Author Laurie Yost isn’t afraid to poke fun at herself in her book debut, “Stumbling Along.”
The first chapter begins: “When people ask me to describe myself, one of the words that never gets left out is clumsy.”
Readers will find themselves laughing at Yost’s self-deprecating stories while also reflecting on their own experiences. She intentionally uses humor to change the belief that a woman has to be perfect for God to use her. She said that perfection won’t happen until we get to heaven.
“I look throughout the whole Bible, and I see God using imperfect people,” said Yost in a phone interview from northern Michigan, where she recently moved and began working as a special education teacher after serving as a Free Methodist missionary in Mexico since 2006. “If you laugh at yourself, it goes a long way to show you don’t have to be perfect. … You just have to let God use you in whatever circumstance you’re in.”
Yost spoke at women’s events before becoming a missionary, and after becoming one, she had many speaking engagements when she visited the United States on home assignment. People often told her: “These stories are hilarious. Do you have them in a book?”
When she returned to Mexico, she decided to write down her stories to share in print.
“It’s taken me about seven years to write the book,” Yost said.
Several of her funniest stories relate to language blunders as a native English speaker trying to converse in Spanish, and she expresses gratitude for Mexicans’ patience with her.
One of her favorite stories is told in the “Almost Sliced by Good Intentions” chapter. While at a Bible study in Mexico, she tried to talk to a little girl repeatedly about the girl’s stuffed bunny rabbit and told her, “I love your cuchillo,” and encouraged the girl to hug the cuchillo. She was surprised when the girl’s grandmother sent the girl to the kitchen, and the girl returned with a butcher knife.
Yost had confused the word conejo (bunny rabit) with cuchillo (butcher knife). On another occasion, she caused confusion by mistakenly introducing her sister-in-law (cuñada) as her bunny rabbit.
Each chapter concludes with a “Digging Deeper” area that contains Scripture along with questions or instructions for personal reflection. Digging Deeper addresses themes such as disobedience, trust and confidence that relate to the humorous stories.
“I could have written a fluffy book with just the funny stories and left it at that,” said Yost, but she included Digging Deeper because of her desire for readers to know God. “I wanted to tell my story, and I wanted them to see Jesus throughout the story.”
Unlike devotional books that send the reader to a Bible to look up verses, Yost prints the Scripture passages for convenience and for readers who don’t have a Bible.
She wants to release a Spanish edition of the book, but because the book is self-published, she does not have the funding to produce one at this time.
For now, she is reaching new readers thanks to recent newspaper and radio interviews.
“I’ve been hitting the pavement hard trying to get information out about the book,” said Yost, whose husband, Brian, is the pastor of the Pleasant Valley Free Methodist Church near East Jordan, Michigan.
Buy “Stumbling Along” at fmchr.ch/yostl or connect with Yost at laurieyost.com or via Facebook at fb.com/laurieyostspeaks. Her Twitter handle is @laurielyost.0