4 1/2 stars
In Beyond The Rapids, we’re transported to the country of Ukraine during the Soviet Union. There we meet a modest and remarkable Christian family. The book opens with a brief foreword and is followed closely by an introduction and acknowledgments. The chapters switch from various members of the Brynza family on whom the story chronicles. The first fifteen chapters are told by, Lena, the youngest of the four children. Lena’s experiences are of growing up and on the tribulations they all faced, especially those of her father.
From there, we switch over to the lives of Lena’s two older brothers: Yakov and Viktor. Being bullied and taunted by communists, they both faced the overwhelming temptation to fit in with the people. Being labeled as a Baptist on practically everything made “fitting in” impossible. They weren’t made or meant to simply fit in with the world. God had other plans for them; they would shine for everyone to see.
The last chapters swap back and forth between Lena, Igor (her husband), Veniamin (her youngest brother), and Ruslana (Veniamin’s wife). It was confusing at times when it switched, but that was only because I wasn’t always paying attention. I flipped through the pages rather quickly.
There are no boring areas in any corner of the book. It’s all fascinating! While reading, you will probably find the family’s ways unusual and somewhat strict. In turn, they had visited America and thought us to live in a lukewarm way of life.
I really wish I could’ve met Lena’s father, Alexei Brynza, but reading this book made me feel like I did. I love true stories, and I can say that Beyond The Rapids is one of the best out there. I haven’t read anything this good in a while. It truly inspired and challenged my faith. I highly recommend Beyond The Rapids, but not for anyone too young, though. When the darkness surrounds, the light shines the most…
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