As we near the end of the 31 Days writing challenge, I find I have many more inspirational biographies I’d like to share than days left in the month, so I’d like to share a short list of the ones I didn’t get to with a few comments on each.
Last year I wrote about 31 Days of Missionary Stories and ended with a list of the favorites I had read over some 37 or so years. In addition to those, I can recommend these (those with links are ones I have reviewed and linked back to):
Kitty, My Rib by E. Jane Mall is story of the wife of Reformer Martin Luther. He was a former priest, she was a former nun. She was a well-suited complement to his personality.
Ida Scudder: Healing Bodies, Touching Hearts by Janet and Geoff Benge. The Benges actually have a series of biographies aimed primarily at younger people, but I have enjoyed the ones I have read. Ida was a daughter of a missionary doctor in India and had absolutely no plans of being a missionary herself until one night when three different women died whom her father could have helped but who were not allowed to be seen by a male doctor. She eventually became a doctor herself and went back to India.
Bruchko: The Astonishing True Story of a 19-Year-Old American, His Capture by the Motilone Indians and His Adventures in Christianizing the Stone Age Tribe by Bruce Olson. I really wanted to talk about this one this month, but it has been too many years since I read it and I did not have time to reread it this month. I do remember thinking he was perhaps a little headstrong, but overall it was a great book.
Dorie, The Girl Nobody Loved by Dorie N. Van Stone. It has been years since I’ve read this one, too, and I’d like to reread it some time, but the story of a grueling, abusive childhood overcome by God’s grace was very touching.
Gifted Hands by Ben Carson. I’m not sure if Dr. Carson is a Christian, but this is a great book about overcoming difficulties in childhood and changing direction in life. He grew up in poverty, did not do well in school, and had a horrible temper, but ended up being a pioneering neurosurgeon.
The Valley Is Bright by Nell Collins, the story of her salvation, her training as a nurse and plans to go to Africa, and the disruption (as it seemed) of her life by a serious cancer diagnosis. Part of her testimony is here.
Walking From East to West: God in the Shadows by Ravi Zacharias. You may have heard his radio broadcasts or benefited from his apologetics ministry. This is the story of how he came to the Lord and some of the difficulties in doing so for those from an Eastern mindset.
The God I Love by Joni Eareckson Tada. I’d also recommend When God Weeps by Steve Estes and Joni, not a biography but a book about why God allows suffering, and Joni and Ken: An Untold Love Story by Ken and Joni Eareckson Tada.
The Titanic’s Last Hero about John Harper, who told people about the Lord while clinging to debris from the ship. A testimony of him is here.
Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. How one man’s reluctant service in a homeless shelter led to a lifelong friendship. This was riveting.
Heir to a Dream by Pete Maravich. I mentioned in an earlier post that I wasn’t really a sports fan, but I loved this autobiography of “Pistol Pete.” His dad groomed him to play basketball, even tucking a basketball into his bed instead of a teddy bear. He achieved great success and acclaim, but it was all empty until he found Christ. I first heard a bit of his testimony on some news show – 20/20, I think – and he seemed so genuine that I had to read the book. I could not find that interview online, but I did find this one:
The Autobiography of George Muller. Wonderful testimony of his rescue from a debauched lifestyle to an exercise of faith in supporting orphanages by depending on God alone.
Mistaken Identity by Don & Susie Van Ryn, and Newell Colleen & Whitney Cerak. Another riveting story of two girls in a horrific accident, and the surviving one was identified as the other.
In Trouble and In Joy by Sharon James, short biographies of Ann Judson, Margaret Baxter, Ann Steele, and Frances Ridly Havergal.
Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God by Noel Piper, short biographies of Sarah Edwards, Gladys Aylward, Lilias Trotter, Esther Ahn Kim, and Helen Roseveare.
50 People Every Christian Should Know: Learning From Spiritual Giants of the Faith by Warren Wiersbe
Infinitely More by Alex Krutov, about an abandoned orphan in Russia whom God brought to Himself.
A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken, about his relationship with his wife, their conversion after originally having no interest in Christianity, her cancer, and his letters to C. S. Lewis.
The Reel Story by Larry D. Vaughn. Wonderful story about how someone outside the “bubble” of the conservative Christian world ended up a Christian. Larry was a film buyer, and his pastor and almost everyone else said he should continue in his job to be a witness to the film community, but Larry felt his conscience pricked and provoked enough that he finally had to leave the business.
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom about her family’s involvement in helping to hide Jews during WWII and the consequences.
More Precious Than Gold, the Fiery Trial of a Family’s Faith by John and Brenda Vaughn. A garage fire had devastating consequences for Mrs. Vaughn and her young daughter. This book details the circumstances and how God helped the family through this trial.
As I have shared biographies that have inspired me this month, I tried to include some from people of various walks of life and some that were older as well as some modern ones. I hope you’ve found something to inspire you in some of these posts as well.
Tomorrow I want to write about “Why Read Biographies.” I know, a post like that should probably have come at the beginning of this series. I didn’t think about it then, beyond the remarks in my introductory post, but as I have been steeped in biographies this month, some thought came to mind I thought I’d share.