I want to thank Christian Focus Publications for providing me with a copy of Nate Saint: Operation Auca by Nancy Drummond in return for my honest opinion.
I read a lot of middle grade and young adult Christian biographies. A lot of them. They all tend to be edifying, to point my mind toward Christ, and to help me contemplate how I spend the hours of my own life. I’ve found they tend to do the same for my children.
Few of them touch me so deeply that I cry…..
Nancy Drummond’s new biography of Nate Saint is a rare emotional gem. Nate Saint: Operation Auca (Christian Focus Publications, 2012) is written for ages 9 to 14 (or to be used as a read-aloud for younger children) for Christian Focus’ Torchbearers line. The Torchbearers series covers the lives of Christian martyrs in a narrative fashion.
Nate Saint gave his life to the Lord at a summer camp when he was thirteen. He committed to follow God’s leading in his life, and proceeded to pursue his life’s passion, flying. Nate followed God’s leading into the military during World War II, and then into service for Christian Airmen’s Missionary Fellowship. Nate’s work for CAMF in the jungles of Ecuador allowed missionaries on the ground to continue their work in a way they had been unable to without airborne support. During his time in the jungle, Nate invented a number of safety and communication features which improved aviation everywhere.
If you haven’t heard the story of Nate Saint and Jim Elliot, I’m not going to ruin it for you. It’s inspiring to say the least. In fact, you can find the story of Jim Elliot: He Is No Fool (Torchbearers) in the same series. Nate Saint’s sacrifice for the Auca people had far-reaching consequences. His life impacted the lives of others in amazing and unexpected ways.
Nancy Drummond does a fantastic job of running the theme of God’s sovereign guidance and provision through Nate Saint: Operation Auca. She repeatedly points to God’s hand in Nate’s life, even in the unpleasant events such as when Nate contracts pneumonia. Her writing allows kids to see the purpose in the pain.
That’s what made me cry.
Nate Saint’s martyrdom should be a terrible loss for humanity. It should be a pointless tragedy. We should shake our heads in horror at the savage loss of his life. Yet, Nate Saint’s martyrdom was a victory for the Gospel of Christ. It’s a heroic tale of a man and his wife — sold out for Jesus and willing to give all for the cause of Christ. It’s the story of how God uses people to bring glory to His name.
It’s the story of how our humble service in His name can continue generations after we have joined Jesus after our lives here are done.
I highly recommend Nate Saint: Operation Auca by Nancy Drummond. Bravo, Nancy.
You can find Nate Saint: Operation Auca and the other biographies in the Trailblazers biography series for 8-12 year olds at
Other Christian Focus Trail Blazer & Torchbearer books reviewed on Thinking Kids
- Robert Moffat: Africa’s Brave Heart
- Augustine: The Truth Seeker
- Fanny Crosby: The Blind Girl’s Song
- Nate Saint: Operation Auca
- John Knox: The Sharpened Sword
- Michael Faraday: Spiritual Dynamo
- Mary of Orange: At the Mercy of Kings
- John Stott: The Humble Leader
- Titanic The Ship of Dreams: John Harper
More Books for 8-12 Year Olds Reviewed at Thinking Kids
- History Lives Christian History Series by Brandon & Mindy Withrow
- Guarding the Treasure: How God’s People Preserve God’s Word by Linda Finlayson
- Tough Questions About the Bible by Joel R. Beeke
- The New Astronomy Book by Danny R. Faulkner
- God’s Special Tent: The Story of the Tabernacle and What Came After by Jean Stapleton
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- Christian Books for 4-7 Year Olds
- Christian Books for the Middle Grades
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- Christian Books for High School
- Christian Books for Kids’ Devotions
- Christian Books about Parenting
~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is the author of When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther (Fortress Press, 2015), Wonderfully Made (CF4K, 2016), and Bible Road Trip. Her work has been featured in internationally-recognized children's magazines over 150 times.