I love to read, so whenever a book comes up for review with the Schoolhouse Review Crew I am all over the request form for it!
The book “Seed Sowers: Gospel Planting Adventures” by Gwen Toliver was no different, in fact I especially wanted to read this one! I love stories about missionaries, in fact, I have cousins who have been missionaries to a closed Asian country for many years now.
Gwen Toliver, a home-schooling mother to eight children, and writes about family and ministry on her very interesting blog.
She spent two years interviewing missionaries who have spent years of their lives in the awesome task of translating the Bible into many languages for people who have no Bible, not even a little bit of it! That alone should make us all want to be involved in some way, even if the only way we can help is by giving to, and praying for missions.
Many of the people who the missionaries in Gwen’s book are trying to reach don’t even have a written language, so the Bible translator missionaries would need to spend years with them, just trying to learn their languages first, and then teaching many of the people to read their own language, while translating the Bible into each particular language. Then, generally beginning with the New Testament (and just the New Testament can take twenty or more years of faithful labor!), the missionaries would be able to provide the people with small portions at a time, as it was completed.
One story that touched me deeply was from the chapter “The Whistling Man”, which was about George and Florence Cowan’s efforts to translate the Bible for the Mazatec people. This particular story was that of a young Mazatec girl who would sneak away from her mother in the market place, so she could go listen to the “crazy gringo lady” telling Bible stories. When, in her excitement about the story she had heard, and the Bible verse she had learned, she tried to tell her mother about it, her mother became angry, took her home, and beat her. Yet, week after week, Felicitas would slip away from her mother to go learn about the Lord from the “crazy gringo lady”. Her heart was reached, and she chose to bear the consequences (being beaten by her mother) of going to learn about Jesus, eventually accepting Him as her Lord and Savior. Of course, this did not make her life here on earth any easier . . . she married young, and was widowed young, when her husband died of tuberculosis, leaving her with three young children to care for. Even so, she was hungry for the Word of God.
In her eagerness to be able to read God’s Word on her own, Felicitas eventually asked Florence Cowan to teach her to read. After that, she and her children traveled from where they lived high in the mountains to the Cowen’s hut two or three days every week, whether in nice weather or pouring rain, just so that Felicitas could learn to read God’s Word on her own.
As the Cowans translated God’s Word into the Mazatec language one book at a time, Felicitas sacrificed greatly by using portions of the tiny amount of money she had scraped together to buy corn each week, with which she would feed her family. The Cowan’s would have given the books, but the people didn’t want hand-outs. Felicitas put into practice the words of Job 23:12 “I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food”.
The story of Felicitas hit me where I live, because we here in the USA take our Bibles for granted. How many of us have more than one complete Bible in our homes, yet, barely open them, or do our five or ten minutes of Bible reading each day (if that!), and call it done, until church service? Would we sacrifice necessary food in order to purchase a small portion of God’s Word?
There is a wealth of additional information (and pictures that go with the various missionary stories) on the Seed Sowers website, along with an excerpt from the Seed Sowers book, and a sample of how the Mazatec people of southern Mexico speak in a tonal language, and can carry on a conversation by whistling!
This is a WONDERFUL book, for anyone to read! I recommend even that it be a read-aloud, as even young children can hear and be touched for missions, and now that I have read it, and know that my kids will be able to handle it, I will be sharing it with them as a read-aloud. I especially appreciate the effort Gwen went to in making sure to have the correct pronunciations of unfamiliar words placed in parenthesis after the words were used.
Even more important to me is the fact that all of the scripture used in this book is taken from the KJV, which is the only Bible my family and my church uses. 🙂
From the Seed Sowers site, here are some tips for using this book:
1. Family Read-Aloud – Gather the kids or grandkids around and read a chapter together! All ages will enjoy these true adventure stories.
2. Geography/History – Use the book to supplement homeschool or Christian school curriculum to teach basic subjects while giving your students a heart for the lost.
3. Independent Reading Level – 6th grade and up
Seed Sowers: Gospel Planting Adventures is a soft-cover, 165 page book, which includes 21 different stories of brave men and women who labored in far-a-way places for years translating unknown languages, so that they could bring God’s Word, a little bit at a time, to every corner of the world. It also includes a foreword written by Gracia Burnham, whose story I had only learned a couple of years ago during Vacation Bible School at the church we attended back in Michigan, appendix, a bibliography, and acknowledgements to all those behind the scenes people who helped in the creation of this book.
I would love to see this book on every family’s bookshelf, in every church library, and in every church bookstore! It is available here for the current price of $12.50, with the regular price being $13.95.
Click below to read reviews of Seed Sowers by other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew!