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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Behind the Veils of Yemen
Behind the Veils of Yemen by Audra Grace Shelby is an amazing look at the life of women in Yemen. In this book, Audra shares the journey her family takes from becoming missionaries through their time in Yemen. There are two things that really stood out to me in this book. First, God is always faithful and still works in many miraculous ways. Second, the life of Muslim...
Published on December 16, 2011 by Jason Taber

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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Missionaries to Muslims
I chose to review this book because I found the cover so striking. It epitomizes the life of the Muslim woman, showing nothing to the world except the eyes. Behind the veils, though, are wives, mothers, and daughters abused and undervalued by their culture.

Audra Grace Shelby and her husband were missionaries to Yemen for a number of years. Audra was...
Published on November 10, 2011 by Auntie Em


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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Behind the Veils of Yemen, December 16, 2011
By 
Behind the Veils of Yemen by Audra Grace Shelby is an amazing look at the life of women in Yemen. In this book, Audra shares the journey her family takes from becoming missionaries through their time in Yemen. There are two things that really stood out to me in this book. First, God is always faithful and still works in many miraculous ways. Second, the life of Muslim women in Yemen is not what I expected. What many would consider degrading or abusive, they see as a way of life and honoring to God. I found it interesting that when the woman gather together and the veils come off, they are not drastically different than Western women. They share in each others lives. They discuss struggles and celebrate joyous events. They do everything they can to honor God and not bring shame to their families. However, their view of God is heartbreaking. Their god is not a loving god, but a vengeful god who is very impersonal. They fail to even get proper medical care at times because if it is God's will they believe they will get well on their own. This book drove me to pray for God to remove the blindness these women have towards the true God. It also led me to give thanks for those going to foreign lands to bring the true God and the Gospel to those who need to hear. This book was both encouraging and heart breaking. This would be a book I recommend for anyone to read.

I have received this book free for review from Chosen Books.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Missionaries to Muslims, November 10, 2011
By 
Auntie Em (Union City, TN United States) - See all my reviews
I chose to review this book because I found the cover so striking. It epitomizes the life of the Muslim woman, showing nothing to the world except the eyes. Behind the veils, though, are wives, mothers, and daughters abused and undervalued by their culture.

Audra Grace Shelby and her husband were missionaries to Yemen for a number of years. Audra was particularly interested in witnessing to women, but the culture allowed them few freedoms. I found the story to be fascinating, although not particularly thrilling. I think the subtitle gave me high expectations for danger. The story is more about their family life (and how they interpreted God's will for their lives) than about the people they wanted to reach. Perhaps this was because, if she gave too many personal details about the women, they would be put in danger. The names of all persons mentioned in the book were changed to protect their real identities.

I recommend Behind the Veils of Yemen because of the content. However, the writing was overdone in places and sometimes grammatically questionable. For example, in one place, she wrote, "Anger gritted my teeth." Since anger is not an animate object, it cannot do anything at all, much less grit teeth. There were other instances where the writing got in the way of the story.

The book ended as the author travelled back to the U. S. to have a baby. I was very disappointed that the end of the story was not shared. The epilogue stated that the Shelbys went back to Yemen later and served a few more years. Why was this not included in the story? I wanted to know what happened to the baby that lay crying in the dirt and about Audra's friend, Fatima.

Shelby noted that they accomplished little in Yemen until they stepped up requests for American Christians to pray for them. Perhaps all of us can help missionaries if we all pray for them regularly.

See Audra's website here: [...]

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher, Chosen Books. I was not required to write a positive review. 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."
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Women Behind the Veils Eclipsed by Missionary's Personal Life, December 12, 2011
To begin: When we consider the title of the book- or more specifically the subtitle- a myriad of questions spring to mind.
*Why would an American family go to Yemen as missionaries?
*How were they put into life threatening situations?
*How was her faith risked? and
*How did she reach out and reach behind those veils?
Those questions along with the cover art immediately drew me in and made me eager to discover what was inside. Unfortunately, by the time I reached the end I really wasn't sure what to make of what I had just read and I can't say I had any of my questions answered satisfactorily.

In the first two chapters of the book we are introduced to several different story lines. As the book opens Audra and her family are flying to the Middle East to begin their missionary journey. The story then jumps back to Audra's response to her husband feeling God's call to overseas missions- in Yemen. We discover that although she was raised on the mission field she is incredulous that God would be calling her husband- and her- to that as well. She resents this new direction and digs in her heels not wanting to follow her husband or God. When she finally 'gives in' it seems it is still with gritted teeth- an attitude I think continues in different ways throughout the book. From there the narrative again jumps, forward a bit, to the Shelby's missionary board candidacy interview where Audra's husband suddenly and unexplainable falls gravely ill. Audra is sent into a tailspin of doubt and anger with God, not understanding what is happening and why. As Audra prays in the hospital chapel she has a vision of God saying her prayers will be answered so she returns to her husband's bedside where he begins to improve. While I firmly believe that God speaks to us through His word and that 'still small voice' I don't know that today He reveals Himself literally as she seems to describe. For me it was rather uncomfortable reading such an 'experience'.
Overall, I'm not sure what this beginning part of the book is meant to convey and how it adds or becomes pertinent to the rest of the story as she only relates them as pre-events and not as a real means to say 'this is how God changed my heart and led us to his will for our future'.

The next section of the book is chapters 3-10 and focus on an 18 month period where the Shelby's are in language school. Audra takes lessons with a newly married young local women, Fatima. This section, which is the bulk of the book, follows Fatima and Audra's relationship. They shop together; attend a Muslim wedding (where the men and women never meet and celebrate separately); they visit other women together and deal with Fatima's marriage, extended family and sick newborn problems together. Sometimes her attempts at influencing Fatima are good. When she discovers Fatima's husband is addicted to pornography -a vice that hurts his wife deeply- she reacts as any of us would condemning the action as wrong for any husband of any culture. When Fatima's first child is born with health issues that would be treatable here in the US but was ignored and passed over with a promise that if Allah willed the child would get better Audra is appaled. The diagnosis (or lack of one)breaks both women's hearts and for the first time Fatima opens up and asks Audra to pray for her son because she believes in the power of and behind her prayers.
This middle part of the book is mostly filled with stories that touch the reader as you get glimpses into the life of a Muslim women and wonder at the hopelessness and bondage of a culture against Christ.

The final four chapters of the book center around the Shelby's finishing language school and beginning over in their permanent city of ministry before going back to the States for Audra to give birth to their fourth child.

When I finished the book I thought "Behind the Veils of Yemen" read more like a excerpts from a personal journal than a inspiring missionary story. To begin with it isn't until the publishers note at the very back of the book that we begin to understand who Audra Grace Shelby is. From the beginning of the book we are thrown into her story without knowing or understanding any of her background that led her to this point in her life. Even after making plain her fighting to stay 'home' we are never given the whole story on how she and her husband came to the decision to go to the field. Once on the field we never settle into her life there and only get snippets of how her family functioned in a very foreign land. Through the course of the book it is never explained how Audra befriended the women she met/ministered to until the end when we learn it was through sewing- a detail that would have made so much more sense if explained earlier.
Also, Audra's attempts at sharing the Gospel and influencing Fatima with Western thinking often come off heavy handed (for lack of a better term) and she scares Fatima off in the beginning. Audra seems to expect instant results and that bothered me. Shouldn't a missionary know ministry on a field like this one is a long term thing where you build bit by bit? Also troubling to me was her seeming forgetfulness/lack of knowledge of some cultural customs that led to roadblocks. It made me wonder if they had been properly prepared for immersion into the culture. On the other hand I was suprised at her acceptance of customs like wearing the hejab and balto (cloak) which are religous symbols of Islam and mark her as being a subject of the very false religon that wars against Christianity. I believe she could have dressed in a completely modest way, giving deference to the culture, without compromising her own religous beliefs- and I wonder at the mission board (assumably) asking this of her.

In the end I felt that "Behind the Veils of Yemen" was not about any of the things I was promised in the title/subtitle. While I did learn a little more about Middle Eastern women this story isn't about these women- it's about Audra. Much of the story I was supposed to get is eclipsed by Audra's fighting God, Audra's fighting the culture, Audra's crises of faith,
and Audra's family's multiple health crises. It leaves the reader wondering where is Audra's relationship with God? Where is Audra showing He makes a difference as she reaches out to these Yemeni women? Where is the hope that sharing Christ should bring? And what was/has been the fruit if the Shelby's labour?
"Behind the Veils of Yemen" causes the reader to ask many questions but leaves them with answers to few of them.

Final Rating: Two Stars

I recieved a copy of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review and opinion of the product.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An honest and transparent story to appreciate and inspire!, November 7, 2011
I am a middle age Southern Gentleman and read Behind The Veil of Yemen..... I could not put it down! This book is an easy read and flows very nicely.
This is very eloquently and personally crafted story of the real-life struggles of a Missionary Family, centered on the story from the Lady's perspective. It tells, in a transparent and poignant way the struggles that come with answering God's call to live a life "on the edge".
If you're looking for a book that tries to quantify the rewards of serving Christ in a cookie-cutter fashion this book is not for you! Audra is not about carving notches on a spiritual stick!
BUT if you would like a book that reveals the inner struggles of a "good and faithful servant" who remains so in spite of the trials that would derail those less-committed, and also get a peak at Ministry in a Land not welcoming to the Gospel, then I heartily recommend it!
I pray that you will be inspired, moved, awed, humbled and challenged as I was! Watching God's Hand at work through the details outlined in this book could make you hungry to see more of His Hand at work in your own life- it did me.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Veils of Yemen, May 6, 2012
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This review is from: Behind the Veils of Yemen: How an American Woman Risked Her Life, Family, and Faith to Bring Jesus to Muslim Women (Kindle Edition)
Disappointing. More about the author than women of Yemen. She seemed very condescending in the chapters where she did talk about the women and not about herself.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Incomplete story, April 14, 2012
By 
Linda (Pittsburgh) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Behind the Veils of Yemen: How an American Woman Risked Her Life, Family, and Faith to Bring Jesus to Muslim Women (Kindle Edition)
This is written by a Christian missionary in Yemen. The story has some interesting tidbits, but is not fulling as to explain the nature of what went on around her. She only revealed some stories of people she met, but wasn't able to show any follow-up long term friendships. I was left with too many questions and I like the subject.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars you won't learn about the women of Yemen, November 6, 2011
By 
Joan N. "bookwomanJoan" (Whidbey Island, WA USA) - See all my reviews
Audra begins with their interview at The International Mission Board and Kevin getting seriously ill, going into septic shock. She prayed and God healed him, although he did get ill again, later. Finally, years later, they were on their way to Sana'a, Yemen.
Audra tells us about her pregnant Arabic instructor, Fatima, and going to a wedding ceremony (just the women) where the women are very forward in their questions ("What kind of birth control do you use?"). She attends a grieving ceremony and struggles with the view of fate (the will of God) the women have. When Fatima's son is born, he has trouble but gets better after Audra and other Christians pray for him. Audra prayed for their crates to arrive after school started and they did (they were "lost" temporarily).
After six months of language studies they were allowed time off so they went to the Red Sea for a week in a hotel where their daughter experienced something like seizures. They visited doctors then took her to Cyprus to a neurologist, while at a regional missions meeting. Audra shares her frustration with God. She finally trusted God completely. An MRI showed an irregularity in the left temporal lobe of the brain and she was placed on anti-seizure medication.
Audra was able to share Bible stories with Fatima but she retained her Muslim faith.
The eighteen months of language studies over, they had a choice of places to work and went to Hudaydah.
Kevin got hepatitis and the kids got a virus. Audra shares her frustration as they had tried to meet with locals for three months with no success. Audra understood from God that that Christians were not deeply desiring that Muslims come to faith. They did not have the heart of God.
Audra tried making friends with the few Western women living in the city of 450,000. While that was not successful, Audra did meet women in a nearby village.
After several months in the Tihama they returned to the United States to speak to churches. Four weeks later they returned to Yemen, Audra being pregnant (at age 42). Complications (diabetes, kidney infection, high blood pressure) developed and she had to go back to the States for the delivery. They returned to Yemen.
They served nine years in the Middle East then returned to the United States where they remain actively involved in reaching those in the Middle East.

This is an odd "missionary" book. At times it is much more about Audra and her family than about the mission work. The book starts out with over thirty pages about Kevin's illness. Audra takes four pages to describe rescuing a giant sea turtle stranded on the beach. Audra describes many visits with local women, quoting dialogue for pages. But I don't feel I really got to know the women of Yemen, except Fatima, Audra's language helper.

If you have read many missionary biographies, this one will probably disappoint you. If you want to really learn about the women behind the veils in Yemen, this book will probably disappoint you. If you want to learn about Audra, all her thoughts, the illnesses of her family members, the birth of her last child, then this is the book for you.

This is not an uplifting book in that there is no record of any conversion to Christ. My oldest sister and her husband were career missionaries in Oman and I know from their experience conversion is rare. And speaking of my missionary sisters, one was in the Suez while the crisis of 1956 took place. We didn't know for a week if she was alive or not. My other sister was in Iraq and had to escape from Baghdad in the night because of a coup. Compared to those experiences my sisters had, this book was rather boring.

I received a copy of this book from Chosen Books for the purpose of this review.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Condescending, April 13, 2012
By 
Jenny Leigh (Ellicott City, MD USA) - See all my reviews
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While this book had some interesting anecdotes about the family's life in Yemen, overall, I found the author's attitude so patronizing and condescending that it was difficult for me to enjoy the book. Additionally, I find the idea of trying to convert people to Christianity in a country where converts and proselytizers could be killed bizarre and irresponsible.

The most memorable bad parts of this book were when the author would have what I would call a moment of clarity, where she would ask herself if, perhaps, had she grown up in Yemen, she might also be Muslim. While these were the most logical thoughts she expressed, she would immediately recoil at the idea, horrified that she could even think such a thing. She demonstrated a huge intolerance for any religion but her own, and while I admire her willingness to live abroad in tough conditions, I really can't relate to her reasons for doing so; I doubt these women's lives would have been improved if they'd become Christians and thus outcasts in their own society.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love the perspective of a fairly ordinary mom serving in Yemen, December 18, 2011
Because of Sonlight Curriculum, I have read a lot of missionary biographies. I'm always inspired by some of the "greats" -- you know, the ones thanking God for the wonderful meal they are about to eat even when there is no food in the house, where right as this faith-filled person says, "Amen" there is a knock at the door and food arrives in some miraculous fashion. I want to be like that.

But my favorites are the people who seem more real -- more like me. The ones who struggle with their faith even as they are out in the mission field. Because "struggle" and "doubt" are where I live. One minute, I'm pretty sure that I'm doing what God would have me do at this time... the next minute, I'm questioning my purpose. The next, I'm seeing God's clear answer to prayer in a bag of cheddar cheese. The next, I'm questioning how I can ever be sure that I believe what I believe.

Audra Grace Shelby and her family served in Yemen... and she is as real as they come. Aside from her name, which was changed to protect the people she knew in Yemen and the missionaries still serving there. In Behind the Veils of Yemen, she shares her spiritual highs and lows. She shares the lessons she learned, and the answers to her prayers. She shares her doubts and her fears. And she shares the lives she glimpsed in Yemen.

This is a book I think everyone ought to read. I plan to add it to my kids' high school curriculum. My boys aren't likely to be excited about it... but I think once they get a few chapters in, they will be hooked.

Disclosure: Bethany House provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. No other compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Behind the Veils of Yemen, April 8, 2012
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This review is from: Behind the Veils of Yemen: How an American Woman Risked Her Life, Family, and Faith to Bring Jesus to Muslim Women (Kindle Edition)
I love reading about different cultures and was looking forward to this book. Though it provided some details about life in the communities the author visited the flow was interrupted with constant evangelizing. This would have been fine if the people reviewing the book had stated that this was the purpose of the author. City of Veils, a novel, was far more entertaining and I learned more about the women in an arab country than in this book. The first took place in small villages and could have taken place in rural China or other backward area. I was disappointed.
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