Thursday, 24 September 2009

Mary Bunyan

This is a book I've been meaning to pick up for a long time and finally got around to it on our holiday in August. It is the story of John Bunyan's family and particularly his eldest daughter Mary who was blind. Written 200 years after the event, it begins with his arrest and subsequent imprisonment and describes the immense strain this put on his impoverished family. His wife (who was his second wife) went into premature labour with her first baby and eventually delivered a child who died shortly after birth. Mary Bunyan although still young (around 12yrs old) was a great help and support to her particularly in the care of the other 3 children. Within the story there is much sound spiritual conversation recounted and conversions described. The author also accurately portrays the political and religious climate of the times plus the difficult living conditions and the effects of the Great Plague.

I have to admit to finding the book hard going initially, probably because of the longwinded style of Victorian writings. However, after a slow start it improved and overall I found it a fascinating and informative read.
Mary Bunyan, by Sallie R Ford, published by Gospel Mission, £10.95


Tuesday, 22 September 2009

John Boyana Radasi

He has a lovely name, but how many people have heard of him? He has the honour of being the first Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland missionary to Zimbabwe. This was back in 1904, not long after the 'wee frees' started. He was a native south african, which I imagine was pretty unusual for missionaries working in Africa at the time. So, although he wasn't the very first missionary of any denomination to venture into southern Zimbabwe (then Matabeleland), he must have been about the first black african missionary field director. Jean Nicolson wrote an interesting account of his work back in 1996, aimed at the more easy reading end of the market. That's why I have just read it... The great hardships endured by Radasi, shared alongside his converts, are exemplary. He was widely respected. He had very slender resources apart from faith, but a work was begun then which has grown and continues to this day. More importantly a work of grace was done in many hearts. There are good accounts of young people converted, some of whom also died young due to outbreaks of virulent malaria, and other perils.
It is good to be reminded that although modern Zimbabwe is a broken country due to political problems, it has had the gospel. And from what I gather elsewhere, there are still a good number who are thriving in the truth, although they are destitute materially. Completely the opposite to the UK today.
John Boyana Radasi, FPP 1996, £4.95

Monday, 14 September 2009

Up and Running

We got the shop back up and running last week and feel like we have finally entered the 20th Century (if not the 21st!) with hot running water on the premises and a heating system that should keep the chilblains at bay this winter. Various workmen are still lurking around doing smaller jobs, but we are planning to ignore them as much as possible and do not anticipate any further interruptions to the shop.
September has got off to a flying start which we hope will continue through to the New Year. Last week we were able to put another face to a name when one of our customers drove up from South London to visit the shop. I'm not sure there are many people out there who will drive 3 hours to go to a bookshop then drive 3 hours straight back home again! Good on you Anne! We enjoyed meeting you (even if the dinner did get burnt because of the unplanned late opening!) In all seriousness it is always great to meet our 'mail-order' customers who call in while on holiday 'up North' or just on a day trip. We are quite happy to open earlier or stay open later if needs be - just phone and let us know your plans.
We look forward to seeing you!

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

All Wired Up!

I'm really sorry, but we're still shut to the public. We felt it best to stay closed for another week to help the renovation work progress. We've got wires all over the place at the moment in our admin quarters - makes a change from children I suppose! However we're doing what we can, and that means business as usual for telephone and email customers, although some delays may unfortunately be experienced. Blame our hopeless phone company for not being competent enough to let us change our answerphone message - by the time they do it will be too late.
On a more positive note, we are reducing our postal rates as of now. Full details are on our website, but if you spend over £50 your order will go out post free. Also, our annual mail-out is about to go which, in addition to news, has some book promotions. Get in touch via if you want one emailed and are not currently on our e-bulletin list.
PS. The AV Block Calendar 2010 is now available for those highly organised individuals who like to get these things done early. Same price as ever ie. £6.95; better photos than ever!