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Review: Shoot Me First—Grant Lock

Shoot Me First; Grant Lock; Broad Continent Publishing, Melbourne, 2011

When you start reading this book, you’ll wonder if the word ‘Biography’ on the back cover is a mistake. Abductions, blood feuds, suicide bomb attacks, a woman married to a warlord by force, a baby daughter sold in a bazaar … you could be forgiven for thinking you were reading a racy thriller, not the life story of two CMS missionaries!

Even without Grant Lock’s storytelling brilliance, the experiences he and his wife Janna went through over their “24 years in the hotspots of Pakistan and Afghanistan” (to quote the cover) would make fascinating reading. It’s hard to choose highlights, but for me they would be the kidnap and extraordinary escape of a Canadian colleague in Peshawar … the foiled al-Qaeda attack on Murree Christian School, where the heroism of Grant’s brother Barry made international headlines … and the unforgettable story of Omar, who fell from wealthy charmer to inhabitant of Afghahistan’s worst prison before he let Jesus into his life through a dream.

Grant hones in on key, often loosely linked events from his 24 years on the field and narrates them in compelling, richly nuanced prose. This is a part of the world mired in disaster, but Grant extracts gentle humour from cultural clashes and human foibles. Along the way he provides insights into how local and international politics got their approach to this region so wrong. But it is the stories of individuals that stand out, most of them profoundly tragic – stark reminders of how desperately this region needs the healing that only Jesus can bring.

Whatever your attitude to this deeply troubled part of the world, don’t miss the opportunity to read this remarkable book.

Available via www.shootmefirst.com and at selected bookstores.