Mission stories help us see God at work in this world. Hidden Song of the Himalayas is a book about missions, yet it doesn’t seem to fit the stereotypes of successful missionaries baptizing thousands and establishing important institutions. Hidden Song of the Himalayas chronicles the journey of frontline church planters in the Indian Himalayas, seeking to reach middle and high-class Hindus. Abigail Follows, a pseudonym used to protect the identity of the church-planting family, offers not only a lucid description of what happened, but often— and even more engaging—a look into the deepest crevices of her heart as she and her husband, Joshua, begin their journey into international ministry.
Hidden Song of the Himalayas is deeply personal and reminds us of the fact that mission is costly. The costs involve not only funding to start and establish a longterm project in an unentered region of India, itself part of the larger 10/40 window, the imagined area of North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia located approximately between 10 degrees north and 40 degrees north latitude, where billions of people live who have never heard any whispers of the gospel, never mind know the name of Jesus. The costs involved are personal, often deeply emotive struggles, the willingness to allow God to push us out of our comfort zones, missing the proximity of close family relations—to mention just a few.
The writing is very engaging and alternates between reporter-style direct speech and narrative and personal reflections. Chapters are very short—in line with modern reading preferences and concentration spans. Chapter 1 drops the reader in the midst of a hair-raising confrontation with demonic powers, followed by a slow retelling of the prequel of how Abigail and Joshua met and how they decided to answer God’s call to cross-cultural mission.
The volume doesn’t conclude with a “happily ever after” ending. After many years of international service and incremental church growth, Abigail and Joshua decide to return to the United States before they are able to see the full harvest.
Abigail describes it like this: “Everything felt normal. And though God’s Word had gone forth, I would not be here to see it accomplish His purpose. I looked past the shops up the hill. There were many people I hadn’t had the chance to say goodbye to. People whose weddings I’d attended. Whose babies I’d held. Whose medical cards I’d deciphered for them. . . . Would I ever see them again? I climbed into the car. . . . I knew I was called to let go of something that was never about me in the first place. It was something God had been doing all along. It was His from the start. And He would finish it.”
“So I had peace when we left. The peace that makes no sense” (p. 275).