Our family always enjoys reading the inspiring books from YWAM Publishing. We just finished reading Christian Heroes:Then & Now ~ Jacob Deshazer : Forgive Your Enemies, and like all of the other books we have read we were definitely moved by Jacob's story. Along with the book we were given access the companion study guide via downloadable pdf file. The book is 221 pages in length.
Who was Jacob Deshazer?
My 11 year old daughter said,
"Jacob had a lot of siblings and lived on a farm. He went into the military. He was one of the Japanese bomb raders. They were bombing Japan and they crash landed and he was taken hostage by the Japanese. He was taken to about four or five different prisons. They tried to make him tell them that he was one of the bombers. They beat him. At one point he was separated from all of the others in his crew. He was alone. He was nice to one of the guards in the prison and the guard gave him books. One of the books was the Bible. He read it three times. He began praying and became a Christian. He began praying to God. God told him that the war was over. He was in a cell next to someone else that was in a plane. They used morse code. They eventually got released. Jacob went home. He went to college. During college he met a girl and they got married and they became missionaries in Japan. They had several children. They were missionaries for about 13 years."
The book was truly eye opening for me as an adult. God truly uses even the evilest of men to bring about His glory. How miraculous, that while in a Japanese prison, a guard would give the prisoners a small stack of books, one of those books being the Bible. It was because this that Jacob would come to accept the Lord. On June 8th, 1944 while reading Romans 10:9, Jake knew that he had to respond to the words that he was reading. "Right there in his cell in Nanking, China, Jake bowed his head and prayed.....Jake was overcome by a strange sensation. Despite the fact that he was a prisoner of war in solitary confinement in a brutal Japanese prison in China, his heart was filled with joy-- joy like he had never felt before in his life."
Even though the guards kicked him and treated him horribly he chose to love and forgive. Each morning when the "guard came on duty and slid open the slot in the cell door to check on the prisoner, Jake said to him, "Ohayo gozaimasu!" (Good morning)." The guard was confused by Jake's kindness and soon a new rapport developed between Jake and the guard. This lead to an openness that benefited not only Jake but also the guard.
The study guide is full of an abundant amount of content not only to guide you through the book with chapter questions but great enrichment projects and activities. A few of the areas reinforced throughout the guide include:
- Essay writing
- Creative writing
- Reading comprehension
- Public speaking
One of the things that I really appreciate about the study guides is that they work well for a very wide range of ages and grades. There are very simple activities and then more challenging projects and assignments for the upper grades. The chapter questions can be adapted for various grade levels as well. For the younger student I have found that reading the questions and talking through the answers is a great way to ensure that your child or children comprehended what you read aloud to them or what they read. It also is a great way to further the discussion about the subject matter. For the older student it gives them the opportunity to express not only their understanding of what they have read but also their own thoughts.
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