You have already heard from Kate Mataung, who shared last month on the theme of guilt. I’m excited for you all to get to know her more and find out some of the back story for her book A Place to Land: A Story of Longing and Belonging. Don’t miss out on our giveaway at the end as well!
Kate, thank you so much for joining us in Book Club this week! We’d love to get to know you a bit more.
I majored in theology and cross-cultural work at Bible college. When I was 21, I moved to Cape Town, South Africa for what I thought would be one semester of volunteer work. I ended up meeting my husband there, and five months turned into ten and a half years. My husband is South African and all three of our kids were born in South Africa. We moved to Michigan in 2013 for our kids to experience American culture and get to know my side of the family. Our hope is to go back to South Africa long-term after our kids finish school.
Can you share with us about the inspiration and process of writing A Place to Land?
When my mom was sick with terminal cancer in Michigan while I was living in Cape Town, I started writing to process my emotions. At the time, I had no intentions of sharing what I wrote – it was purely for myself. Then after a while I branched out and started writing articles for various online and print publications. The more I wrote, the more I realized a common theme that kept appearing in much of my work—the theme of home, and specifically the theme of heaven as home for the believer in Christ. Eventually I decided to compile all of my writing that related to the theme of home to see if I could turn it into a book.
Then in 2014, I read a memoir called Surprised by Motherhood by Lisa-Jo Baker. I was so moved by the beauty of the writing and how powerfully the author was able to communicate truth through story. I ended up deciding to re-write my own book as a memoir, and I think it has become much more powerful in its current form than it would have been if I had kept it as a straight nonfiction book.
Who should read this book, and what do you hope they glean from it?
I wrote the book for anyone who has ever wondered, “Where is my home?” It’s for anyone who has wrestled with suffering and hardship and wondered if God is still present and good. It’s for anyone who has longed to find a place of belonging in this life but continues to feel like an outsider looking in.
A Place to Land is a heavy book, but my prayer is that readers will gain an increased longing to spend eternity with God, that they would find hope in Christ in the midst of suffering and grief, and that they would be reminded that this world is not our home.
How did the writing of this book impact your own life?
It was definitely a sanctifying process in so many ways! One surprising benefit was that God used the writing process in a therapeutic way with regard to my grief over my mom’s death. I only really noticed it after the book was published, but I’ve found that the sharp edges of my grief have been softened through the process of writing this story. Another way He used the writing process was to increase my own longing for eternity with Him, and to continue to challenge me toward living with an eternal perspective in this life.
We can’t let you go without getting a few book recommendations! What are you reading currently, and what are some of your favorites?
The one book that I have gone back to again and again is called Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss. What am I currently reading? I’m afraid I’m one of those people who has multiple books going at once. I’m currently in the middle of Glorious Weakness: Discovering God in All We Lack by Alia Joy, Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control from Seven Women in the Bible by Shannon Popkin, and Love Letters to Writers: Encouragement, Accountability, and Truth-Telling by Andi Cumbo-Floyd. I just finished a beautiful collection called His Testimonies, My Heritage: Women of Color on the Word of God edited by Kristie Anyabwile.
Thank you, Kate, for sharing with us!!
Okay, over to you, friends! What resonates with you about Kate’s story and the themes of her book? What questions do you have for her?
Comment on this post by Sunday, May 19th with your thoughts or question, and be entered to win one of two copies of her book, A Place to Land!
Next week we will start our discussion of the novella, The Uncommon Reader! We’ll divide the book up in to two sections, reading pages 3-60 (in both Kindle and print versions) and discussing on May 21, and pages 60 (from the section starting with the line “Meanwhile the grand visitors…”) to the end and discussing on May 28.
Are you preparing to return to your passport country after serving on the field? Are you in the midst of settling in to a new normal? Our Re-entry Kit is designed just for you! The kit includes a live class on May 22nd, hosted by Danielle Wheeler and Sarah Hilkemann, as well as access to a private Facebook community to help you process your re-entry journey, and a timed email series that shows up right in your inbox with tips and encouragement. Check out the re-entry toolkit by clicking on the button to learn more!