Book Review

Coffee, Tea, and Holy Water: One Woman’s Journey to Experience Christianity Around the Globe by Amanda Hudson

What does one think about while working as a barista – between shots of espresso? If you are Amanda Hudson and have grown up in the church, you meld the two together and think about the seemingly infinite number of coffee flavors representing the diversity of the church. She, being a normal sort of Christian, wondered what other normal sorts of Christians were like around the world. How was worship similar and different? How did they interact with non-believers? How did the culture impact their faith? These were just a few questions that, as it turns out, were only the tip of the iceberg of what she discovered about global Christianity. Coffee, Tea, and Holy Water is an honest, humorous, and heartfelt account of someone trying to understand our brothers and sisters from all corners of the world, while constantly urging us to reexamine ourselves,” Seth Jones, co-founder of One Life International, writes.

So, Hudson got out a map and figuratively tossed a dart to determine where her journeys would take her, deciding finally upon Brazil, Wales, Tanzania, China, and Honduras. Before embarking, she tells us we need to know several things about her (we all carry baggage of one kind or another): She doesn’t like tea; she is deathly afraid of needles (the pre-trip vaccinations left her trembling); her personal comfort need is for air conditioning; her favorite food is scrambled eggs; and if she could only read one book of the Bible, it would be either Isaiah or Romans. Now, according to this list, Hudson should probably not have stepped out of her bedroom, but being the adventurous person that she was, she threw caution to the wind and flew off to Brazil.

Expectations in one hand and eager curiosity in the other, she arrived in Natal (pop. 800,000) and was met by her host, an American pastor. Being shown various parts of Brazil by a diverse collection of Christians, and without giving too much of the story away, she experiences a worship service in which a young girl dances with uninhibited joy (she wonders if this is actually Christian), encounters the surprising influence of the spiritist (occult) beliefs, hears testimonies that have saved many, and observes heart-breaking squalor. Yet the Christian church is an intricate part of their lives and the Word is alive as they zealously read it. Read the rest of the book to follow Hudson’s further encounters with Christians in the other countries she visits.

Coffee, Tea, and Holy Water contains easy-to-read stories that, at the same time, challenge us to look beyond our trusty group of friends and cozy neighborhoods.

Coffee, Tea, and Holy Water contains easy-to-read stories that, at the same time, challenge us to look beyond our trusty group of friends and cozy neighborhoods.

Jesus is as diverse as His world-wide church and is not confined to our American picture of what a normal Christian looks like. Normal Christians are unique and worship a unique Jesus, yet we are all united by one God. To God be the glory.

AUTHOR  Amanda Hudson

Amanda Hudson is a writer and world traveler living in Nashville, Tennessee. She is a journalism graduate of Auburn University and former Alabama native. Hudson has written for numerous publications, including Southern Living,, Motivation Strategies magazine, and the Auburn Plainsman.

In her spare time, Hudson enjoys reading, photography, coffee, travel and SEC football.She currently attends Crosspoint Church in Nashville.

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