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DVD Review – The Jim Elliot Story

The Torchlighters video series is a new series of animated DVD’s dedicated to “Highlighting the honor, integrity and life-changing experiences of those well-known and little-known Christian men, women and children who in response to God’s call, dedicated their lives to a life of whole-hearted commitment and passionate service to Jesus.” It is a production of Christian History Institute along with International Films and Voice of the Martyrs. The first in this series is The Jim Elliot Story. Elliot is widely known in the Christian world because of the prolific writing and speaking career of his wife, Elisabeth. In 1956 Jim Elliot, along with four other young missionaries, were killed by a vicious tribe of Euadorian natives whom the men were trying to reach with the gospel. The tragedy has become an inspiration to people across the world as they have seen the families of those who were killed continue to love and serve among the tribe who put them to death.

This video, which is about a half hour long, provides a brief glimpse of Elliot’s short career as a missionary. It introduces each of the men who served with him and shows their love for the Lord and their determination to serve him whatever the cost. The cover for the DVD says, “In the inaugural Torchlighters episode we follow Jim’s adventures from his college years to his work in the jungles, showing young people his faith in action as he answers God’s call to do the seemingly impossible.” The story is presented well, focusing on the unshakeable faith of these young men.

It should be noted that the series is targetted primarily at children between the ages of eight and twelve. I was hoping that I could show this film to my son, who is five, but my wife feels that it might be a little too intense for him. Perhaps next year. There is nothing too terribly graphic (certainly by today’s standards) but the viewer will nevertheless witness the deaths of many people, including the hero of the story.

Included with the film is a study guide suitable for children that includes a leader’s guide and reproducible student worksheets; an interview with Steve Saint, son of Nate Saint who was killed along with Jim Elliot and who has gone on to serve with the same tribe; and a video autobiography of Marj Saint Van Der Puy, Nate’s wife. These add significant value to what is already a strong presentation, though these extras will appeal far more to adults than to children.

Future titles in the Torchlighters series include The William Tyndale Story (release is imminent), The John Bunyan Story (set for a 2006 release) and The Eric Liddell Story (also set for a 2006 release). This looks like a wonderful little series and I am sure each of the titles will be a valuable addition to any church or personal library. I hope to make each of these titles available to my children.

The Jim Elliot Story is well-made and will surely appeal to the target audience. It will share with children the deep and inspiring faith of some of God’s most dedicated servants. I am glad to recommend it.

The Jim Elliot Story is available from Vision Video (800-523-0226). Adults may be interested in Beyond the Gates of Splendor.


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