Home of Wheaton Bible Church's Quarterly Magazine
From Jessica Johnson, who teaches at the International Christian School of Vienna
“Good afternoon, students! Please take out your Bibles, and open to Genesis 1.” After stating this request, I received three blank stares. The students understood exactly what I said, but they did not know what I meant. I soon realized that three of my students had never opened a Bible before. I quickly explained how to read the Bible and what books, chapters, and verses were.
One curious student began to flip through the Bible and look at the pictures. He ended up turning to the page that had a picture of Jesus on the cross. I soon saw my student squirm in his seat and put his hands over his eyes. He then turned, looked at me, and asked in a soft voice, “Teacher, why?”
This was a wonderful opportunity to share with this student the beauty of the Cross and of Jesus Christ. On my train ride home I began to think of the thousands of times I have seen a picture of Jesus on the cross and have never responded in the way this student did. I love how God uses the little children to teach me such powerful lessons and truth.
From Cesar and Grace Cubas, who work in Lima, Peru, with South America Mission.
A few days ago a faithful believer gave me an update on her six-year-old grandson. We had been praying because he demonstrated numerous problems with spiritual roots. She told me how he had changed. Here is her story.
When she started praying for her grandson, she realized that she should also be praying with him. So every morning before school they prayed together. One day she told him about how Jesus is the bridge to get to God. They prayed together, and the grandson asked Jesus to forgive his sins and be his forever friend.
A few days later they were watching a TV quiz program with big prize money. He said, “I want to be on that program to win a lot of money so I can pay back all the money I stole. You know, I don’t steal anymore.”
The angels in heaven are rejoicing. A six-year-old sinner is forgiven. A young life has been changed and is changing. This grandmother for the first time brought someone else to Jesus. God is good!
From Duane and Cheri Birkey, serving with HCJB Global headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado
A university professor in North Africa began listening to a radio station on his satellite TV. He was drawn to the Christian messages of hope and love and wanted to find out more.
He wrote down the contact phone number and email address given during the broadcast, but because the professor was a high-profile member in his society, he was afraid his communications would be monitored. So he kept listening—year after year, for six years—until this past summer, when, in desperation, he devised a plan.
He was so hungry to know more about Christianity that he spent a great deal of money and invited his entire family for a vacation in Europe. His real purpose was to have the freedom to call the radio station. So, while there, he made several phone calls and talked to the producer of the Arabic-language programs (produced by local believers in partnership with HCJB Global). And the professor prayed to accept Christ’s offer of salvation.
As he returned home, he was not yet ready to let the authorities discover he had become a believer. So he kept listening to the radio programs in secret and growing in his faith.
Recently we made an upgrade to our communications system that allows listeners to contact the radio producer via Skype.
This new believer was so hungry to know more about growing as a Christ follower that he overcame his fear of being found out and now regularly contacts our radio programmer, who is discipling him.
Can you imagine being that hungry to know Christ? Praise God that His powerful Word is transforming lives in many countries of North Africa!
From Neil and Jenni, who serve with GEM in Europe
Last month, after more than an hour of explaining the Gospel message to a group of Iranian and Afghan men, I challenged them, asking who wanted to raise his hand in front of his unbelieving Muslim peers and pray with me to trust in Christ. Four men responded—knowing the cost in terms of potential beating or harassment from those around them who were not willing or ready to take a stand for Jesus.
One new believer said, “Here, I am sleeping on the streets. While at home [in Iran], I had money to live, but now I am more happy that I have peace since I heard about Jesus.”
From Ryan and Kelly Skinner, who are based in Panama with Operation Mobilization
“Excuse me, Ryan. Would you mind talking with this woman? She’s interested in learning more about God.”
I was in Germany with Albin, my Operation Mobilization team-mate from Panama, helping serve at OM’s annual “TeenStreet” youth conference for Christian teens across Europe.
Daksha (not her real name), a young woman from India who spoke excellent English, had wandered through the Offenburg city square, where she “randomly” encountered our group during a day of evangelistic outreach. Although she had lived in Germany for two years, she knew little of the German language and was eager to talk with other English speakers when she stumbled across our outdoor “chat room.”
As I began to explain the story of Jesus to her and came to the part about His unique birth, she interjected, “Oh, that must have been what I saw when I attended a Christmas service last year!” Some of her husband’s German colleagues had invited them to a church program that included a Nativity pageant with children reenacting the Christmas story. Although she hadn’t understood what was spoken in that service, she apparently had remembered it.
She listened intently as I described the perfect sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf, dying on the cross so that we could have our sins forgiven by God. Continuing, I said, “But God then raised Jesus up from the dead three days later.”
Astonished, she looked at me as if she couldn’t believe it. “You mean that Jesus is no longer dead?” she asked, wide-eyed.
“Yes,” I continued, blinking back the tears forming in the corner of my eyes as I thought that just today, for the first time in Daksha’s life, she was hearing the good news of the Gospel.
A thought struck me as I continued sharing about the opportunity God gives each one of us to be in a personal relationship with him through Jesus Christ: How amazing God is to have orchestrated this “chance” encounter—a Christian from America, who lives in Panama, travels to Germany, where he encounters a woman from India who lives in Germany and wants to know more about God.
May God continue to put Christians in this woman’s path—whether they are German coworkers, or missionaries visiting from the other side of the world—to sow Gospel seeds in her life until the Gospel takes root in her heart.
“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” 1 Corinthians 3:6–7
“We not only see the complete faithfulness of God in this but also are reminded that the real blessing of receiving is the giving again.”
By Judy Frey, a clinical psychologist who with SIM in Kenya, East Africa
Today’s story is brought to you by the Kijabe Hospital’s Palliative Care team. The day went like this. Go to home visit . . . at end of visit, family insis ts team take a 25kg bag of maize . . . put it in the car. Next visit . . . family insists team carry several cabbages home . . . placed in car. Next visit . . . family insists team take 5kg of carrots. Team is confused about why the food gifts. Next visit . . . find family who had not eaten for three days because they had no food. Food taken from car and delivered. All the other people in this chain became the hands and feet of Jesus, blessing the family who had nothing. How gracious and loving is our Lord. He had it all planned and cared for.
We not only see the complete faithfulness of God in this but also are reminded that the real blessing of receiving is the giving again.
Later, Judy elaborated on her comments about that unusual day. “At the end of the third visit, the precious nurse and social worker were, with joyous tears, asking God what He had in mind with these amazingly generous and persistent donations. When we arrived at the last home visit and discovered the intense need for food, complete silence fell over us. Without a word, they moved to the car and, in humble joy, laid the gifts of food at the feet of the residents of that home.
“We were in total awe at the chain of provision our Father had created that day. We entered the hospital vehicle for the long and bumpy ride home with a profound awareness that without God showing up just in time, this entire family would likely have died of starvation—and in awe that our Heavenly Father, once again, allowed us to be used by Him to pour out His love and provision to others.”