These top Christian books about foreign missions and Christian missionary adventures have had a life-changing impact on me. If you like your life just the way it is, consider yourself warned.
In 1956, in the jungles of Ecuador, there remained a fierce tribal group that had consistently resisted every effort of white men to reach them: the feared Aucas. After years of preparation, five young men gave their lives without reservation to do God's will and advance the gospel of Jesus Christ. Just days after making initial contact, the men perished at the hands of these warriors. Yet, God used this story of obedience to change lives around the world. Three years later, the widow of Jim Elliot, and the sister of Nate Saint, went to live among the Aucas and teach them of the love of Jesus. The book's theme is summed up in the famous words of Jim Elliot, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."
A passionate 19-year-old set out to win the lost for Jesus Christ among the unreached people of South America, but he didn't follow the pattern set by the missionaries of his day. He immersed himself in the culture of the people, and set an example that would radically change the mindset of foreign missions in years to come. The story is so incredible, you'll have to remind yourself that it's true. Not only is it a great adventure, with danger, torture, laughter and triumph, it is an illustration of the heart of missions. Learn what every missionary should understand before heading off to the field. For an update of Bruce Olson's ministry from the 70s to the present, be sure to read the sequel, Bruchko and the Motilone Miracle.
Elisabeth Elliot is one of my favorite writers, as you've probably guessed. I've had the opportunity to hear her speak in person, and she's an amazing woman! For me, she's a heroine of the faith. This book, one of her classics, recounts the life and testament of her brave husband, Jim Elliot, who died a martyr's death in the jungles of Ecuador in 1956. Eugenia Price, the Christian novelist says it better than I can: "Shadow of the Almighty ... proves that Jesus Christ will bring bright creativity out of any shadow which might fall across any life and any love ... if the life and love are under his redemptive touch." Elisabeth gives you a glimpse into Jim's diaries, and lets you learn from a life hidden in the shadow of his Creator.
When missionaries Don and Carol Richardson (and their toddler son, Steve), went to live among the Sawi, a headhunting, cannibal tribe in Irian Jaya, they had no idea how God would use them to bring the truth of the gospel to this stone-aged people of New Guinea. Amazingly, they would learn of an ancient tribal custom of reconciliation that would open wide the door for the message of the cross to pierce the hearts of the Sawi people. God had already prepared them to receive the one, true Peace Child—God's own Son. I had the privilege of hearing this marvelous and inspiring story directly from the mouth of Don and Carol's oldest son, Steve, when he spoke recently at my church. I will never forget it!
The average Christian in America will never face what Brother Yun encountered on his journey to know and follow God in China. He endured intense persecution, prison, and torture in his quest to fight the good fight of faith. He understood the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:8, "We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair" (NKJV). Not only is this book encouraging to Christians who must endure great hardship, counting it all joy, it is a convincing resource to give skeptics of Christianity.
Brother Andrew realizes his childhood dream of becoming a spy when he radically converts to Christianity and goes undercover smuggling God's Word into closed and persecuted regions behind the Iron Curtain. This poor Dutch factory worker transforms into a heroic Christian missionary when he begins to make incredible exploits for God. Miracles follow his every Bible-smuggling feat. Brother Andrew's story has motivated millions of Christians around the globe to be risk-takers for the cause of Jesus Christ. Originally published more than 40 years ago, this incredible book contains timeless inspiration.
This story of rescue and restoration is very near and dear to my heart. You see, while on a mission trip to Brazil, I was deeply troubled by the plight of the homeless and hunted street children. I returned to Brazil and spent time at the ministry of Jeannette and Johan Lukasse in Belo Horizonte. Seeing up close the brutal reality of millions of abandoned children, forever carved a place in my heart for the street kids of Brazil. I wanted to share the love and compassion of Christ with these hopeless ones. A few months later, I returned again to live and work in Rio de Janeiro for the cause of street children. This book was an example to me of how God can take a surrendered life and use it to touch and heal those who are lost and hurting.
His dad was one of the five missionaries killed by a savage Ecuadorian tribe in the 1950s. Years later, his successful life as a businessman in the U.S. is interrupted when he's asked by the same tribe to return and live among them. They need help. They are suffering like beggars, failing to adjust to the changing culture. To survive they must learn skills of independence. But they have undergone another change since Steve lived among them as a child. The book focuses on this transformation. They were once a people who lived by this motto: kill or be killed. But the power of forgiveness has changed them into a people who follow God. Ask yourself as you read, could I give up my comfy life to aid the people who killed my father?
If you've ever been asked the question, "What about those who've never heard the gospel? How can they be saved?" This book will help you give an answer. Its theme is based on one of my favorite verses in Scripture: "He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men ..." (Ecclesiastes 3:11, NIV). Richardson examines the histories and customs of several remote cultures, and shares amazing stories of how God has revealed himself and the plan of salvation to these people. Legends of lost books, strange customs paralleling the parables of Jesus, and ancient tales of long awaited messengers coming to bring reconciliation, give evidence that our God is interested in all of his creation.
I'm not a fast reader, but I devoured this book in a day. I could not put it down. Paul Hattaway shares all about the vision of the house church leaders in China to fulfill the Great Commission. In spite of intense persecution forcing Christians underground in China, the gospel message is advancing forcefully, with more than 10 million people coming to know Christ every year. A powerful spiritual calling known as the Back to Jerusalem movement is spreading throughout the Chinese house churches, mobilizing hundreds and thousands of Chinese Christian missionaries. They are being sent out to reach the unreached peoples in the 10/40 window. Their goal is nothing less than completing the Great Commission!