40 Unstoppable Women Who Changed the World — Book Review

by Katie Sampias

40 Unstoppable Women Who Changed the World by Harold J. Sala is a collection of profiles of women who have lived a life of faith and done incredible things. Their deeds have all made a positive difference in the world. Many of the women profiled in this book believed they were called by God to do things that seemed impossible and, against the odds, have succeeded in their mission proving that, indeed, with God, all things are possible.

Sala has chosen a wide selection of women from different time periods, countries and ethnicities, as well as from several different Christian denominations. He has chosen women who feature in the Bible such as Mary, the mother of Jesus and the wife of Noah as well as women who have lived in more recent times such as Mother Theresa (also known as Saint Teresa of Calcutta) whose mission was to help the poor and dying in India. Some of the women featured are well known, such as Phan Thi Kim Phuc, who perhaps is better known as the “Napalm Girl”, who survived the Vietnam war and used her faith to forgive those who wronged her. Others are not well known, such as Marjona Silonan, who used her skills and talents to raise money for medical facilities and hospitals in Kenya.

The missions of all the women featured also vary greatly. Some have fought for social justice, such as Rosa Parks who fought for racial justice in the United States, while others have worked to heal the sick, such as Graciela Lacey, a Mexican born lady who is still alive today who has overcome poverty and an abusive marriage and uses her skills as a nurse and massive therapist to minister to and heal people with disabilities and their communities. A former model is also covered – Jacquie Chevalier used her unique gifts and skill set as a model to minister in the Philippines by teaching seminars on “Balance and Beauty.”

One thing I particularly like about this book is that Sala does not discount motherhood or being a wife itself as a mission. His book covers the lives of women who are the mothers of those who have gone on to do great works and become famous for doing so and considers how the way these mothers lived may have influenced their famous children’s lives. One example of a mother covered in this way is the mother of Susanna Wesley, the mother of John and Charles Wesley. He also explores the life of Helen Cadd, whose main mission in life was to be mother to her five children, as she accompanied her husband to a mission in the Philippines.

The book provides prompts for reflection at the end of each profile and encourages the reader to consider where they may be being led by God in their own lives.

The book is an inspiring and positive read and is perfect for women, or men, who may be questioning whether they have made or are making the right choices in life. This is because it is a reminder of what true success looks like – a life lived with Christ at its centre and the living of a mission that is led by the Holy Spirit.

The author, Harold J. Sala, is a missionary who has dedicated his life to spreading the stories of the gospel to the most remote parts of the world through his foundation, Guidelines International Ministries. He holds a PhD in English Bible and is a graduate of the University of Southern California, Fuller Seminary, Denver Seminary, Winona Lake School of Theology and California Baptist Seminary.

This is a full list of the women covered in 40 Unstoppable Women Who Changed The World:

1. Joni Eareckson Tada

2. Mommy Olga

3. Henrietta Mears

4. Sister Freda

5. Corrie Ten Boom

6. Darlene Deibler Rose

7. Susanna Wesley

8. Florence Allshorn

9. Gladys Aylward

10. Michelle Ruetschie

11. Virginia Prodan

12. Mother Teresa

13. Gertrude Chambers

14. Mary Slessor

15. Lillian Trasher

16. Auntie Wang

17. Evangeline Booth

18. Trudy Kim

19. Florence Lim

20. Dr. Kim Pascual

21. Miriam Neff

22. Gracia Burnham

23. Elisabeth Elliot

24. Amy Carmichael

25. Maren Neilson

26. Svea Flood

27. Margaret Brand

28. Kim Phuc Pan Thi

29. Sheila Leech

30. Grace Egar

31. Mavis Orton

32. Nadia Panchenko

33. Edith Schaeffer

34. Rosa Parks

35. Jacqui Chevalier

36. Noah’s wife

37. Marjona Silonan

38. Helen Cadd

39. Graciela Lacey

40. Mary, the Mother of Jesus


Katie Sampias lives in Brisbane, Australia. She recently gave birth to her third child, who thankfully so far appears to be completely healthy despite her experiencing some complications with him during her third trimester. Katie has previously worked as a lawyer and in marketing and communications. She loves writing historical fiction pieces based on the lives of women of the gospels and prose reflections on where God has worked in her life. You can find more of her writing at whitewaves.net

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