Most missionaries aren't household names, at least in non-Christian households. Unfortunately, many of them haven't been heard of in Christian homes, either, which is precisely why we've dedicated an entire category to them. The Bible is obviously our guide to holy living, but we need to hear the stories of other Christians as well, to be encouraged in our own pursuit of Christ as much as to see that God is still working in His people to spread and glorify His name throughout the world.
We've opted to carry only missionary and evangelist biographies from a Christian perspective. It's important to understand the lives of these men and women in the context of the people of God, not simply in a human context, and while secular writers could certainly offer the latter perspective they wouldn't be able to offer the first. Also, the focus needs to be on the spread of the Gospel; the character of God's servants, while important, is still less important than the work He has led them to do.
There are few things in the Christian life more important or more valuable than to follow Christ's command to make disciples. We read about those who have been faithful in order to emulate them. It's important to help kids remember this—while many godly Christians have led adventurous lives (everyone from Amy Carmichael to Eric Liddell to Hudson Taylor), the essential part isn't the exciting times they had but the way they overcame trials and difficulties in order to take God's Word where it hadn't yet gone, or how they remained pure in the midst of wicked cultures.
It's good to have heroes, but we need to pick them carefully. For Christians, the best heroes (really, the only heroes) are those who've given their lives to Christ's service and maintained lives of faithfulness. Because it's so important for our children to have those kinds of heroes, we encourage you to give them biographies of missionaries and evangelists whose exemplary lives are worthy of imitation. And, because many of them were really fascinating people, you should have no problem getting even reluctant readers interested.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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