Wednesday, October 26, 2011

the MESSIAH by Toni Sorenson

by Toni Sorenson

the setting: beginning about 20 BC - Helaman chapter 11

The people abound in wickedness, both Nephite and Lamanite. Gadianton robbers plague the people from their strongholds in the hills. The prophet Nephi is given the power to bind and loosen in earth and in heaven. He persuades the Lord to replace war with famine that the people might be brought to humility and repentance. The rains stop and destruction from war is replaced by famine. The effects are felt among the righteous as well as the wicked. Many perish. Finally, at the point of utter despair and sure destruction, the people repent and the rains come again.... Almost four years without rain!

"And now O Lord, wilt thou turn away thine anger, and try again IF they wll serve Thee? And IF so, O Lord Thou canst bless them according to thy words which thou has said." (Helaman 11:16)
Big IF's. 

It is the generation of Samuel - when believers among the Nephites are fewer in number than among the Lamanites. All over the land the people are being prepared for the birth of the Messiah - about whom their men of God have been prophesying for nearly 600 years.
Turmoil grips Zarahemla, despite the humbling famine. In many ways it is a time not unlike our own. Believers await the signs they have trusted in for so long. Unbelievers ridicule and mock them and trample everything that is precious under foot. Believers are persecuted and their faith is stretched and tested in their hardships. The wicked reason "it is not reasonable that such a being as a Christ shall come, if so, ... why will he not show himself unto us, as well as them who shall be at Jerusalem? ...  this is part of a diabolical plan of deception to keep the people downtrodden and in ignorance - promising them an event which can never be proven - not among us" they say "but in a land which is distant, a land which we know not; therefore they can keep us in ignorance, for we cannot witness with our own eyes..." 

Sound familiar? Uh huh. Yeh, me too.

What would it have been like to have lived then? Probably similar to now I imagine. And yet we have the 20/20 vision of hindsight that they did not.
Those believers had faith in an event yet to hapen and a being yet to be born. We have faith in an event that DID happen and in a Redeermer who has not only been born, but lived and preached and ministered and died - all according to prophecy, and who rose again, and who promised to return.
Author Toni Sorenson took Nephi at his word, and likened "the scriptures unto ourselves". She paints a picture of the time encompassing the books of Helaman and 3rd Nephi, in the Book of Mormon. A time which we should recognize as up close and personal. 
Take a journey through the eyes of a young man named Kiah. A boy raised by a believing mother, in a world where they were the minority - even among their neighbours and friends.
Days never to be forgotten. Days that we would do well to imprint in our hearts, as we are reliving them in our own day. The final days when foretold signs abound, and those with eyes to see recognize them and take note. 

a novel by Toni Sorenson, author of the Best Selling MASTER
500 page HB Cdn $26.95

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

presents the Musical
"Seven Brides for Seven Brothers"

November 17, 18, 19
including a Saturday Matinee
Westbury Theatre in Edmonton, AB
tickets available at Generations Bookstore
and going fast! 
phone the store 780-413-0392
or click HERE to purchase online 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Hainan Incident

Holy Cow - I just finished a gooooood book this week that cost me  a LOT of sleep.
(I need some responsible person in my life telling me when to "go to BED!!")
Normally I am not a fan of mystery / suspense type stories. Heck I don't even like birthday surprises. I am not hardwired to enjoy surprises of any kind. So its always a big 'surprise' when I enjoy a good suspense book. I thoroughly enjoyed the "Hainan Incident", and I heartily recommend it.

After about a week of reading when I could find the time, I invested two very late nights in a row 'cause I believed I might finish it the first night - but I badly overestimated my reading speed - notwithstanding the fact that I could NOT put the book down. The second late night I came within 3 PAGES! 3 Pages of finishing, but I was so doggone tired I couldn't focus and kept reading the same paragraph over and over till I finally admitted defeat and turned the light off. The story was at such an exciting point that night that I literally was shaking! I was shivering so bad (I kid you not) my TEETH were chattering. No wonder I don't like surprises. I couldn't live like that on a daily basis if you paid me! I finally finished it (the last 3 pages) first thing in the morning - as soon as my mind was clear and my eyes could focus again. And I've been thinking about it ever since.

A first novel for author DM Coffman, (always a pleasant surprise when a first novel is this good) it was well written, engaging, believable, even compelling. The Hainan Incident takes place on Mainland China, with the main character being an American born attorny of Chinese descent. Convert to the church who served a Chinese speaking mission. A good man, who had the background, the education, the disguise (quite conveniently), the language and the patriotic desire to accept an unexpected assignment as an undercover agent to expose corruption in China’s court system. Incidently, DM Coffman lived in Beijing with her husband - like two of her characters - during the time that the story takes place, so she has excellent insight into the places and people she writes about. 

the Hainan Incident
     by DM Coffman
Also available on audio CD

Before beginning his first undercover assignment, American attorney Yi Jichun travels to Hainan Island on the South China Sea for some much-needed respite—but finds trouble instead. Already uneasy about his charge to expose corruption in China’s court system, Yi stumbles upon a hidden computer network in an ancient island village and finds himself drawn into an investigation that tears him between his religious principles and the lie he must live.
Aided by Sarah, an esteemed fellow judge, and Meijuan, a village leader exiled by her powerful and corrupt son, Yi uncovers the Hainan Net—an international organization that targets global shipping channels in its quest for world power. But Yi loses ground when Sarah discovers his true identity as a foreign spy—and as the American military organizes a stealth assault in full cooperation with China’s government, Yi must reconcile the laws governing the land with the laws governing his honor.

Price: (CDN) $17.95
Buy Now

Yi [Jason] Jichun is an active and worthy member of the church, but going into Communist China he must hide that fact so as not to draw attention to himself (and his differences) while he is undercover. How does one live the precepts of one's religion when one must never admit to others that he has a religion? Especially a religion such as ours? His American raised 'thinking' sometimes stands out as peculiar to those he closely associates with, but never does he dishonour himself, his covenants or his God. 

During a brief vacational respite before he reports to the University in Beijing he visits a tourist destination on the beautiful island of Hainan, but while there, unwittingly comes across a piece of trivia that seems strangely at odds with its surroundings. What others may call coincidences Latter-day Saints see very differently, as Yi is guided and protected as he worthily (if unwittingly at first) allows himself to be used as an instrument in the Lord's hands for a purpose much bigger than his wildest asperations or imaginations. Literally the fate of the world is on the alter. ..... 
Whew! I owe a lot to Yi Jichun for preserving the day to day normalicy of my life when I didn't even know it was on the chopping block. Oh yeah, it was only a novel ..... :-)