Leanna Cinquanta. Treasures in Dark Places: One Woman, A Supernatural Mission and a Mission to the Toughest Part of India. Minneapolis: Chosen Books, 2017. See here to purchase the book.
Treasures in Dark Places is Leanna Cinquanta’s story of how
she came to faith and became a missionary to India. Cinquanta also
tells about the Indian people who became involved in the mission, and
she closes the book with two different stories: one Indian girl receives
an education, and another Indian girl is tricked into becoming a sex
slave. This closing part of the book is a call to action.
The writing style of the book was rather dramatic and flamboyant, but
sometimes that enhanced the book. For example, Cinquanta tells the
story of how she came close to becoming a Christian when she was trapped
in snow while skiing, but, once she returned safely back to the ski
lodge, she forgot all about her vulnerability and need for God. She
likened that to Pharaoh in the Book of Exodus, who submitted to God
during the plagues but hardened his heart once the plagues had passed!
Her description of the Holy Spirit’s presence inside of her after she
became a Christian was a compelling and vivid picture. While her story
about how she became a missionary was initially grandiose, as if God
called her to convert India to Christianity single-handedly, that was
counter-balanced throughout the course of the book. Cinquanta did not
always get what she wanted, for God placed her in an office job, while
the work on the front-lines was to be done by Indian Christians
themselves. Cinquanta also tells the stories of how God chose certain
people over others for specific tasks, and how their specific
backgrounds equipped them. In the course of the book, Cinquanta became
one character among others, not the main star. The main star was God.
The book is not exactly comprehensive in describing Indian culture
and religion, but there are occasions in which Cinquanta provides
glimpses into Indian religion: the disappointment of some Indians with
Hinduism, and Hindu beliefs on heaven and hell. Occasionally,
reincarnation was a part of her picture of Hinduism. Cinquanta’s view
of Hinduism in this book was not particularly charitable, for she
depicted Hindu gods as demons. I tend to prefer Bradley Malkovsky’s
more charitable Christian view of Hinduism in his excellent 2013 book, God’s Other Children: Personal Encounters with Faith, Love, and Holiness in Sacred India.
Still, Cinquanta speaks from her own experiences, and her stories
provide a window into why some Indians forsake Hinduism for
Christianity, as well as the uphill struggles they endure as a
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher
through Cross Focused Reviews and Netgalley. My review is honest!
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