Jim Bloom’s A Tithe of Their Lives: The Story of Don & Alta Warren (Tate Publishing, 206 pp., $13.99, paper) is a breezily written, religiously infused look at Don Warren— a “lanky, trumpet-playing man with a cornball sense of humor”–and his wife Alta Warren, a “sweet magnolia blossom of a lady standing at his side.” Those are the words of author Jim Bloom, who served two tours of duty in as a helicopter repairman in Vietnam where he met the Warrens.
The deeply devout Southern California couple had chucked everything and moved to South Vietnam at the height of the American presence to minister to the Christian religious needs of American troops. They soon set up their Vung Tau Christian Home, where, as Bloom puts it, “many a lonely soldier found not only a touch of home, but the love of Jesus too.”
The couple—known to all as Mom and Pop—ministered only to the troops
at first. They later expanded their mission, though, building and operating a foster home for Amerasian children as well as a chapel where they spread the Christian gospel to Americans and Vietnamese. Mom and Pop Warren came home a few months before the communist takeover in 1975.
The book contains many reconstructed quotes—and a good dollop of evangelizing. Bloom ends the book, for example, by saying: “Mom and Pop met Jesus by coming to the cross and finding grace. The men who came to the home in Vung Tau had their lives changed as they came to the cross. You too can find forgiveness and grace by coming to the cross. Do it today!”