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Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son's Journey to God. A Broken Mother's Search for Hope. Paperback – May 3, 2011

435 customer reviews

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Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son's Journey to God. A Broken Mother's Search for Hope. + Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality + What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?
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Editorial Reviews


Praise for Out of a Far Country

“Christopher Yuan and Angela Yuan have told the story of their miraculous journey from broken lives, relationships, and dreams to a place of hope and healing. Out of a Far Country brings home the living truth that in the midst of a broken and hurting world, God is at work to redeem, renew, and reconcile his beloved. I’m particularly happy to endorse this book because Christopher, like myself, was broken in prison and redeemed by Christ.”
—Chuck Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship and the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview

Out of a Far Country reads like a modern rendition of the prodigal son parable, only it is more gripping. The journey taken by Christopher Yuan is rarely documented. Be prepared, for the raw emotions of both mother and son authentically mark every page. The spiritual lessons to be gained from this book are many. May it gain a vast audience!”
—J. Paul Nyquist, PhD, president of Moody Bible Institute

“This is a moving account of how an Asian mother’s fragile love turns into a prayerful, patient, and tenacious force of forgiveness. It is also a gripping narrative of a son’s search for belonging and meaning. Out of a Far Country breeds hope in every despairing heart.”
—Lisa Espineli Chinn, director of International Student Ministries for InterVarsity/USA

“The Good Shepherd knows his sheep and calls them by name. Christopher Yuan, trapped in a life of drugs and sexual addiction, heard that call and rose to follow Jesus. His and his mother’s account of that rising is a profound story of redemption that all of us in this broken generation need to hear.”
—Duane Litfin, president emeritus of Wheaton College in Illinois

“Relevant, courageous, fascinating, and much more. I have known the Yuans for many years, and their walk is in line with their talk. This important and needed story goes against the wind, but it is one hundred percent in the right direction.”
—Dr. George Verwer, founder and former international director of Operation Mobilisation

Out of a Far Country is a true-life parable of saving grace for a prodigal mother and a wayward son who needed God’s forgiveness. Their story will warm the heart and lift the spirit of every parent who prays for a wandering child and every believer who needs to be reminded why the gospel is good news.”
—Dr. Philip G. Ryken, president of Wheaton College in Illinois

“At one point, Angela and Christopher were living worlds apart. I have heard their story countless times, and it never grows old. I know you will be amazed by the God who did the impossible to bring this mother and son back together.”
—Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International

“This is the story of God’s persistent chase of a wayward son through the prayers and love of a determined mother. But even more, it is a testimony to the fact that loving God is a far more satisfying pursuit than following our own desires. I am thankful that Christopher and Angela are willing to be so transparent about their journey. Christopher’s desire to follow Christ regardless of the struggle stands as a model for all who desire to love God with all their heart.”
—Dr. Joseph M. Stowell, president of Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan

“God snatched Christopher Yuan from a desperately empty life and offered him the hope of Jesus Christ. This is a story of God’s redemption, love, and mercy in the midst of overwhelming sin and a heart that was far from God. Get two copies of this book—you will want to give one to a friend who needs Jesus.”
—Dr. James MacDonald, senior pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Rolling Meadows, Illinois

“The story of Angela Yuan and Christopher Yuan, Out of a Far Country, will minister rich grace and hope to mothers who are praying for the return of a prodigal, to the prodigals they love, and to anyone battling a sinful addiction that seems impossible to overcome. This is a deeply moving account of God’s amazing power and love.”
—Nancy Leigh DeMoss, best-selling author, host of the Revive Our Hearts radio program

About the Author

Christopher Yuan and Angela Yuan travel nationally and internationally to speak at churches, conferences, youth conventions, and colleges about God’s desire for prodigals of all types to return to him. Angela is a businesswoman and advocate for Chinese-American cultural causes. Christopher teaches at Moody Bible Institute (MBI). He holds a bachelor's degree from MBI, a master's degree in biblical exegesis from Wheaton College Graduate School and a doctorate of ministry from Bethel Seminary.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press (May 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307729354
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307729354
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (435 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,335 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Almelle on May 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
In this joint memoir, mother Angela Yuan and son Christopher Yuan alternate chapters in describing Chris' prodigal son experiences, in parallel with Angela's experiences as a mother moving from suicidal depression to Christian community, along with hope and prayer for her still-troubled son. Their voices trade off as describe Chris' early successes in grad school, his growing identification with the gay community and embrace of a partying lifestyle, and his movement into success as a drug dealer. His crash when busted and jailed, along with his mothers' prayers and involvement, leads to his conversion to Christianity and eventual role as a prison minister. Now, it seems, he and his mother speak at Christian events about his transformation, a role which I assume has produced this book.

I got this review copy for free from WaterBrook Multnomah (full disclosure!), and was initially quite skeptical and concerned with how the book would portray homosexuality. Because the book is written within the conservative Christian social field, it probably will not be appreciated by liberal or secular readers. But for its intended audience, it strikes the right note. Addressing this social issue with both grace and truth has been a difficult issue for the American church, and it would be easy to turn this story into a polemic about sexual identity and the church.

But the Yuans, in general, refrain. While their story clearly fits within the cultural genre of "Christian testimony" (with overtones of Augustine's confessions as well as an identification with the specific trope of the prodigal son, moving from pride to fall to faith to restoration), it is well-handled, emotive, and lovely -- a good example of the genre.
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49 of 54 people found the following review helpful By John H. Armstrong on May 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
On January 16 I attended a Chicago area seminar titled: "A Conference on Faith and Sexuality." The topic was same-sex relationships and the church. The host church invited four speakers to give biblical and theological presentations. The speakers clearly held widely different perspectives. The last of the four speakers was Christopher Yuan. Since I did not know Chris at the time I as not prepared to be moved to my depths by his story of a life of homosexual practice and drug dealing followed by a powerful conversion to Jesus Christ. After three years in prison, an HIV-positive blood test result, and an obvious transformation in Christ, Chris entered his new Christian lifestyle, a lifestyle that has been tested and proven for some years now. Our of a Far Country is a unique book in so many ways but one of the most unique aspects is that it is the story as told by both Chris and his mother, Angela. This means parents will be especially grateful for insights they can gain on how to respond to a prodigal child.

Christopher Yuan is one of two sons of Chinese immigrants. His father, as my father was in his professional career, is a dentist. Angela assisted Dr. Yuan in his dental practice. Chris' dad had a nominal Catholic background but Angela was an atheist. Chris was thus raised in a context without the church or any real expressions of faith around him. At an early age Chris discovered that he had an attraction to other boys. He tried dating girls but still felt strongly attracted to guys. His mother was, in her own testimony a "controlling mom." The more she tried to control her own life, and that of her son Chris, the worse things got in the Yuan family. Then Chris returned to Chicago from dental school in Louisville, Kentucky, and "came out of the closet" about his sexuality.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Mark Lattimore on May 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
In the 1990s, Christopher Yuan was a gay man who worked hard and played harder. After an experience with the drug Ecstasy, Yuan quickly became one of the top drug dealers in the major gay clubs of the Southeast, living the glamorous lifestyle marked by cars, clothes and the adoration of his new family in the homosexual community. As spectacular as the story of his life in the 90s is, it is not the subject of this book.

Yuan's world eventually came crashing down. Arrested for conspiracy and intent to distribute illegal drugs and later sentenced to six years in prison, Yuan was abandoned by all but a very few of his supposed "friends". To add insult to injury, Yuan learned, while wearing the tell-tale orange jumpsuit of the Atlanta Detention Center, that he was HIV positive, likely the result of one of his sexual encounters of the previous several years. As dramatic as the story of his Yuan's fall is, it is not the subject of this book.

In recent years, Yuan, now a Christian speaker and HIV/AIDS activist, has garnered a fair amount of notoriety for his frequent speaking engagements in which he talks about HIV and issues surrounding sexuality and Christianity. For this he has been both praised and roundly (and often angrily) criticized. Though one of this book's thirty two chapters is entitled "Holy Sexuality", neither HIV nor questions of Christian faith and sexuality are the subjects of this book.

What is Out of a Far Country about? It is a modern-day prodigal son story, about a son who rebels against his parents and effectively abandons his natural family in favor of living life on his own terms.
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