Lights in the Northwest

Lights in the Northwest

Stories from Two Centuries of Pacific Northwest Christians

by Richard Hannula
Publisher: Sound Summit Books
Trade Paperback, 207 pages
Price: $17.95

Historical Setting: Pacific Northwest, 19th-20th Centuries

Most Northwesterners can tell you something about Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, and many know at least the name of Methodist missionary Jason Lee. But how many have even heard of Cyrus Shepard, Henry Cowley or Joab Powell? Richard Hannula's Lights in the Northwest will ensure that you not only know their names, but understand why they were so important to Christ's work among the people of the Pacific Northwest region.

Spanning roughly 200 years (up to the present time), Lights in the Northwest is a series of brief biographical sketches rather than a single long narrative. Each of the sixteen chapters is devoted to one or two Chrisitian men and women whose faith and missionary zeal led them to great witness and often great sacrifice.

This is not historical fiction. Hannula employs an accessible narrative style to tell about each person, but these are true stories and haven't been "improved" with fictional characters or incidents. All quotations are taken directly from the speaker's writings (though some are slightly edited for younger readers), including dialogue.

Each chapter ends with study questions. Black and white maps, portraits and photographs illustrate throughout, and offer readers a sense of immediacy and context. This can be used as a companion or follow-up to Hannula's Our Northwest Heritage, though this one belongs less to the realm of history and focuses on missions and the building of the Church in the West.

While it is specific to the Pacific Northwest, Lights in the Northwest will be of interest to anyone wanting to learn more about God's work in the United States. There are some familiar figures here (the Whitmans, Jedediah Smith, Jim Elliot), but most of Hannula's sketches are of servants of the Kingdom relatively unknown whose stories will nonetheless inspire praise and gratitude from Christians everywhere.

Did you find this review helpful?