I often say these five boys are going to be the death of me. Every time I turn around one of them is doing something daring or dangerous or dumb. It’s a fine line, right? Especially with my second born, Joel, who has taken on “watch this!” as his middle name. That’s when he wants witnesses to his feats. Mostly I just hear about them after the fact. Every now and then I catch him in the act. Like when we lived in Hawaii and I was gazing across the room toward our third floor lanai and saw Joel’s 9-year-old head pop over the balcony railing. He had scaled the 30 feet of drain pipe to get up and over. Rarely, am I quick enough to snatch a picture of these exploits but here are a few recents.
Joel is the one on the far left of the rattlesnake which he and his brother, Titus, killed, skinned, cooked and ate.
Can you spot Joel on a pole? “Watch me turn hanging out with cousins in Oma and Opa’s suburban front yard into a dangerous activity!”
Can you spot Joel in a hole? Because who WOULDN’T want to spend the night burrowed into a snow bank with nothing but a sleeping bag on one of the coldest nights of the year?
How does a mom channel that kind of thirst for thrills into more noble pursuits? Lately, when I hear talk of going faster, or higher, or deeper (yes, they’ve discovered spelunking) I insert the suggestion that if they want to die doing something daring they should do it taking the gospel into a dangerous place. Then I like to drive the point home by pulling out a missionary biography for them to read. Joel seems to have developed a genuine interest in these more gospel-driven adventures.
Most recently, he read through Tim Keesee’s, “A Company of Heroes” (Crossway, 2019) and wrote up the following review:
I asked to read this book because I wanted to get a perspective on mission work around the world. Tim Keesee does this by following missionaries and documenting the work they do sharing the gospel. The book is actually a diary of these encounters so sometimes its not even in complete sentences. But I really liked the format and the stories. I learned about how the gospel is advancing globally and how men and women are risking their lives for the sake of Christ. My favorite part took place in North Africa where this one couple is handing out hundreds of Bibles and so the police are always after them but they won’t stop because they know the gospel is worth more than their lives. Overall, the book was really good. I even liked how the Tim Keesee included quotes from other authors at the beginning of each chapter to go along with each story. One of them by John Piper kind of sums up the whole book,
“So I say this very sobering word: God’s plan is that his saving purpose for the nations will triumph through the suffering of his people, especially his frontline forces who break through the darkness of Satan’s blinding hold on an unreached people” (23).
I recommend this book for other people interested in mission work because it will encourage and inspire them to put the gospel first (by Joel, age 13).
(Even though I was given a copy of this book by the publisher I am not required to write a favorable review)