Witness Men: True Stories of God at Work in Papua, Indonesia by Rebecca Davis
“While some of the missionaries studied in language school, an old Dani chief in his clan’s man hut reminded his sons that one day someone would come, a pale man, over the mountains, one who had discovered the secret of nabelan kabelan–forever life.”
This is a short 143-page chapter book written for children. It is Book 3 of the Hidden Heroes series. Each of the 15 chapters is only about 3-4 pages long, the perfect length for reading out loud to children. The reading level appears to me to be about fourth grade, although I think many third graders could read this as well. As a read aloud book, it would appeal to 7-year-olds on up. I know some adults would love to read this book as well. Having taught in Christian school, led devotions for children’s church, children’s choir, and done a few children’s moment devotions during church services, I know this book will be wonderful as a series to be read aloud at home or in children’s ministries. The chapters do build on each other, but not so much that one has to be read before others could be understood. A group of 3 or 4 stories could be read together. I mentioned to my husband a few days ago that I wish we had had this series of books available to us when we were working in children’s church together.
The focus for this book is a portion of the small island above Australia known as the Dutch New Guinea in the past and today as Papua, Indonesia. Many tribes lived there, speaking many languages and dialects. It wasn’t until a group of explorers flew over the area in 1938 and saw the huts in the valleys between mountain ranges that we even knew about the people. They were so isolated that the hundreds of thousands of people living in an area the size of Nebraska thought they were the only people in the world.
These are stories of a handful of missionaries and their first efforts to learn the language and speak to the people of the many tribes from the Bible to introduce them to Jesus and to free them from the fear that caused so much war between the tribes. As men and women accepted Jesus as their Savior, Witness Schools were established to teach the new believers how to share the gospel with their fellow tribesmen. The reader will find these stories fascinating as the gospel was shared using the culture’s own customs to help them understand how much God loves them.
At the back of the book, the author takes a moment to explain how she got started on her “treasure hunt” research project. The following chapter gives us the resources and books she used so the reader can also search for more information. The final section contains a scripture verse and a couple of discussion questions for each of the chapters of the book.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book! I think you and your children will too!
A complimentary review copy was provided to me by Cross Focused Reviews (A Service of Cross Focused Media, LLC) and Christian Focus Publications (www.ChristianFocus.com). I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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