Praise for “Memoirs of a Reluctant Servant”
“A fascinating, real world story about compassion and courage. This is a must read book!” – Dave Dionisi, Founder and President of Teach Peace Foundation
On January 16, 2006, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was sworn in as Liberia’s president, and has done much to end the violence and corruption that have so dominated the nation. As this has happened, the world’s attention has shifted to other world hell-holes, and the people of Liberia have been forgotten.
Jerome Cabeen offers a great service in giving us a picture of the men, women and children who struggle every day to rebuild their lives and country after two horrible civil wars. Jerome puts a human face on the broken child soldiers who now struggle to survive as crippled young men. He introduces us to the parents who lost children and relatives to the killing forces struggling to control Liberia’s natural wealth. Finally, he reminds us all that sinfulness can take on the face of charity, and it is up to good people to make things right.
When an author writes personal accounts of his or her adventures, and then publishes them by a small publishing house, the end product usually fails to meet generally accepted literary standards, and the reader must exercise charity in getting through the text. This is not the case with Memoirs of a Reluctant Servant. With the help of Barbara Pawlikowski, Jerome has produced a very readable and engaging book, and has done a great service to the people of Liberia. Liberia today is not the Liberia of 2001. Liberia is not the nation of Charles Taylor, child soldiers, blood diamonds, and war in West Africa. Rather, it is a land of people struggling to rebuild their lives, their villages and their country into a place of peace, safety and prosperity. Jerome helps the reader to recognize that today there is a new Liberia being born.
Fr. Sinclair Oubre, J.C.L.
Apostleship of the Sea – USA
I have just finished reading “Memoirs of a Reluctant Servant” in two sittings. Once I started it, I hated to put it down. It is many things at once: sad, wonderful, painful, eye-opening, insightful, and – most of all – profoundly honest. The author relates his experiences teaching and ministering to the smallest victims of war-ravaged Liberia; drawing intimate, personal portraits of both the country and her people in the process. Though the stories of the children and the effects of civil war on their young lives are often painful to read, it is the love demonstrated by those (like the author and his wife) who give so much of themselves that shines from the words on the pages…God’s love is shown through his “reluctant servants.”
Readers will never forget the people who live on these pages, their strengths in the face of great obstacles and their joy in the face of great sadness. No one could read this book and not include the remarkable people of Liberia in their prayers.
“Just received my softcover version! I am amazed at how engaging it is. No, I haven’t started to read it. I am just mesmerized by the power of the cover photo. I am examining the faces and expressions of these kids and young adolescents and I have to wonder what is at their essence — I would not have had the courage as you and Clarisa had, to delve. - Alejandro Lara
“This is the real-world story of a courageous husband and wife following God’s call to love and serve. When you read this amazing book, you will learn a tremendous amount about Liberia and how a rich life is possible not from making money but by giving 100% of yourself to serve the poor.”
The author tells his story and the stories of the people of Liberia in a heart felt way. The joys and sorrows are played out in an well written way. The stories of the people touch your heart, and make you wish you were there to experience these joys and sorrows with them.
“I literally couldn’t get out of my chair until I had finished it. I couldn’t put it down. For me the book filled in many of the gaps of what actually happened there. The history of Liberia was conveyed very strongly as well and gave me a great visual. I loved it!” – Kara Lapso
“I ordered your book on Monday and it arrived yesterday. My mom and I read the book out loud from cover to cover in one sitting!! You did an excellent job with it!! It was especially moving for me as I know most of the people in the book very well now.” - Kevin Rockensies, Executive Director of Teach Peace Foundation
“I received my book last night, and started reading it this afternoon. I can not put it down already halfway done. It is an amazing story. Thank You for sharing. ” - Patrick Murray
“I found this book by accident on line! Bought it because of its cover but my goodness the story is more powerful than dynamite! Mr. Cabeen and Mrs. Pawlikowski we need more authors with guts, compassion and regard for human rights. BRAVO all around! Great book, wish I had more accidents like this.” – Henry Mesur
“I just finished reading “Memoirs of a Reluctant Servant.” It is a very touching book. You did a great job painting the picture of Liberia. I could really picture the places you were describing. Wow – what an experience you had! Something that you will carry with you forever. And, the sadness you encountered is overwhelming. Great job on the book!” – Marnie Lamb
“I just finished reading the book. It was truly a very moving work. I experienced a myriad of emotions; from disgust to profound sadness to lots and lots of pride. You have crafted a beautiful work. Your writing did place me right there next to you and Clarisa and the children of Liberia. I consider that a true gift. Thank you. I will continue to tell everyone I know about this extraordinary work.” - Alejandro Lara
Jerome Cabeen did a terrific job in describing from the heart the problems of a developing country. I certainly would recommend this book for all high school students and adults as well. In America we are all addicted to the comforts of cell phones, three meals a day, snacks, Ipads, flat screen tv’s , beds and the basics of clean water.
These children who live with such tragedy rarely have a bar of soap much less toilet paper, love and dignity. When we read about these countries or see documentaries about them we really don’t think places like Liberia truly exist. The book is well written and is an easy read. Just can’t put it down. Only criticism is this expert work left me wanting to see and hear more!! Only hope Mr. Cabeen follows up with additional books.
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Simply put I loved this book……Everything about it.
It is well written, simple and powerful. It was a quick, but absolutley incredible, read…….I thought it was going to be another story of an American who somehow saves the world from death and poverty, but to the contrary the author readily and humbly admits the impact those in Liberia had on him. He opens the book by stating quite clearly he was reluctant to go to Africa and from that page on he beautifully crafts his story with an intense and effective use of imagery and dialouge. The story-telling was first rate and you feel as you are with Mr. Cabeen as he is experiencing these things.
Though the book is triumphant Cabeen and his wife were faced by an apalling ugliness at their Christian mission and how they survived that ordeal is beyond me. What a heroic duo these two were. I wish books like this received more credit and exposure because I can’t imagine anybody who has a heart and mind not loving this book. The world is full of fluffy books that are rubbish, thank goodness this isn’t one of them. This will be the best buy I make this summer and I think you will feel the same way once you read the book. As long as Mr. Cabeen keeps writing from his heart and uses his story telling ability I will buy any book he writes.
Jerome, I just finished reading the book. I have to tell you it was truly a very moving book. I experienced a myriad of emotions; from disgust to profound sadness to lots and lots of pride. You have crafted a beautiful work. Your writing did place me right there next to you and Clarisa and the children of Liberia. I consider that a true gift. Thank you.I will continue to tell everyone I know about this extraordinary work. - Alejandro Lara
“I started reading it and couldn’t put it down! If you want to gain a perspective on how poverty affects the children of the world and be inspired to do something about it, read this book. It illustrates how one right decision can lead you on an adventure which will impact your life and others in countless ways. This book is easy to read and leads you from one engaging scene to another as you become involved in the lives of people in both Liberia and Hondruas. It encompases spirit, adventure and faith and gives us all a bit more courage.” - Betty Grissom, Director, Wayne Montessori School, Goldsboro, NC
“I loved it! A very easy, thought provoking read. I laughed and I cried. Jerome, thank you for being an influence in my daughter Kara’s life (and also other children’s lives). I hope to someday meet you and Clarissa. Great job on the book! Congratulations!” – Kathleen Yano Lapso
Jeronimo, I just finished the book. I couldn’t put it down. We were on vacation and my mom was asking me why I was reading so much when I hate reading. I said because reading the book was just like listening to you telling the stories. – Tim Nadolski
This review is from: Memoirs of a Reluctant Servant: Two years of Triumph and Sorrow in Liberia, Africa (Paperback)
If you’ve always wondered how you can find more meaning in your life, read this book. It tells the story of one man’s search for meaning and the lives that were changed in Honduras and Africa by an individual taking the first step on the road to discovery. It contains interesting and inspiring details about the Liberian struggle and the children who have suffered so much through their civil wars.
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If you are looking to build a summer reading list this book must be put at the very top. Top notch I must confess!
What a harrowing, fascinating and tear jerking account. I am not a religious person in the least and though this book is written, at times, from a Christian perspective it is a very engaging and heartfelt piece of literature.
Cabeen’s descriptive imagery about the country, colours, smells and his experiences put the reader directly in the middle of Liberia. The recollections of tragic events, and there are many, moved me to an emotional level I hadn’t been too in a good long while. I was stunned by the heroism of Cabeen and his wife and I fell in love with the Liberian children at the mission they were living at.
Brew a bit of tea, keep the tissues close and prepare to fall in love with “Memoirs of a Reluctant Servant.”
Jerome and Barbara,
Thank you for writing this book. It is beautiful! Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. I will reread it again any time I need inspiration, gratitude, or a good cry. - Kathy Duffy
“I am honored to purchase and read this book. As a recent volunteer at Liberia Mission Inc., I feel Cabeen’s story is the missing link found for all peoples who have experienced LMI – in the children’s warm hugs or vicariously in a friends voyage to the mission. This ordained book is a permanent agent bonding the impoverished people of Liberia with opportunity-drenched Americans. Each word read is another Liberian voice heard. Thank you, Jerome and Barbara!”
- Lindsay Gallmann – Freelance writer & journalist – www.lindsaylois.com
This is a heartfelt narrative of Jerome Cabeen’s experiences as a missionary in Liberia. The book weaves the history of Liberia in with Cabeen’s experiences. This is not a decades old walk down memory lane, Cabeen describes personal events between 2008 and 2010. This means the story is often still raw, emotional and almost unprocessed. This gives one the strong feeling of being there, involved in the events. You will be shocked. You will cry. But you will also sense the hope that lets people carry on.
Cabeen tells the stories of the people he met along with his own story. He does not shy away from telling the unvarnished, and often heartbreaking, truth. The only negative to the book is it is fairly short. I was left wanting more stories, and perhaps more personal positive stories. But I still gave it 5 stars, since being left satisfied but wanting more is a sign of a good book. So check it out, and watch for more from this author. I know I will.
I have just finished reading Mr. Cabeen’s book while in Germany. The simplicity of the book is its beauty and power. It is a beautiful story, one I will take back to England with me and encourage all of Europe to read. This is a fantastic book and I hope everyone reads it because its a story that will challenge every emotion. – Peter Bridge (London, England)
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)This review is from: Memoirs of a Reluctant Servant: Two years of Triumph and Sorrow in Liberia, Africa (Paperback)
What an amazing and informative read! Jerome Cabeen sheds light on the plight of a nation, yet, the personal accounts illuminate from the heart. Many people are defeated when matched up against the various institutions of our world, but this book motivates me to remain involved in support of those who cannot support themselves. I encourage anyone with a desire to make a difference to read this book! – Jamie Riendl