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Walking in Broken Shoes Review by Erica Beyea

Susan Magnuson Walsh
Grace Acres Press
PO Box 22
Larkspur, CO 80018

Many stories have been told and books written about groups that minister in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, but not many are as gripping as this first-person account given by Susan Walsh. Walking in Broken Shoes doesn’t just tell about the country or medical mission trips that took place there, it tells the stories of real people who bravely endured pain and hardships and were woven into the fabric of their caregivers’ hearts.

The title of the book has somewhat of a dual meaning, not only symbolizing the poverty-stricken condition of Haiti, but also describing the author’s journey. Prior to the many trips she began taking to minister in Haiti, she experienced the tragic loss of an adult son, as well as a devastating accident that required many months of recovery. These circumstances set in motion several life changes, including the start of the medical mission trips to Haiti in 2006, which Susan traveled on together with her husband Brian.

As a pediatric nurse practitioner-turned-nursing instructor, Susan had very distinct opportunities to not only treat pediatric patients in Haiti, but also to build teams of essential caregivers to ensure that each trip was a success in effectively treating as many patients as possible. In Walking in Broken Shoes, events from these trips are written about in gripping detail. The book contains actual journal entries and emails sent from Haiti during trips, sprinkled with the author’s recollection of how those events touched her heart.

One of the most amazing chapters of the book details the actual moments before, during, and after the dreadful earthquake that shook Haiti in January 2010.  Susan, Brian, and the team were just completing a treatment clinic that had been held in a remote village, and were preparing to return to the United States, when the earthquake struck. Of course, their plans were changed, and they providentially stayed to provide what little assistance they could to the people of that area.

We have been on many mission trips in our family, including a recent trip to Haiti, experiencing many of the same emotions that the author describes. This book is phenomenal. It is such a compelling and detailed account of the author’s experiences. Reading it made me feel as if I personally knew the people she introduced. Her words touched every sense, and it is easy to feel a part of the world she is describing. I highly recommend this book. It is a short paperback that could be easily read and greatly enjoyed by anyone. Medical professionals, or those considering a career in medicine, should read this book to gain a vision of how they can be “God’s hands and feet” in this world, bringing help, hope, and healing to those who wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity to receive it. Walking in Broken Shoes is currently selling on the publisher’s website for $14.95.

-Product review by Erica Beyea, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, September, 2018