Saturday, December 29, 2012


On August 8, 2010, my blog post was headlined “Missionaries killed for preaching Christianity.” It was a shocking event which made headlines worldwide -

Ten members of a medical team, including six Americans, were shot and killed by the Islamic terrorists as they were returning from providing eye treatment and other health care in remote villages of northern Afghanistan. The team also consisted of one German, one Briton and two Afghans. They were a part of the team that made a two-week trip to Nuristan province. They drove to the province, left their vehicles and hiked for hours over mountainous terrain to reach the Parun valley in the province's northwest. They had decided to travel through Badakhshan province to return to the capital because they thought that would be the safest route.

Two years down the line, Jonathan P. Larson pays a glowing tribute to his childhood friend and one member of that fateful team, Dan Terry, in Making Friends Among the Taliban: A Peacemaker’s Journey in Afghanistan, published by Herald Press.

Though a small book of just 130 pages, it is a compelling read as the author’s intimate knowledge of the region comes to the fore. Raised in northern India, Dan Terry, like the author, was a man who was familiar with the Hindukush mountain range between Afghanistan and Pakistan. He had seen the Soviet invasion, the Talibanization of Afghanistan, and the eventual invasion by the NATO forces, a period that span over four decades.

Through interviews and eye witness accounts, Larson retraces Terry’s footsteps in the rugged highlands of Afghanistan “making friends” and working overtime to build a more peaceable country. He faced famine, poverty, prison, and rifle muzzles as also kings, the Red Army, warlords, the Taliban, and the American-led coalition forces. In the midst of the raging conflict and strife, Dan, as a peacemaker, forged improbable friendships and inspired small Afghan communities to find a better way of life.

Making Friends Among the Taliban is a powerful tribute to a man whose unquenchable thirst for peace couldn’t be decimated at the point of a gun. Dan Terry’s life offers a model for authentic living wherever we are!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Though born in Minnesota, Jonathan Larson's early home was the Brahmaputra River Valley of northeast India, amid the rice fields, bamboo groves and tea gardens where Burma, Tibet and India meet. The oldest of eight children, he studied at Woodstock School in the Himalayan foothills where he was classmate and trekking partner of Daniel Terry.

Having completed studies in history at the University of Minnesota in 1970, he and his childhood sweetheart, Mary Kay Burkhalter, volunteered to teach school in the Congo, where two daughters were born and where they first encountered Africa's beauty, burdens, and promise.

Following graduate studies, in 1981, the family returned to Africa under the auspices of the Mennonites to Botswana, on the doorstep of apartheid South Africa and on the eve of what became the harrowing AIDS pandemic. Known for his grasp of Tswana language and lore, he served as a leadership trainer in African communities and churches. A third daughter was born to them in those years.

Since 1994 Jonathan has been based in Atlanta as he writes, mentors, and travels to visit conferences, campuses, and churches as storyteller and world citizen. Visit Larson's website


  1. Thanks for sharing this, looking forward to reading it.

    1. The book was not only a delightful read, but engaging and one that should spur us to further actions, in the footsteps of Dan Terry.