Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Christian Heroes: Then and Now

When I was young I read a lot of missionary biographies. The stories of men and women who were sold out to God and willing to serve Him in difficult circumstances had a huge impact on my life. The testimony of their faith and commitment bolstered my own.

And maybe more important, their witness of God's faithfulness showed me that God was worthy of my own trust.

I want my own children to have the same heritage of stories of Godly men and women.



For the past several years we have been adding to our collection of Christian Heroes: Then and Now series by Janet and Geoff Benge published by YWAM. Each year we've added a few more until we have a shelf full. We haven't yet read all of the ones pictured on our shelf above, but so far, we haven't found a bad one. (I know that if you are like me you have your head turned sideways trying to read the titles!) And we have dozens more to purchase if we wish.

Janet and Geoff Benge combine their well researched books with interesting facets to make a fascinating book. Many of these people had thrilling escapes and close calls that had us reading an extra chapter.



Some of the people we've read about are well-known - such as George Muller, John Wesley, and Gladys Aylward. But we've also learned about little known persons as we traveled by dog sled with Wilfred Grenfell in the Artic, visited sick women with Ida Scudder in India, and sailed in the South Sea islands with Florence Young.

These people were not perfect. They made mistakes like every human and the books sometimes mentions their failures but ultimately the glory for their lives is given to the Lord.

Many times we added to our knowledge of history. While reading about Count Zinzendorf, we learned about the early colonization of Pennsylvania. David Livingston's biography introduced us to the fight against slavery. We learned about the Great Chicago Fire in the life of D.L. Moody.

I like how these books have opened our eyes to other countries and cultures. Recently we were reading the book on Sundar Singh and his outreach to Nepal. The recent earthquake in Nepal gave us a connection to that area of the world and when we saw photos of the Himalayan mountains, it made Singh's treks in bare feet even more astounding.

Janet and Geoff Benge also wrote books about individuals in American history. We have enjoyed the volumes on William Penn and Milton Hershey in this series.

The books are listed for ages 10 and up but I read them to our whole family and the six-year-old was eager for the next chapter. And as an adult, I gained as much or more than my children from reading them.

These books are available from Amazon or directly from YWAM Publishing. Purchasing by sets or in bulk is the most economical way to purchase.

Do you have any favorite missionary biographies? What character building books do you consider a good investment for your family?


(This post contains affiliate links.)


15 comments :

  1. You have quite a collection going there. We have 6 of these and I agree they are wonderful. The Nate Saint one is really good. I didn't want to put it down. I am looking to add to our collection this week at our state homeschool convention.

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    1. That is what got me hooked! Seeing that table full of books at the convention made me drool! I have been buying a few every year, and eventually it adds up!
      Gina

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    2. I splurged this year. They had a special on the History of Heroes collection and I bought the whole set. ($123.00 for 26 books and a free audio CD) We will have plenty of reading material this coming school year and anytime we just want a "good book" to read.

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  2. These look really interesting! I think this is something we should think about investing in, thanks for sharing!

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    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one who looks at good books as an investment worth pursuing!
      Gina

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  3. I will be sharing this info with my daughter. She homeschools her 2 sons..well 3,if you count the almost 3 yr. old. She uses a Christian curriculum and may be aware of these,but I will tell her..they look interesting even to grandma!

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  4. Thanks for sharing! I am constantly on the look out for good books for my oldest daughter (and later the other children who aren't reading on their own yet). It is really hard since she LOVES to read and there are only so many quality books out there. I have seen these before but I had passed them up since I figured they might be too mature for her. She's 9 but she's reading at a much higher level. However she's really sensitive and I want to shelter her (in a good way) from some things yet. How did you find these books for mature content? Things like I was reading about a missionary and there was an attack and it was a bit too descriptive for what I would consider appropriate at her age and maturity. I often read things ahead so I can make sure or while reading out loud I skip certain things (like the massacre part in the Little House on the Prairie, for example). How do you find these books for that kind of thing? I'd also love other suggestions for good books for that age group that are also work for sensitive children. We do invest a good amount of money into books as well but I do find it hard to find good titles.

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    1. I can understand your desire to shelter your daughter. I think the authors handle it tactfully and violence was not glorified or dwelt on but they are still dramatic and dangerous scenes. I found it fine for our family - but your daughter may be more sensitive. You might want to proof read for your daughter or pick individuals that had a more quiet life.
      Gina

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  5. My kids have also enjoyed many of the books in that series. Missionary Stories with the Millers by Mildred A. Martin is a favorite. Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis, Things We Couldn't Say by Diet Eman, The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom, and Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman are some of my favorites. Catching Their Talk in a Box by Betty M. Hockett is good. Diary of an Early American Boy by Eric Sloane is not a biography or a diary or spiritually inspiring but it is a fascinating account of early life in America and inspiring in a different way. Sorry...so many books, so little time. :P

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    1. Don't be sorry - I love to hear about the books that you enjoy. I am familiar with some of these - but some are new to me. Thanks for the recommendations.
      Gina

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    2. I haven't heard of "Things We Couldn't Say." Is that appropriate for children? I see it listed in adult non-fiction at our library. I have a 7th grader who loves reading. Thanks

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  6. I have seen these recommended frequently; we also have a few of their many titles. I also intend to build the supply.

    How is the cleaning coming? I was just catching up reading here. I am in the middle of my own 'horror'. We are doing a switch up on bedrooms for the children and us which is ending up involving 3 rooms. And the fourth just getting a face lift. Oh my, I didn't know I had SO much junk stashed everywhere and so badly needing housecleaned. It is our big goal for this week to have everyone where they need to be by Friday.

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    1. My cleaning spree sorta got derailed in the past week but I'm hoping to get back to it. I'm so enjoying the areas that did get cleaned.

      Sounds like you have a real project! I'm sure you will love the final result.
      Keep it up!
      Gina

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  7. I recently bought a series of 40- Heroes of the Faith biographies at a consignment sale. They are published by Barbour, but written by different authors. Originally, I thought they were the same set you were talking about in this post, so I am disappointed to find that they are not, although they look very similar and are about many of the same people. I was wondering if you ever heard of this particular set and, if so, if you know how they compare to the ones you were talking about? I want to fill my bookshelf with worthwhile biographies, not just ones that take up valuable space!

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    1. My mom had several of the Heroes of the Faith biographies and I remember enjoying them. I particularly remember being impacted by Borden of Yale. I haven't really compared them side-by-side but I think they will be valuable additions to you home library.
      Gina

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