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10 Noteworthy Biographies of Christian Missionaries

By    |   Friday, 08 May 2015 11:54 AM

The story of spreading Christ’s word is often one of courage and sacrifice, especially in the early years. Here are 10 biographies that tell the stories of missionaries of note throughout history:

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1. David Livingstone: A doctor, explorer, and missionary Livingstone is the subject of a number of books, including several of his own. Most people know of him as an explorer, and the popular literature reflects that. But some concentrate on his missionary work in Africa, such as David Livingstone: Africa's Trailblazer (Christian Heroes: Then & Now) published in 1999 by YWAM. The authors, Janet and Geoff Benge, spent 10 years serving with Youth With A Mission.

2. Complete Surrender: A Biography of Eric Liddell: The book tells the story of a man most people know through the movie “Chariots of Fire.” But “Surrender,” by Julian Wilson and published in 2012 by Authentic Media, explores not only Liddell’s Olympic gold medal athletic career, but also his life as a missionary in a China ravaged by war. The book relies on Liddell family interviews and Liddell’s own letters.

3. To the Golden Shore: The Life of Adoniram Judson: The book tells the story of one of the first missionaries to go out from North America. Courtney Anderson’s book, published by Judson Press in 1988, draws on letters and church records to detail the Congregationalist (later Baptist) missionary’s travails on his way to Burma in the early 1800s.

4. Mother Teresa: An Authorized Biography: Mother Teresa of Calcutta was a missionary who, thanks to continual modern media coverage, people feel like they knew. But Kathryn Spink’s “Mother Teresa: An Authorized Biography” (2011, Harper Collins) also explores her childhood in the Balkans and, in an updated edition, her beatification and the process of declaring her a saint.

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5. Out of My Life and Thought: An Autobiography: The book is Albert Schweitzer’s own account of his life as a medical missionary in Africa. Reissued in 2009 by Johns Hopkins University Press on the 60th anniversary of its publication, the book contains new forewords by former President Jimmy Carter and Dr. Lachlan Forrow of Harvard. The Los Angeles Times called Schweitzer “a man whose moral example is as relevant and compelling in the 1990s as it was in the 1930s.”

6. The Journals of Jim Elliott: The Journals are edited from the words of one of the young missionaries killed in 1956 in Ecuador by the Auca Indians to whom they were witnessing. His widow, Elisabeth, also a missionary to the Auca, compiled the journals into a book, published for the first time in 1978 by Revell. They were most recently republished in 2002 by Baker Publishing.

7. A Chance to Die: Elisabeth Elliot writes again to tell the story of Amy Carmichael in A Chance to Die (Revell, June 1987). Carmichael (1867-1951) left her native Ireland spent 53 years in India and founded the Dohnavur Fellowship, a refuge for orphaned or unwanted children who were in danger of being “sold to the temple.” The book covers her mission years, being “Amma” (mother) to her young charges, and the last 20 years of her life as an invalid.

8. Inside Afghanistan: A modern missionary tells his story in Inside Afghanistan. John Weaver was a missionary in Afghanistan on Sept. 11, 2001, and stayed behind after most Americans left the country in the wake of the terrorist attacks which would shortly result in the U.S. going to war there. Published in 2002 by Nelson, Thomas Inc.

9. From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya: A Biographical History of Christian Missions: Exploring the role of missionaries through individual stories through history is the mission " From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya" is by Ruth Tucker, a NOOK Book available through Barnes & Noble. “These great leaders of missions are presented as real people, and not super-saints.” says the book’s promotional page. The second edition adds coverage of missions to the Muslim world and east Asia.

10. God’s Generals: The Missionaries: If you’re looking for a collection of the lives of noteworthy missionaries, there’s God’s Generals: The Missionaries. The fifth volume in Roberts Liardon’s “God’s Generals” series, this book looks at the lives of Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf, David Brainerd, William Carey, David Livingstone, Adoniram Judson, Hudson Taylor, Hiram Bingham, Amy Carmichael, and Jonathan Goforth.

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The story of spreading Christ’s word is often one of courage and sacrifice, especially in the early years. Here are 10 biographies that tell the stories of missionaries of note throughout history.
christian missionaries
Friday, 08 May 2015 11:54 AM
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