Title: Klaus-Dieter John: Hope in the Land of the Incas
Author: Janet & Geoff Benge
Series: Christian Heroes: Then and Now
Major Themes: Medical Missions, Missionaries
Synopsis: Klaus-Dieter John gets a vision for starting a hospital for the poorest of the poor in Peru, but will God bless his idea and give him enough resources to complete his dream?
One thing we’ve been discussing as a family just recently is the fact that Mom has, over us children’s lives, trained us to listen. And not just to people talking (and—ahem—join in the talking at times), but to stories. For her, when she hears a story going, she tends to tune it out. Contrast that to me and my brothers, who struggle at times to concentrate on anything else besides the story at times when it’s going! It has a lot to do with training, and she’s trained us to listen. Sometimes to the exclusion of all else. But hey, we can get through a lot more books this way, right?
Anyway, when I came across Klaus-Dieter John: Hope in the Land of the Incas in audio format, I was excited to have the chance to learn about a new missionary I’d never even heard of. Plus, I was able to get some sewing done while learning, which was doubly great!
Growing up at the end of the Second World War in Germany, Klaus-Dieter John’s home life was better than a lot of his friends. His father worked long hours in their family’s bakery, but the family loved each other and worked toward a better future together. Klaus-Dieter John decided that he wanted to become a medical doctor so he could help the poor in the world, and after enrolling in school he dived into his studies. Except for the times he was distracted by a pretty girl in his class, Martina. The two soon hit it off, although they came from slightly different upbringings—Klaus was a Baptist, and she was an atheist. However, they had one thing in common: A desire to serve the poor.
As time went on, Klaus grew to like Tina more and more, and soon he invited her to church. After a while, she became a Christian, and when the two were nearing graduation as medical doctors, they were required to do six weeks working in hospitals observing how other doctors do work, in order to put what they had learned into practice. Tina still had a strong desire to serve the poor, and she also wanted to do something as a missionary, so she decided to head to Africa. The political climate where she was headed was very unstable, so Klaus decided to accompany her—could the two young medical students get through their time safely? And how did they end up in Peru, building a hospital for the Quechua Indians there, many years later?
Stories about people pursuing their passions are always very inspirational for me. Klaus-Dieter John demonstrates that trait by his life, and although it took him years to get to finally do the things he’s doing now, I’m sure he’d say the long years of study and training paid off. It isn’t always easy to follow the Lord, or get your ideas for what to do from Him, and yet Klaus dedicated his time to doing what he felt like was his calling, and the Lord led. Through a series of miraculous circumstances, he was able to get the money needed and build a hospital in good time, and from the day of its opening he and the rest of the team have endeavored to put Jesus first in their work while they try to help heal people.
Although I sometimes struggled with keeping my interest up in the story (several parts just seemed to drag, for some reason), this is a very real, “living” book, and I feel privileged to have been able to hear Klaus and Tina’s stories. And perhaps, as many of the other Christian Heroes: Then and Now books have done, it’s made me want to reach out to those around me and share the good news—or go out on the mission field and do it there. This is a story that many would enjoy and learn from, and especially those interested in medical missions or South America.
WARNING: I can’t quite remember which chapter this was in (oh the joys of audiobooks!), but one place mentioned him performing a c-section, a man coming in who had blown four of his fingers off, and another man who shot himself in the wrist (not much more description beyond these words).
Read Aloud—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 13, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 12 – 15, 15 and Above, Adults