What is one of Mia’s main challenges? Do you like or dislike the way she dealt with it? What would you have done differently?
What did you learn about Sudanese and/or Muslim culture that you did not know before?
Does Mia grow in this novel? How?
What do you think it the theme of this novel?
Even in the heat, Mia drinks coffee “to slow down, pray, read Scripture, listen to the Holy Spirit.” Do you have a special thing you do to slow down and/or pray?
Mia feels the Holy Spirit telling her to share about Jesus with her friend Hanaan. Have you ever felt like the Holy Spirit was telling you to do something? What happened?
Discuss the similarities and differences between Mia and Tzega’s relationship versus Hanaan and Didi’s.
Michael and Mia coped with difficult situations in different ways. What do you think was healthy and what was unhealthy about their coping?
Chapter 39 Jamal says he believes the Bible, but he can’t let anyone know. Rania says to Jamal, “Then what’s the use believing it? What difference can it make in you if it doesn’t make a difference in others?” Do you agree with Rania?
Mia describes the picture that Rania gave to her: “It’s rough and it’s smooth. It’s dark and it’s light. It’s a school child’s colored pencils, and yet it’s a masterpiece. It’s us. Here in Sudan. We hate it and love it. We are scared of it and drawn to it. We bear scars and hold treasures.” Can you relate to Mia? Is there a time in your life that you got scars, but treasures also? Were the treasures worth the scars?
Go A Little Deeper
We can learn so much from people of other cultures. What is something about Sudanese Arab culture that you appreciate from this novel?
Mia is always trying to reach Hanaan with the Gospel but seems to fall short every time. Is it ever OK to “give up” on someone?
Do you know any Muslims? What are ways you can meet Muslims where you are and what are ways you can show Jesus’ love to them?
Mia’s father has a stroke and Mia struggles with guilt for not being there with her parents. Leaving family is one of the hardest things a family living and serving overseas has to do. What would you advise Mia?
Mia has to dress in a very conservative way in Sudan. Sometimes cross-cultural workers have to change the way they do things in order to be respectful in a different country. Do you think this is wise? Why or why not?
Both Michael and Mia pray for opportunities to share about Jesus. Have you ever done this? Are you willing to start now?
Sometimes sharing Jesus comes at the risk of friendships or even your job. What about if it comes at the risk of someone else’s job?
In countries where there is restricted access, there is a delicate balance between protecting one’s job or permission to live in the country, and sharing Jesus boldly. Did you agree more with Michael and Mia or with Beth in this situation?
Michael and Mia lived in a country where the government was accused of many atrocities. What do you think are the kinds of stresses a family like theirs would have to deal with in regards to this?
Sometimes cross-cultural workers find themselves in situations they could not have predicted. Mia finds herself in an awkward situation when she goes to visit in a village outside of Khartoum. Community living versus independent living poses many differences in how daily life is lived out. How do you think this might affect the way people share and/or receive the Gospel?
In Chapter 40 Rania saw that “even if it was slow, the news of Isa and the forgiveness and peace He brought was spreading.” Are you tempted to be discouraged when you do not see God working quickly? How would you encourage someone who is discouraged?
Mia says, “There is an open door, and there is much opposition. What draws it all together is God’s sovereignty.” She is speaking of 1 Corinthians 16:9. Read the verse in your Bible. What does this verse mean for you?