Led by His Hand – Malcolm Coombes, ex- R.N.

Paperback, 198 pp. Author: M. J. Coombes [Micro-Entreprise], Orange, France. ISBN: 978-20-9530290-1-7.

This book is an extended personal testimony by a servant of the Lord who will be known, at least by name, to many PS readers. It complements Safe in His Hands, written by his wife, Hannah. It mainly traces his life from 1959, when he was converted, to 1976, when he and his family moved to France from Lebanon. The author’s aim is to show us how the Lord helped, led and taught him; and this it does commendably.

Various people are mentioned: the Australian believers instrumental in his conversion; sailors he met on board ship; the lady with whom he lodged in Amman; Douglas and Marjorie Howell, fellow-missionaries in the Middle East; believers in Lebanon, such as Boulos and Paulus; his wife, Hannah; et alia. Experiences narrated include: deserting from the navy; meeting with various assemblies, including those at Tonypandy and Treboeth, Swansea; commendation to full-time service; courtship and marriage; running the Manarah Christian bookshop in Zahle, Lebanon, amongst others.

There are occasional touches of humour: a letter from Hannah arrives for him, which is a reply to one written by a Palestinian brother and friend – this brother translates it for him, and it says, ‘I accept your proposal [of marriage] but with these conditions’, and we read, ‘As a boy in Rhondda, I had done some boxing, but I had never been knocked out before’.

This is a very readable book. It is as if the author is speaking to us, but there is no chattiness. It is largely narrative with dialogue; the reader can often see God’s hand, without being told unnecessarily again and again. The dialogue, however, is not paragraphed. Punctuation is somewhat awry at times, but this does not hinder comprehension.

This book is well worth reading, as is his wife’s, published in 2007, and also the book by D. and M. Howell entitled An Unknown Road, published by Ritchie, 2001. They are all a stimulus and encouragement to devoted service for the Master.

[Our thanks to Bryan Charles, Appledore, Devon, England, for this review]

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