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We Died Before We Came Here: A True Story of Sacrifice and Hope
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We Died Before We Came Here: A True Story of Sacrifice and Hope

4.45  ·  Rating details ·  364 ratings  ·  53 reviews
If not you, who? If not now, when? This was the challenge answered by Stephen Foreman and his wife, Emily, when they traded in their American white picket fence for a giant, dusty sandbox as missionaries in the deserts of North Africa. Stephen had given Emily a well-read copy of Foxe's Book of Martyrs on their first date, a telling foreshadowing of the ultimate cost he wou ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published September 1st 2016 by NavPress Publishing Group
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Average rating 4.45  · 
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Natalie Vellacott
This story was very readable. The author, a single mother, married a divorced man. After a few years living the American dream they believed they were called to mission. They sold everything. They traveled to an unspecified country in North Africa where evangelism was illegal and ministered amongst Muslims. Their family increased to the point where they had four children.

In comparison to other biographies I have read and experiences I've had personally with Muslim outreach, they seem to have bee
Alexis Kelley
Jan 05, 2022 rated it it was amazing
At first I was upset that the back of the book spoiled everything that happens in the book, but as I turned the pages, I appreciated the warning. This book broke my heart. I picked it up bc someone told be to read more missionary biographies, and they were right. Read this book! It gives incredible perspective on friendship and loving people you’re taught to fear. I loved it and cried so hard at the end. It’s filled with scripture and a picture of people living it out, and it inspired me and my ...more
Christian Barrett
Apr 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is a gut wrenching autobiography of the Foreman family’s mission work in North Africa. Emily Foreman draws you right into her life and you feel the emotional impacts of working amongst Muslims as an American shortly after 9/11. This book will give anyone a deeper appreciation for the work that missionaries do, challenge Christians to live life as citizens of Heaven, and bring to fruition what it means to truly die to this world and live for Christ. The Foreman story is one that will be ...more
Sarah Henry
Jul 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
“Are you dead yet? Dead to yourself, dead to your own desires, dead to fear? Are we alive in Christ? My desire is that when people see your life, when they see my life, they will see Christ, and Christ alone. Let us live our lives as if they weren’t our own lives. To truly be strangers in this world. To be aliens in this world. Our citizenship is in heaven.” - Stephen Foreman

This is a brilliant autobiography- honest, challenging, inspiring and focused on the glory of God among the nations.
Jan 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021
I read this book because of a friends recommendation without knowing much detail about their story...I highly recommend just jumping in without reading the back of the book. The book is a smooth read and Emily writes with such authenticity and emotion that you feel like you’re with her every step of the way. So thankful for this story and the profound inspiration that it produces.
Natalie Print
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow, what a story! This is a powerful, moving, and inspiring true story of a Christian family who moved from America to North Africa, knowing the dangers and still choosing to go, because of their love for God and their love for the Muslims there who needed to know about Jesus. Despite the sometimes intense content, this book has a very readable and engaging style, which makes it a joy to read. It is also a challenging story, because you can’t help but ask questions of your own faith when you re ...more
Lydia Loh
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely heart wrenching yet inspiring book about what it means to live for Christ so totally
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. Challenging. Thought-provoking. Moving. Well worth a read.
Carole Sparks
Jul 08, 2020 rated it liked it
"Like a needle with no thread, all I can do alone is poke holes through the fabric of others' lives--but with the divine thread securely attached, I can weave God's love and power in and out of the lives of others, allowing the Lord to mend and heal and bring everything together for his glory." (101)

This is a lovingly written story of a family who love God more than themselves. It was at once familiar and aspirational. For anyone who wonders why people move overseas or what a real cross-cultural
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
An account of the true costs of choosing to put serving God first, before comment, security and safety. Although the culmination of the challenges the Foremans faced in North Africa was seen in the murder of her husband, Emily Foreman is clear about the many challenges that preceded that too.

She recounts the misconceptions of US friends about their choice to work with Muslims, and she addresses without holding back the strains that the work they were doing put on the family relationships. She is
Megan Slatter
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is amazing. It had me laughing, smiling, crying and at times, angry.
We live in a world which is so quick to make sweeping generalisations of people, races, religious etc when really these ‘generalisations’ tend to be about a minority of those people. The couple from this book showed how we can live out the love of God and how to be a light in a dark place without doing mass evangelical work. Their work of friendship evangelism and kindness has changed the lives of countless people who
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book had me sobbing. As a believer, books and stories like this remind and challenge me throughout. It is a reminder of Who I have been called to and what I have been called from. It challenges me that my comfort is not God’s priority, and I must die to myself/my desires, and be willing to take up His cross to follow wherever He leads. However, I am also reminded that He promises to walk with me wherever this is,and His glory will be ultimate. A call to suffering, but joyous moments along t ...more
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was hard to put down this expression of faith, devotion, love, and grief. Seeing God's hand in and through this family and his steady voice through their difficult call to go and their much harder call to loss was wonderful. I resonate with the overarching theme expressed in the title: We Did Before We Came Here. As believers, we have surrendered our lives, it is not ours anymore but we have died to self and live for Christ. ...more
Jason Millsap
Nov 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I greatly appreciate the completeness of this story. It does not avoid challenges that were faced, but openly and honestly reveals a heart searching for God. It is a hard one to read because Emily does not gloss over the ending of the story. I think this is very beneficial for believers and my faith was encouraged by this book. Definitely recommend!
Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Glad I finished it!

When I started reading this book, I wasn't sure I wanted to finish it. The author's tone was a challenge for me, but I kept reading, and I'm glad I did. It is a poignant memoir which shows what it means to love Jesus and others in His name. Worth the read.
Alexis Phillips
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is such a testament to the faithfulness of God and the beauty of the gospel. I was continually reminded of who Jesus is and what it means to find life in Him. I would encourage, implore, all Christians to read or listen to this book.
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Megan Smith
Mar 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in just a couple of days and as we are sitting home social distancing, it was a great reminder of how to love for Christ knowing that your life is not your own. I am thankful for the many Christian witnesses who have gone before. Thanks to 10 of those for access to this book!
Tina Williams
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"Pain and peace were in harmony. I will never understand how suffering and joy can coexist so beautifully."

This true account of one family's ministry in North Africa is gripping. Emily challenges us to ask ourselves for what purpose are we living.

"To live within purpose is worse than dyin."
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An extraordinary story of faith and sacrifice. Faith over fear brings glory to God. Truly sad on a human level and a shining example on a spiritual level. It may not be a welcome story in the face of Western culture but is realty in the kingdom of God.
Susan Gras
Sep 12, 2020 rated it liked it
This was a good story, but i didn't find it well-written or particularly readable. I'm not sure I agreed with Stephen's philosophy of evangelism, but I admired his willingness to live out his faith as he understood it. ...more
Sheridan Lynch
Nov 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Sheridan by: Holland Road Baptist, Hove
Heart rending and encouraging at the same time. An air of menace hangs over the book as the climax of the story is put right at the start. But the whole way through, we are constantly reminded of the love and the grace of God. A difficult read, emotionally, but worth the effort.
Nov 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great audiobook. I found myself fighting back tears listening to it on my way to work and I’m not a crier. It’s a good call to American Christians to remember that our calling is not to safety but to glorify God.
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biographies
I'd give this a strong 3.5. Very easy to read and an inspiring and thought provoking story. ...more
Gavin Felgate
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good account of mission work in a hostile environment; encouraging, despite it being about her husband being murdered.
Matthew Cazee
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a gift this book is, a beautiful story.
Daniel Sargent
Apr 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Good story, bad theology.
Susan Elwart
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It’s always a rebuke to read about those who have given their life for Christ.
Luisa Quam
Jan 25, 2020 rated it liked it
I wished for more details on how the family learned to thrive and blossom after the tragedy.
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