As my children get older, I am always looking for good examples (mentors if you will?) who can help them to really see faith in action. Bible study can be great – but what do we do with all that we learn? We need to take some action! We have really begun to enjoy getting to know some of these great examples from history, through Christian Heroes: Then & Now and Heroes of History from YWAM Publishing. For this review we chose Christian Heroes- Jacob DeShazer. We also received a study guide that really helped us to better understand and explore the life and times of this hero of the faith. Whenever we are looking for a book that will inspire, this is where we turn.
My oldest son (12) has said once or twice, he feels led towards missionary work. Certainly we are all missionaries right where we are, but to go – somewhere completely new and unknown. To be as Abraham and leave it all behind just following God’s lead…There is a special time and place for these folks, in my prayer closet! I don’t know that I could do it, not that I would ever say no to God. But I sure am one for comfort and familiarity. Still these men and women do have a special place in my heart so I was eager to learn more about one that I had never heard of before. Introducing….Jacob DeShazer.
This book was so timely – I don’t know how I didn’t see it but on the cover it says “Forgive Your Enemies.” I never saw that I swear – Yet in a season where they is too much fighting and arguing, murmuring and complaining one of another- this was something special. I love when God does this kind of thing. My kids need to hear about the value of forgiveness. And the power of love.
We used this as a read aloud so that all of my children (and myself) could enjoy this story. Initially my younger son was very upset that we traded in Frog and Toad for this but within a couple sentences he was hooked. What boy isn’t going to be on the edge of his seat as we meet our hero, about to jump out of his plane, into who knows where, into total darkness.
Because I am such a dork I was super excited about the unit study/curriculum guide that we received to go along with this book. These contain discussion questions, vocabulary exercises and lots of fun activities to help you really go deeper and get to know even more as you read. Since we are big on narration we really loved having the questions to help guide us and even lead us into some more interesting area of study. (Don’t you love how one thing – or person in this instance_ can lead to tons of other learning opportunities?)
We had a very lengthy discussion about the various types of planes used during the war! My younger son is a huge fan of war planes and tanks (as is his dad). My two boys got into quite a debate as to whether or not it is truly wise to jump out of an airplane, especially when you don’t know where you are going to land. My older son reasoned with him that the plane would crash anyway; my boys agreed that the only certainty was that he was surely going to “be dead.” I tried to point out that the story was just beginning… 😀
I love how the story took us through his life; even the time when he was a little boy attending Sunday school in his bib overalls (to the dismay of his teacher who certainly did not know that this was his best). There are so many good opportunities to talk about how we can live and show God to others.
We loved going over the map to see the journey he took as we learned about the USS Hornet, China and Japan too! In fact my oldest son took to learning a bit of Japanese while my younger son has gained a real interest in the Hornet, the B-25 bomber and life as a prisoner of war. I think more than once he was amazed at how after such awful treatment, this man could return to the place where he experienced so many awful things, and share something so good, as the Gospel. Isn’t that the power of God working in us?
Speaking of which, there are some amazing projects we are working, and will work, to complete thanks to the study guide that we received with this book. One such project was to build a simple telegraph; the instructions are included along with a website to learn morse code. Isn’t that awesome? There is a machine at a local museum my boys love to use, that gives the experience of sending messages via morse code. To have their own, that they build even, is a dream come true. And then there are lessons in origami; learning to make simple puppets known as Bunraku.
We are still reading. We have been slowly enjoying this book. It is only a little over two hundred pages but there are so many rich opportunities on every page. We just cannot rush through this one. It is a beautiful story of forgiveness. It is a wonderful example of this ministry of reconciliation which has been given to us.
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