responsively, not just learning more about her story.
There are very helpful reflections throughout this book, certain ones which I personally found very helpful. However, I’ll leave that for now and encourage you to read it yourself, for your own edification and encouragement.