Deuteronomy 6:6-7

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. ~ Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Friday, March 13, 2020

Conjurske Publications - Venturing With God in Congo by Darrell Champlin - A Crew Review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

This month, we, that is, my daughter and I, have been reading and reviewing a memoir from Conjurske Publications called Venturing With God in Congo by Darrell Champlin. I wasn't far into the book, and certainly nowhere near finishing, when the proverbial lightbulb went on in my head, and I kept saying to myself, we Christians, we in most of the western world even, have no idea how comfortable and easy our lives are! Then, a song popped into my head, from the 1990's I believe, by Christian artist Scott Wesley Brown, called "Please Don't Send Me to Africa". It was a whimsical parody, sung from the perspective of a guy that is pleading with the Lord not to "make" him move to the jungle and minister. Here are a few of the lines:

"Please don't send me to Africa, I don't think I've got what it takes
I'm just a man, I'm not a Tarzan,
Don't like lions, gorillas, or snakes
I'll serve you here in suburbia
In my comfortable middle class life"

It's a funny song, but accurate for the majority of Christians. We live a pampered life, plain and simple. I'm confident that none of you reading this right now had to secure your young children in a bed that was basically a box with a latched netted cover, to protect them from snakes, scorpions, or spiders last night. You probably also didn't need to grab a rifle and head out into the jungle to hunt a monkey(?!) to eat (!) for dinner. Are you of a mind to have your faith challenged, and encouraged? Grab a cup of something and pull up a chair, and let me share this book with you.

This is an account of Darrell and Louise Champlin, who spent the better part of their lives bringing the gospel to the darkest places, first in Africa, later in South America. Before you even open to the first page, the cover will catch your eye. It is a sturdy, attractive hardback book, 290 pages long. There are fifty chapters, as well as an introduction, timeline, map of Congo, and pronunciation tips.

Included in the book is the family tree of the Champlins.

Help for correctly pronouncing sounds in Lingala, the language they spoke in Congo.

The chapters are individual stories of the Champlin's experiences in the mission field. The book begins with the backgrounds of Darrell and Louise. Both grew up in God fearing, Christian homes. Darrell grew up in a modest home in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A, while Louise grew up in the Belgian Congo of Africa with her missionary parents. They met and married in the early 1950's. Even with such different experiences in the way they grew up, they both loved God, and had an "undivided determination to follow him to the ends of the earth, wherever that might be." They sailed for the Belgian Congo in 1954, where they served for ten years, until the revolution forced them to evacuate. After a brief return to the U.S.A., they were called to South America to continue their missionary work, now with their children and their families. Darrell Champlin passed away in 2015, but Louise continues to serve.

What an incredible legacy.

The stories are incredible, and often harrowing. There are tales of angry hippos attacking their boats as they crossed the river. They dealt with termites that they could feel through a reed mat that covered the dirt floor in their mud and stick hut. Darrell had brushes with angry elephants, buffalo, and boars. And snakes. Oh my, the snakes. I have to be honest, more than one chapter had me a little repulsed at the hygiene, cuisine, and living conditions. To say that it was a difficult life is putting it mildly. Their faith was constantly tested, and God provided in amazing ways.

I was happy to see that a few photos were included in the book.

Here in the comforts of my modern neighborhood, I might be concerned for an unsaved acquaintance, and consider their lifestyle immoral because of their language, where they hang out, who they associate with, etc. Generally, their life doesn't affect the quality of mine, and it's easy for me to move on with my own cares. Then I compare that with the Champlins', where they were confronted by witchdoctors who were engulfed in satanic practices, and on occasion, threatened the lives of the Christians with spears. I'm humbled. The Champlins sought God in everything, and watched as He worked in supernatural ways, which included radically saving those witchdoctors.

Did you know that missionaries were responsible for most of the progress in these third world countries?

I'm finished with the book, yet the stories are etched in my mind. This book is a wonderful read for teens and adults. We've enjoyed it as an individual read, but you might also use this as a family read aloud for devotions. It would also be a great resource to use in Sunday schools and Bible studies. No matter where you read this, it will be a book that hopefully not only stays with you, but spurs your faith in such a way that you determine to serve the Lord yourself, wherever He leads you.

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Venturing with God in Congo {Conjurske Publications Reviews}

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