Have you ever wondered what God’s plan could possibly be in a certain situation? Isobel Kuhn wondered that. She went through a period when she wasn’t sure there even was a God. She experienced heartbreak and despair when her marriage plans fell apart and she didn’t know what to do. In time, she put her trust in God and learned that He did indeed have a plan for her life.
Still, there were times His plan was not always clear. She knew He was calling her to be a missionary, but she didn’t have the funds to go for training. When He provided the funds, she got the education she needed and made plans to go to China, only to not be allowed to go due to unrest in the country. She worked in Vancouver until the doors to China opened. She and her husband served the Lisu people in China for many years until Mao Zedong and the Communist Party took control of the nation. Next they served the Lisu people in Thailand until a cancer diagnosis changed their plans once again.
The story of Isobel Kuhn (or Belle as she was often called) is one of the first Christian Heroes Then and Now books that I ever read by Janet and Geoff Benge and YWAM Publishing. Every time I consider the story, I’m reminded, as Isobel discovered, that no matter what plans man makes, God’s plans are the ones that triumph in the end.
There are countless ways you can go deeper with Isobel’s story and use it to study almost any subject.
The exotic setting of China gives many ways to bring science to life.
- Lisu homes had woven bamboo walls. The floors were made of woven bamboo and wooden slats. Where and how does bamboo grow? What makes it a good building material? What are some of the other things bamboo is used for?
- Isobel and her husband John started something they named the Rainy Season Bible School that took advantage of the time of year when it was too wet to do any work in the fields. You’ve probably studied the water cycle in science before, so you know why it rains. But what causes an entire season to be wetter than others? Do some digging to find out and then write a short essay on it or create a presentation that you can use to explain it to someone else.
Belle prayed for God to make Himself known to her by giving her peace. Memorize John 14:27 as you work on the copywork in your free printable pack and think about the peace Jesus gives those who love Him.
When Belle first arrived in the land of the Lisu, she did not know any of their language. Learning a new language and translating the Bible into another language are challenges missionaries face all of the time. Think of at least ten words you use that would not make sense to someone living in a village on the other side of the world. Create ways to explain to that person what those words mean. For example, how would you explain what a car is to someone who has never seen one before? Remember that they may not have electricity, computers, microwaves, or even a grocery store.
When Belle’s ship first reached China, it entered the mouth of the Yangtze River. Trace the path of the Yangtze River on a map. Does it pass near or through any major cities? How long is it? What provinces and municipalities of China does it pass through?
The first step of Belle’s journey to the Lisu people was to move from Shanghai to Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province. Locate the two cities on a map. What is the distance between them?
China is a HUGE country! But just how big is it? Use your math and map skills to answer the following questions:
- How many miles is it from your hometown to Shanghai?
- What is the area of China? How does it compare with the area of the country you live in? Is it larger or smaller? By what percent is it different?
- How many people live in China? How many people live in Shanghai? How many of your hometowns would fit inside the population of Shanghai? What about inside all of China?
Arts and Crafts
Belle and her husband spent years explaining to the Lisu people who Jesus is. We know that Jesus is the Light of the world. Make a Chinese lantern today and hang it where it will remind you to pray for the Lisu people and all the people of China.
Enjoy listening to some Christian Chinese worship music.
Food Across Culture
Belle found much of the food that the rural people in China ate difficult to stomach, including boiled pig fat and bean curd with rice. She later discovered the markets also sold tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, onions, and cabbage. Do some culinary research and see what recipes you can make that use mostly the ingredients listed above (you may skip the boiled pig fat and bean curd if you prefer!).
The land of China is rich in history. There are many ways you can learn more about the nation and its people.
- Learn more about the Lisu people at JoshuaProject.net.
- Play the Landmarks of China Matching Game in your free printable.
- Build a timeline of Chinese history with your free printable.
- See if you can unscramble the names of ten of China’s dynasties in the Scrambled Dynasties puzzle in your free printable.
As you read the story of Isobel Kuhn, make a chart of the good character traits she showed and the wrong character traits she showed (the unpleasant ones Ruth Paxon had warned her about). Beside each, write a Bible reference that talks about the trait.
Download the Isobel Kuhn Unit Study Printables
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For a limited time, you can also download a free sixteen-week study of Asia: Its People and History.
Download the Isobel Kuhn Study
Bonnie Rose Hudson works as the Executive Editor of SchoolhouseTeachers.com, the curriculum site of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine®. Her heart’s desire is for every child to feel the love of God and know how special they are to Him. She would love for you to stop by her author’s blog WriteBonnieRose.com for resources to help teach your children about missions and the persecuted Church, free history and writing printables, and to discover how you can write for the homeschool market. You can also find her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.