The Life I Now Live: A review

I wonder what comes to mind when you hear the word ‘missionary’? Maybe it sounds like a thing of the past, a slightly outdated job that no one does anymore.

Or perhaps you think cross-cultural work is only for really holy people, or something you could never do.

Joelle Kenny’s story is neither outdated nor about some super-spiritual martyr you could never be. She’s a single woman serving with OMF in Cambodia today, who came from a messy background and thought she’d never be good enough for God.

In 100 short pages and a down-to-earth style, her new book The Life I Now Live tells the story of how God saved her, shaped her, and is using her in surprising ways.

Surrender

One of the things that stands out from Joelle’s story is her willingness to submit to God.

She started out teaching at a Christian school in India, by her own admission mostly ‘to do something adventurous’ rather than to ‘serve God…or the people of India’ (p. 21).

This spirit of adventure later took her to Cambodia, where she taught art for three years – and discovered a new passion for teaching the Bible to Cambodians.

What unfolds from there is an inspiring story of an ordinary woman surrendering her life and dreams of adventure to follow God’s lead.

There are moments of real doubt and pain along the way, when it seems God is asking too much of her or leading her to things she’d rather not do. But through these challenges she learns to trust God and humbly say ‘not my will, but yours’ (53).

Joy

The result of all this surrender? An ever-deepening relationship with God, and the joy of seeing him at work and others coming to faith.

For all the tricky moments and challenges she faces, Joelle is ultimately pursuing a God-given passion for teaching the Bible and seeing the fruit of this work.

I was particularly challenged by her willingness to follow God’s call and surrender everything along the way, still doing things she enjoyed but giving up her dreams to God and putting him first. I think this is something we can all learn from, no matter where we are or what we do.

The short chapters lend themselves to quick reading, and Joelle’s honesty makes her story all the more relatable. It shows us how God takes the most unlikely people and equips them to do his work.

If you’re a teenager or young adult still figuring out what to do with your life, or curious about what cross-cultural work looks like today, The Life I Now Live is a great place to start. It’ll help you take the first steps in proactively pursuing your own God-given passions, whilst listening for his guidance and considering your place in his global plans as a follower of Jesus.

The Life I Now Live is available for £2.99 from 10ofThose

For more inspiring books and resources from OMF, head here:

Hear more of Joelle’s story on episode one of the Serve Asia Podcast:

Dan graduated with a Liberal Arts degree in 2020, and will spend the rest of his days explaining what Liberal Arts is (‘humanities pick and mix’ is his favoured description). He came to OMF (UK) for a media internship in September 2021. He loves tennis, books and caramel, and hopes to find work in publishing or writing in the future.

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