Before you embark on your journey, please read at least one of these fantastic books on international missions. These books are meant to inspire, challenge, and bring you deeper in your relationship with Jesus. These books range from deep teachings on international development and missions to inspirational stories of world renowned missionaries. We hope you find these resources just as encouraging, inspiring, and challenging as we have.

Click on the title to read an overview and why we recommend it!


When Helping Hurts

How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor .. and Yourself

By: Steve Corbett and Brian Finkkert

Poverty is much more than simply a lack of material resources, and it takes much more than donations and handouts to solve it. When Helping Hurts shows how some alleviation efforts, failing to consider the complexities of poverty, have actually (and unintentionally) done more harm than good. But it looks ahead. It encourages us to see the dignity in everyone, to empower the materially poor, and to know that we are all uniquely needy—and that God in the gospel is reconciling all things to himself. Focusing on both North American and Majority World contexts, When Helping Hurts provides proven strategies for effective poverty alleviation, catalyzing the idea that sustainable change comes not from the outside in, but from the inside out.

Why we recommend: This is a fantastic book going in depth on international development and missions. The authors share the wisdom they have acquired over the years in how Western missions can often do lasting damage and how to avoid this. This book embodies the vision of Sozo Children in Uganda and is highly recommended for all team members.



Toxic Charity

How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help, And How to Reverse It

By: Robert D. Lupton Veteran urban activist Robert Lupton reveals the shockingly toxic effects that modern charity has upon the very people meant to benefit from it. Toxic Charity provides proven new models for charitable groups who want to help—not sabotage— those whom they desire to serve.Toxic Charity shows us how to start serving needy and impoverished members of our communities in a way that will lead to lasting, real-world change.

Why we recommend: Toxic Charity is a great read for those wanting to affect change through missions whilestill empowering the people they serve. This book is very similar to When Helping Hurts but has a more domestic take on the same issues. Toxic Charity is challenging and good for those who want a quicker read.



Always Enough

God's Miraculous Provision among the Poorest Children on Earth

By: Rolland and Heidi Baker

The modern miracles that Rolland and Heidi Baker experience every day in their work with Mozambique's throwaway children, movingly chronicled in Always Enough, will inspire anyone looking for hope in the midst of suffering. The Bakers, formerly missionaries in Indonesia and Hong Kong, share how their work for the past eight years in Mozambique, one of the poorest nations on earth, has borne spiritual fruit beyond their wildest dreams. Every day presents multiple impossible needs. But in the face of everything Satan can do, as Rolland and Heidi lay down their lives and "minister to the one," there is always enough. Readers will discover that the simple practice of choosing to step out and trust God every day unleashes his provision for every need.

Why we recommend: This is an amazing book to encourage Christians to believe God for the impossible. Werecommend this book for team members raising support or need God’s supernatural provision.



Kisses from Katie

A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption

By: Katie Davis

The New York Times best selling account of a courageous eighteen-year-old from Nashville who gave up every comfort and convenience to become the adoptive mother to thirteen girls in Uganda. What would cause an eighteen-year-old senior class president and homecoming queen from Nashville, Tennessee, to disobey and disappoint her parents by forgoing college, break her little brother’s heart, lose all but a handful of her friends (because they think she has gone off the deep end), and break up with the love of her life, all so she could move to Uganda, where she knew only one person and didn’t even speak the language? A passion to follow Jesus. Kisses from Katie invites readers on a journey of radical love down the red dirt roads of Uganda. You’ll laugh and cry with Katie as she follows Jesus into the impossible and finds joy and beauty beneath the dust. Katie and her children delight in saying yes to the people God places in front of them and challenge readers to do the same, changing the world one person at a time.

Why we recommend: This is a beautiful depiction of life in Uganda and a heart surrendered to Jesus. Recommended for women who are interested in serving on the mission field and stepping out in faith.



Birthing the Miraculous

The Power of Personal Encounters with God to Change Your Life and the World

By: Heidi Baker

In Birthing the Miraculous Heidi Baker weaves true stories from her life and ministry—including personal visitations and life-changing visions—together with the biblical story of Mary’s pregnancy with Jesus to show you how to become a catalyst for God’s glory here on earth. Sometimes God’s promises seem bizarre, implausible, and even crazy. But no matter how impossible His promises seem, we can respond as Mary did, with a yielded cry of “Yes!” It is time to go into every realm of society, carrying your promise, believing for the impossible, and watching God do the miraculous through you.

Why we recommend: Birthing the Miraculous is a great read to challenge team members in their devotion andsurrender to God. This book is great for mature believers wanting to experience God and His promises on a deeper level.

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Ministering Cross-Culturally

An Incarnational Model for Personal Relationship

By: Sherwood G. Lingenfelter and Marvin K. Meyers In Ministering Cross-Culturally, the authors demonstrate that Jesus needed to learn and understand the culture in which he lived before he could undertake his public ministry. The authors examine how this can help us better understand what it means to establish relationships of grace with those from different cultural and social backgrounds. With more than 70,000 copies of the first edition in print, this incarnational model of ministry has proven successful for many people. Several sections in this second edition have been rewritten, and the entire book has been updated to reflect development in the authors' thinking. Drawing from the authors' rich experience on the mission field, this book will benefit anyone who wants to be salt and light in a multicultural and multiethnic world.

Why we recommend: This is a great book for the academic and those interested in connecting with people ofanother culture. Ministering Cross-Culturally is by no means a light read but is an incredible book to learn how to spread gospel cross culturally.



Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible

By: E. Randolph Richards and Brandon J. O’Brien

Biblical scholars Brandon O'Brien and Randy Richards shed light on the ways that Western readers often misunderstand the cultural dynamics of the Bible. They identify nine key areas where modern Westerners have significantly different assumptions about what might be going on in a text. Drawing on their own cross-cultural experience in global mission, O'Brien and Richards show how better self-awareness and understanding of cultural differences in language, time and social mores allow us to see the Bible in fresh and unexpected ways. Getting beyond our own cultural assumptions is increasingly important for being Christians in our interconnected and globalized world. Learn to read Scripture as a member of the global body of Christ.

Why we recommend: This is a book for those with a deep love for His word. Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes is an eye-opening book diving deep into the cultural lens we tend to read the Bible in. This book will likely give you a whole new perspective on your favorite passages of Scripture.



Peace Child

By: Don Richardson

Peace Child tells their unforgettable story of living among these headhunters and cannibals, who valued treachery through fattening victims with friendship before the slaughter. God gave Don and Carol the key to the Sawi hearts via a redemptive analogy from their own mythology. The "peace child" became the secret to unlocking a value system that had existed through generations. This analogy became a stepping-stone by which the gospel came into the Sawi culture and started both a spiritual and a social revolution from within. With an epilogue updating how the gospel has impacted the Sawi people, this missionary classic will inspire a new generation of readers who need to hear this remarkable story and the lessons it teaches us about communicating Christ in a meaningful way to those around us.

Why we recommend: Peace Child is a fantastic book for those wanting to be inspired by missionaries going into the darkest places on Earth. Don and Carol Richardson follow the Lord’s call to the Sawi people of New Guinea and through a divine cultural analogy reach a dangerous, cannibal, tribe for Christ.



Helping Without Hurting in Short Term Missions

By: Steve Corbett and Brian Finkkert

Helping Without Hurting in Short-Term Missions: Participant’s Guide aims to train and debrief team members, preparing them to do short-term missions as effectively as possible. To do this, it provides practical examples and guidelines for team members, and it creates interaction and reflection opportunities through questions and journaling.With eight units, six of which are built around free online video content, this book equips teams to avoid harming materially poor communities and to translate their experience into lasting and mutual engagement with missions and poverty alleviation.

Why we recommend: This is a book we recommend for all team members no matter where you are in yourwalk with the Lord. Helping Without Hurting in Short Term Missions is a great introduction tothe values Sozo Children hold in our approach to short term missions.



Voice in the Night

The True Story of a Man and the Miracles That Are Changing Africa

By: Surprise Sithole

Born into a long line of witch doctors, Surprise ("Surpresa") Sithole was destined for a life of fear, oppression, and poverty in the jungles of Africa. But at the age of fifteen, he was awakened in the middle of the night by an unfamiliar voice. Urgent, but not harsh, it told him to get up and leave his family immediately. As Surprise stepped out into the night, away from everything dear to him, he had no idea who God was--or what he had in store for him. From miraculous signs and wonders to supernatural deliverance from certain death to divine revivals that overtook countries, Surprise has followed wherever God has led, becoming an agent of hope and change in a continent devastated by war, poverty, and spiritual oppression. Voice in the Night is the amazing true story of what began that night in a jungle hut more than twenty-five years ago: a journey--an adventure--of faith and miracles.

Why we recommend: This is a book for those wanting to be encouraged and challenged in how the Lord isusing people in Africa to spread the gospel. This is an amazing story of the supernatural power of God and His heart for Africa to be saved. Recommended for team members needing a light, yet powerful, read.