Studying pharmacy was supposed to be Ann Brown’s ticket to lots of money and living the good life—not to a remote mission hospital on the continent she swore never to even visit. But God had other plans. From a dysfunctional home in Australia to a youthful lark in London to life in politically torn South Africa, Ann takes us along on her journey of transformation. We meet the people she grew to love despite her racist beginnings. We see her stumble and sometimes fall, only to recommit her way to the God who invites people of all cultures into his family. You will laugh with her and feel her anger as she faces challenges from a house full of cockroaches to angry whites who want to eject her and a group of African orphans from the beach.
I met Ann in the mid-1990s (chapters 17 and 18 in her book). We were colleagues with the same mission in South Africa. In 2012 a British colleague recommended that she contact me about the memoir she was writing. So began a long and enjoyable correspondence that has resulted in Betting on a Certainty—a first for both of us. For Ann it is the first (and she swears the last!) book she has written. For me it is the first time that I edited a book and then facilitated the publication of that book. I have used Birch Island Books for my own titles. This is the first time I have been willing to put that name on someone else’s story.
Ann is ten years my senior, that is to say she is not a tech-savvy thirty-something. But she read books on effective writing, set up her own g-mail address, mastered Word’s Tracking Changes, scanned photos, and previewed PDF files. (Well, she might have had a little help with some of those on the Australian end.) She graciously took my suggestions for cuts and rewrites. In short, she worked very, very hard for this day.
Betting on a Certainty launched Sunday, March 23. Copies were printed in Australia, where Ann expects most readers to be, but for international audiences it is available on Amazon or CreateSpace in both print and Kindle formats.
Ann is a witty storyteller. (I loved the part about the pooey diapers thrown overboard sailing from New Guinea where she was born! Not to mention her larcenous grandmother.) She is frank about her prejudices growing up after World War 2. It would have been easy to become entrenched in them under the apartheid regime of her husband’s country. Yet God did a work in Ann, healed the pain of her past, transformed her heart with his love and shaped her into a willing tool for the Kingdom. Rev. Bruce Stanley, Ann’s pastor at All Saints Anglican Church in Sydney, calls it her “frightening honesty.” Even if you aren’t an avid reader of missionary biographies, you will enjoy this one. I certainly did.
LeAnne Hardy has lived in six countries on four continents. Her books come out of her cross-cultural experiences and her passion to use story to convey spiritual truths in a form that will permeate lives.
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