Safely Home is by far the greatest and most inspirational christian novel I have ever read. The christian examples portrayed in the book make me step back and consider how much God has blessed me with. It is truely humbling. Jack
Ben Fielding, former college roommate to Li Chuan, presses on in his busy life, forgetting his promise to pray for his roommate after he returns to China, forgetting the God he thought he followed. Ben's goals are to be CEO of his company. When the company gives him an assignment of living in China for a while with Li Chuan, things all begin to change. Things are not as he thought in successful China, or in the life of his old roommate. Poverty and suffering seem to be the lot of Li Chuan. Yet there is something that Chuan has that Ben has never tasted. Something strong and free and happy.
And from heaven, the Watchers see and await the perfect judgment of the King.
A terribly, wonderfully eye-opening book on the reality of martyrs in China, and the joy they find in Jesus.
The only things I didn't particularly like were the women preachers and the speculation on heaven. And yet it is interesting and inspiring to think about what heaven may be like, and the joy awaiting us, whether everything is quite as the author imagines, or not.
I love Randy Alcorn's writings and after reading this from the Library, I had to have it to share. The story line is inspiring and the basis of events are truly impacting for Chrisitans. We certainly don't get this side of the story from our news media.
Although this is a fictional novel, Randy Alcorn has done a great job of portraying the persecution that Christians face in China. I read the book when it first came out in 2001, and I loved it. It was one of those books that pulled me in and I became completely engrossed in the story. Even though it has been eleven years since I read the book, I still remember how much I enjoyed it, and how it helped open my eyes to the persecution Christians are going through around the world.
Some say Randy Alcorn can be "too preachy" in his books. I disagree. He writes some good stuff, and this is one of his best. And besides, it IS Christian fiction, and we are to preach Christ everywhere. I don't think God would exclude Christian fiction from that.
A side note: The original book was hardcover and featured one of Ron DiCianni's great paintings on the cover of the book, a painting by the same name as the book, if I remember correctly.
Wealthy American business man Ben reconnects with his Chinese college roommate on a business trip to Shanghai. Twenty years ago at Harvard, they were inseparable. Now, their friendship is being tested in modern China, and bonds forged over study breaks must either snap or become the catalyst for a new way of life.
I had no expectations picking up this novel; the title is less than descriptive, and the cover summary does not shed the insight one might expect. The writing style is very quiet, preferring to let the characters and events speak for themselves. The setting moves between three distinct worlds. The set of characters is stable, and clearly defined. And the result is a passionate outcry in defense of Christian faith in the face of aggressive persecution.
Much of the narrative occurs in dialogue format between the two protagonists. And the two discuss everything: linguistics, business, politics, economics, food, culture, history, relationships, commitment, and of course, religion. As the novel progresses, these conversations simultaneously drive, explain, and predict the plot. Reading these passages begs for comparisons to the Book of Job, Pilgrim's Progress, and portions of work by C.S. Lewis; and like these books, the heaviness you hold in your hand is a poor measure of the weight of the subject matter discussed within.
For me this novel fulfills what fiction is intended to be: the freedom to combine truthful experiences, facts, figures, and words into a fictional context, opening the door to a larger reality than reading the statistics alone would allow. With its truly life changing potential, I would recommend this book to anyone who values asking questions as way to learn. I sincerely hope this book goes on to become a christian classic. It has certainly found space on my book shelf.
"Safely Home" by Randy Alcorn is the story of Ben Fielding and Li Quan, former college roommates who went their separate ways. Ben became heavily involved in corporate America. Li returned to his home in China. Both married and had children. One became successful by the world’s standards; the other struggled to get by. After twenty years, however, they are reunited when Ben visits China for business purposes, but decides to stay in the home of his old friend, Li.
This is where the story begins—and it’s an amazing read! My son lent this book to me after reading it himself. I couldn’t put it down. Through this story, we learn how easy it is to not see what should be seen. We also see the contrast and possible results of a gradual incline and a gradual decline of faith over time. We witness the suffering of martyrs and the challenge to those who would try to save them. We watch God act in faithfulness, according to His Word.
The book is set in contemporary and, most likely, in a near future time. It challenges the reader while offering the best kind of hope. I’m happy to recommend "Safely Home."
My grandmother loaned me a copy of this book when I returned home after my first year in China. She said that it was a novel that reminded her of me the whole time she read it, and she couldn't be happier unless I, too, had the chance to read it. I would be lying if I didn't say that Safely Home greatly changed my perspective on why I was overseas.
I cannot go into great depth about where I was, what I was doing, or why I plan to go back, but I will say that God paved my way to the Orient originally, and He has continued to fill my way with signpost after divine signpost telling me that I need to go back. And so, of course, I feel a close kindred with Ben Fielding and Li Quan, the lead characters in Randy Alcorn's Gold Medallion award winning novel.
Spinning the tables on a "generic" missionary novel, Alcorn utilizes a unique method of discussing religion in China: rather than writing about an American Christian reaching Chinese souls in China, the author uses a strong believing Chinese man to reach his American friend who happens to be traveling to China on business. And to twist things even more, it was this once-nominal-Christian American businessman who had first led his Chinese friend to the Lord while they were roommates in America. And the gripping plot does not stop there. Alcorn fills his novel with the realities of the persecution still facing many Chinese believers, the degradation they face once arrested, and the faith they persistently show in the face of all these real-life trials. Martyrdom is not dead in the 21st century: it has just become more secretive. And Safely Home---which reads like any issue of Voice of the Martyrs---brings that light better than any novel I know of.
Many people have their own take on the realities of the religious abuses strewn throughout China, myself not excluded. And while I believe the extent of such abuse differs from province to province, I am 100% certain that the religious freedom of the best Chinese province is worse than that of the worst American state. I pray for China, and I encourage you to do the same. One way to start, and one way to understand what is really going on over there, is to pick up a copy of Safely Home. Both your prayer life and the souls of many Chinese will thank you for it one day.
[Note: I received this book free for review from Tyndale House Publishers]
I have picked this book up on several occasions times at the library, yet had never read it. Like so many books that "you are simply meant to read", this title has continued to "pop out" from the shelves as I searched for something to read over the past several years, and finally hooked me this past week. What a week it has been! I am a Christian who often struggles to truly live as a Christian in a very materialistic and secular world. This book is an inspiration to me, providing a model in the character of Li Quan of what how Christian is supposed live and act - with courage and conviction. In the face of immense opposition and persecution he remained true to his faith. The novel conveys very well the lengths to which Christians in China must go to practice their faith and the risks they take in staying true to their beliefs. It also serves as great reminder of the gifts we have been given as a society, that these are not "blessings" granted to chosen or favored souls, but, instead, are the treasures of Christ, bestowed upon us with the obligation that we use our wealth and health in the service of Christ, not the endless pursuit of amusement and pleasure. This is a quick read that will spark many moments of reflection about life and faith in the modern world.
If you want shocked out of your own little world and to be given a dose of reality--what persecution for your faith truly is --then read this book.
Although it is written in novel form, the stories of persecution in China contained within are from true events.
It is written well and the story is so engaging that you don't want to put it down. I have felt humbled by my complaining and ashamed of my lack of dedication to reading God's word--especially when reading how these Chinese Christians would carefully and lovingly (sometimes while weeping) copy down books of the Bible to take to secret meetings so their printed Bible wouldn't be confiscated in a possible raid.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a wake-up call from their apathetic faith and to be given eyes to see how truly we are blessed in America (and to get a glimpse of how that blessing can hinder us from standing up for our faith).
Please note that the author will donate all royalties for this book to the persecuted church around the world.
Thanks to Tyndale Publishers for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review (but it is so amazing, how could I not?)
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Review 12 for Safely Home - eBook
This review is fromSafely Home.
Date:October 9, 2011
I couldn't put this one down. Randy Alcorn has woven a story that has changed me. I will never again take my Christian freedom for granted. Thank you, Mr. Alcorn!
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Review 13 for Safely Home - eBook
This review is fromSafely Home.
Love it! Compelling and Encouraging
Date:September 8, 2011
Sophie and Momma
Summary of Safely Home:
Randy Alcorn's heart for this book was to write a fiction book that is a melting pot of many very non-fictional events and realities that have happened to those in countries where real Christians are really persecuted.
While telling the story of Li Quan whose legacy seems to be martyrdom, Randy was able to intertwine in the book the sole thought of God's Sovereignty. He is in control of every circumstance. And He works every circumstance for good to the glory of God--even through great sorrow and loss. In this book you can catch a glimpse of how He is at work in the characters of Ben Felding and Li Quan.
Every circumstance and detail seem to be purposed by God even the hard ones we can't explain. I feel that this book can be the story of everyone in some shape or form. I felt myself encouraged, ashamed, repentant, forgiven, and joyful. Many times I found myself thinking the exact thoughts that one person was thinking--I feel that this book is an encouragement to every believer and non believer too. --An encouragement that life is more than this world. There is hope and joy and life in Christ Jesus that is more filling than anything this world can offer. This book is also about knowing that the sufferings of this present world is but for a moment in light of eternity.
Lessons Learned: People face persecutions because of their faith in Jesus and their desire to read the Bible everyday. Often times I find myself just cold, uncaring, and desensitized when I hear about brothers and sisters in some third world country being persecuted for their faith.
Have you ever felt that way?
How often does one get overwhelmed or even feel so detached from news like this? For me, it is quite often. I feel sorry and pity for them in one second, and forget about them in the next! I hate that I am shallow in this sense. But this book, Safely Home awakened me from my cold emotions. I was not overwhelmed nor burdened by the weight of knowing all the horrible things people are going through. Instead, I felt love and compassion come back again, and that cold uncaring feeling melted away.
I believe God showed me that my part in all this was to be a prayer warrior for these brothers and sisters. He never asked me to conquer the world or anything...but what I could DO is to pray. Instead of feeling detached or pity or sorrow for them because I feel incapable and can do nothing, I feel like I am taking out the enemy with the biggest guns ever---PRAYER!
JOY and HOPE and LOVE for those who I could not see seemed to take bloom. Not joy because others are suffering, but the hope and joy that I know will come in the morning for them. I pray that they remain faithful until the end and be strengthened with His might. I pray that they know that "Real Gold Fears No Fire". Also, joy that I can get to see those who I have never seen before in heaven.
In short, I love this book and I heartily recommend you pick it up to read--I already have a friend who is going to get my copy of the book to read!
I give this book a 5 out of 5!
To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.
Safely Home is the story of two characters--Ben Fielding, an American, and Li Quan, a Chinese man. The story centers upon Ben's visit to China and his renewal of his friendship with Li Quan. Ben has walked away from his faith that he lived out during his college years when he knew Li Quan. On the other hand, Li Quan has chosen his faith in God over his own dreams of writing and being a professor. The story is well crafted and very descriptive. It is easy to picture and imagine this story. Alcorn's plot will draw you in and challenge you to reflect on how you prioritize your faith at the very same time. Are I like Li Quan or am I like Ben Fielding? I hope that I am like Li Quan, but too often my priorities stray in my day and my eyes are not focused where they need to be.
Tyndale has just published a new paperback 10th anniversary edition of this book. It includes a new forward which I found very interesting. It is very obvious that Randy Alcorn did a lot of research so that he would be able to write this book, but he has actually only spent 7 days in China. He drew on the experiences of many people and missionaries that he knew in order to tell Li Quan's story.
As Americans, I think we are often ignorant of what life is like in Asia and many other parts of the world. It has deeply blessed my heart to have my eyes opened by reading books like this one. If you haven't read this book before, I highly recommend it. It is one of my favorites that I have long recommended to friends.
Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Tyndale Publishing.
Safely Home by Randy Alcorn is a book that has been on my list of books I wanted to read for a long time. So, I was delighted when I was offered the opportunity to review the 10 year anniversary reprint. This tells the story of 2 former college roommates 20 years after graduation from Harvard. Li Quan, son of a Christian, becomes an atheist after his father becomes a martyr. When he has the opportunity to attend college in America, his roommate, Ben Fielding, is instrumental in leading him back to the Lord.
20 years later, Ben looks up his old roommate while on a business trip to China. Both men are surprised at the changes in circumstances, and the new direction each has taken. The discoveries about each other and growth of each man in fulfilling his own destiny make this a novel you can not simply walk away from untouched.
Using the painting entitled "Safely Home" by artist Ron DiCianni, for inspiration, this is a book that reminds us that we have a freedom that not all enjoy or appreciate. Also, Randy Alcorn has a style of writing his fiction novels that always captivates my imagination. Throughout them, there is that glimpse of Heaven and the observations of the "great cloud of witnesses" (Hebrews 12:1) who remind me that Heaven is my real Home. While this novel is a somber reminder of those who suffer for their faith, it also serves to encourage & strengthen my own walk with the Lord. It also knocks the complacent attitude of those who resent being mocked or who try to blend in. One more source of inspiration mentioned in the book, is a song called "Safely Home" by Steve Green.
Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary book in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.
From the book: “Is this the day I die?” Quan stiffened at the shout behind him. The voice rang with authority. “You meet in the night like the criminals you are. How dare you defy the law? In three minutes we will shoot every man, woman, and child who does not declare himself loyal to the people rather than the gwelios, foreign devils.”
American business executive Ben Fielding has no idea what his brilliant old college roommate is facing in China. But when they’re reunited in China after 20 years, the men are shocked at what they discover about each other.
Thrown together in an hour of encroaching darkness, watched by unseen eyes, both must make choices that will determine not only the destinies of two men, but two families, two nations. . . and two worlds.
Wow. All I can say is that this has to be the most moving novel I’ve ever read. (And believe me, I’ve read many.) It is clear that Randy Alcorn did his research on the life and language of the Chinese people. And I absolutely love how he shows not only the earthly side of life, but how the spirit world sees and hears and interacts with us on a daily basis. His portrayal of Jesus is amazing. All I could think about as I read through tear-filled eyes, was that I couldn’t wait to get to heaven and see Him. Randy draws you in from the very first word he writes and doesn’t let you go until the end. You will walk away with a heart open and receptive to those who are being persecuted for the cause of Christ – willing to do whatever it takes to make a difference in these last days. Go. Get. This. Book.
Well. If I could recommend one book besides the Bible for you to read, it would be Safely Home by Randy Alcorn. I am serious. I don't know when (if) I have a read a book that I was moved by as much as this book. It is being re-released and I believe it was originally published in 2001, so you may have read it! If you have, you wouldn't have forgotten it. After I received it in the mail, I will be honest that it sat on my nightstand for a few days. I knew what it was about. And frankly, even though I wanted to read it, I'd be lying if I said there was another part that didn't. I really didn't want to read about the persecuted church. I didn't really want to be moved. But, alas, I had committed to review it and so I cracked the cover.
Safely Home is a fiction book based on real events. As you will learn when you read this, there is still strong persecution going on today, even behind that glitzy tv screen that projects otherwise. You will follow a well-crafted Ben Fielding - the epitome of all things Western. He has money, he has "the job", he is single (divorced) - you know. At first I found him a bit cliche, but as his character developed, I believe that anyone reading this could find an area of Ben's life that they could identify with. When he was drinking his Starbucks against the backdrop of what was going on across the world, I will admit a chord was struck in my own heart. When his company requires him to go overseas to China to visit an old friend - Li Quan - Ben is reminded of what is really important and what really matters in life.
I can't say enough how beautifully this book was written. You will learn about the persecuted people behind the scenes - their lives, their families, their churches, their needs. Alcorn weaves practical lessons of how we can pray and help these people, all the while telling a tale. I loved how he presented the gospel to his character, Ben, as well as his reader. I loved the picture of the saints and the Father watching those who suffer - reading of the Son interceding on their behalf - and crying for the end to come. An end to pain, an end to suffering. I loved how by coming to love Li-Quan, I came to love those whose faces I do not know.
I loved this book. I cannot recommend it enough.
I received a complimentary copy of this book and was not required to write a positive review.
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Review 18 for Safely Home - eBook
This review is fromSafely Home.
A Life-changing Book!
Date:June 25, 2011
I never thought I’d say this about any book, but I’ve read this book and… I’m not the same person that I was before I had started it. I expected it to be a good book, a serious book, because, after all, it’s about the persecuted Christian church of China. However, I never would have thought that it held what it does.
Your friend is being pursued, persecuted, and oppressed in a foreign country because of his love for His Saviour. But there’s no way you know this because it’s been twenty years, and you’re a high-profile business person, after all, and quite frankly, your faith ain’t what it used to be.
But doesn’t God always have a greater plan? Means and ways of doing things that is far beyond the scope of our understanding?
Such is the story of Ben Fielding and Li Quan. And a powerful story it is.
Having first picked up the novel, I vaguely knew what it was about, from the synopsis, so I couldn’t really understand what being safely home had to do with persecution. Or how the painting just inside the front cover called Safely Home also fit into the puzzle.
Reading a few pages turned the light on in my head and I can’t begin to describe the feeling that went through my heart. Being safely home in the arms of Jesus. As I was reading I continually flipped the front to gaze at the painting and I clearly remember doing this toward the end of the novel, and the combination of seeing the Chinese Christian clasped in the arms of Jesus, with his golden crown in one hand, and his cuffs lying discarded off to the side: the image struck so I had to cry.
A few more thoughts:
* · It’s the first Randy Alcorn novel that I’ve ever read and I wasn’t at all used to his straight forward, no-frills writing style. It was initially difficult to get into the story because of this, but I think that you, like me, will come to appreciate this later on in the novel. The depth and scope of this novel is hard enough to take in without having to work around loops and twirls as well.
* · Ben Fielding will surely be the most infuriating character that you will ever meet. Rarely feeling like this, he made me want to throw the book across on the room on several occasions. Arrogant, ignorant, and cynical, he asked a LOT of questions, and didn’t listen nearly enough to the answers given. He’ll certainly endear to you, however, towards the end.
* · It’s a book of dialogue. At least 95% of it consists of people talking, and a large chunk of this falls into the pattern of questions being asked, and in depth answers being given. If you’ll be able to get used to this, you’ll learn so much because it holds incredible amounts of wisdom.
* · A big part is focused on persecution and what Chinese Christians have to go through, but a part also talks about the general corruption of China. It came across as a bit strange because, for example, Ben Fielding was trying to ‘rattle cages’ concerning prisoners having to work in factories without pay when Li Quan was being beaten in prison… However, I was thankful because I learned much through this.
* · Insight is given into such things like the Dalai Lama (Lamaism Buddhism), as well as other ‘controversial’ subjects that you are sure to find interesting. I always do find it interesting how authors can work certain worldviews (especially religious) into their novels. It’s something I’ve noticed about more novels.
Perhaps I’ve said enough, and leave the rest up to you, dear Reader. Please read this novel. One of the ‘praises’ given for the novel was that it’ll change the way for the persecuted church. Perhaps this novel will cause you to pray for the persecuted church for the first time. And we need to pray for those who get the honor of dying for their Savior in the way that He died for us on the cross.
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Review 19 for Safely Home - eBook
This review is fromSafely Home.
Safely Home is an amazing book.
Date:June 12, 2011
I loved this book so much that I bought it, shared it with my family & friends and have read it over and over again. I love the way in which it is written, a chapter on the heavenly realms, one on LiQuan's life, then Ben's life etc etc. Safely home has given me a new perspective on my prayer life and been an encouragement especially since I have spent time in China.
To be honest most of the time I am reading a book for pure entertainment purposes. However, sometimes I come across a book that reaches beyond the "entertainment factor" and crosses into the eye opening and life changing mode. "Safely Home" by Randy Alcorn was that for me. This book follows the lives of two former Harvard roomates one- Li Quan a chinese student in America for an education, and his American counterpart Ben Fielding. The story picks up on their friendship 20 years later and how their lives have completely changed. Ben is now a highly paid, respected mover and shaker for an up and coming company looking to partner with China on a huge business deal and by major contrast the deeply committed Christian and very poor locksmith's assistant Li Quan. Ben comes to stay with his old roomate and soon sees that life in China is not what it appears to be from a Westerner's perspective. He discovers the real danger for those living a life for Christ. This book takes a look at the very real persecution in China for Christians trying to live out their faith. "Safely Home" is a fiction rendering, but it is not fantasy and was a compelling read. There is an alternating of perspectives between the story occuring on earth and that of the heavenly perspective and how nothing escapes the Father's notice. From where I sit, a middle class comfortable suburban Christian who hops in my car on Sundays and Wednesdays to go to church, this book really opened my eyes and my heart to the martyrs and persecuted churches around our world. I highly recommend this book- we all need our eyes and hearts opened so that we can help.