Wednesday, September 18, 2013

TOS Review: Seed Sowers

I have had a long and deep love for Missionary stories. After all, I have my own Missionary story to tell. Though not as grand and lasting as some I have heard. I was born to Missionary parents in Nicaragua in the early 70’s (please don’t do any counting of years…I am well aware of my age). My parents were young and idealistic. Our story wound up having a rather unusual ending…full of danger and impossible circumstances. I will share it with you one day.

You can see how I would find the stories of Missionary adventures captivating.  Some of them have lived lives you and I can only imagine. The very nature of the sacrifices many of them have endured has caused me great shame. Those day to day things I complain about seem very trivial by comparison.  I have sobbed unashamedly over such beautiful stories of sacrifice, loss, and God’s provision. They all inspire me to live my life as if I had been called to a foreign land (with perhaps a Wal-mart nearby).

Recently, I was given the opportunity to review a wonderful book of such stories from Seed Sowers called Seed Sowers:Gospel Planting Adventures.

What I Received

I received a paperback copy of Seed Sowers: Gospel Planting Adventures. This collection of missionary stories was written by Gwen Toliver, a homeschool mom of 8, who has been serving with Wycliffe Associates. 

Gwen interviewed retired Bible Translators. The purpose was record their stories of life on the Mission Field. How did they live? What were their interactions like with native peoples? How did they see God’s hand at work? Gwen then turned the missionary stories into this book, Seed Sowers: Gospel Planting Adventures. The stories are a mixture of high intrigue, dangerous adventures, deadly conditions, and lots of faith. Each one of them is as wonderful and encouraging as the next. Not every story has a happy ending, but in every story you can see God’s hand at work. 

If you have an independent reader (6th grade reading level and up), they can read the stories on their own. I think it is perfect for a read aloud for the family. There are 21 different missionary stories in the book. Fascinating stuff.

You can check out an excerpt from the book here. There are also some very interesting pictures on the book site to look at. It’s like National Geographic! Only everyone is clothed. 

How I Used It

Missionary Roger Doriot in West Papua. Can you believe that bridge?

I read this book in just a few short sittings. And yes. I sobbed. It is an absolutely wonderful book. I was also able to share a few stories with Josiah. He was fascinated. It is hard for such a young person to imagine what life must be like beyond our little corner of the world. Not to mention the marvelous and miraculous things God has done through people who were simply obedient. 

Harriet Fields and Hattie Kneeland with the Matses of Peru

One of the more sobering stories can be found in Chapter 14 – Five Empty Vessels. This story speaks of the tragedy of the 5 missionaries who were killed in an Ecuadorian jungle by the Auca Indians…a tribe known for their violent culture. I have been familiar with this story for years, as I am sure are some of you. The story, however, is told from the recollections of missionary Don Johnson who was a member of the search party. There are things in this chapter that have never before been published. I found his account to be heart wrenching.
There were lighter moments as well. Lynn Landweer, whose stories are found in Chapter 12-Believe the Bird, was a Bible translator in Papua New Guinea. I laughed out loud when I read of her encounters of the “snakey” kind. Let’s just say I could relate to Lynn. This chapter also reminds me that we often think we have God’s plan figured out…only to be reminded that “His ways are not our ways.” 

There are so many lovely stories told this book. Gwen did a wonderful job expressing this stories on paper.  I was touched and blessed and inspired….And all the rest of it. 

One other little tidbit that I just love is that Gwen provides us with a “what happened next” or “where they are now.” I loved reading just a little bit of the rest of the story. 

Eddy Riggle  with the Caquinte people of Peru

I think this is a wonderful book for any family library. It would make a wonderful gift for anyone who loves such stories of the advancement of the Gospel. Not only that, but they provide great examples of faith and courage…in any situation. Any one of us can learn from these wonderful saints. And if you are a homeschool mom, like me, it could be a great addition to any geography study. You see that we are always trying to fit school in somewhere. 

You can purchase a paperback copy of Seed Sowers: Gospel Planting Adventures from Grace&Truth Books for $13.95 thought I just checked the link and it was listed on sale for $12.50 here. I'm not sure how long this sale lasts, so get it while it's hot!  There is also an E-version available. 

Happy Reading!  

My TOS Crew Peeps also reviewed this terrific book (can you tell I liked it?). You can read more reviews here.



  1. I had a dear friend who spent time (with her husband) as a Wycliff Bible Translator to Mexico. They translated the entire Bible to Aztec. They have a book entitled "Wind of the Son" by Dow F. Robinson. If you ever find it, you should read it. It was a very interesting story of their lives down there.

  2. Thanks so much for your review! I love to hear how it was such a blessing to your family too. :)


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