This past week my friend Tim Keesee and I met for coffee. He was excited to tell me that he has a new book coming out at the end of May. The book has the same name as his award-winning DVD series — Dispatches from the Front. There are currently 6 DVDs, and a 7th one will be coming out this summer telling what Tim saw and learned in North Africa.
Here is the first paragraph about the DVD series from the webpage:
Believers everywhere desperately need a renewed vision of Christ and the unstoppable advance of His saving work in all the earth. Our view of God’s Kingdom is often too small and limited to what we have experienced. Dispatches from the Front highlights the marvelous extent, diversity, and unity of Christ’s Kingdom in our world. The journal format of each episode underscores the daily unfolding of God’s activity on the “frontlines,” bringing viewers up-close with sights and sounds from distant corners of the Kingdom.
If you have never viewed any of the DVD's, you need to! If you have viewed them, you know what a masterful storyteller Tim is. His training and background as a historian, his gifts of observation and journaling, his openness to understanding cultures foreign to his own, and especially his ability to paint vivid images with words make the video series go far beyond being merely informative (which the most definitely are!). The images and word pictures reach into the very hearts of the viewers as they meet fellow believers who are on the frontlines, following and serving Christ.
I asked Tim for permission to give my blog readers a taste of his new book. Here is a section of the Prologue that he penned while visiting his native Danville, VA:
"A train calls to me in the night silence. For as long as I can remember, it has provided the music—and my pen the words—to a restless life. A million miles later, I'm back where I grew up—and the train's whistle is as sweet and lonely as ever....
"Mama used to play hymns on a beaten-up piano with a keyboard that looked like an ugly grin—its ivories yellowed, cracked, or missing. I remember how pretty she was at the piano. She had a lilting style that made me sing, even when I was too young to read. An old plaque still hangs on the living room wall: "The way of the Cross leads home." Mama has finished that journey, and yet tonight on this side, amid the clutter of memories and the mocking monotony of a ticking clock, I miss her.
"One of the things I love her for is that she gave me to the Lord—which meant that she had to let me go. Travel just wasn't in our family's DNA. Our roots run deep in the red clay of the Virginia foothills. Only things like world wars and great depressions could move us away, but always we came back to these familiar hills. I was the first in ten generations to leave Virginia. So even though Mama did not understand my wanderlust, like Hannnah, she had given her son to the Lord, and she kept her word, even when it hurt. She bought a globe—it's still here on the dresser—and over the years, she traced the paths of her promise.
"And so, I've gone far from this place. A sixteen-year-old sailor who used to be me looks down from the shelf. The picture is faded, but I still smell the salt. Back then, my small world suddenly became as vast as the ocean. And everything I saw I wrote about, filling in the blanks that only imagination could attempt before.
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