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Dramatic stories of conversion

What does it truly mean to love my neighbor?

That is the question Kendra Broekhuis asks in Here Goes Nothing: An Introvert’s Reckless Attempt to Love Her Neighbor.” 

Kendra Broekhuis. Here Goes Nothing: An Introvert’s Reckless Attempt to Love Her Neighbor. Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson, 2017. 288 pages.

From the title it’s clear that Broekhuis — who served as a missionary in Guatemala alongside her husband for three years — is one who prefers to stay in her introverted shell but also feels the call to reach out to others in her community.

She reconciles these two things throughout the chapters in her debut book. While she does share a few stories from her mission work in Central America, most of the stories come from her life as she moved backed to the States and tried to settle in as a young mother in a new community.

From meeting people in her apartment complex to searching for a new church home for her family, she wrestles with the issues all Christians will face at some point in their lives but does so with humor and honesty.

Many Christians feel like they have to have some big conversion story to reach out to others, but Broekhuis reminds us that, through the power of Christ and what he has done for us, we all have the ability to reach out to others. She can’t remain in her introverted shell when she remembers what Jesus has done, and that moves her to reach out to people.

Sometimes we get caught up in thinking that the more grandiose the move, the better. But small interactions in a parking lot, a laundromat or a knock on your neighbors’ door can all be catalysts to share God’s love.

I am not an introvert, but I really enjoyed this book and related to several of the situations Broekhuis describes. How do I decide who to reach out to? Does it matter who deserves my charity? Is giving too much just enabling? Is being kind and loving enough?

Broekhuis delves into these questions through personal experiences, examining her life alongside the truth that the Bible teaches us.

Katie Isenberg

One of my favorite passages is her remembrance of a sermon when the preacher asked “Would your neighborhood miss you tomorrow if you were gone? Would the surrounding community miss your church if it ceased to be tomorrow?”

If you are unsure of the answer to those questions, then maybe it’s time to do some reflection on how to get to know those around you, Broekhuis writes. Once you get to know your neighbors and have a relationship with them, then you can truly serve them and hopefully introduce Christ to them.

We don’t have to go to another country to share God’s love. We can share it right here, but to do so might require some of us to get out of our comfort zones.

Broekhuis also challenges you to really explore your own personal faith so that you do know how to share it with others when your conversations reach that point.

Maybe you were raised in the church your entire life, so you think you don’t have much to share. That is never the case, Broekhuis writes. How have you seen the Lord change you? What do you struggle with that you have to give up to God?

The world loves to see a good 180-degree turn from a life of public debauchery, but what about the silent struggles we face such as worry, control, pride and selfishness? We also need to recognize those sins in our lives and be ready to share how our faith has changed us in ways that others may not be able to see as easily.

Since reading Broekhuis’ book, I have also enjoyed many of her writings on her personal blog, kendrabroekhuis.com. There, she offers ways that we can come together to share Christ in our neighborhoods, wherever we might live.

katie ISENBERG and her family worship with the Mayfair Church of Christ in Oklahoma City. She writes for Oklahoma City Moms Blog and has a personal blog, “Strawberry Ruckus,” at ryanandkatie.blogspot.com.

Filed under: book review introvert Review Reviews

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