Healing Our Beautiful, Broken World from a Hospital in West Africa
FaithWords, 9781455553198, 336pp.
Publication Date: November 7, 2017
List Price: 20.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.
Sarah Thebarge ponders the intersection of faith and medicine in this insightful narrative of her medical mission trip to Togo, West Africa.
Sarah Thebarge, a Yale-trained physician assistant, nearly died of breast cancer at age twenty-seven, but that did not end her deeply felt spiritual calling to medical missions in Africa. Risking her own health, she moved to Togo, West Africa-ranked by the United Nations as the least happy country in the world-to care for sick and suffering patients.
Serving without pay in a mission hospital, she pondered the intersection of faith and medicine in her quest to help make the world "well."
In the hospital wards, she witnessed death over and over again. In the outpatient clinic, she daily diagnosed patients with deadly diseases, many of which had simple but unavailable cures. She lived in austere conditions and nearly succumbed herself in a harrowing bout with malaria.
She describes her experiences in gripping detail and reflects courageously about difficult and deep human connections-across race, culture, material circumstances, and medical access.
Her experience exemplifies the triumph of surviving in order to share the stories that often go untold. In the end, WELL is an invitation to ask what happens when, instead of asking why God allows suffering to happen in the world, we ask, "Why do we?"
About the Author
SARAH THEBARGE is an international speaker and the author of The Invisible Girls, named a World Magazine 2013 Notable Book. Sarah earned her physician assistant degree at Yale and was studying journalism at Columbia when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. In spite of nearly losing her life to cancer, she went on to care for refugees in the United States and provide medical care to people living in the developing world. In addition to practicing medicine in Togo, she served in the Dominican Republic and started a clinic in Kenya for children who lost their parents to AIDS. Sarah is a spokesperson for Compassion International. She returns to San Francisco when she is not traveling the world.
Praise For Well: Healing Our Beautiful, Broken World from a Hospital in West Africa…
"Sarah's story-telling is so engaging that you won't want to put this book down, but it is her heart that will grab you. Her observations are honest and gritty at times, and you will wrestle with her through difficult tensions. But in her exploration of brokenness, you will also find grace and beauty. On a planet loaded with pain, death and poverty, Sarah's words are a gentle reminder that each of us is called to participate in the healing of our world as we seek to follow Jesus."—
Santiago "Jimmy" Mellado, President and CEO, Compassion International
"With a style and voice that is powerful, eloquent, and sincere, Sarah Thebarge takes us on a journey of faith through her own physical struggles as well as those experienced while working in a hospital in Togo, West Africa. Many books attempt to provide answers, but few do it in such a profound way-while walking us through the honest deep questions that arise from the messiness of life and the mystery of God. WELL is an important book that will stand the test of time and it will profoundly shape and inform your understanding of Christian spirituality and the love of God."— Ken Wytsma, founder of The Justice Conference and author of Pursuing Justice and Create vs. Copy
"With a faith shaped through service and sharpened by real experience, Sarah Thebarge responds from the depths of her heart with the question we should have been asking all along: not, 'why does God allow suffering?,' but 'Why do we?' Sarah's piercing, loving insights in this book, told through the stories of her medical service in West Africa, will grow your faith, improve the questions you ask, and help you on your journey to find better answers. WELL will move you."— Michael Wear, author of Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House About the Future of Faith in America
" Words like love, compassion, courage, and faith easily become cliches ... feel-good sentiments that go on greeting cards. If you read Sarah Thebarge\'s new book, those words will become more meaningful for you than they\'ve ever been ... sturdy, substantial, incandescent. Sarah is a supremely gifted writer and she has a powerful story to tell that is worth your precious time."—Brian D. McLaren, author of The Great Spiritual Migration
"This book shook me to my core. It is harrowing and beautiful. It challenged my faith and strengthened it. Sarah asks the hardest questions over and over. She sifts our platitudes until all that\'s left is truth and love strong enough to hold us all."—Sheila Walsh, author, co-host of Life Today
"In a brilliant story perfectly capturing the heart of Divine Love, Sarah Thebarge gently proves we are never too far for rescue, never too broken for wholeness, and never too sick to be made well."— Reba Riley, author of Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome
"This is a beautiful and soul-piercing story of Jesus with skin on, walking the halls of an underfunded, understaffed and overcrowded hospital in West Africa. Of selfless love poured out. Emptied. And then poured out some more. Told with such self-effacing honesty and emotional transparency, it wholly unmasked my own indifference. I closed the last page in tears, and said, 'Lord, I am so sorry. P|lease help me love like this.' I haven't been this moved by a story since Heavenly Man."— Charles Martin, New York Times Bestselling Author of Unwritten, Long Way Gone and The Mountain Between Us
"In the course of our lives' adventures, some of us learn how to practice compassion, and some of us run away from it. Sarah Thebarge's work reminds me that compassion is not a character trait as much as it is a learned behavior. Pressing through the pain of life, as well as embracing its glory, has the power to teach us that all will be well. Sarah's most recent work demonstrates the truth that compassionate action is something that transforms lives. People who wonder about the cost of transformation owe it to themselves to share in Sarah's journey."— Paul Fromberg, Rector of St. Gregory of Nyssa, San Francisco
"Sarah Thebarge has penned a magnificent and moving book! It reminds us the question in life isn't 'Why does God allow suffering to happen in the world?' but rather, 'Why do we?" A must read!"—Ian Morgan Cron, author of Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me and The Road Back to You
"Sarah Thebarge's WELL doesn't simply teach us about God's love and compassion in a world of suffering, but takes us on a journey with her to experience God's healing in the places most of us would rather not go. Courageous, vulnerable and uplifting, you will be equally enchanted by Sarah's daring and her writing as she reveals the faces of people God loves and Christians often forget."—Sean Palmer, teaching pastor at Ecclesia Houston, author of Unarmed Empire.
"WELL shook me from my comfortable suburban life and thrust me smack dab into Jesus' heart for those who suffer. I was back in Africa, learning deeper lessons about trust, loss, and the God who walks alongside us in trauma. I'm grateful for Sarah Thebarge's honest portrayal, her grappling with the questions we'd rather not ask, and her ability to agonize with the broken. I'll be thinking about this book a long time."
—Mary DeMuth, author of Worth Living: How God's Wild Love Makes You Worthy
Praise for THE INVISIBLE GIRLS:
"Wonderfully written, the book will have you staring through it, into a world that seems to have been made new. I am grateful there are new writers in the world like Sarah Thebarge. You'll get caught up in the strength of her kindness and the girls she describes even as we gain our focus to slowly see them, and so many others, for ourselves."—Don Miller, author of Storyline and Blue Like Jazz
"Intertwining her own excruciating story of loss and rejection with the stirring story of a family of Somali refugees, The Invisible Girls is a testament to unwavering tenacity, resilient faith, and ineffable grace."—Karen Spears Zacharias, author of The Silence of Mockingbirds: The Memoir of a Murder
"Honest, enlightening, heart-touching and, at just the right times, funny. Sarah's expertly-crafted sentences sing and sometimes sting, flowing smoothly, then suddenly jumping off the page. The interweaving of her story with that of a Somali mother and daughters is masterful. This isn't the American dream. It's a vibrant and authentic story of loss, disenchantment, discovery, and a reawakening of faith and hope."—Randy Alcorn, author of Heaven and If God is Good
"[Sarah Thebarge's] story is a double gift because her raw, honest wrestlings with God free us to be honest with God ourselves, and because her generous passion for The Invisible Girls reveals the healing that comes from pouring our broken selves out for others. Sarah's writing reminds me of Lauren Winner. I loved this wonderful book!"—Carolyn Custis James, author of Half the Church
"I picked up Invisible Girls and could not put it down. Thebarge fixes a loving eye on a family of Somali girls and an unflinching eye on her harrowing ordeal with breast cancer. No one can lead you out of a desert better than the one who's already been there. Beautiful writer, beautiful book, beautiful soul."—Susan E. Isaacs, author of Angry Conversations With God
"A raw, honest and powerful witness of the dangerous mercy of God...Her story will humble you and inspire you."—Rick McKinley, Lead Pastor of Imago Dei Community in Portland, OR and author of A Kingdom Called Desire and This Beautiful Mess