It was 1960, in a cold hospital room, northern Indiana. A seventeen year old young man looked down at the end of his bed . Where there had been two legs now only one and on the left side the sheet layed flat.
Von Saum had been hit, head on by a car, while riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle. Depression and thoughts of suicide swept over him like waves of desperation. “How will I ever work a job or find a wife as an amputee ?” he thought. Not only had he lost his leg, above the knee, but also his left arm, just above the elbow. As he laid in his bed he began to remember a Sunday school, in a little Methodist church, where he had been taught of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit began to draw him back and bring the possibility of a new hope. Von prayed, “forgive me just one more time and I will give you the rest of my life”.
He asked for “one more time” because ever since he had been riding with the gang of bikers he would come home late at night and find his mother kneeling beside her bed praying for his soul. To get to sleep each night he would ask the Lord to forgive him but the next morning go right back into the same lifestyle of rebellion. This time was different he had to make a change or live a hopeless life in a wheelchair. God began to raise him up. The depression left. Von was fitted with a wooden leg and a prosthetic arm.
After feeling the call to ministry he enrolled in bible college and bought a car to make the trip to Houston,Texas. There he met his wife, Pamela. They began to travel as children’s evangelists. A preacher
encouraged Von to use his disability as an advantage. Why not have a hook made to fit and call yourself a Christian pirate! Captain Hook began a 25 year “voyage” preaching and winning millions of children and adults to the saving knowledge of Christ.
For years Captain Hook and “his crew” toured and lived in a travel trailor. They would hold week long children’s crusades. Closing out on Sunday morning they would travel to the next church and start, that night, for another week of meetings. On the road 100,000 miles a year they experienced engines catching fire, their trailor burnt to the ground in a church parking lot and multiple blown tires on the interstates. Sometimes they were paid in groceries. Once a pastor handed them a bag of change for an offering (after 5 days of ministry)!
Lester Sumrall contacted “the Captain” and asked him to produce a live television show for children in Indiana. Sumrall showed the Captain a video tape machine. It was the first they had ever seen. He said,” This is how Christian families will watch television some day because media will become so corrupt”. In 1972 “Pirate Adventures With Captain Hook” was first aired on WHMB-TV Indianapolis.
The show had a distinct salvation message. It was aired on 5 satellite networks and in a number of foreign countries. Many notable guests were featured such as Willie George, Mike Adkins and “Uncle Sam”. In the mid-eighties Captain Hook produced a nationwide satellite VBS which was aired in hundreds of churches simultaneously.
After 25 years of children’s evangelism Captain Hook passed away on Dec. 7th, 1993 of heart failure. He was 50 years of age. He is survived by his wife and three children who are all in children’s ministry today. “Pirate Adventures With Captain Hook” is still being broadcast in some markets.