The Next Target – Nikki Arana

Posted: February 17, 2012 in Book Reviews
Tags: , ,

“Love your eThe Next Targetnemies.”  We hear this phrase all the time.  Many of us even claim to follow the instruction.  It’s easy to use this Bible verse when we’re telling a kid how to deal with the annoying people in their neighborhoods or when giving advice to someone dealing with aggravating co-workers.  Is that all it means, though?  Nikki Arana, in her upcoming novel, illustrates that it is a far bigger and grander love than what we are used to offering.

Austia Donatelli lost the love of her life to the Muslims with whom he was sharing the love of God.  Despite the counsel of many people, she continued his outreach after his tragic death.  She spreads God’s love by simply loving the Muslims in her town of Agua Viva, California.  She even opens a Career Center to help immigrants find jobs and teaches an ESL class for women.  Through the ESL class, she is given an opportunity to share her faith with a young woman.  The young woman’s conversion to Christianity unleashes a series of events that culminates in both a spiritual and physical confrontation that threatens to destroy all those dear to Austia.

The characters in this book are incredible.  While Austia is the main character, there are several other viewpoint characters, each with his or her own story arc.  No character comes to the end of this book unchanged.  Twists and turns abound in this fast-paced suspense story that keeps the reader quickly flipping pages to watch the race between Austia, the FBI, and a terrorist cell intent on unleashing a devastating attack on America.

While the action never stops and we desperately want to know if Austia will make it through the physical confrontation, The Next Target’s true conflict is spiritual.  It is a battle between love and hate, between God and Satan.  The love and respect Austia gives her Muslim neighbors should challenge us all.  Can love survive such attacks?  Can hatred turn to love?  As a Christian, Austia believes the answer to both questions is a resounding “Yes!” We say “Love your enemies,” but when those enemies are different than us, when they are distrusted because of their heritage, how we will respond?  Can we change the way we feel?  Can we, especially Christians, show love and respect to everyone?

This book releases in June.  I encourage you to pick it up as soon as you can.  The message is so pertinent to our world today.  The challenge is clear: Will you put it all on the line to share Christ’s love?

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