Person of Faith

Louis Zamperini

World War II Veteran, Olympian, and POW whose incredible survival story testifies to God’s strong hand at work in his life.

Louis Zamperini
Meet
Louis Zamperini

Often when people look at Louis Zamperini’s life, they don’t come away with the impression he wishes they would have. You will find few stories as action packed and riveting as Louis’. His resilience and high pain tolerance often captivates and leaves a lasting impression on his audience. But in truth, one defining moment captivated him, and interprets the many years of his unfathomable endurance in suffering. That moment was when Louis encountered Jesus at a Billy Graham crusade and afterward, opened the Bible.   

Louis lived many lives, as some say—as a delinquent youth, an Olympic athlete, a young soldier, a POW, a war hero welcomed home, a husband suffering PTSD, and then as an entirely new man, and the joy-filled man that lived out the rest of his long life.  

The Bible says that nothing in all creation, not even the worst suffering imaginable, can separate us from the love of God that is in Jesus Christ (Romans 8:38-39). Louis is living proof of this verse. It seemed all hell was unleashed against him, and yet all the while God’s strong hand was preserving this man’s life so that he might come to know Christ.

Testimony
FEATURED FILM
Captured by Grace
by The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association | 30 Minutes
“Conversion is a miracle, understanding the Scriptures is a miracle, because that’s proof that the Spirit of God came into your heart.”—Louis Zamperini
Hear Louis Zamperini tell his miraculous story in his own words, filling in some of the details of the incredible transformation God worked in his life that we miss in the popular telling of his story.
Quote

What Happened When Louis Met Jesus

I waited. And then, true to his promise, he came into my heart and my life (Revelation 3:20). The moment was more than remarkable; it was the most realistic experience I'd ever had. I'm not sure what I expected; perhaps my life or my sins or a great white light would flash before my eyes; perhaps I'd feel a shock like being hit by a bolt of lightning. Instead, I felt no tremendous sensation, just a weightlessness and an enveloping calm that let me know that Christ had come into my heart.

by Louis Zamperini
Verse
2 Samuel 22:5-6, 17-20 NIV

The waves of death swirled about me; 
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. 
The cords of the grave coiled around me; 
the snares of death confronted me 
He reached down from on high and took hold of me; 
    he drew me out of deep waters. 
He rescued me from my powerful enemy, 
    from my foes, who were too strong for me. 
They confronted me in the day of my disaster, 
    but the Lord was my support. 
He brought me out into a spacious place; 
    he rescued me because he delighted in me. 

Verse
John 10:27-29 NIV

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 

Article: 7 Min

Broken: The Power of Conversion
in Louis Zamperini’s Life

Popular media has misrepresented the monumental change that took place in Louis Zamperini's life. But his survival transformation only make sense in light of his conversion to Christ. 

by Ivan Mesa at The Gospel Coalition

Quote

What resonated
with him now was not
all that he had suffered
but the divine love
that he believed
had intervened
to save him.

Quote

Louis Zamperini's Conversion and the Parable of the Sower

The Bible speaks of the Word of God as added. Sometimes it's planted by the wayside, and nothing grows there. Sometimes it's sown among the thorns and represents the person who makes the decision and then goes back to his old life of bars and chasing women or whatever. A third seed is sown among the rocks. There's sand and dirt between the rocks, and when it rains you'll see a stalk of green coming up. But on the first day with sunshine it wilts because there is no room for roots. The fourth seed is planted on fertile soil, and finally it takes hold and has a chance to grow and live. That's what happened to me. 

by Louis Zamperini
Challenges
Quote

At that moment,
something shifted
sweetly inside him.
It was forgiveness,
beautiful and effortless
and complete.
For Louis Zamperini,
the war was over.

Laura Hillenbrand
Verse
Romans 12:19 ESV

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

Image

Forgive
as the Lord
forgave
you
.

Colossians 3:13 NIV
Article: 8 Min

Before You Watch the Movie Unbroken

This article is a must-read on the life of Louis Zamperini. It tells us the most important part of Louis’ story that the popular movie leaves out.

by Marshall Segal at Desiring God

Quote

The one who forgives
never brings up
the past to
that person's face.
When you forgive,
it's like it never happened.
True forgiveness is
complete and total.

Louis Zamperini
Messages
Messages: 52 Min

Louis Zamperini Interview

by Pastor Greg Laurie and Louis Zamperini

Books
FEATURED FILM
Unbroken: Path to Redemption
by Universal Pictures | 1 Hour 38 Minutes | PG-13
When the war ended, his battle began. Based on the bestselling book, this movie begins where the hit movie Unbroken concludes, sharing the next amazing chapter of the unbelievable true story of Olympian and World War II hero Louis Zamperini. It’s in this chapter that we witness the climax and defining moment of Louis’ life—when he meets Jesus Christ, and experiences and extends the power of forgiveness.
Books