Ernie Bowman

Legend of the Wapa

Paperback, Three Ebook Formats
(3 customer reviews)

(Jungle Missionary Series – Book 1)

by Ernie Bowman

120 pages|||||Print: $7.50 $8.99 |||||Ebook $4.49 $5.50
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Legend of the Wapa, by Ernie Bowman
Jungle Missionary Series – Book 1 (Cruciform Fiction)

“The story drew me in and I read with anticipation, then with reflection, laughter, and tears. I started reading and couldn’t put the book down…a masterful job. I look forward to the next in the series!”
–Dr. Marty Marriott, President, Maranatha Baptist University

God bless the outposts, the first heralds of mercy, and everywhere may the Lord’s kingdom come and His name be glorified! –Charles Spurgeon

Consider the call…from round about: “Come over and help us!” And even the call from the damned souls below: “Send Lazarus to my brothers that they come not to this place!” Impelled, then, by these voices, I dare not stay home. –Jim Elliott

Ian and Rachael Allen live deep in the jungle as pioneer missionaries to the unreached Kilo tribe, who have no knowledge of the true God. They and their team want to change that by translating the Bible into the Kilo language, so the tribe can learn about the Savior who can rescue them from spiritual darkness. But first they’ll have to survive life in the jungle.

An exciting discovery has the tribe convinced that a mythical creature has returned and must be hunted down to protect their village. When the hunt takes a dark turn, the missionaries are faced with life-and-death choices they never thought they would have to make.

The stakes are high in Legend of the Wapa—the first in a series from the world of jungle missions.


Ernie BowmanErnie Bowman is the Associate Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Also a part-time Bible teacher and writer, he blogs regularly at about living for Jesus, church life, books, and education. This is his first novel.


“This book will thrill the hearts of those who like a good fictional story, but it also will inspire them toward more support and participation in the real-life adventure of world missions.”
–Dr. Harry L. Reeder, III, Sr. Pastor, Briarwood Presbyterian Church

“I am a missionary today because a storyteller captured my imagination and made me think Hey, maybe I could be a missionary too! Ernie is a missions-motivating storyteller for a new generation. His book is full of rich details of the realities of modern missionary life, and it’s chock-full of ‘me too!’ moments. He portrays the everyday realities of missionary life in least-reached places. This humorous, engaging story will lead readers to consider their role in reaching the world with the gospel message.”
—Elizabeth McAdams, Student Ministries/Camp Missionary

“I started reading and couldn’t put the book down…a masterful job!

“As one who seldom reads fiction, I was both entertained and challenged by Ernie’s Bowman’s Legend of the Wapa. Written in an engaging style, the story drew me in, and I read with anticipation. Although fiction, Brother Bowman’s story is seasoned with real-life missionary experience, preparation, and ministry.

Legend of the Wapa will be formative for adults and children alike. I recommend this as an excellent read-aloud to children and grandchildren. I’m sure you’ll find yourself, along with me, moved to reflection, laughter, and tears, all in the space of less than a hundred pages. I started reading and couldn’t put the book down…a masterful job. I look forward to the next in the series—may the Lord use this for his glory!”
–Dr. Marty Marriott, President, Maranatha Baptist University

“”The next generation of missionaries are right now in their formative years. The books they read and the stories that they hear from missionaries will bend their hearts to the mission fields of the world. Legend of the Wapa is one of the books that should be on the book shelf of those who are the potential missionaries of tomorrow.”
–Paul Seger, General Director, Biblical Ministries Worldwide

” A good teacher knows that a story will stick with his students longer than a straight lecture. Much longer—maybe even a lifetime. Ernie Bowman is a good teacher, and The Legend of the Wapa is a good story. It’s an adventure story, a mystery story, and you might even say the story is a romance; after all, what is more powerful than love—love, not of self, but love of a Being who has revealed Himself as worthy of worship, or love of neighbor that moves us to venture across cultural lines, or the love of Christ that compels us to live our one brief life for something bigger than ourselves. The Legend of the Wapa is a thoughtful telling of how zeal builds in Ian Allen’s life, and how he, an ordinary American, is willing to go and intertwine his life with the lives of people in a small village in the jungle. Ian and his wife become rich in ways that matter, and find themselves in the middle of a once-in-a-lifetime event that only the elders in the tribe have heard about. You’ll find yourself turning pages to solve the mystery and finish the adventure, but you might also be surprised that Ian’s life appeals to something deep inside of you, something that you’ve maybe never fully identified, but is as real as the water in the ocean.”
—Paul Gardner, Director, Camp Barakel


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Weight7 oz
Dimensions5.25 × 8 in
Imprint or Series

Cruciform Fiction


Print/PDF 978-1-949253-09-2
Mobipocket 978-1-949253-10-8
ePub 978-1-949253-11-5

US List Price

5.50 Ebook, 8.99 Print


120 pages


Paperback, Three Ebook Formats

Author by last name

3 reviews for Legend of the Wapa

  1. John Kitchen

    Ernie Bowman has seized on a brilliant bit of strategy—harnessing the power of fiction to capture the minds of the young (and some of us not-so-young) for the gospel of Jesus Christ and its advance to every tribe, language, people and nation of the earth. This tale of Ian Allen’s adventures as a tribal/jungle missionary is both captivating and fun. The pages turn and time slips by. You’ll be drawn in, but as you are God will be gently laying a very real-world burden upon your heart—what of those who are yet to know the hope of Christ? I’m going right now to purchase a quantity of Legend of the Wapa and distribute them to the young people of our church. What might be the eternal effect be if we all did something similar?

  2. Josiah Boyd

    In Legend of the Wapa, Ernie Bowman has successfully and simultaneously accomplished several admirable and beneficial feats for his readers.

    First, he has told a good story. And who doesn’t like that? In this short novel there is tension, love, awkwardness, danger, suspense, and joy. The author skillfully persuades the reader to quickly care for the Kilo people (an unreached people group living on the border of Venezuela and Brazil), root for the missionary couple, and celebrate the growing relationship between the two. This is a story to be told around a campfire, at the dinner table, or over coffee with friends.

    Second, he has given realistic insights into life as a Christian missionary. For those who have never served in long-term missionary work—that is, most of us—there is much we could never know. Bowman invites us to understand a little more than we would otherwise. His descriptions of spear fishing, meal preparing, language learning, supply waiting, and relationship building are all skillfully interwoven into the overarching tale without being a distraction to the narrative.

    Third, he has provided a certain humanization for the Christian missionary. There are multiple times throughout the story that the main character (also the narrator), through his introspective style of communicating, gives readers insight into the normality of his character. He struggles with worry, is annoyed by inconveniences, is heartbroken over personal matters, and is in love with his wife. At one point in the book the narrator wonders to himself that if his supporters back home knew how “real” he really was, perhaps they would pray for him and his wife more often.

    May that be true for all who read this book; may we understand that missionaries are not a “super-class” of Christian and, just as the Apostle Paul needed prayer from the saints (Eph. 6:19–20), so may we be reminded to regularly lift the missionaries with whom we are familiar.

  3. Marian Jacobs

    In Legend of the Wapa, the Allens are a missionary couple living deep in the jungle with the Kilo tribe. Ian and Rachael have dedicated their lives to learning the language of this small people group in order to translate the word of God. Life is ripe with the humor of a huge cultural and linguistic clash between a tribal people and a modern American family. When strange droppings are found in the jungle, the Kilo are convinced they belong to a mythical creature called the Wapa. But the unsuccessful hunt for the animal leaves the life of one of the Kilo resting on Ian and his meager medical supplies.

    I’ve never read missionary fiction before, but I will definitely do it again. The life of a Bible translator is nothing to scoff at as the Allens can attest to. Their days are filled with adventure, humor, embarrassment as they learn the culture, and education coming from both sides. I found myself frequently laughing aloud at the absurdity of many of the situations they found themselves in as modern Americans in a rural, tribal setting. I don’t know anything about the author, Ernie Bowman, but he left the impression that he’d either been in this situation himself or he intimately knew of someone who had. The detail and bits of information only a tribal missionary would know were frequent and amazing to read.

    Legend of the Wapa was hilarious, adventurous, and made me want to go tromping off into the jungle to make some Kilo friends of my own. I especially loved the emphasis the author placed on the faults of the missionaries—that they were not superhuman saints for doing what they did. They are like us. Sinners like us who happen to live in the middle of the jungle.

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