Book Review: "The Other Side of Heaven" by John H. Groberg

Plot Summary:
A pleasant and inspirational read with each chapter recounting a new aspect of John Groberg's adventure to, through and from the Tongan Islands where he served in the 1950s as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Why it Makes My List:
This is a great read for any prospective missionary as it highlights some key attributes of effective missionaries and disciples of Christ. It may also be fun for return missionaries who want to experience the nostalgia of missionary life again. 

Other Reasons to Read:
  1. You Enjoy Narrative HistoriesThis is very much a story, not just a recitation of facts, and moves along nicely with no real slow points. I enjoyed how the author intentionally highlights the spiritual lessons learned from each experience. 
  2. Learn about Life in a Different Part of the World: As part of the story, the author frequently explains aspects of a culture that is both foreign (literally and figuratively) to our Western experience. For example, he lived on an island with only about 700 people for over a year, many of whom had never heard of the United States, walked about without shirts, ate on the ground, and were subject to hurricanes and famine.
  3. The Film Adaptation of the Sequel Comes Out Soon: This book was made into a movie several years ago and now the sequel, The Other Side of Heaven 2: Fire of Faith, is coming out in the next few months. So if you haven't seen the first movie, read the book and you'll be all caught up!
Reason to Pass:
  1. Not a Comprehensive History of the Church in Tonga: This is just one man's experiences while serving the Tongan people for a few years - it is by no means an all-encompassing history of the work of the Lord among these good people. If that is what you are seeking, this is not it.
The Other Side of Heaven is available for purchase here. If you are interested in learning more about the church he represented as a missionary, click here.