The story of an epidemic
From New York’s Bronx to a Ugandan village
An Irish-Nigerian returns to Africa
Addresses singleness, identity, sacrifice and calling
Fast-paced and engaging
‘A great contribution to contemporary Christian literature.’
Rev Tim Keller, Founding Pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, NY and New York Times bestselling author.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing stories of heroism and self-sacrifice as medical practitioners and other essential workers put themselves on the front line to assist those who are ill and keep our country running.
Single, burned out and on the cusp of forty, medical practitioner Pamela Brown-Peterside made a similar choice when she decided to leave New York and a stable career in HIV research. Yearning for meaning, she exchanged the urban grit of the Bronx for the lush but AIDS-hit valleys of western Uganda in order to support American missionary doctors committed to preventing HIV infections in newborns. Here she would face the daily presence of HIV/AIDS and the unexpected challenge of taking over the reins of the project. The AIDS project expanded but the hardships mounted for Pamela.
And then a strange new disease began to kill people. Like COVID-19 at the start, it was somewhat mysterious but didn’t seem to be a cause for concern. It was in a far-off section of the district where Pamela lived and was thought to be typhoid. But it turned out to be a more deadly infectious disease: Ebola.
Encountering many deaths as well as personal illness, Pamela discovered what it means to find kindness and joy amid pain and suffering through the power of authentic community. Vulnerable, inspiring and honest, Pamela’s gripping account of an African returning to Africa and experiencing it as an outsider tells how she rediscovered God’s grace both for herself and for those she went to serve.
Written for people who love Africa and want to enter the richness of life with those who are on the margins, for those wrestling with identity and crossing cultures, for those who are ambivalent about missions and missionaries and for those who find themselves wondering in midlife if they’ve lost their way, this is indeed, to quote Rev Tim Keller, ‘a great contribution to contemporary Christian literature’.
Pamela says: ‘With the current pandemic, we’re all experiencing loss on so many levels: loss of our way of life, of the freedom to go where we want and of livelihoods. We’re unable to be physically present with our loved ones and are experiencing the tragic loss of so many lives. African Pearl is a story of loss in many forms too, including many deaths, but it is ultimately a story of hope. Death doesn’t have the final say when considered from within the larger story of what Jesus has done, which has the power to change and redeem us. My story offers a hopeful glimpse of how God did that for me, and for a vulnerable community, through difficult circumstances.’
African Pearl by Pamela Brown-Peterside (ISBN: 9781912726202) is published by Instant Apostle and is available on 17th April 2020 from Christian bookshops, bookstores and online retailers. Non-fiction, 256pp, £8.99.