Ken and Maryanne Stacey* are a couple of volunteers who live in an area with a high volume of internationals who desire to learn English. They are often in contact with a mostly male population from the 10/40 Window of Asia.
For the last 12 years, the couple has been effective by simply befriending the internationals who came to study English. Maryanne said, “We do what we as believers would consider to be normal kindnesses and then let them see the love we have for them. [They often] start to wonder why we love them when there is no ‘payback’ for us. All through this process we are open about our faith in Jesus, and we are looking for open doors to conversation about him.”
And often those doors do open. Maryanne says that when that happens, she and Ken gladly share the good news of the gospel with their “sons.” But it’s not necessarily a simple matter to do so. Many of those they interact with come from cultures very hostile to the gospel. For them to be seen with a Bible or any Christian literature could invite persecution.
So the Staceys have discovered that quietly passing Christian materials to these men via thumb drives is very effective. The couple is even careful to use a flash drive that looks discreet, so as to not draw unnecessary attention to their method of relaying the materials. In this way, they have passed on Bibles, Christian teaching, and more recently, All that the Prophets have Spoken, GoodSeed’s tool written specifically to those from an Islamic cultural background.
When Barry* called the GoodSeed office to order resources, he asked if he could pop in for a visit. “I want to share with you what I’ve been doing since the TERM Seminar,” he said.
A short time later, he dropped by at lunch time. He had driven for over two hours but was eager to tell his story. Barry was a busy businessman but with a big heart for evangelism. He had been looking for a simple way to share the gospel but struggled to find the time to train himself to be an effective teacher. But after attending TERM, he realized that the Dynamic Leading-Reading-Modelling method that had been taught was something he could do.
“The first impact [of the seminar] was how it helped me. I’ve been a Christian for many years but never seen it put together like this. The whole concept of atonement, the tabernacle, Adam and Eve, the covering, all coming together is remarkable,” Barry shared with the GoodSeed staff around the lunch table.
He went on to say that, as he sat through the three days of TERM, his level of enthusiasm grew. He saw how easy it was to lead a group with the leader’s guide and after the seminar wrapped up, he asked to buy the curriculum.
Unfortunately at that time, the By This Name leader’s guide had not yet gone to press. So he waited. And waited. In the meantime, he bought copies of By This Name to give to others. When his first case of books arrived at his doorstep, he pulled them out of the box and started handing them out. He ran out before long. When he called to order more books, it happened that our proof copy of the By This Name leader’s guide had just arrived that day. When he learned that there was a physical copy in the office he asked, “Can I buy that one?”
Our office staff sold him the one copy we had. When he received it, Barry wasted no time in organizing groups to teach.
Our translation teams have worked on these two books for a number of years. Though there were challenges and occasions when the work had to halt, we’re thankful they are now ready to be used in discipleship and evangelism.
Additionally, these other translations are now completed:
GoodSeed resources are created with two key purposes in mind: to build strong faith foundations for believers and to explain the gospel in a clear and objective way for unbelievers. Over the years, as our books, DVDs and audiobooks have gone around the world, we have had the privilege of hearing people come to faith or having their faith grow as a result of studying one of our resources.
Moreover, people in churches, mission organizations and other ministries have taken the time to share their insights, advice and feedback on how they’ve used our tools in their areas of ministry. We pooled their best advice into a series of how-to articles to help other believers. The variety of ways people have used our tools astonishes us. GoodSeed resources have been used in counselling, in prison ministries, in reaching international students, in discipling people in the church, to training youths for mission trips and more.
We want to highlight the five most-read how-to articles.
How to train your church (Strategies on how to disciple the people in church and give each one a strong foundation in the Bible.)
How to reach seniors (How to share the gospel with seniors, including the challenges inherent in reaching that age group.)
In the coming months, we’ll also be releasing a how-to for rehabilitation programs and another how-to for training youth. Look out for them. If there are other areas of outreach you would like us to cover, please contact us. We would love to hear from you.
“Hey, I remember you!” Ginny* greeted the medical technician as she came into the room full of equipment.
“Oh yes, you were here a year ago, right?” Sonia replied. She had a distinct accent, which Ginny soon learned was due to her Eastern European heritage.
The two women chatted about the weather, where they each were from, and how they came to live in their small town. As Sonia arranged the scanning equipment, she asked Ginny, “So what do you do?”
Ginny has been a GoodSeed staff member for many years. Since she’s made it her habit to look for opportunities to reach out, she had a ready reply for Sonia: “I work with an organization called GoodSeed. We make books for people who maybe aren’t religious, but who are curious about the story of of the Bible–about the Old Testament and the New Testament–and about what it all means.”
“Oh!” Sonia exclaimed, with obvious interest. “I was born in Ukraine, but I’m actually Jewish, and I’ve been asking people, ‘Can you tell me what the Old Testament is all about?’ But no one has been able to answer me.”
A person’s journey to the Saviour can sometimes seem a long road, especially when we’re so desirous of a quick decision and so aware of the urgency attached to the gospel.
Rose* watched Gracia travel one such journey, spread over the course of many years. Gracia is an immigrant, born in a country dominated by a religion whose main emphasis is salvation through works. Rose and Gracia met at work and over time, formed a friendship.
Rose has used GoodSeed materials for many years, so whenever GoodSeed published a new book, she made it a habit to offer it to her co-workers. Thus Rose gave Gracia both The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus, as well as a copy of The Lamb. When Gracia’s daughter took a great liking to The Lamb, Gracia raved about the book and bought additional copies for other family members. But even with all this exposure to the gospel, she held firmly to her own belief system and would not seriously consider another way of thinking.
Easter is an open door to engage with the people around you, often resulting in giving a book or even guiding a study. This next month may hold opportunities for you to share the gospel with your boss… or your brother… or the neighbour who has gone through cancer this year… or the jogger who passes you every day on your morning walk.
For many people, Easter simply equals chocolate and bunnies. But there are those who are curious about the season and its significance. There are also those who still make their traditional visits to church on Easter Sunday. Often, people are more willing to hear about the death and resurrection of Jesus at this time of year. Therefore, as believers, let us proactively create opportunities to share the real meaning and significance of Easter this season.
It is not unusual to see accounts from the Bible make it to the silver screen. Even if the films are not biblically accurate, they are good conversation starters that allow us to share what the Bible really does say. It is an opportunity for us to share the message of the gospel.
This year is the release of Risen. It tells the story of Christ’s resurrection from the perspective of a Roman soldier. Rather than throwing doubt onto the biblical account, Risen supports it. It presents Jesus as the Messiah sent by Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews. While one can appreciate how the story is crafted, the movie doesn’t explain why Jesus died and rose again. And so here is a good opportunity to take the conversation further with your unsaved friends who have seen the film.
Each day, GoodSeed sees numerous books shipped out into the waiting hands of… who knows? Typically we hear little of what happens with the tools we send out after they arrive at their destination.
For example, last year, in partnership with the Revival Movement Association in Ireland, GoodSeed saw 400,000 copies of L’histoire qui fait toute la difference, the French translation of The Story that Matters, shipped to French speaking countries around the world–primarily to Africa, though small numbers of books were also sent to France, Quebec and to the Dominican Republic for use with the Haitian community. We had tidbits of feedback, but really for the most part, we had very little idea how the materials were received and being used in these various locations.