Book Reviews, Books, Giveaways

Awake (A Giveaway)

September 11, 2013

Awake Book

She worked for our family for two years but she was more than a maid, we took an interest in her life, and she felt truly welcome in ours. She invited us over to share a meal and somehow, we found our way to her home out in the middle of nowhere in the middle of Turkey, where we were living. A gaggle of chickens strutted around,  scratching at the dusty ground. I don’t remember there being grass–at least not like the lawns we have here in the U.S.

Her home was small by most standards, a plain concrete block rectangle, and it was dim inside. I remember how dim it seemed. She decorated with things that we normally toss in the trash, a glass syrup bottle in the shape of a round woman sat on her table stuffed with wild flowers. I’d never seen anyone do that before.

We drank chai with her and ate something I don’t remember. She went out of her way to make us feel welcome in her space, even as she was dirt poor, with nothing much to hold on to.

This was my first encounter with poverty.

Back around the world, and years later as a teenager, I joined a mission trip to a reservation in North Dakota. I never imagined I’d see the things I saw there. In my own country.

The people we went there to serve were living below the poverty level. Many of them were sick. All of them were hungry–and not just for food. It was on the reservation where I saw another kind of poverty–the people of this community were spiritually bankrupt. They had nothing and they hoped for nothing. This remains one of the saddest experiences I have ever faced.

But even so, I got to fly home, back to my cushioned suburban life, driving my parents car, and stuffing myself with fast food. I came home to a closet full of nice clothes and a church community that lifted and encouraged me.

If we choose, we can life our whole life so filled with distractions that we never have to face–or be confronted with–real, desperate needs. Noel Yeattes, Awake

The  people I had just left had none of this. I didn’t know how to reconcile it. Sometimes, I still don’t.

I think it was then that God began to wake me up.

But I wasn’t ready.

I just didn’t really want to know. I figured since there was nothing I could do about it, it was easier to close my eyes–to just look away.

A few years ago I followed the posts of a Compassion blogging trip to the slums of Mathare, Africa and this time, God opened both my eyes, and my heart. I couldn’t look away–I didn’t want to.

I recently read a book by Noel Yeatts, the Vice President of World Help, “a faith based humanitarian organization that serves both the physical and spiritual needs of impoverished people around the world”.  Her book, Awake: Doing A World Of Good One Person At A Time , serves as a wake-up call to those of us who find it difficult to really look at the needs of those who are suffering.

As Christians we have a responsibility to serve the poor. This is not optional. The gospel doesn’t merely suggest it–it demands it:

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (James 1:27)

We are called to live life with our eyes open, to watch for the needs of others and then meet those needs to the best of our ability, with God’s help.

Our prayer should continually be, Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.(Psalm 119:18, ESV)

The first step toward changing the world is admitting there is a problem. Noel Yeatts, Awake

I don’t want to close my eyes again. My constant prayer is for God to give me a heart like His. I cannot live like Him if I refuse to look on those in need. I’ve been asleep most of my life.

I’ve had enough. God help me, I want to see.

Are you ready to wake up?

Would you like to join a community of storytellers, using their voice to help change the world?

Become a World Help Blogger. Find more information HERE. Sign-up HERE.


I’m giving away a copy of Noel’s book to one reader. Simply leave a comment on this post, for an entry. Gain additional entires by sharing, tweeting and pining this post. Leave a comment for each thing you do. A winner will be announced on Monday, Sept. 16th.

Sign up here to download 2 free chapters from the book.

I am participating in the book study on September 2oth, I’d love for you to join me. Grab the Study guide.


*As part of the launch team for this book I received a copy of Awake for free, for the purpose of my review. All opinions expressed are my own.


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  • Lindsay S.

    It’s so easy to turn a blind eye, but once we’ve seen the needs, we are called to respond. Thanks for this encouraging post to live in a way that is awake and responding. The message of the book sounds so good.

  • Lindsay S.

    I shared this post to my blog facebook page

  • Kirsten Oliphant

    This is super powerful, and I think a very common experience. Thanks for sharing your own experience and about the book!

  • Mia

    Dear Kris
    In my country, South Africa, about 30% of the people live in utter poverty and beneath the bread-line! If every person, according to their means, just help one person daily with something to eat or drink, what a difference it would make! And I think we should include a hug with the food as well. I remember once when we were feeding children in a township once, how they came to me, held out their arms and wanted me just to hold them close. That broke my heart.
    Much love XX

  • Jennifer Camp

    Wow. Just wow. Yes, keep waking me up, Father. . .Thank you so much, Kris.

  • Lindsay

    This book looks amazing!!!

  • Julie Reynolds

    Can I just say that YES, I want to read & YES I am very scared to pray that prayer….you inspire as always friend.

  • Julie Reynolds

    I shared this post on facebook, twitter, Google+, and Pinned it!

  • salliehowell

    I would love to read this one!

  • salliehowell

    I shared on facebook and twitter

  • Kimberlee Conway Ireton

    Kris, I want a copy! If I don’t win yours, I’ll have to get one of my own :) I just wrote my first post for Compassion. I don’t know why it was so scary, why I waited so long, why I didn’t jump in two or three years ago. Thanks for posting this. It was the impetus I needed to click “publish” on that post.

  • Rae

    Powerful! Looks like a compelling book…

  • Emily

    Looks like a great book!

  • Rebekah

    I keep seeing this on everyone’s wall – everyone’s feed. Sounds like a good recommendation and one I will enjoy reading. I can’t wait to read and share.

  • Melissa Waters

    Wow, I just read what you wrote and I just have to read this book.
    I really want to share with my three little girls.

    I think they should know how good they have it. And how others are less fortunate and how we can no matter how much we have can help those.

    I hope I win.

    M. Waters

  • Sarah

    Would be so fun to win :) Thanks for your review!

  • Sarah

    Tweet tweet 😉

  • dukeslee

    Living with eyes wide open. With you, friend.

  • Michele-Lyn

    Thank you. <3

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  • Emily Wierenga

    LOVE this… love that Noel Yeatts too.

  • Margo

    I just got the ebook Kris, and am signed up for the book study. This looks so great…