Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Review: YWAM Publishing

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Our family loves books! While I don't have as much time to read as I would like to, my children can often be found reading in the car, or on their beds, or whenever their work is done. I am glad they love books, and I am always searching for wholesome reading that will both keep their interest and teach them something as well. We have read several of the Heroes of History Series from YWAM Publishing,  and we have always enjoyed them. This past month, Melissa had the opportunity to review Jim Elliot: One Great Purpose written by Janet & Geoff Benge - a part of the Christian Heroes: Then and Now Series.
Jim Elliot  Book photo YWAM-JimElliot_zps37501068.jpg Jim Elliot: One Great Purpose is a 192 page biography that tells the inspiring story of Jim, his family, and his fellow missionaries who traveled to the jungle of Ecuador in the 1950's to reach the people there with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While multi-talented Jim could have followed any number of paths for his life, he chose to give his life to the service of foreign missions. He completely dedicated himself to the cause, and this book summarizes much of the work that was done. Even though his life was tragically cut short, this book, geared for children, emphasizes his life, his work, and his walk with the Lord. Though his eventual martyrdom is discussed, it is written in such a way that children walk away from this book inspired, rather than afraid. They are able to see the love of Christ shown by Jim's family. The book doesn't just end with Jim's death, but follows up with the 'big picture' showing how the Wourani tribe, once responsible for Jim's death, was able to eventually be reached with the Gospel. Jim Elliot's sacrifice was not in vain by any means.
Jim Elliot - Unit Study photo YWAM-Jimelliotunitstudy_zpsb59fc53b.jpgThrough this review, I was made aware of a treasure that is available from YWAM Publishing. This treasure is the Christian Heroes: Then and Now Unit Study Curriculum Guide for Jim Elliot.  This 62 page guide corresponds with Jim Elliot: One Great Purpose, and can be used to expand on this book, making it into a full blown unit study, covering multiple subjects such as Geography, History, Science, Language and Creative Writing, Fine Arts, Scripture Memorization, and skills such as cooking and arts & crafts. There are so many interesting and creative suggestions in the unit guide! A student could choose one or two activities to enhance their study of this book, or they could choose many and have a complete immersion experience into Ecuadorian culture while reading this book! While a good portion of the activities seem more appropriate for a classroom setting, there are plenty (and I mean, plenty!) activities that a homeschool student would thrive on just as well. Also included in the unit guide are downloadable maps and report sheets, to encourage the students to dig deeper into the story and make it relevant to their world. Besides all this, there is a series of questions for each chapter. Some of the questions are directly about facts found in the chapter, while others are more open-ended, giving the student an opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings about what they have just read.
How we used this book: We received Jim Elliot: One Great Purpose in an e-book format. There are 16 chapters, and I had Melissa read one per day. This book is recommended for ages 10+ and I think that is very accurate. Melissa is 12 and had no problems reading a chapter a day. In fact, she probably could have read more - the chapters are not that long. Because of the unit guide and the questions, I wanted her to take her time going through the book, allowing for discussion time about what she was reading.
How we used the unit guide: While we definitely did not delve as deeply into the unit guide and corresponding activities as we could have, I found the prompts there to be a great help in my discussion of the book with Melissa. We used the geography facts and activities to locate and plot the missionary's locations in Ecuador, and get a good grasp on how things were laid out, which led to a great discussion on what it might have been like for the families who were waiting for the men as they flew out to the remote sites where the work was being done. We used the questions for each chapter, and it was wonderful to hear the insight Melissa gained as she read through the book. The questions and the unit guide definitely enhanced the reading of this book, and made missionary life much more real than just reading the book alone would have!
In Melissa's own words: When Melissa was done reading the book, she wrote a summary of her own, and I would like to share it here in the review: 
            One Great Purpose by Janet and Geoff Benge is about Jim Elliot. It takes place in 1952 when he is going over to Shandia, Equador to be a missionary to the Quichua Indians. A reader can learn from this book that God has a reason and purpose for everything in your life.
          Even at a young age Jim and his siblings were taught by his parents to love and enjoy God, but especially know God. On the mission field he faced rejection from friends, high floods, and a disease. He built and taught in a school, started a brand new ministry in another village, and learned the Auca language.
          Before “Operation Auca” as he and the other men called it, Jim Elliot said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.” When Jim Elliot and the other men died, the doors opened for their wives to minister. Betty and Valerie Elliot and Rachel Saint were invited to live with the Aucas two years after their husband’s deaths. Jim Elliot, Pete Fleming, Ed McCully, Nate Saint and Roger Youderian laid down their lives on January 8th, 1956.
          One very important lesson from One Great Purpose is that you might not know why God is doing something in your life, but always remember He has a plan. I enjoyed this book because it shows what a missionary’s work is, how much sacrifice a missionary gives, and what it is like in a missionary’s life. 
Would you like to own a copy for yourself? Jim Elliot: One Great Purpose  can be purchased from the YWAM Publishing website for $6.99. It is available in paperback, Spanish, Nook, and Kindle versions. The Jim Elliot Unit Study Curriculum can also be purchased from the website for $7.49. Click here for sample pages of the unit study.
What else is available? YWAM Publishing has a chronological list of other biographies that are available. Many of them also have corresponding Unit Study Guides. YWAM Publishing also has other materials, such as videos and other books, that are available that would nicely compliment a study of Jim Elliot. When you look at the website, these suggested materials are shown along the bottom of the page. While Melissa was reading Jim Elliot: One Great Purpose we also were able to watch The Jim Elliot Story on video, and I was able to read Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot, which greatly broadened our perspective.
Final recommendation: We really enjoyed this book! I would highly recommend it for middle and high school aged students. I am looking over the list of what other books are available from YWAM Publishing and making up my wish list!

Other Schoolhouse Review Crew members reviewed this Jim Elliot book, as well as a biography of George Washington. To see what they had to say, click the banner below! 

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