I grew up in Alaska.
The short summers there have days that never end. And if it wasn’t raining, and the mosquitoes weren’t too bad, we would be out until well past a reasonable bedtime.
But when winter came, it was dark and cold. The evenings were long, and perfect for reading books by the dozen. My siblings and I spent hours almost every night, curled up around the wood stove reading or listening while my parents read aloud from book after book every winter of my childhood.
Those evenings around the fire served as introductions to some of the greatest men and women who ever lived: missionary heroes. David Livingstone, the abolitionist explorer. Hudson Taylor, the founder of China Inland Mission. Mary Slessor, the brave woman who wasn’t afraid to go alone where Jesus called her. Brother Andrew, the man whom God gave extra courage. Gladys Aylward, the little woman who was loved by the people she went to serve.
Their names were like the names of old family friends. Their stories echoed in my heart long after the last page of the book was read, and long after I grew up and moved away from home.
The Purpose of Reading About Missionaries
The inspiring stories of missionaries and great faith heroes that my parents read aloud to me during my childhood taught me that God doesn’t call just the exceptionally talented. He doesn’t call just the brave ones to share His truth in difficult circumstances. Instead, He calls the ordinary, common ones like me and gives them exactly what they need to shine where ever He calls them, be it far away in Africa or in their own little neighborhood.
I have a home and family of my own now and live far away from Alaska and those long winters. But I often think back fondly to the evenings around the fire. The faithful lives of those missionaries still challenge, encourage, and inspire me.
As my daughter grows, I aspire to fill our home and evenings with the same kinds of stories about missionary heroes that I grew up on. I’ve begun filling up my bookshelves with missionary stories so that I can pass on the legacy that these godly men and women left us.
These collections of stories about missionaries from around the world are written especially for children, but adults will enjoy the stories too!
If you glance through the titles in the Christian Heroes Then and Now series, you may be surprised at some of the names you see. While many of these books speak directly about great missionaries who spent their lives serving God abroad, these non-fictionalised books offer a good way to get to know the stories of great Christian men and women who served God in many different ways throughout the decades.
Though the books in this series were written for 8-12 year olds, these stories are really inspiring for the whole family! Available—>HERE
These books are a little bit different than the first series in this list. Dave and Neta Jackson have written a series of fictional stories for elementary aged children about some of the great missionaries in Christian history. The actual story is fictional, but the setting and the missionary are real. It’s a good way to glimpse the culture and the people that people like David Livingston and Amy Carmichael lived and worked with.
The authors’ emphasize trusting God, making hard decisions, and serving others in each of the books that I read. Available—>HERE
The Trailblazer series focuses on the “trailblazers” in the literal sense: the men and women who went ahead and broke the ground for others to follow later. The Missionaries and Medics set is number two in a six-set series that explores the lives of many different kinds of great Christian heroes in all walks of life.
But these five books are not the only books about missionaries in the greater Trailblazer series. There is a good selection of other inspiring stories of missionaries every child should grow up knowing. In fact, any of the Trailblazer books will make an inspirational addition to any young person’s library.
- Mary Slessor: Servant to the Slave
- Richard Wurmbrand: A Voice in the Dark
- Amy Carmichael: Rescuer by Night
- Gladys Aylward: No Mountain Too High
- Robert Moffat: Africa’s Brave Heart
- Eric Liddell: Finish the Race
- Brother Andrew: Behind Enemy Lines
- Lottie Moon: Changing China for Christ
These books are also part of two box sets that explore other great men and women as well.
As single book collections, they are some of my favorite choices for reading aloud about inspiring men and women who lived their lives in God’s service. Available—>HERE
This little book is almost like a missionary story devotional for children. The stories are very brief, giving a short overview of the missionary and their life and ending with a Scripture that ties in with the story. Though too short to provide a proper history of each missionary, it’s a good way to be introduced to some names or stories. Then you can pursue other books as your children grow. Available—>HERE
These books offer a chance to tell even our youngest little ones about great missionaries and other inspiring Christian heroes. The simple stories are easy to grasp and make great first introductions to missionary stories for little ones.
- Amy Carmichael: Rescuing the Children
- Jim Elliot: A Light for God
- Nate Saint: Heavenbound
- Gladys Aylward: Daring to Trust
- William Carey: Bearer of Good News
- Adoniram Judson: A Grand Purpose
- Mary Slessor: Courage in Africa
- Hudson Taylor: Friend of China
- David Livingstone: Courageous Explorer
Some of the books even have accompanying activity sets to help reinforce the values in each story and make great teaching aids. Available—>HERE
Do you have a favorite missionary story? I’d love to hear about the missionary stories you love and read!
*A small reminder, or if you’re new here: If you purchase the items through the links here, Club31Women might get a small affiliate compensation – with no additional cost to you – from some of them and so I thank you for that. But while I appreciate your purchase, you should also know that we share this as our genuine opinion and personal enthusiasm for these items. See my full disclosure here.
Here at Club31Women, we recognize that not everyone has the same taste or point of view on books or movies, but we offer these short reviews for your consideration. Our hope is that you will find something new and wonderful on this list of recommended reading!
~ Lisa Jacobson, Club31Women
Chantel Brankshire is an everyday kind of girl who loves ordinary life, barefoot days, laundry on the line and fireflies. She is married to her best friend, Scott and together they have redheaded rainbow child, Charlotte who is the joy of their hearts. Chantel is a Virtual Assistant. She writes on Beautiful Song about books and finding joy in ordinary life and manages Adornabelle, the fashion blog that celebrates inner beauty. She dreams of one day owning a berry farm in the country.