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From the Great Terror of the 1930s to the time when believing in ...
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From the Great Terror of the 1930s to the time when believing in Christ is no longer a crime, this close-knit Ukrainian family quietly persisted through the years, trusting God for everything. The Brynzas' children, forced to choose between God and the communist system, wrestled with temptations of ambition, popularity, love, and wealth. For periods of their lives, one or more gave in. But God heard the faithful prayers of Alexei and Valentina, and eventually the Brynza family was able not only to survive while serving God, but to thrive. Their son-in-law, Igor Yaremchuk, adds his own testimony of coming to Christ with the help of miracles and atheistic propaganda.
Beyond the Rapids is a story for all believers everywhere. If you're concerned about the erosion of religious freedom, if you are discouraged because your children have wandered far from God, if you long to stand firm in your faith in all circumstances, the Brynzas' testimony of God's faithfulness will provide hope and inspiration as you are reminded afresh that God is with you, in every moment. As you sail through the torrents in your own life, God will meet you right where you are and guide you to the smooth water beyond the rapids.
Posted April 13, 2013
Amazingly interesting and inspiring
Beyond the Rapids goes beyond the category of good entertainment and gives you something to take away with you, something deeply inspiring that will affect your life. The dangers the Byrnza family members faced, the hardships they endured, and the faith in God they displayed are all glowing testimonies of their Christianity. You can’t help but admire each one of them as they tell their amazingly interesting stories. You can’t help but applaud their daring honesty as you read of the heinous ploys a country can utilize to persecute Christians. And when the Byrnzas prove, again and again, that nothing is too difficult for their great Lord to handle, you can’t help but realize that you serve the same prayer-answering God.
Evelyn Puerto did an excellent job of weaving these lives, this region, and this political situation into a remarkably outstanding book. Beyond the Rapids was a joy to read, and I highly recommend it.
Posted January 30, 2011
Imagine you are a believer living in a communist country. You live with the knowledge that anytime you could be imprisoned, tortured, or killed simply because you are a Christian.
Beyond the Rapids by Evelyn Puerto is the true story of Ukrainian pastor Alexei Brynza and his wife, Valentina, who endured persecution in a culture that was hostile to their faith as they struggled to raise their four children as believers.
From the Great Terror of the 1930s to the time when believing in Christ is no longer a crime, this close knit Ukranian family quietly persisted through the years, trusting God for everything. The Brynza's children, forced to choose between God and the communist system, wrestled with temptations of ambition, popularity, love and wealth. For periods of their lives, one or more gave in. But God heard the faithful prayers of Alexei and Valentina, and eventually the Bryzna family was able to not only survive while serving God, but to thrive. Their son in law, Igor Yaremchuk, adds his own testimony of coming to Christ with the help of miracles and atheistic propaganda.
I received this amazing book of the Bryzna's testimony of God's faithfulness in all circumstances compliments of the author Evelyn Puerto for my honest review. I loved this book, not only based on all the details of just how difficult life was for the whole family but in knowing my own friends that have immigrated here from the Ukraine and knowing personally from them just how difficult life was for them being Christians.
The book details how difficult it was for them and how many times God came through for them in miraculous ways. One of them was when Valentina had developed a painful lump in her left breast, not only had it doubled in size but turned black and green and developed a horrible smell. She prayed to God to help save her because she couldn't imagine her children enduring life without her. When she realized was a foolish prayer it was to God saying that she doubted His ability to care for her children without her presence, she changed that prayer.
As she prepared for surgery to remove that breast, she felt a peace in her heart. As the doctors performed her biopsy to see how difficult the tumor was, all that came out was pus. There was nothing left to remove and surgery wasn't necessary after all. There are so many examples of just how God constantly showed His hand to this amazing family and just how it strengthened and challenged their faith.
This book rates a 5 out of 5 stars! I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to build their faith and make it stronger. Sometimes just seeing difficulties in others is such an encouragement in our own lives and shows us that God really does love and care for all of us. As you sail through your own torrents in your life, God will meet you right where you are and guide you to the smooth water beyond the rapids.
Posted October 6, 2010
It is rare when a book so effects me that when it is over I feel like I have been on an emotional journey. So is the case with Beyond the Rapids by Evelyn Puerto. This amazing book chronicles the persecution of Alexei Brynza, his ancestors and his immediate family due to the fact that they were Christians. Their story in any telling would be incredible, but the manner in which Puerto tells it, just makes it that much more affecting. Each chapter is told to Puerto by a member of the family. Now using this type of structure presents several potential problems, not the least of which is risk of a lack of fluidity in the narrative. In the skillful hands of Puerto this never happens. Each chapter you truly feel like you are sitting next to the family member hearing their story and the words just flow so well you get lost in them. Plus it is utterly fascinating to hear the story told from so many different viewpoints. Just a magnificent job by Puerto and all those who assisted her, of whom she graciously gives credit.
What I also really liked about the book was the way Puerto had Alexei Brynza's daughter Lena use the first several chapters to give background history on her father and mother's family and struggles. This really set the tone of the story and kept things very much in perspective. The chapters on The Great Terror and famine are horrifying. There are so many memorable people in this book that you will never forget them. One is Lena's husband Igor. His chapters on how he courted Lena are just stunning. Of course this book is not merely a romance but a real thriller through the history of communist Russia and the struggles believers endured just to practice their faith. The frightening elements, such as the abuse heaped on them by neighbors , are needed to paint a picture of how deep atheism was thrust down the throats of the Russian people. As a lover of history books, Beyond the Rapids really showed me an inside look into communist Russia that I never before experienced. I am heartened that not all the non-Christians are painted in one brush and this really adds to the legitimacy of the story. By the time you finish this book you will truly feel your faith strengthened.
So I give this book my highest recommendation. Rarely have I felt such feelings after finishing a book. I must again applaud Evelyn Puerto for putting into written words a story of faith that needed to be told.