General Conference

Book Review: Canoes, Crocodiles, and Christ

The story of Haru Hariva, one of the early indigenous missionaries in Papua New Guinea, is extraordinary history that should not be lost.

Australia | Lea-Anne Smith

“Canoes, Crocodiles, and Christ: The Story of Haru Hariva” by David McClintock

One of the diabolical aspects of a successful cross-cultural missionary endeavor is that eventually, it does itself out of business. In the South Pacific Division, where Papua New Guinea has responded tremendously to the missionary efforts of yesteryear, there are fewer cross-cultural missionaries than ever before. As the last of the early Australian and New Zealand missionaries pass to their rest, the risk is that our younger generation may never know the amazing stories of God’s miraculous workings here in our own backyard.

This is why Dr. David McClintock’s new book, “Canoes, Crocodiles, and Christ” is such an important book. 

The story of Haru Hariva, one of the early indigenous missionaries in Papua New Guinea, is extraordinary history that should not be lost. Younger readers will find themselves enthralled by stories of adventure and courage, and of a God who shows up in miraculous ways to speed the gospel on its way. Whether it is being lost at sea, crocodile attacks, snake bites, dreams that foretell the future, or encounters with hungry cannibals, young readers will be left with a compelling conviction that God was and is at work. As they journey with Haru through the loss of his parents, the tragedy of a boat explosion, and the loss of a child, they will be confronted with Haru’s unwavering persistence, integrity and single mindedness.

Perhaps one of the most poignant stories in “Canoes, Crocodiles, and Christ” is of 10-year-old Zita leading out in a funeral service when her parents could not. Older readers will also enjoy hearing more about some of the early missionary families who have become legendary in the South Pacific. 

Appealing to both young and old, and with questions in the back of the book that lend themselves to great discussions, this book makes for a great worship experience for families who want to read and reflect on the stories together.

“Canoes, Crocodiles, and Christ” captures beautifully the desire that resides in every heart, regardless of culture, for hope and meaning. Most importantly it captures God’s love and the extraordinary lengths to which he goes to win the hearts and minds of those who do not know him. 

More than ever, we need to be reminded that God is active in this world and that he partners with us when we partner with him. Like Haru, we may never know until heaven the results of being faithful to the call God places on the human heart.

“Canoes, Crocodiles, and Christ: The Story of Haru Hariva” by David McClintock is available from Adventist bookstores in Australia and New Zealand, or online at the Adventist Book Centre website. <https://adventistbookcentre.com.au/canoes-crocodiles-and-christ.html>

This article was originally published on the website of Adventist Record.

arrow-bracket-rightCommentscontact