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Dangerous Territory: My Misguided Quest to Save the World

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4.27  ·  Rating details ·  304 ratings  ·  78 reviews
Amy Peterson grew up in church, where she loved the adventurous stories of missionaries in foreign countries who won people to the Lord. After college, she was ready to “do big things for God” on the mission field herself. Dangerous Territory is a captivating memoir that tells Amy’s personal journey from wide-eyed adventurer to questioning believer to simply a beloved chil ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published February 1st 2017 by Our Daily Bread Publishing
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Average rating 4.27  · 
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 ·  304 ratings  ·  78 reviews


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Yibbie
May 18, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: biographies
Parts were amazing. Parts were disappointing, and much of it was unsettling.
Part of this book is a critique of short-term missions trips, and she has some a valid points. Then the odd ‘interlude’ about Taize jumps in. The salvation of her friend was amazing. The following persecution was heartbreaking, but it moves off that really quickly. It’s more a personal struggle to find and accept God’s will in her life.
It sounds like she was heavily influenced by American Feminism. Domination, Coloni
...more
Colette Stine
May 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
I have mixed feelings about this book.
Amy does raise valid points and concerns about the way we "do missions," and I agree with much that she says.

There is also much that she says that concerns me. For example, her take on the role of women in missions and the church. This is actually an issue I wrestled with myself in my time at a university in China, but the fact that a certain method seems to be effective or even necessary does not negate clear teaching of Scripture. I believe it is extremely
...more
Sara Hillegass
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wish I could have read this before heading overseas on my own many years ago. Similar to the author, I hated being called a "missionary" because of so many connotations and stereotypes. The overseas portion of our stories diverge, but we both landed in a similar place of disorientation and grief about what God was doing with this believed answer to God's calling.
Peterson writes, "Letting go of my ownership of the language of faith meant recognizing that I could only speak it as a second, and le
...more
Laura
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Review originally appeared at Servants of Grace.

Reality, C.S. Lewis says, is the great iconoclast. Whatever fragile ideas we may have about God, about ourselves, and about our neighbors are constantly at risk of being broken when they confront the real thing. Lewis explains that God himself is an iconoclast, and that “shattering is one of the marks of his presence,” which can be especially seen in the way that the incarnation of Jesus challenged any previously-held notions of how the Messiah wo
...more
Josiah Hatfield
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Going to go ahead and say all Christians would be wise to give this profound and personal book a read.
Abby
Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian, nonfiction
This is not the kind of book I'd usually pick up, so I'm really glad that Amy is one of our authors at Discovery House! Amy has such a great story to tell and an authentic voice sharing an uncensored experience framed by the historical context of foreign missions. Her tale is refreshing and raw, inspiring a reevaluation of the current Western idea of missions.
Loraena
Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Run, don't walk to wherever you buy books and get this one. Dangerous Territory: My Misguided Quest to Save the World by Amy Peterson is where it's at, friends. If you grew up in American evangelicalism you will especially relate. And if not, you will still find a captivating, intelligent, and honest spiritual coming-of-age story and I just loved it. ❤🌍
Erin Cowell
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was an excellent read. It was a privilege to get to be invited into Amy's journey of losing her faith and God renewing her faith. Thank you, Amy, for sharing your story! It touched me and contributed to "making things new, to mending what is broken or healing what is sick or bringing wholeness to what is torn apart" during a trying time for me and my faith. I will be sharing it with anyone who will listen!
Katie Krombein
May 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this on my flight to SE Asia and I really enjoyed it. I grew up in a similar context to the author and see my kids also being influenced by missionary movements. I also work for a company that seeks to bring business opportunities to people in poverty around the world. I loved how she asked many thoughtful questions, gave interesting historical background, and shared her heart.

p. 40: we were all full of ourselves at dinner, bandying about our theories as if we had within ourselves the po
...more
Lisa
Nov 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I am not, nor have I ever been, a missionary. Not in the travel to far-off places and share the Gospel sense. Still, I have a bit of wanderlust and a desire to do important things. Which must be why I connected with Amy Peterson's story in her spiritual memoir, Dangerous Territory: My Misguided Quest to Save the World. (To be clear, this is not just a book for missionaries or would-be missionaries or young people because I am none of those things!)

Peterson's account of her time teaching English
...more
Rachel B
This is not really a book about missions, as some people think. It's Peterson's "growing in Christian faith" story.

She starts out naive, optimistic, arrogant, and with a savior complex. She ends up realizing that real life and real faith are messier than we would often like. We don't always get to understand why God does what He does. While I could certainly relate to a lot of her growth, and therefore want to extend some grace to her, I feel it necessary to say that at the end of the book, sh
...more
Hannah Reeves
I really enjoyed reading this, the author brought up many things I have thought or wondered before and enjoyed discussing it with my MK husband and discussing what the solution would be. It was comforting, relate-able, and helpful when she talked about Isaiah 49: "What if God was whittling me into a polished arrow? What if he was hiding me away, teaching me to be content in the quiver as I would be when aimed in a stretched bow or flying through the air? What if God didn't want me to be useful? ...more
Shanna
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Having served overseas, I related to Amy Peterson’s memoir in many ways- from the reading of the missionary hero stories to the depression of wondering if going had made a difference. I found comfort in Peterson’s story, in knowing that I was not the only one to ask these questions after serving. In a world where we are not encouraged to share our struggles, Peterson’s story is real and honest. She doesn’t sugar coat her experiences and allows us to see what serving God could mean- heart break, ...more
Daniel Jr.
Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
DANGEROUS TERRITORY features a warm, intelligent voice; a compelling story with a memorable cast; thoughtful and often excellent writing, and introspection without self-absorption. On this last point, the author avoids a trap into which many of her fellow young memoirists fall; their books often center on the relationship between the empirical and the visceral—what happened and how it felt. Not only does Amy do this better than most, delivering rich and well-articulated insights, but she also in ...more
Cara
Jan 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2017
This is not your average missionary story. Amy is a great writer, and this book will make you think. Interview forthcoming at Off the Page.
Miriam Gin
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So so so good!! I'm buying a few copies to give away. Great perspective on missions, women in leadership and our identity in Christ. I could not put it down!
Laura
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"I was a conflicted missionary - desperate to save the world and afraid of doing it wrong - but also very willing just to go love God in a new place. I was equal parts zeal for God's glory, hunger for adventure, and fear of failure."

Amy Peterson's story feels familiar. I too went to Asia & served for several years with a faith-based organization. I went seeking to live the Christian superlative of capital-M Missions, seeking a life of spiritual high adventure & performative devotion. Things didn
...more
Sarah Hurst
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book much more than I expected to. What I expected was a cynical critique of missions, but what Amy wrote was a raw account of the very real struggles of life in a foreign country. Having spent two years in a foreign country myself, Amy’s depiction of her struggles with relationships, faith, the loneliness of an experience that no one else can relate to, and depression hit incredibly close to home. Her transformation from “doing for God” to “being with God” also spoke to me.

Thoug
...more
Megan
Dec 25, 2019 rated it liked it
I felt very seen by this author as she described her struggles with the American version of Christianity and missions. I feel like she could have gone much further in her analysis, but overall, a really interesting memoir. Should be required reading for all teens in youth group and stupid college kids with starry-eyed gospel idealism. 3.5 stars
Andi
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An excellent book from a very good and thoughtful writer. I enjoyed every minute of the reading and learned a lot along the way. Bravo Amy Peterson!
A.
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So, I picked this book up based on a recommendation on a blog I read, though I admit that when I scrolled through the goodreads reviews, one claimed that the book "smelled of unbelief" which, naturally, meant that I HAD to read it as soon as possible. Gotta love how arguments that nuance and concern about harmful aspects of religion are immediately dismissed by some people.

The book is well-written, compelling, and thoughtful. And I connected with it because it felt like I was reading the story o
...more
Kara
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A new blog I found highly recommended this book and I decided to try it. I don't read much non-fiction in general, but this story? Ms. Peterson's journey swept me up and away to the back hills of China and there I stayed until she was finished. Her journey is so not an easy one! As the title says, there is danger to be had, so beware. But it's a danger with a happy-ish ending and the sojourn to that ending is oh-so-worth discovering, reader friends!

Her descriptions of life on the other side of t
...more
Sandra
Jan 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Peterson tells our story. Those of us who formed our identity in the evangelical enthusiasm of Passion and One Day and Urbana. Those of us who believed our single lives were best lived in uncompromising devotion, in a thirst for adventure, and a desire for sacrifice. Peterson powerfully tells her memoir with the "language of faith," the wrestling dance of knowing God and the joyful pain of the journey. Now eight years from my own missionary experience, I read Peterson's story between diaper chan ...more
Lissa
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-books
I've always had an interest in the lives of people who choose to go to the most difficult countries, and this book definitely provides that. Amy was a graduate student signed up to teach English in an unnamed country (but which could be narrowed down with some geographical references) with a Christian missionary organization. She has what she believes to be a wonderful, religious experience, only to find out later that things actually fell apart. The descriptions and writing are beautiful and he ...more
Frank
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I give the book 2 stars for being well written and engaging, however, I cannot under a good conscience recommend this book to anyone. I am very shocked and surprised at how this book turned. I had hoped for a book that highlighted on verses that concluded the need for "faithfulness" over "wanderlust" much like Elizabeth Elliot's books, but the conclusion is quite the opposite and SO NOT LIKE Elliot.

At a whole, she smells of unbelief.

Very interesting story but very sad conclusions. She raises som
...more
Annette
Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Summary:
Amy Peterson was a 22 year old graduate student who was ready to embark on a mission trip. However, she did not want to call herself a missionary. She did not want people to know she was going on a mission trip. She stated she was ready to, "change the world for God" and she was ready for "adventure", but she did not want to be marked as an "imperialistic" traditional type missionary. Peterson grew up in a Christian home. She had read books about missionaries. She was drawn to becoming a
...more
Jeremy Manuel
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In many ways this book is hard to pin down. It is part memoir, part reflection on the state of missions and missionaries, part exploration of lament and what happens when God doesn't act as we expect, and a few other things all mixed in too. Despite what may seem to be a bunch of different topics, it works surprisingly well. At the heart of the work, this is a story about Amy Peterson's experience in serving overseas as a English teacher who wanted to change the world for God, but found hardship ...more
Nathan Meyers
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Dangerous Territory" is Amy Peterson's memoir chronicling her two years of TESOL in Asian countries after college. She worked with a Christian missions organization, and sought to share the gospel with the people she met. Most of the memoir's focus rests on her first year of TESOL, during which she taught in a country closed towards Christianity. Like most books--but especially memoirs--this book has its strengths and weaknesses. I highlight what I think some of them are below, but the book is ...more
Joe
As someone who has grown up in "missions' movements for most of my life (from youth camp to college), Dangerous Territory was a breath of fresh air. Writer and professor Amy Peterson describes her time working as a missionary under the guise of being an "English teacher" in an unnamed East Asian country in her early twenties. Peterson's story is an enlightening and often uncomfortable look at the modern missions movement - especially how it applies and is marketed to millennials.

One of the best
...more
Gillian At Home
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
First thing's first: Amy Peterson's Dangerous Territory should be required reading for any teenager or adult considering a mission trip or missionary work.

I've never read missionary biographies or dreamed of a mission trip myself, but I was fascinated by Peterson's touching account of her mission to an unnamed country in Southeast Asia where proselytizing is outlawed, and the complicated grief that follows her home. Even if this book had just focused on that, I'd have enjoyed it.
What makes this
...more
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