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About the Book:
American bush pilot Russell Stendal, on routine business, landed his plane in a remote Colombian village. Gunfire exploded throughout the town and within minutes Russell’s 142-day ordeal had begun. The Colombian cartel explained that this was a kidnapping for ransom and that he would be held until payment was made.
Held at gunpoint deep in the jungle and with little else to occupy his time, Russell got ahold of some paper and began to write. He told the story of his life and kept a record of his experience in the guerrilla camp. His “book” became a bridge to the men who held him hostage and now serves as the basis for this incredible true story of how God’s love penetrated a physical and ideological jungle.
I have a thing for reading books about missionaries, their successes and their failures both inspire me and also make me want to make a difference and it also gives me a way to somehow live vicariously through them. Russell had an understanding of spiritual things at a young age and it was his question about serving that had his parents becoming missionaries themselves and so begins Russell’s life as a missionary kid and later a missionary himself. Run ins with drug traffickers, death defying flights, and more are just some of the things that Russell encounters while he flies missions over Colombia to help people as well as meeting the love of his life, Marina. Captured by Colombian guerrillas Russell spent 142 in captivity while his family worked to raise the funds to have him released – but he gained much more than his freedom during his stay with the guerrillas. Earning their respect Russell witnessed to his captors and this book actually had most of it’s beginnings while he was still in captivity when the leader said he had to type a Spanish copy and he would be allowed to write an English copy to take with him upon his release.
I didn’t agree with everything that Russell does during his captivity, he uses Bible verses to justify his shooting a captor so he could try to escape and that goes against my beliefs in non-aggression but then again I’ve never been kidnapped or held at gunpoint or in a jungle where gunfire and carrying weapons are a part of life. Russell maintains part of the reason why he was able to gain the respect of his captors was that he didn’t go quietly with his captors and fought them and remained strong without giving into their threats and intimidation. Again, I don’t know what I’d do, but I’m not sure I’d ever be able to shoot a person – which could be part of the reason why I made a terrible Sailor! I digress – this book pulls you in as Russell describes his time both in captivity as well as his years growing up in the States and then during his time in Central America – so while it may seem that he skips around there is a continuity to the whole book.
If you are like me and enjoy reading books about missionaries and their life then this is a must read and would make a great addition to your home bookshelf, why you’re at it ask your library to get a copy as well. I read this in about a day and a half, it would have been shorter but I had some other things that needed my attention – it’s a fast read and since it pulls you in as soon as you start you’ll want to keep going. Through out the book are also pictures of Russell and the various people he encounters or his wife and and daughter, which aid in picturing what he talks about in the book. Also included are two QR codes in the beginning and you can scan the codes and watch and introduction by Russell Stendal as well as watch a trailer for a film featuring Russel in Rescue the Captors 2 – the tale of his captivity told from the viewpoint of the family.
(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws