Tag Archives: Pleasant Word Publishing

Beyond the Rapids by Evelyn Puerto

Beyond the RapidsPuerto, Evelyn.  Beyond the Rapids – One Family’s Triumph Over Religious Persecution in Communist Ukraine.  Enumclaw: Pleasant Word Publishing, 2010.  330.  $19.99.  Purchase at Amazon in print or Kindle for much less.


Evelyn served as a missionary in Russia for seven years after leaving a health care planning career.  During that time, she traveled a number of times into the Ukraine where she met the Brynza family, about which this book is written.  You can learn more at the website, Beyond The Rapids.


From the website:

Spanning the years from the Great Terror of the 1930s to the time when believing in Christ is no longer a crime, this close-knit Ukrainian family quietly persisted through the years, trusting God for everything. The Brynzas’ children, forced to choose between God and the communist system, wrestled with temptations of ambition, popularity, love, and wealth. But God heard the faithful prayers of Alexei and Valentina, and the Brynza family was able to not only survive, but to thrive. Their son-in-law, Igor Yaremchuk, adds his own testimony of coming to Christ with the help of miracles and atheistic propaganda.

Also from the website, concerning the Brynzas:

Alexei Brynza served as a Baptist pastor in the Khortitsa Baptist Church near the city of Zaporozhe from 1975 to 1990. In 1975, he was named senior pastor for the Zaporozhe region, overseeing over 30 churches.

He and his wife, Valentina, had four children, Yakov, Viktor, Lena, and Veniamin. In spite of pressure from school government officials, they brought their children up in the church, even during the years it was illegal to do so.

Following the fall of the Soviet Union, Alexei Brynza was asked to be the first president of a new seminary to train Baptist and Evangelical Christian pastors and Christian education workers, to be located in Irpin, and suburb of Kiev. He served in that role from 1990 to 2008, resigning only a few months before his death. His son-in-law, Igor Yaremchuk, now serves as president of the Irpin Biblical Seminary.

All four of the Brynza children came to know Jesus as their savior. Beyond the Rapids tells of their struggles and triumphs, and how these faithful parents were able to defeat the efforts of the government to prevent them from passing on their faith to their children. All of Alexei and Valentina’s children are currently serving in ministry.


This works reads more like an interview of the Brynza family detailing the horrors of religious persecution.  The book opens with the grandfather being lead out to the firing line for being a Baptist and refusing to fight in the military.  In other words, this quick paced biography hits the ground in a dead sprint and rarely gives the reader a chance to relax.  What the reader quickly finds is that there is much more to this family’s faith than one would think.  Forged in trials and persecution, the Brynza family does not want to make there story about their family.  Rather they want their story to tell His story of grace and mercy even in times of trouble.

While this work is about a specific family from a specific country, the author, friends with the Brynza family, opens the eyes of the American reader to the reality of religious persecution in the world today.  If just one person becomes more aware of this reality of religious persecution and seeks to do something about it (prayer, missions, etc.) then the author and the publisher’s investment will have been far worth it.


I am sure there are some reviewers that might take to task some of the beliefs of the family, but that is not the point of this book.  You can read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs and remain unfazed by what he shares because it happened so long ago.  For those who do not believe that religious persecution takes place today, read Beyond the Rapids and you will see that we are more than fortunate (for a time, anyway) than most every other country.  I thoroughly enjoyed this biography and believe you will as well.

In Search of the Beginning by Dean Davis

Davis, Dean.  In Search of the Beginning: A Seeker’s Journey to the Origin of the Universe, Life, and Man.  Enumclaw: Pleasant Word Publishing, 2010.   396 pp.  $21.99.  Purchase at Amazon for $17.15.


Dean Davis has written another book entitled The Test that has been reviewed here.  Both of these works are in depth treatments of philosophical matters from a Christian apologetic nature.  Dean has served as a pastor, teaching elder, Sunday School director (with his wife, Linda), Christian bookstore manager, pro-life leader, and substitute school teacher. In recent years, he has worked as the Director of Come Let Us Reason, a Bible teaching ministry specializing in Worldview Studies and Apologetics. He and his wife, Linda, currently reside in Santa Rosa, California.


At near 400 pages, this work is not light reading.  It is divided into seven chapters and three appendices.  It helps that there are numerous subsections throughout.  The first chapter lays out the various interpretations of our understanding of the beginning of the universe.  Chapters two and three offer the Nauralist’s view on the Beginning.  Chapter two gives the position of naturalism from it’s own perspective while chapter three is a critique of the Naturalist view.

Chapter four looks at Pantheism (everything is God) with chapter five gets straight to the point of what Christ said and taught about the Beginning of the universe and all therein.  In looking at what Christ said and taught, Davis outlines the Biblical understanding of the beginning.  Chapter six gives the reader a real good look at the critiques of the Biblical understanding.  Chapter seven concludes the main body of the book with a discussion of what a biblical worldview of the Beginning means for you and me today.

The three appendices are also extremely helpful.  They include treatments on the unity of the Bible (very helpful), Old Testament Messianic Types (again, very helpful) and a discussion of New Testament references to Genesis 1-11 (very eye-opening).  The Bibliography will point you in a safe manner toward other resources to help further your knowledge on the essential doctrine.


I have grown to really enjoy Dean’s writing style.  While he is not “the big name” in apologetics, he offers very well-researched material mixed with well-reasoned and unbiased (insofar as any of us are able to be unbiased) critiques and the like.  He cites everything with great care and detail thus keeping himself accountable to the reader as well as the scientific community (important!).

He does not shy away from topics like evolution nor does he stand on a soap-box and crusade against those who adhere to these theories and philosophies.  Rather, he allows the material to speak for itself and in so doing he lets the proverbial chips fall where they will.

I do wish he would have included an index but completely understand the complexity of adding one to a work so large as this.  That being said, this work remains extremely accessible to the reader and will be one that engages all who have given thought to the beginning of the universe.


While there are many, many resources available on the subject of cosmology, I heartily recommend adding Dean Davis’ In Search of the Beginning to your library.  The end-notes and bibliography will help you to further your study and build your library so that you will be better equipped to handle these discussions…especially in the college classroom!


The Stories I Never Told You by John Rozema

Rozema, John.  The Stories I Never Told You: A Memoir.  Enumclaw: WinePress Publishing, 2010.  302 pp.  $19.99.  Purchase at Amazon (and on Kindle) for less.


John Rozema grew up in the Netherlands where he developed a love for the United States.  John moved to the USA in 1962.  He served in the military during the Vietnam War and now lives in Virginia with his wife.

The Stories I Never Told You is an autobiography (actually, a memoir) of John Rozema.  You see him in his youth as he deals with an abusive father and how his love for the United States was fostered through issues of Life magazine.  He winds up a soldier serving in the Vietnam War and his unbelievable (seriously, can anyone actually believe God would save them!) salvation experience.


As you read this memoir, you will find yourself saying”yes” and “I’ve been there” and “Praise the Lord!”  There will be so many pages in which you will relate to the life of John that you will sometimes wonder if he is not writing your life story.  John does a marvelous job of stripping away the veneer that we all too often use to cover our personal problems.  By the time you finish reading this book, you will feel as though you have known John all of his life.

In a very real way, his story tells itself and will be an encouragement to all who reads it.  At the very least (as with my own book), John has a wonderful record of what God has done in his life and how He has worked everything in John’s life to lead him to the cross as a broken sinner in need of a savior.  From 1977 until the present day John shares how his life has not been perfect, but God has been faithful.


If you every wonder if you are in this alone, then pick up a copy of Stories I Never Told You and quickly learn that you are not alone!  This book is recommended to anyone who wants to read about the “little-known” Christian whom God has used in a mighty way even if it does not make national headlines.  You will not regret reading this book.


A Carpenter’s View of the Bible by Charlie March

March, Charlie. A Carpenter’s View of the Bible. Enumclaw: Pleasant Word Publishing, 2010. 188 pp. $17.99.  Purchase at Amazon for $14.03 or the Kindle for $9.99.


Charlie March worked as a finish carpenter for 20 years while also serving in the local church as a Sunday School teacher. He has earned an MA in Biblical Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary as well as a PhD in Classics and Archaeology at Royal Holloway College, University of London. His time as a carpenter and Sunday School teacher has led to the writing of A Carpenter’s View of the Bible.


Divided into fourteen chapters, March approaches the Bible as a general contractor approaches a job site: beginning with the creation (design) of what is to be built and moving along until the job is finished and the last bit of material is swept and cleaned. Along the way, March offers a biblical theology of sorts from the perspective of one who builds and creates each day.

The basis of the book is the creative attribute of God that is shared by man. In other words, we have the ability to create because God has the ability to create. The difference being that God spoke and His words alone created. We, on the other hand, must use existing material to create. Nonetheless, March shows how we can and should glorify God with our creative minds.

Throughout the book, you will take a look at the importance of communication on the job sight through the lens of the story of the Tower of Babel and will glean a new understanding of walls in the story of Rahab the prostitute and the fall of Jericho. His chapter on the Tabernacle was most interesting and helped to bring to light some deep truths that are often overlooked.

In what I have artificially separated into a second section of the book, the chapter on a carpenter’s view of Jesus launches the reader into the New Testament. Here, we are treated to the parallels of Christ as a carpenter and his work as the savior…again, insight that until now, I had never noticed.

The book then concludes with chapters on the house church and heaven with the last word being about the importance of tying up loose ends on the jobsite.


I am sure some who would read A Carpenter’s View of the Bible would laugh and mock the author for stretching the Scriptures to say what he wants to say. I am not that person. Having been a construction worker myself, I found the insights presented by Charlie March to be refreshing and enjoyable. For example, I will never look at the story of Rahab the same again.

What is more, his insight into archaeological findings and studies proved to be extremely valuable in teaching the reader the importance of the carpenter’s view. Much understanding has been added to the way Jesus Christ lived his life before entering into the ministry. Since not much is said in the Bible concerning the first thirty years of his life, we must lean heavily on archaeological evidence and March does a wonderful job of weaving that information into the message while maintaining a Scipture alone approach to our understanding of what the Bible teaches.


I commend Charlie March’s creativity in writing this book. Even more, I commend him for staying true to the Word of God on every page.

If you are a carpenter, then you will most certainly want to pick up a copy of A Carpenter’s View of the Bible. In so doing, you will find that after reading it, you will begin to see the Bible from a totally different perspective. I also believe you will find that you will be more ready to share your faith with your fellow carpenters in a contextualize manner that does not strip away the meaning of the message. Even if you are not a carpenter, you will definitely find this book to be an interesting read.