This entry is from Facebook in 2012.
Went to see Les Miserables. First heard the story of Jean Val Jean when I was in fourth grade Jr. Church with Mr. Wilson. Have loved the story ever since. The stage version was super and the movie is fantastic! Only want to see it 4 or 5 more times before I own a copy!
Looking back today got me thinking about Jr. Church….. Mr. Wilson was fantastic! Jr. Church had several formats and rotated between them. Some Sundays we saw a movie based on some biblical story or character. Some Sundays we just sang lots of songs. My favorite was when Mr. Wilson would tell us a book. Now this was not a book report and he did not read the book to us. He would literally ‘tell’ us the book with lots of details and he would act out certain scenes. I will always remember his acting out the scene in Les Miserables when Jean Val Jean returns with the police to the home of the Bishop with the ‘stolen’ silver and is given the candlesticks. He also added information such as discussions about customs and items mentioned that would not make sense to us. sometimes he included interesting demonstrations like how to make fishing nets, form pottery and even dye cloth!
The youngest kids were in 4th grade and the oldest in 6th. The books he told us were not children’s books! They included Les Miserables, The Robe, The Silver Chalice, Ben-Hur, The Big Fisherman, Three Arrows and many, many others. I always looked for the book and read it after he told us the book. These became my favorites and I’ve read them many times. I also came to love and look for other books by the same author. I remember reading Green Light in later years which is by Lloyd C. Douglas who wrote The Robe and The Big Fisherman.
Mr. Wilson told us books with a christian theme but in many cases it was not obvious – Three Arrows is one of these later. Three Arrows was the story of an indian boy who was born with a club foot. Much of the story revolves around the interaction between this boy and the other boys who tease him. He has a dream that he will surpass the others. This aspect of the story is compared with Joseph who became pharaoh. I won’t tell how the story came out! Sometimes the comparison was part of the book but sometimes Mr. Wilson made the comparison.
Sometimes I could not find the book in our family library or in the Seattle Library. I’d then ask and Mr. Wilson would loan me his copy. He saw my love of the books, not just his telling of the story, and would discuss them with me later. This interaction with an adult on a mature basis increased my confidence in myself and further increased my love of books.
After I graduated out of junior church I would sometimes skip my Sunday School class and sit in the back of junior church, especially if he was telling one of my favorite books.