For years, my family has been blessed and inspired by the Christian Heroes: Then and Now and Heroes of History book series. Geoff and Janet Benge have written dozens upon dozens of books to entertain, inform, and inspire readers of all ages. The stories they share reveal how a life lived with and for God is a great adventure.
I am delighted to share about their book on Hudson Taylor.
Hudson Taylor was a missionary from England to China during the 1800s. After hearing God’s call to China as a teenager, he lived with laser-sharp focus on following God’s call and serving the Chinese people. His life was filled with adventure and tragedy. I lost count of how many near-death experiences he had through illness, storms at sea, and attacks from people. In one near-fatal illness early in life, he was so convinced in his call to reach the Chinese people, he knew he would not die.
Meeting Hudson Taylor
It was the summer of 1993 when I was first introduced to Hudson Taylor. In preparation for a summer ministry job, I attended a training for leading Bible club classes in youth centers and neighborhood backyards. Part of our daily teaching would include one great missionary hero. We told the story in five parts, each day ending on a cliffhanger and “You’ll have to come back tomorrow to find out what happens next.”
Hudson Taylor was our missionary for the summer.
One of the instructors was teaching the story as if we were the children. He recounted a story Hudson Taylor had told in the 1860s while raising support and awareness for the Christian Inland Mission.
Hudson was in his room on a ship in port when he heard a splash. He ran out to find Peter, a Chinese man who worked with him, had fallen overboard. Peter knew about Jesus but did not truly know Jesus. Hudson searched for help to rescue him, but everyone was too distracted. too busy, and too inconvenienced to help. With the promise of money, they finally helped. But it was too late to save Peter’s life.
My heart beat rapidly as I sensed God’s calling for the first time.
People around the world are dying without knowledge of the Gospel. Would I be too distracted, too busy, or too inconvenienced to help? Or would I choose to give my life to sharing God’s wonderful truth with others?
No, I have not joined full-time, overseas missionary service like I once thought I might do. No, I do not frequently travel on short-term missions. No, I am not closely connected with the Chinese people.
But Hudson Taylor inspired me to live focused on God’s calling.
Inspiring my children
With the Christian Hereos: Then and Now book on Hudson Taylor, I have been able to pass on this true story of inspiration and adventure.
We have enjoyed the books as family read-alouds and listened to audiobooks while driving together. Several of my children have read multiple books numerous times. It’s nearly impossible for everyone to choose their favorite hero!
A set of new hero books has become our souvenir of choice anytime I attend a homeschool conference. I now text home and ask someone to send me a picture so I don’t buy duplicates.
Reading Hudson Taylor together has inspired us to live intentionally.
Focus on calling
Hudson Taylor overcame numerous obstacles in his efforts to reach China. Through numerous trials, he lived with deep focus to continue in his calling and not give up.
I want my family to live with this focus on the calling God gives us.
Focus on people
In order to reach with the Chinese people, Hudson Taylor adapted his own choice of clothing and style to connect with them. Even other missionaries thought he was crazy. But this was just one way he focused on reaching the people.
I want my family to live with a focus on the people God calls us to serve.
Focus on prayer
Time after time, Hudson Taylor chose to pray rather than take matters into his own hands. One time, he did not receive pay due to him for work. Rather than ask for it, he focused on talking with and trusting God to provide. God, of course, did provide and eventually Hudson received his pay.
I want my family to live with a focus on prayer as we learn to trust God in every circumstance.
There is no simple formula for parenting to teach our children to live with such focus on our calling, people, and prayer. Stories are powerful! Each of the Heroes books inspires children and parents to stretch our faith and live with confidence in our great God.
Meeting the author
What a joy it was to meet Janet Benge at a conference recently. For a homeschool mom, meeting the author of your favorite books is like meeting a celebrity. Her life is as much of a delight as her books. Her personally story holds enough adventure to be its own book. Her instruction on writing equipped me to grow in my skills. Her commitment to continue in her personal mission inspired me to continue in my own and not grow weary.
Sharing with YOU!
Have you read any of the Christian Heroes: Then and Now or Heroes of History books?
If not, please do yourself a favor and try one soon! They’re available in paperback chapter books, audiobooks, curriculum guides, and even short younger reader versions.
How has your family been blessed by one of the Benges’ books?