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.
Reading aloud with my kids is something we have enjoyed for several years. Now that they are both teens, when asked about books we have read aloud over the years, they always mention one of the missionary stories from the past. Many have been from a long time ago, and they still remember! When Venturing with God in Congo published by Conjurske Publications was available to review, I signed up with hopes of another memorable book to read with my kids.
About Venturing with God in Congo
Venturing with God in Congo is the story of Darrell Champlin. He and his family are missionaries in the deep jungles of the Congo. Spanning a period of 10 years in the 1950’s and 60’s, Champlin and his family led souls to Christ, formed churches, and trained leaders before being evacuated back to the states due to political unrest and civil war in the heart of Africa.
Champlin’s story begins at his birthplace of Utah. He tells of his childhood with a bit of his church history at Bethel Baptist during the 1940’s. It was interesting to read how church is much different than most today. The result was “boys and girls who at the age of ten had spiritual vocabularies capable of understanding and applying anything they heard from some of the greatest preachers of the day.” One of their “youth group activities” was catching a bus to Salt Lake City to street preach to the lost Mormons. In college is where he met Louise, who was raised in the Belgian Congo by missionary parents. She and Darrell married in 1951, and set off to Africa in 1954.
Within the 290 pages of Venturing with God in Congo, Darrell takes you with him and his family into the jungles of the Congo. His descriptive, first person writing brings you face to face with witch doctors, a charging rogue elephant, and encounters with massive snakes – all while swatting disease-carrying mosquitoes. The book is divided into nearly 50 chapters, each one like a journal or an individual short story. At only a few short pages per chapter, it just the right length.
Darrell’s stories read with such detail, that you will feel like you are on the mission field with him. He takes you to the huts they lived in. Darrell tells us of the clothing (or lack of) the people wore. He describes the interesting food they ate. Monkey Stew with a side of potatoes, anyone? The determination to spread the Gospel of Christ, despite the cultural and environmental challenges is nothing short of amazing! I especially learned a lot from the chapter that contained a lesson in animism. For centuries, these people lived with taboos, idolatry and witchcraft. Many heard the glorious Gospel message and turned to Christ.
How we used Venturing with God in Congo
We enjoyed this book as a read aloud, although we are not quite finished yet. I love reading together, especially with teens, because many of the books they are reading are ones we all can enjoy and have conversations about. One thing that really stood out to us was that not one of the 3,000 languages of Africa had a word for “eternal” or “everlasting” until missionaries taught the concept and developed a word.
What we thought of the book
We have enjoyed so many aspects this book has to offer! Not only are the stories themselves inspiring and compelling, Venturing with God in Congo has served as a geography book, a science/zoology book, and has taught us many things about the culture and customs of the Congolese people. The book itself is a beautiful hardback book with a gallery of personal photos midway. I really appreciated the use of the King James Bible verses woven throughout the text. My animal-loving daughter enjoyed the numerous animal encounters. My son enjoyed the adventures. The three of us better understand the details that we rarely hear about in the life foreign missions.
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