I was very excited today to get our new book, The Fun Train, back from the printer. This book is a parable about life and eternity, and it's purpose is to make people stop and think about where they are going. I came up with the idea for this story several years ago while soulwinning along a railroad track. I asked one of the men in our church to draw some pictures to go with it, and his 30 black and white drawings made the story come alive. Normally our tracts have lots of words and few pictures. This parable has lots of pictures and few words. Our church people are really excited about giving it to their friends and relatives, because they think the story and the accompanying pictures will catch their attention. Many Cambodians do not have a very high level of education, so we feel it is important to utilize the method that they will most readily understand.
I would like to especially thank three people who worked many hours to make this book possible.
1. Kang is a good man in our church who also happens to be an artist. I led him to Christ about 8 years ago, and he has certainly used his artistic talents for the Lord.
2. Karona is a woman my wife and I led to Christ about 7 years ago. She did the initial translation of this story and then we worked together to get the translation fine tuned. She is a constant blessing in our church with her desire to serve the Lord.
3. Adam Wood is a fellow missionary here in Cambodia. He has the computer skills that I lack, and I appreciate his willingness to jump on board and do all the typesetting and layout for this project.
In a faraway city, there is a train station which has two trains departing every single day. Both trains take their riders on a one-way trip, and nobody ever returns. The Fun Train is a crowd pleaser. Big groups of people crowd around it every day and clamor to get a seat. It's a fun ride. No rules. Literally anything goes, and they even have separate cars reserved for every possible vice that one could imagine. The other train is much plainer. It has fewer riders and the train goes down a track that is remarkably straight. In fact, the townspeople mockingly call it The Straight Train.
A man stands daily in front of the train station holding a piece of paper in his hand and warning people not to ride The Fun Train. He claims the paper is a letter that the owner of the entire railroad line sent to their town warning people not to ride The Fun Train. He says according to the letter The Fun Train is doomed before it even leaves the station. Most people think he is crazy and snicker at him as they hasten to board The Fun Train.
The story then follows a boy named Jimmy who is struggling with who he believes: his friends who are insisting that The Fun Train is the right choice for him, or the man with the letter who is encouraging people to board The Straight Train. He makes his choice to board The Straight Train, and the rest of the story is following the progress of the two trains. The Fun Train is indeed lots of fun...until one day when it rounds a bend to find (too late) that a bridge which once traversed a deep canyon has long since been broken beyond repair. The Straight Train just goes straight and steady all the way to a beautiful city. Contrary to the opinion of the riders of The Fun Train who spend lots of time at the window laughing and mocking them, the riders of The Straight Train are not bored or feeling as if they "are missing out". In fact, during their journey they grow closer together, like a family, united around two common causes: 1. Their faith in the words that were written in the letter from the owner of the railway, and 2. Their concern for their friends, neighbors, and loved ones who are riding The Fun Train but are quickly and unwittingly approaching doomsday.
|The front cover|
|The back cover|
Besides the obvious parallels in this allegory, there are more subtle parallels woven throughout the story involving the fact that salvation is free, Christ never refuses to save a person, Christians need to help get people to Jesus, and other important truths. All in all, I believe it is something which will provoke much thought in many lost people with regards to where the road they are currently traveling will ultimately lead them, and I also believe there are convicting parts for the Christian reader as well.
Several people have already asked about translating this story into other languages. We would certainly be excited to see this book used in any way that God would see fit. Please contact me if you are interested in using it. I pray God will use this story to win many to Christ in the coming years.