Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Inspirational Reading and Watching

Last night my neighborhood mom's Bible study group finished the book "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan. One of the final chapters of the book featured examples of Christian people who have lived out their lives fully surrendered to God.  Their individual stories are such an inspiration. They were all radical people who chose to love others (usually the poor) with Christ-like passion, and yet, they were everyday folks just like me. I found myself asking, "What am I going to choose to do?  How can I love the people around me?"

The discussion reminded me of some wonderful books and a movie that our family has enjoyed. These titles  encourage and inspire me to press on in my faith.  They help me to look for opportunities to serve and love others. They stir in me a desire to love others in a way that Jesus has poured out His love on me.

So I'd like to share these stories with you...

Last year I used a geography curriculum for homeschooling that included reading several books from the series Christian Heroes: Then and Now.  Finally, I was going to get some of these books read to my kids!  We studied different countries, the people groups of the individual areas, and then read books about the missionaries who served among the people on all the different continents.  (The curriculum was My Father's World Exploring Countries and Cultures, for any homeschoolers who are interested.)

This series of books has approximately 30 stories of great Christian heroes, but I have only read the ones shown in the picture below.  My favorite is the story of Nate Saint. In 1956, he was one of five young missionary men killed in South America by being speared by warriors of the tribe they were trying to reach with the message of Christ's love. One of the other missionaries was Jim Elliot, whose wife, Elisabeth Elliot has gone on the tell their story by writing the book "Through Gates of Splendor."  In 2006, the movie "End of the Spear" was released to tell the story on the big screen.

The story of Nate Saint and Jim Elliot is so powerful...
Before their encounter with members of the Waorani tribe, these men made a decision that they would not kill in order to keep from being killed themselves. They would not kill the people that they had come to share the message of Jesus with.  They knew that their own death would take them to heaven, but that the death of people who did not yet know Jesus would mean eternal suffering. 

Possibly the most amazing part of their story is that some of the wives of those missionaries, and Nate Saint's sister Rachel, went back to the Waorani tribe years after the men were killed. They taught them to turn from a life of revenge and murder and to embrace the forgiveness and love of Jesus.  Rachel Saint ended up living the rest of her life with the tribe and made them her family.  She translated the New Testament into their language and was buried in South America when she died in 1994. 
What an amazing story of how Christ can transform lives!

Can you guess which Christian Hero story I want to buy and read next?

Christian Heroes: Then and Now --  Rachel Saint: A Star in the Jungle

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