cover image Soul by Soul: The Evangelical Mission to Spread the Gospel to Muslims

Soul by Soul: The Evangelical Mission to Spread the Gospel to Muslims

Adriana Carranca. Columbia Global Reports, $18 trade paper (192p) ISBN 979-8-9870535-2-2

Brazilian journalist Carranca makes her English-language debut with a riveting report on the “secretive world” of evangelical Christian missionaries proselytizing to Muslims. Focusing on “the dynamics of soul-winning... on the ground” in countries like Afghanistan, Egypt, Indonesia, and Pakistan—where Christian evangelizing is sometimes severely punished—Carranca describes how, because these regions are often hostile or unpalatable to Americans, the missionary work is being done primarily by Christian converts from other countries with a recent history of evangelical proselytizing—Brazil, the Philippines, South Africa, and South Korea. (Meanwhile, evangelicals in America have redirected their efforts toward recently arrived Muslim refugees from Syria.) She profiles Brazilian converts Luiz and Gis, missionaries working in Afghanistan alongside South Africans Hannelie and Werner and Afghan convert Hussain. Operating undercover, the group holds prayer meetings, distributes religious material, and smuggles converts out of the country. They and their colleagues risk being kidnapped, beaten, and killed—threats Carranca narrates with a precipitous momentum as they come to fruition: “Heavy gunshots were fired, followed by a loud explosion. The neighborhood darkened.... Hannelie could see her house burning.” Zooming out, Carranca tracks how this “dramatic” shift in evangelical attention toward Muslims (from an earlier global focus on recruiting Catholics) is facilitated by international Christian organizations, sometimes with U.S. government support. The result is a breathtaking deep dive into a clandestine, high-stakes world of clashing religions. (Apr.)