I'm probably dating myself here, but there was a time when Missouri stores were closed on Sunday and we attended church in the morning and the evening. I never minded Sunday evening services--that's when the kids got to pass the offering plates, that's when we had our potluck suppers, and that's when the missionaries came with their slide shows and talked about God's protection and providence. Seed-Sowers: Gospel Planting Adventures reminds me a lot of those Sunday night lectures and I've been so glad to be able to share it with my son. Missing the slide show? You can find some pictures like the one below on the Seed Sowers website (the book has no pictures other than the cover). I have to say the only story with which I was familiar was the Five Empty Vessels (the party that went to find the remains of Jim Elliot and the four other missionaries killed by members of what was then called the Auca tribe), but I bet there a many who don't even know that story any more.
Author Gwen Toliver spent two years collecting stories from the mission field--stories she feared would be lost if someone didn't take the time to write them down. These men and women were not just going to share the gospel, but to translate it into previously unstudied languages--in some cases the New Testament alone could take 20+ years of getting to know customs and grammar etc. There are twenty stories in the 165 page paperback. Some translators face the dangers of the jungle: a wild cat, giant snakes, white water rapids, malaria, etc. Some must overcome other obstacles--one translator was having a hard time finding natives to help him learn the language because they were too busy with the harvest. His solution: there were plenty of men at the local jail with nothing but time on their hands. Later in the jungle when the translator needs to find shelter, the first hut he comes to belongs to one of the men he ministered to in prison. Some may call that co-incidence but in our family we say God-incidence. The Lord knew what he was doing all along.
My Schnickelfritz and I read chapters during our free time--away from school. I wanted him to enjoy the adventure stories and build his heart toward unreached peoples. Most stories were less than 10 pages and could be read in one sitting. We would pause for questions if he had something he wanted to discuss (I didn't force him to tell me what he remembered, etc). If you wanted to make the book more school-ish you could certainly add some map work or country studies for each story. I usually read the book aloud while my son played the pouncing ocelot or studied the signs of the trail. Fritz was able to do some the reading on his own--the book often includes pronunciation guides after difficult names (at least the first time encountered). Before you just hand the book off to your child be aware that there are cases of death and martyrdom. Each chapter ends with a brief note when the translation was completed and "What they're doing now." Some names had to be changed to protect those still in the field in sensitive countries.
Softback $13.95 (but on sale for $12.50 right now)
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