Books by stranger pilgrims living in slums

the urban haloI was recently reminded that some people read the books I recommend.

Peregrine and I are by no means the first Christians to move into a slum community to find solidarity with the poor. In fact, several of the other rich people who moved into slums ended up writing books about the experience.

Here are a few of the interesting ones. These aren’t necessarily the “best” books about foreigners who chose to live in a slum, but they cover a diversity of perspectives and experiences. I’m listing the books in order of the approximate time period they describe.


Costly Mission is about a family in the early years of the modern “incarnational service” movement. In their groundbreaking service they find great trial and heartbreak along with great grace. It enters into questions of “good charity” and “bad charity” as well as the depth of difficulties that can come from strife within one’s team.


The Sounds of Worlds Colliding is an anthology of stories from people who experienced life among the poor of the Majority World. This is a great introduction for understanding the wide range of experiences that different people have had, joyous and devastating and sometimes both at once. Also, Kristin was great in the 1990s TV coverage.


Rubble and Redemption is written by a young couple who raised their own family in the slum while looking to provide a new kind of family for street children. Especially keen on the process of organization-building to help the lives of those who others have left behind.


The Urban Halo: A Story of Hope for Orphans of the Poor is another young couple’s often tumultuous life of service in a slum. The book gives a particular focus on the question of serving the orphaned poor, and provides a well-researched and lived-out option that directs us away from the traditional orphanage model.


Thriving in the City is a unique how-to guide for people who wish to live and serve in the slums. The author combines his own decades of experience with information gained from a survey of a hundred other slum workers to build a robust set of questions and reflections that everyone should enter into before embarking on such a journey themselves.


Low Carbon and Loving It: Adventures in Sustainable Living is a father-and-son collaboration as they use their experiences in simple living to make a plea for a different way of life that could affect the future of the entire planet.


God in Disguise is the memoir of a young woman who comes to serve in the slum as the natural progression of her own spiritual journey,  only to be radically changed inside and out by the difficulties she faces there, finding herself on a new path that she didn’t see coming.

4 thoughts on “Books by stranger pilgrims living in slums

  1. Melissa Bennett

    Thank you for the book recommendations. My friends and I are starting to read some books together. I think we might like to read one of these next. Thank you for your kind, generous hearts. Peace lives in you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If you give me a sense of what kind of book you would like the group to read, I might be able to direct you. Though I was thinking about it and the summaries I already gave probably are adequate for making a decision.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Melissa Bennett

    We’re currently reading The Color of Compromise. The author discusses the American church’s contributions to the institutionalized racism in the US. We are very moved by the plight of the migrants at our southern border and I believe we actually may want to move on to a book on that topic. Just tonight I read about Helen Boursier who worked for a couple years as a chaplain at a detention center is coming out with a collection of stories in November.


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