Freedom's Stand

( 20 )

Overview

Find something to believe in... Jamil renounced a life of jihad when he encountered the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. But his new mission as an itinerant health worker in the hills of Afghanistan is met with skepticism and even violence. Returning to Kabul, relief worker Amy Mallory is shocked by the changes in her organization—changes with dire implications for the women and children under her care. And concern for her former assistant Jamil weighs heavily on her heart. Special Forces veteran Steve ...

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Freedom's Stand

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Overview

Find something to believe in... Jamil renounced a life of jihad when he encountered the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. But his new mission as an itinerant health worker in the hills of Afghanistan is met with skepticism and even violence. Returning to Kabul, relief worker Amy Mallory is shocked by the changes in her organization—changes with dire implications for the women and children under her care. And concern for her former assistant Jamil weighs heavily on her heart. Special Forces veteran Steve Wilson faces off against the riots and corruption of Afghanistan’s upcoming election. He’s looking for something that will give his life purpose but is confident that he won’t find it in Afghanistan. All three are searching for love and freedom. But in a country where political and religious injustice runs rampant, the cost of either may be higher than they realize.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Absolutely riveting. Move over, Kite Runner, because Freedom’s Stand captures the life and culture of Afghanistan . . . while offering a gripping message of hope. . . . An absolute must read.” 
-Susan May Warren, RITA Award–winning author of My Foolish Heart
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781598599411
  • Publisher: Oasis Audio
  • Publication date: 6/1/2011
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

As the child of missionary parents, award-winning author and journalist Jeanette Windle grew up in the rural villages, jungles, and mountains of Colombia, now guerrilla hot zones. Her detailed research and writing is so realistic that it has prompted government agencies to question her to determine if she has received classified information. Curently based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Jeanette has lived in six countries and traveled in more than thirty. She has more than fifteen books in print, including political/suspense best seller CrossFire and 2010 CBA Award finalist and Christy Award finalist Veiled Freedom.

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Read an Excerpt

Freedom's Stand


By J. M. WINDLE

TYNDALE HOUSE PUBLISHERS, INC.

Copyright © 2011 Jeanette Windle
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4143-1476-1


Chapter One

Kabul, Afghanistan

"Why did you permit him to walk out alive?" Fury vibrated the cell phone's speaker unit.

"I told you of the recording." Afghan Deputy Minister of Interior Ismail swept the smashed DVD player into a waste receptacle beside the police chief's desk he'd commandeered. "Perhaps such ammunition would not damage you. But it would destroy me!"

"And you are a tool I cannot afford to lose at this time. So perhaps you made the wise decision."

Ismail didn't find the other man's chuckle so amusing. "It has not worked out so ill in any case. We have still advanced our objectives. And he is aware the price of his life is silence. He will not speak further of what he knows."

"Which is little enough. Can he have guessed that wreaking vengeance on Khalid Sayef was not, after all, the end purpose of his mission? Could this be why he turned from his path?"

"There is no way he could know. No, it was the girl. To lie was a mistake." Such admission was another mistake. Ismail hurried to fill cold silence. "In any case, he has made it clear his heart is no longer committed to jihad."

"With the right leverage, he may yet change his mind. If only this had arrived in time, we would not have failed today."

The same image filled both speakers' cell phone screens.

"Who could have known it was under our noses all this time?" Ismail said.

"And his. You should have investigated earlier this American tenant and her doings."

"Only chance brought the trail to my door."

"Or Allah's gift."

The photo was not one a decent woman would exhibit outside her own family. But even in Afghanistan, mug shots required that more than a burqa be visible. Escaping, brown curls under a headscarf framed pale, oval features, an expression of combined despair and defiance incongruous in so youthful a face. But it was the eyes glaring at an unseen camera through a fringe of long and curling lashes that drew a murmur of satisfaction from both speakers. Scornful, a sheen of tears discernible even in JPEG, they glimmered the deep lapis lazuli of a Band-e Amir mountain lake.

* * *

Kandahar Province, Afghanistan

When Jamil had saved that burned child's life, he hadn't expected to find himself running for his own.

Jamil glanced back over his shoulder. He was pulling away from the mob. No, the mob had chosen to drop back. Though another hail of rocks hissed through the air, the throwing was halfhearted. But then the men weren't trying to kill him. Only to drive Jamil—and his words—from their village.

All had begun so well too. The village was like any other in southern Afghanistan, dirt cubes behind dirt walls on a parched plain. A riverbed that ran full during wet season was now only dry boulders, but a communal well permitted survival year-round. Jamil had been refilling his water bottle when a villager invited him to share the evening meal. The hospitality of the Pashtun tribes was as legendary as their ferocity.

And their poverty. Mud walls of his host's reception chamber bore no whitewash. Threadbare carpet and tushaks covered a dirt floor. A platter set before Jamil and male household members held only rice with a scant topping of lentils. Thin faces and eager eyes of children peeking around a doorway to watch the men eat restrained Jamil's own hunger. An injustice, Ameera would protest.

A reminder that Ameera was gone now from Jamil's world. The woman who'd first introduced him to Isa. He'd heard her voice only once since being expelled from Kabul. When he again reached a place where his cell phone functioned, her own phone was out of service. He'd called Rasheed instead, only to be told that Ameera had returned to her own country and he was never to call again.

A burqa was pouring tea when Jamil heard the scream. Its anguished pain was too great to consider propriety. His host's own distress was such he hadn't objected to Jamil following into the family quarters. The screams came from a boy no more than two years old. Water boiling for tea had been removed from a cookfire onto a nearby stone block. The toddler had pulled the entire pot over himself. Panicked women were yanking off wet clothing, blistered skin sloughing away with it.

Jamil reacted with pausing for thought. Grabbing a pottery jar of water, he elbowed through the shrieking circle to pour its contents over the child. A chill winter breeze made the wetting as effective as an ice pack.

"For such burns, you must cool the victim immediately so the fire does not burn deeper. And you must not disturb the skin." Jamil indicated raw, red flesh where scalded skin had been peeled away. "It will protect the boy while new skin grows."

The boy was moved to a tushak in the reception chamber, and Jamil urged to stay on as guest. Jamil showed the family how to rinse burns with mildly salted water against infection, how to spread petroleum jelly so healing fingers and joints didn't become fused together.

In return, his grateful host not only allowed Jamil to read Isa's words, but summoned the rest of the village to his compound. As news spread of the visiting healer, they arrived with their own aches and pains. An abscessed boil. A poorly set broken arm. An infant with diarrhea. An infected eye. Nothing Jamil couldn't handle. One advantage of these people's harsh lives was that if they survived to adulthood, they were as tough and enduring as cured goatskin.

And they stayed to listen when Jamil spread his patu to read from his Pashto New Testament. After all, did not everyone know that Islam's most prominent prophet beyond Muhammad himself had been a great healer? If not usual, there could be no harm in hearing words purported to come from Isa Masih. Especially when spoken by one gifted with healing hands.

Yes, whether or not Jamil had actually saved the boy's life, he'd certainly saved him from serious infection and scarring. Though not from pain. Which was why Jamil now fled for his own life into the darkening twilight.

By the time Jamil had settled his primary patient that first evening, his host had ended the toddler's moans with a pinch of opium paste. Jamil hadn't been happy, but his own supply of painkillers was long gone. Opium was the only medicine available to poorer Afghans. So Jamil held his peace and kept a sharp eye on his young patient. Though useful, opium paste was harder to regulate than its processed cousin, morphine. An overdose slowed breathing. Every winter across Afghanistan, hundreds died of respiratory failure after taking opium to calm flu or pneumonia symptoms. Within days, Jamil had coaxed his host into curtailing the opium to a single nightly dose. By now he was no longer a stranger but a favored community member. So much so that his host had invited Jamil to tour the commercial venture that fed the village during harsh winters.

The carpet-weaving workshop was a dark, dank place, its air thick with dust and the acridity of fresh dye so that Jamil had to smother a cough as he followed his host among the looms. Once created by Afghan peasant women to adorn their own homes, the beautiful patterns were now far too valuable to be wasted on the poorest caste who toiled over them. As long as light slanted through the small windows, these weavers would not stir from their crouched positions. But neither women nor children working as steadily as the adults displayed any objection to the tiresome squatting and repeated motion.

Then Jamil took in pinpoint pupils. Quickly, he searched faces around him. Yes, that slow, easy breathing. The slumped relaxation even while fingers never stopped knotting those endless threads. All these workers were under influence of opium, even the children. Along the walls lay babies wrapped in patus. Not just small ones, but well up into walking age. Every one so limply asleep, Jamil had to lean close to assure himself they breathed. Here was a face of Afghanistan Jamil had never known in his own earlier, privileged life. Now in each dreaming, vacant face, Jamil saw his own mother and sister. If they still lived, could it be they might find themselves in just such horrific circumstances?

To Jamil's concern, his host shrugged. "It is difficult labor. They cannot work well and long without the opium. The women cannot work either if their babies demand attention."

"But these women and children are now addicts. These infants as well. Perhaps they will not die from it, but they will not grow as strong nor as intelligent. And they will always need the opium even when they are not weaving."

"They do not need intelligence to weave. Nor to bear children. And they will always be weaving. Tell me, do your words from Isa speak of carpets?"

"Not specifically," Jamil admitted. "But Isa was a healer. He taught kindness to women and children as well as men. If the work is too tiring without opium, there are ways to make it less so. Better air and light so their eyes and breathing are not troubled. To take turns with the small ones so they are cared for and the women too have a rest."

"Those things do not produce as many carpets," Jamil's host answered flatly. "We will not hear more."

And that was that. There'd been a hasty conference of village leaders. His host had at least sent for Jamil's pack while the men gathered around the well with stones in hand. Now, as the mob headed back to the village, Jamil slackened his steps further. He hadn't felt so disheartened since beginning his new quest. Arriving at this village, finding welcome at the well, these past days of healing and reading, Jamil had felt he was truly following Isa Masih's footsteps.

Now here too it seemed Jamil's path emulated the prophet. Hadn't Isa's own neighbors driven him out of town? Hadn't he instructed his own disciples about those who rejected his words? They were not to resist or plead, but to shake the dust from their feet as witness against that town's unbelief.

But Jamil did not want to shake this village's dust from his feet. Despite those hurled stones, he couldn't forget their earlier kindliness and hospitality. If they could only come to see Isa Masih as Jamil had. To understand how following his ways could transform their lives and community.

Jamil found himself wanting this as fervently as he'd once wanted revenge and retribution. Had Isa's heart wept over those who'd refused him as Jamil's heart wept now?

The noise of an engine approaching rapidly from behind whirled Jamil around. A small motorcycle was racing up the mountain trail. Jamil ducked behind a boulder, but he was too late. As the motorcycle drew abreast, it stopped. Jamil heard footsteps as the rider dismounted. "Salaam aleykum. I come in peace."

The boulder offered no further retreat, so Jamil stepped warily into the open. "Wa aleykum u salaam. And upon you also be peace."

The rider dwarfed his motorcycle, strongly built under his patu, standing head and shoulders above Jamil's slim medium build. Like most in these parts, his speech and coloring were Pashtun. He was also no older than Jamil's own twenty-seven years. "You are the healer named Jamil who has been staying in the village back there? They told me he had come this way."

Jamil's wariness hadn't dissipated, but the stranger displayed no evidence of hostility, so Jamil acknowledged, "I am a healer, and I have been staying in the village."

"And is it true that, like the prophet Isa, you will heal any in need, rich or poor, male or female?"

Was this a trap? an ambush of some kind? Jamil's blood was throbbing in his ears, his heart suddenly racing as he admitted cautiously, "If such need is within my ability, yes."

Stepping forward, the man embraced Jamil with a hearty kiss on both cheeks. "I am Omed. And you are a miracle. When a guest at the chaikhana told of such a healer in a village over the ridge, I knew the Almighty had heard my prayers."

His new acquaintance seemed to take for granted Jamil would follow as he headed back to the motorcycle. Gingerly, Jamil squeezed on behind Omed. Twilight had now faded to full night, and the motorcycle had no headlight. But Omed gunned the engine unhesitatingly up ridges and down into ravines until Jamil could not have turned back had he wished, because he'd never have found his way. Then their zigzag trail dropped onto the smoothness of a road, and Jamil spotted a twinkle of lights ahead.

As the motorcycle sped between cubic shapes, Jamil could see this town was much larger than the village where he'd last lodged. Shopfronts and the minaret of a small mosque fringed a dirt commons along with the town chaikhana, a combination tea shop and inn for passing travelers. Lighting came from kerosene lanterns, not electricity. Omed was speaking now over his shoulder, but Jamil could make out only an occasional word above the engine. The motorcycle pulled up in front of a long, single-storied concrete building.

"If you will wait here, I will return immediately." As Omed strode toward the chaikhana next door, Jamil walked along the length of the concrete building. A red crescent above one door, the Muslim adaptation of a Red Cross symbol, identified a health clinic. So the town had its own healer. Then why was Jamil here?

Another symbol marked a schoolroom. But Jamil's attention was drawn immediately through a door that stood open. Inside was a familiar village scene. A carpet-weaving cooperative such as Jamil had encountered in the last village. But here a single large room was airy and dry. Kerosene lamps reflected brightly from concrete walls painted a cheerful sunshine yellow. Windows paneled with translucent plastic would provide ample light during day hours. More strikingly, the looms were not backbreaking floor models but vertical wall units, adjustable so that the section being woven was within easy reach of weavers. Benches permitted sitting instead of crouching on the floor.

Just inside the door was a stall where shoppers sorted through finished rugs. The nearest was not a local Pashtun with his light brown hair and round, sunburned features. Rather than shalwar kameez, the tunic and pantaloons of local dress, he wore jeans and a T-shirt, an olive green Army parka instead of a patu. He was also bareheaded and clean-shaven, a fashion becoming popular among Afghanistan's younger urban residents. In this rural community, he stood out like a jungle parrot among Kabuli homing pigeons.

"Jamil, forgive me for tarrying so long." Omed had returned.

Jamil swung around, exclaiming, "But this is truly wonderful! You would not need opium to work such looms as these. Where did all this come from?"

"Foreign soldiers built the community center. And an aid organization supplies such looms. I—knew some of their people." There was hesitation in Omed's answer. "It was I who convinced the elders to make this change. Though the looms cost the village nothing, they did not at first wish to agree because there are conditions. The women do not weave on Fridays. No opium is permitted. Children may work if their families need them, but only after they attend classes, both boys and girls. Women with small children do not work unless there is someone to watch their child.

"Still with all that, these new looms permit weaving of more carpets than before. The elders have come to see how much better it is for children to be in school and their wives free of the opium. So you see what a terrible thing it is that the accident should happen at this time."

Accident? Just how much had Jamil missed earlier? But the jerk of Omed's head indicated a group of men wandering leisurely over from the chaikhana.

"The mullah and some elders are saying it is a sign we should not have changed to the new looms, that they are too dangerous. The healer has refused to touch her because she is a woman. I begged Haroon to take her to the city, where there are hospitals for women. But he says there is no money. I prayed the healer would change his mind and show mercy. When word came instead to me of you, I knew it was the answer to my prayers."

If Jamil was straining to fill in gaps, the gist became clear as the approaching men swirled around him. A man in lab coat over shalwar kameez pushed open the door under the red crescent. The health clinic was a single room lit by a kerosene lantern hanging from a ceiling hook. Metal shelving and a glass-fronted cabinet held few supplies. On a wooden table a burqa and blanket draped a female shape curled up in fetal position. The woman looked curiously deformed, her shoulder thrusting oddly under the burqa as though a hunchback.

A second burqa was watching over the patient. She retreated into a corner as the men crowded into the clinic. Omed murmured an aside to Jamil. "My wife. The injured woman is her sister."

Then he addressed his wife gently. "Did I not promise you, Najia, that I would find another healer? This is Jamil, the one of whom we were told. He has agreed to make an examination."

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Freedom's Stand by J. M. WINDLE Copyright © 2011 by Jeanette Windle. Excerpted by permission of TYNDALE HOUSE PUBLISHERS, INC.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 22, 2014

    This book was very interesting, especially considering current e

    This book was very interesting, especially considering current events in the Middle East. Though it's fiction, it definitely gives the reader a better understanding of what's really going on over there. This it the first book I've read by this author. The story was interesting, I liked the characters, and I highly recommend this book!

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  • Posted April 1, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Oh my goodness. If you’ve read/watched The Kite Runner an

    Oh my goodness. If you’ve read/watched The Kite Runner and enjoyed it, then you must check out this book. It’s heartbreaking in that you can’t help but know that people in other corners of the world are feeling the way many of these characters do. And Windle does not leave out gritty details about what life can be like in Afghanistan, particularly for women and children. But it’s full of hope and beauty and redemption.

    It took me a while to get into this book, I must admit. But once I did, I was riveted. I didn’t know that there is a book that occurs before this one (Veiled Freedom) which could quite possibly be why it took me a while to get into the story. I definitely plan on checking out Veiled Freedom at some point, and based on reviews, it’s raved about as much as Freedom’s Stand.

    I learned so much about Afghani culture and religion and I truly enjoyed this reading experience.

    *Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.*

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  • Posted September 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Outstanding, Must Read

    Relief worker Amy Mallory returns to Kabul, Afghanistan after vacationing in Miami. When she arrives at the foundation expecting everything to be as she had left it she is Shocked to find so many changes made, and without her approval. She finds that her New Hope organization, a refugee for women and children, has been turned into a workplace.

    Jamil is happy to be free and to be able to teach of the ways and love of Jesus Christ. But spreading the message proves harder than he thought it would be, and when a video of him talking freely of a different religion than is followed in Afghanistan is uploaded for the world to see, he finds himself in a very difficult and dangerous situation.

    Steve Wilson is hired again to work for Condor Security in Kabul. He is a simple person who just wants to get the job done, but is in search of a purpose in life, he is certain he won't find that in Afghanistan.

    Each one of them is in search for their own freedom, but just what they will endure to obtain that proves to be more than they expected.

    When I first received this book I did not know if I would like it or not. I began reading and was very confused, as I got farther along in the story though I began getting a bit more and more excited about the story. I realized that this was actually the sequel to "Veiled Freedom"; I still kept reading and was amazed by the content. This is truly a marvelous story, it really made me value everything that I have and strengthened my faith in God. I absolutely loved that it even had quotes and stories from the bible; it's been one of the only books (that I have read) that actually enlightens its readers. It really got to me, and when I finished I was speechless. I do recommend this(it was absolutely excellent) and rate it 5 stars.

    Many Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for providing me with a copy of this book to review. All opinions expressed are mine entirely.

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  • Posted August 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Freedom's Stand

    A novel about the plight of women and children in Afganistan and of the conditions to which they are subjected and religious persecution. From working as carpet weavers, illiteracy to young girls being given to men as wives that are not of the girls choosing. Encompasses the lives of Amy Mallory from New Hope Foundation (a safe haven for women and children), Jamil a healer, Farah a girl who is looking for more in life and other prominant characters. This book does tear at the heart and will make the reader reflect on the hardships these people face everyday. I am happy that I live in a free country and have the freedom of choice.
    This book does have excellent character development and starts out well but however I did have trouble staying into the novel a little ways through and am not sure it can be a stand alone type being second in a series it definately needs to be read in order. Dialogue and scene works and it challenged me in my faith. I would recommend it but only after reading the first.

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  • Posted July 5, 2011

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    Shockingly compelling, Windle's words are prophetic proof of the rampant evil in the Islamic society.

    I found myself constantly forgetting this novel is fiction as I traveled through Afghanistan with Amy, Steve and Jamil. These characters seem so realistic as you take in their daily struggles for a cause so dear a reoccurring theme to this very day in real life Afghanistan. In the U.S. we take for granted the freedom to worship freely and to share our thoughts and belief's with others, especially publicly if we like. For this very reason I was left with a feeling of shock and disbelief as I read this book even knowing what I am reading is true and common in this society.

    The plot of Freedom Stand keeps you coming back for more as this is not a book one can read in one day. This thought provoking novel provides a sad truth of what many Afghanistan natives believe to be justified laws and it is quite disturbing. Relief worker Mallory has tried very hard to make life better for the women she has brought into the compound, while away on a short vacation to the U.S. she returns to find everything she has worked to establish changed. The main culprit one of the very women she thought a friend and who Amy invited to live at the compound, with her husband. Soraya has turned her back on Mallory her hidden selfishness suddenly turned into undaunted bitter and bold unrelenting pride. I found myself very angry at Soraya as she is an educated Afghan woman and you would think knowing how Islamic law treats woman, including treating them as a piece of property that can be sold off to the highest bidder, she would want things to be different. Instead Soraya helps her husband sell off woman and children at the compound while pocketing the money, to the terror of Mallory. Soraya's excuse that she only cares of the needs of herself and her own family, has given Amy a wake-up call she cannot find comforting, even if Soraya is following her customs and laws of Afghanistan. As Mallory feels anger, frustration the disappointed that she has failed, it really seeps into your soul.

    Windle keeps the reader emotionally engaged throughout this book and you are on full alert never receiving a break from this fast paced novel. If you are looking for a relaxing novel for a pool-side read do not read this book. This novel is blood boiling action that will have you feeling all emotions even some you never knew you had. Providing a perfect perspective of real life in Afghanistan not only of its residents, but also of the relief workers and those who give up their comforts to go there to try and make a difference. Although fiction the portrayal of the danger and violence in Afghanistan not only feels real, but you know it is real, giving this story even more blood curling realism. This book is like a lesson wrapped up into a novel as I read I learned many more twisted beliefs the Islam religion holds that I did not know prior. In the process I was left with a sense of how much more God loves us than many know in this world and of a much more appreciation for our country our laws and our freedom here in the U.S.A.

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  • Posted July 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Mind Boggling Issues Made Real

    I would say this book was "ripped from the headlines", only it's not. The press rarely covers the emotionally laden issues of religious freedom and women's rights that Jeannette Windle exposes so well. <i>Freedom's Stand</i> is powerful! I loved the multiple points of view, each logical within its own system, that characterized <i>Veiled Freedom</i>. The ending left me longing to know what would become of the would-be suicide bomber. In <i>Freedom's Stand</i> we follow him as he takes his healing skills and infant faith into the hills of Afghanistan. Windle portrays followers of Isa Masih (Jesus Christ) who give me fresh insights into the gospel and what it means in the lives of people in a culture a million miles from my own. Guns can't change men's hearts. Democracy can't change hearts. Even American policy is powerless when it comes to character transformation. Only the Holy Spirit can do that.

    Sometimes inspirational fiction tries too hard and doesn't make it compared to its secular counterpart, but Windle has crafted a page-turning thriller that won't let you down at the end. At the same time, she will make you angry against a worldview that demeans women and against American policies that rate support for the West over freedom and justice for all.

    You can read this book without reading the first, but you will enjoy it more if you start with Veiled Freedom. You definitely want both books in your church library. There are discussion questions for book clubs in the back.

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  • Posted June 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    An Eye Opening View Into Another Culture

    have read all of Jeanette Windle's books and a fan. I have always enjoyed how she has so much adventure and mystery in her stories. Her older books were all set in South America. In her most recent book Veiled Freedom and Freedom's Stand the setting changes to Afghanistan. We also meet the characters of Amy Mallory, Jamil, and Steve Wilson in the previous book Veiled Freedom.

    Thoughts:

    I love how Jeanette Windle books are always packed with action, mystery, and set in an unusual setting. I learned a lot about Afghanistan and the plight of their people. I found this book easy to read and a real page turner. The reader will not be disappointed with the story.

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  • Posted June 9, 2011

    For the love of Isa Masih

    What do a former suicide bomber, a relief worker, and a special forces veteran have in common? They're all trying to live out the call of Isa Masih in the war-torn land of Afghanistan. Not familiar with Isa Masih? You probably know Him by another name: Jesus the Messiah.

    Jamil, Amy Mallory, and Steve Wilson are characters from Jeanette Windle's novel Freedom's Stand. In one way or another, these characters pay a high price for following Isa Masih. Though their story is a work of fiction, the lives and events depicted serve as vivid reminders of what our brothers and sisters in Christ are undergoing in a volatile part of the world.

    Because stories like this can build our faith as they entertain, I would label Freedom's Stand a must-read. However, be forewarned that it is not an easy book to experience. Oh, there's nothing graphic or gratuitous within its pages. However, knowing how realistic the plight of the characters was made the story difficult to bear at times. I especially ached when reading about one young girl named Farah, who at age sixteen had come to believe that love was an illusion, no man could be trusted, and pain and heartache were a woman's lot in life. I was left wondering, how many others in the world feel the same? And how can we help them hear about Christ?

    How would I describe this story? Suspenseful. Riveting. Convicting. Hopeful. Why hopeful? Because in the end, the love of Isa Masih changes lives, renews hearts, and gives meaning to every sacrifice. A few of the characters even experience romance. Just enough to remind us that God puts the lonely in families and gives helpmeets to share the load as His children journey through life together--no matter where in the world that might be!

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  • Posted June 7, 2011

    Sad, inspirational, good.

    "Freedom's Stand" is a fast-paced novel that gives us a picture of life in Afghanistan. We see the challenges relief worker, Amy, and our missionaries face when ministering to women and children, who are nothing more than property in that culture. You'll get to know Amy, Jamil, and a young girl that grips your heart as they try to serve Jesus in this war torn land, a land where you can be put to death for your Christian beliefs. You'll see lives changed, faith grow, and the ultimate sacrifice for followers of Christ.

    This book was a little hard to get into jumping from character to character but keep going, it's worth it!

    I received this book from Tyndale Publishers as part of their bloggers review program. I was not required to give a positive review, just my honest opinion.

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  • Posted June 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    great

    Freedom's Stand is about the problems women face in Afghanistan, how they can be sold by their wali -a male that is in charge of them- to pay their debts, into marriage. Sometimes they get into a good marriage with love but more often than not they are beaten and abused by the husband and they are powerless to stop it. This work of fiction does not shy away from the hard issue that the women that live there and how the foreigners are treated and looked upon. They all so talk some about ho corrupt their government is, they will kill an innocent man to cover their tracks, as the book talks about. All the characters in the story face different situations and different problems than the others so it gives you a wide range of problems and how they handled them.
    This book is very informational about all the different subjects she talks about in the whole book. I really enjoyed reading this book, even though it was really long for a novel but worth ever page. I received this book through Tyndale's book review program and even though this is only the second thing I have received from them I am impressed in what they publish. But all in all I enjoyed this read.
    I was not made to write a positive review, only to voice my opinion. This book was written by J.M.Windle published by Tyndale press.

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  • Posted June 2, 2011

    Wish I could give it 10 Stars.

    This book is important as well as highly entertaining. It is no wonder that Freedom's Stand by Jeanette Windle has just been nominated for the Golden Scroll Award.

    Freedoms-Stand catches up with American relief worker, Amy Mallory, and Steve Wilson, former US soldier now private security contractor in modern-day Afghanistan. Both Amy and Steve are torn in their hatred for what goes on in Afghanistan and their love for this beautiful culture and people.

    From page one the reader is plunged into the reality of an extremist society. We see through the character Jamil what real people are living with-and dying from-when they choose a faith other than Islam in this currently closed-minded society.

    The story also deals head-on with the issue of abuse toward women. We see this through the life of young Farah who is living in the New Hope Compound that Amy set up to provide refuge for Afghani women and children. It's through Amy's eyes and Farah's life that we see the atrocious cruelty going on every day and which is hidden beneath the burqa.

    But Jeanette Windle has managed to tell a very human story, weaving heart-rending issues with the fast pace of an action and political thriller as well as romance. I don't know how many times my heart stopped as a prison door clanged shut on Jamil, who is a former Muslim extremist and suicide bomber, and who is now putting his life and freedom on the line for his new-found faith in Isa Masih (Arabic for Messiah Jesus).

    As the story progresses, the stakes ratchet higher and higher until we are watching a modern-day Daniel in the lion's den.

    The author's vast knowledge of Afghanistan is evident in each vivid scene so that the reader almost feels what it's like to don a burqa and walk through the diesel-clouded streets of Kabul. You can hear the crack of a rifle shot, the sound of thousands of human voices raised in hatred.

    This is not a light-weight romance, but a fast-paced thriller that also contains the sweetness of love on so many levels.

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  • Posted May 27, 2011

    Freedom's Stand by J.M. Windle

    Afghanistan ~A land where violence and terror reign, young men are trained as suicide bombers, and young girls before thy become women, are sold into marriage to old men. Freedom's Stand by J. M. Windle will grip your soul as you read of the daily courage of those who follow Isa Masih (Jesus).

    This is the story of the weaving of four lives, Amy Mallory, a relief worker at New Hope, a place of refuge for women and children, Steve Wilson, a Special Forces veteran now attempting to set up security within this country, Jamil, a former suicide bomber in training but now following Isa, and Farah, a young woman who after losing her family seeks refuge at New Hope to escape an arranged marriage.

    Amy Mallory returns to Afghanistan after a three-week visit home to Miami, and can hardly believe the changes at New Hope. Duane, the worker who filled Amy's position during her absence, has been working with an Afghan couple, arranging marriages, the very situations these residents escaped. Amy grows closer with Steve who is helping the corrupt government maintain security to hold the election. Jamil also cares deeply for Amy who strengthens his relationship with Christ.

    When a reporter does a story on the followers of Isa, he interviews Jamil with the cell phone obtained from American soldiers. The cell phone is discovered and Jamil is arrested for rejecting Islam. When thrown into Pul-e-Charki, Jamil has to decide if he is willing to become a martyr, or will Isa Masih save him as He did the three Hebrews in the fiery furnace.

    This book is heart wrenching and thought-provoking. This author is one of my favorites because she puts so much research and detail into each novel. Her stories are always one step ahead of the evening news and you will not be able to put down this book until the last page. In the discussion questions at the end, Jeanette Windle poses moral questions which will cause you to examine your faith. She also encourages the reader to do what they can to raise their voices on issues of human rights and freedom of speech and worship. She suggests organizations like Open Doors and Voice of the Martyrs as resources

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  • Posted May 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Pretty good book

    What would you do if you, a thirteen-year-old girl, were being forced into a marriage as one of the many wives of a very aged opium addict? This frightening scenario opens the first scene of the book, and sadly, this is the unbelievably inhumane case for many young ladies living in Afghanistan. This book focuses on three people:
    * Jamil, the former jihadist turned doctor, ever proclaiming the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
    * Amy Mallory, the director of the New Hope foundation, struggling to maintain the hope of women and children. And Finally there is
    * Steve Wilson, the veteran special forces agent simply looking for a purpose in life; he just wants it somewhere other than Afghanistan.
    In a twist of fates, these three people will work hard to find love and freedom, which could cost them their lives
    I liked reading the happenings of the nameless girl's destination of running away from her fiancés. Although this book was written extremely factually, it was somewhat hard to get into after the prologue. I believe it would have been better were it slightly less chaotic. It took me quite a while to figure out what was happening in the story. On a happier note, the cover was incredibly stunning! I could not believe the beautifully bright colors, much less the strikingly clear swirls. Overall, I thought it was a good book once you got into it, and the truthful displays of Afghan hardship. This book could really help the Afghani people!

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  • Posted May 17, 2011

    Another great offering from Jeanette Windle!

    In a time when Afghanistan is in the news almost daily, it is both refreshing and challenging to read a story of courage and candor, adventure and romance set among this ancient and passionate people. Only one with a love for the Afghanis and an understanding of their culture could bring such a story to life, and author J. M. Windle has done it. From the opening pages we are captured by the plight of a nearly invisible young girl whose life has been difficult beyond our imagining. Having lost everyone she's ever loved, she now finds she is to be married off to a cruel master who will never give her the love she so desires. And so she gathers her courage and strikes out on her own, scarcely aware of what she seeks but knowing she cannot stay and face the fate that awaits her. Through endless intrigue and adventure, we are drawn into the lives of these Afghan people, as we learn their culture, fight their battles, dream their dreams.and ultimately travel with them as they discover the truth about the Prophet they know only as Isa. It is then that they must decide the price they are willing to pay to follow Him.or not. This book will do so much more than entertain us as readers, though it certainly does that. It will challenge us at the deepest level of our commitment and encourage us to stand for freedom.regardless of the cost.

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  • Posted May 6, 2011

    Gripping story filled with drama

    Freedom's Stand is a fast-paced, gripping novel that paints a vivid picture of life in Afghanistan. It shows the challenges Amy and other missionaries face when ministering to women and children, who are considered nothing more than property in that culture. The book is filled with intrigue, a little romance, and incredible faith that results in an ultimate sacrifice. The end contains an interesting twist. I highly recommend this book.

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    Posted June 17, 2011

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