A Dream So Big: Our Unlikely Journey to End the Tears of Hunger
By Steve Peifer with Gregg Lewis
In his book, A Dream So Big, missionary Steve Peifer talks about the way God transformed personal tragedy into a year-long move to Africa and from that into a long-term commitment to start Kenya Kids Can, a relief organization for kids in poverty-stricken Africa.
Another reviewer of this book said, “I didn’t want to read this book.” And I agreed with him. I sat down prepared to feel guilty, prepared to feel preached out about how I need to move to Africa or my faith wasn’t genuine enough. I prepared to be immersed in another person’s grief. But, like the other reviewer, I’m so thankful I read the book and ended up reading it quickly because I was barely able to put it down for three days.
It is essentially a missionary story in the great tradition of missionary stories like the biographies of Amy Carmichael or David Livingstone and others. This book inspires and encourages. It shares how God worked all along to prepare Steve and Nancy Peifer to serve in the ministry He called them to. It isn’t about guilt or pushing you to feel like your own ministry is “less than” or to make you feel like only those who run successful food distribution organizations for the starving are truly obedient to God.
The great message here is that God can use you. Steve Peifer sounds like an average, funny, likeable, middle class guy who never expected to be a missionary in Africa, but whom God prepared, sent, and used in amazing ways.
And, while Steve Peifer shares how God transformed his family’s personal tragedy in the loss of their newborn son into this missionary calling, the emphasis isn’t on the hurt and pain. It really isn’t a story about grief. The focus, instead, is on God and what He does with their lives as they yield one step at a time to His plans for them.
Peifer writes with a great deal of humor and story-telling skills, sharing many anecdotes about the kids in the dorms at the school in Africa where he and his wife served. He talks openly about failures and lessons learned, just as he shares about the joy of seeing starving children able to come to school because they’ve been given just one meal a day. The book is an easy read that manages to inspire.
I had minor issues with the book. For one thing, I’m a mom to three daughters, so I’m not really as amused by the stories of middle school boy humor Peifer tells about dorm life with the students in Africa. After a while, I just skimmed through any stories that involved gas, bodily functions, or embarrassment around girls. Also, I think it worked breaking up the narrative with short excerpts from his emails home to supporters as far as maintaining interest, but I’d probably have preferred those emails be folded into the text as straight narrative. That’s certainly just a matter of preference.
Ultimately, Kenya Kids Can provided meals to 20,000 African school children, as well as building 20 solar-powered computer centers for Kenyan schools. That’s a missionary journey worth reading about.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”