Worth of a Soul,
by Ayse Hitchins with Kristen McKendry, Covenant Communications 2012,
211 pages, $15.99 in soft cover.
Looking for a good story
of triumph over tribulation? Here it is, with characters, plot twists
and descriptive detail that read like a first-person novel. There’s
plenty of drama and even romance.
Only this isn’t
Worth of a Soul
is the real-life story of Turkish-born Asye Hitchins and, as the
cover states, her journey “from Muslim to Mormon.” The
LDS audience is the obvious target of the cover. For me, though, the
part about her conversion and baptism into The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints is only a fraction of the story, while the
stronger portion of the narrative focuses on the theme of constant
change in her life.
The sudden and unexpected
were a common part of life for Ayse Hitchins.
Now trained as a social
worker, Hitchins as storyteller often analyzes her feelings and the
reactions of others as she reflects on experiences that have brought
her to this point in her life.
(pronounced EYE-shuh) is the adopted child of an either distant or
abusive mother, whom she describes thus: “The woman I called
was a fierce and frantic flame who either tempered or scorched but
never warmed.” Out of love and the need to protect her, Ayse’s
father enrolled her in a boarding school at age 6.
The reader can only
wonder at the resilience of some children as Hitchins gives us
glimpses of her childhood and teens. She plainly had a lot to deal
with in her formative years as she searched for stability in vastly
different emotional, physical, and cultural circumstances.
To tell her unusual
story, she has collaborated with Canadian resident Kristen McKendry,
a voracious reader as well as a published writer. McKendry’s
skills are evident in the imagery of the prose and the cleanly edited
text. Touches of humor help balance the heart-wrenching realities.
Don’t miss the
preface and Ayse’s struggles with translating The Book of
Mormon into Turkish as part of a Church team’s eight-year
project. Although this book ends with some interesting
black-and-white photos, her colorful story is far from finished.
Laurie Williams Sowby has been writing since second grade and getting paid for it since high
school. Her byline ("all three names, please") has appeared on more than 6,000 freelance articles
published in newspapers, magazines, and online.
A graduate of BYU and a writing instructor at Utah Valley University for many years, she
embraces all, having had her five children and their spouses all graduate from universities of
various colors. The oldest of 18 grandchildren (so far) begins the cycle again this fall.
She and husband, Steve, have served three full-time missions together, beginning in 2005 as
proselyting missionaries in Chile at the same time their youngest son was serving in Germany.
The last two times, they've served in Washington, D.C. (South and North missions) as young
adult Institute teachers. In D.C., they found it much easier to teach in English and enjoyed
having heat in the winter.
During her years of missionary service, Laurie continued to write about significant Church
events, including the rededication of the Santiago Temple by President Hinckley and the
groundbreaking for the Philadelphia Temple by President Eyring. She also was a Church Service
Missionary, working as a news editor at Church Magazines, between full-time missions.
Laurie has traveled to all 50 states and at least 45 countries (so far). Home is American Fork,
Utah. She serves on the board of the Timpanogos Symphony Orchestra and loves good music,
good books, and good chocolate.
Laurie currently hops between her ward Relief Society and the Primary, serving as pianist wherever she is needed.