Only Paralyzed From the Neck Down
The Life and Ministry of Tom Brewster
by Dan Brewster
William Carey Library, California.
1997. 310 pp
Reviewed by Lois Farrow
When 18 year old Tom Brewster careened too fast down the new waterslide at a YMCA camp, his neck was broken. It seemed his father’s prayers that Tom would be a missionary in some foreign land were wasted. Tetraplegic and totally dependent, how could Tom have a meaningful future?
This inspirational book has the answer. Tom knew that God was in control of his life and he was thankful to be alive. He found comfort in Hannah Hurnard’s poem ‘In Acceptance Lieth Peace’. Instead of asking ‘Why me’, he daily and hourly chose to create meaning in his life by accepting God’s sovereignty.
Tom faced his recovery with characteristic gusto and determination. He became consumed with passion for the poor and for the lost. He determined to communicate God’s message of hope to a lost world, and empower others to do so effectively.
The Lord led Tom and his wife Betty Sue into an exhausting life of travel to over 80 countries. Through study and teaching with Fuller Seminary, Campus Crusade for Christ, Wycliffe and others, they pioneered new language learning techniques useful to missionaries and Bible Translators world wide.
Their programme, Language Acquisition Made Practical (LAMP), made language learning accessible to many who struggled with existing methods. ‘Learn a little and use it a lot’ was Tom’s mantra.
Tom died in 1985 having been paralyzed for 27 years, his legacy a transformed understanding of translation techniques. His life and remarkable attitude were a miracle of God’s amazing grace.
The author, Dan Brewster, knew his brother well. This biography combines careful research with personal knowledge and tells of an extraordinary life of acceptance and diligence, with far reaching results for God’s kingdom.
As Dan says “Tom’s mind and heart were never paralyzed, he was only paralyzed from the neck down.”