Sarah Monzon is one of my favorite people … and her new book The Esther Paradigm is very close to my heart! I’m so excited to tell you more about it – and to take a tour of the setting with none other than Sarah Monzon as our guide 🙂
The daughter of missionaries, Hannah Pratt dreams of starting a school for the Bedouin clan with whom she spent her childhood. After completing her education in the United States, she returns to the desert to pursue that dream—only to learn her parents have been receiving threats from within the community they serve. As the danger escalates, Hannah must decide how far she’ll go to stay faithful to a calling that could cost her everything.
As sheikh, Karim Al-Amir feels the weight of responsibility as the leader of his people. When a mysterious illness ravages the clan’s flocks and threatens to destroy their centuries-old way of life, some of his people believe the American doctors and their daughter, his childhood friend, are to blame. Karim must do something to keep Hannah and her parents safe—even if the only solution is to be found within marriage vows.
In a society where the line is drawn between us and them, where Christianity is outlawed and foreigners suspect, will Karim and Hannah’s union heal wounds . . . or inflict a final, fatal blow?
Old Testament history meets Twenty-first Century tensions in this compassionate, tender inspirational romance.
Are you ready for a tour?? Let’s see if we can find Sarah somewhere….Ah! I see her! Hi Sarah!
Sarah Monzon is a Navy chaplain’s wife and a stay at home mom to the two cutest littles in the world. Playing pretend all day with them isn’t enough, she spends the evenings after their heads hit the pillow to create her own imaginary characters. When she isn’t in the world of make believe, she can be found in a small desert town in central Washington taking care of her family, fostering friendships, and enjoying all the adventures each day brings.
Thank you so much for having me Carrie. I can’t wait to play the tour guide and show you and your readers around where Hannah and Karim live.
First, I suppose I should tell you just where we’re going to be headed on this excursion, shouldn’t I? Well, I’m sorry to say that I can’t. Not specifically, anyway. You see, in order to protect the safety of our missionaries, the country itself must remain a secret. I will say, however, that we are about to take a journey to where those in the mission field refer to the 10/40 Window.
The country we will be visiting is Islamic, and we want to be respectful of the culture so in preparation for our trip, I’ll need each of you ladies to take one of these scarves—*hands out scarves*—and cover your hair. All set? Great! Just one more thing before we get started and that is our mode of transportation. I’ll let you choose. Beat up truck or camel? If you choose the truck, though, you might have to share with the camel.
Ready to go?
We’re going to start this tour with the beautiful architecture you might have noticed as soon as you stepped off the plane. The two things that always drew my attention as particularly striking was the use of color within the mosaic tile work and the symmetry of the arches that make up many of the buildings.
Now that you’ve been able to take in some of the beauty, let’s be on our way to the Bedouin encampment. To the clan Karim leads as sheik and Hannah grew up among as a missionary kid. I hope all of your canteens are filled with water because we are about to travel to the heart of the desert.
*insert oppressive heat*
*insert glaring sun*
*insert dust covering everything*
*insert aching muscles*
How’re you guys doing? Holding in there? Good, because we’re almost there. If you look closely you can make out the darker brown rises of the pitched tent amongst the endless beige of the desert.
The Bedouin people are known for their endless hospitality so be prepared to be treated as family. Karim and Hannah have prepared us all a feast so this is where we will split up. The men will go with Karim to the men’s tent and the women will follow Hannah to the women’s tent. Go ahead and make yourself comfortable.
Food will be served shortly. I hope you enjoy seasoned lentils, hummus, flat bread, shawarma, and so much more. I’ll even share with you one of my favorite recipes when I come to visit this region.
- 1 cup bulghur wheat or bulghur
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup cucumber, peeled and diced small
- 1 cup green onions, sliced thin (about 6 trimmed green onions, using the green and white)
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped finely (make sure to use just the leaves, stems are bitter)
- 1 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped finely
- To a large bowl add the bulghur; set aside.
- To a microwave-safe bowl or glass measuring cup, add the water and heat to boil, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Pour the boiling water over the bulghur, add the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, stir, cover with plasticwrap, and set aside for about 1 hour. After 1 hour, check to make sure bulghur is softened and plumped and most of the liquid has been absorbed. If it hasn’t wait a bit longer until it absorbs.
- Add all remaining ingredients, stir to combine, taste and check for seasoning balance (may need more salt, pepper, lemon), and make any necessary adjustments. Tabbouleh can be served immediately but I prefer to make it a day ahead of time, cover, and refrigerate because the flavors marry over time. Tabbouleh will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days and can be served chilled or at room temp.
I hope you enjoyed your tour!
Thank you, Sarah!! Shawarma – yum!!!
To help celebrate Sarah’s new book, I am giving away a Kindle version of The Esther Paradigm to one of my readers! (Open internationally, except where prohibited by law) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? Have you ever visited a country in the “10-40 Window”?