New year, new opportunities to share the gospel

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January 4, 2016

Betty Scott Stam, a young wife and mother serving as a missionary to China in the 1930s, didn’t just know the gospel in theory. It was her life. And it ended up costing everything. She and her husband, John, were martyred as a result of their witness for Christ. Years before this happened, she wrote,

“Nobody can force a single soul to turn to Christ. All that the followers of Jesus have to do, all they can do, is to lift up Christ before the world, bring Him into dingy corners and dark places of the earth where He is unknown, introduce Him to strangers, talk about Him to everybody and live so closely with and in Him that others may see that there really is such a person as Jesus.” *

What Betty understood is something that each of us is called to. We are ambassadors for Christ. This is not a part-time job that we somehow “fit in” to our busy schedules. All believers are given the biblical mandate to live a lifelong lifestyle of being ready to share the gospel at a moment’s notice.

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I never had the courage to read the Bible

 

Reading FieldnotesMarion* had read little of the Bible during the 20 years she had been away from church. She felt it was too daunting. Recently, however, she started going to church again and even offered to help prepare the meal for a session of a marriage course. To thank her for her effort, one of the leaders, Kat, gave Marion a copy of Fieldnotes, GoodSeed’s annual compilation of testimonies.

Reading through the book, Marion was struck by the stories of those who began with no knowledge of the Bible but, by the end of each account, had come to faith in Jesus Christ.

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Remember the road we’ve travelled

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vietnamIt is 1979. Minh Trang* is three years old. In the cover of darkness, his family boards a makeshift boat on the coast of Vietnam. The boat is meant to hold 20 but 70 frightened people are crushed together, shoulder to shoulder. It is dangerous in the rickety vessel because it can capsize in a heartbeat. But to suffer at the hands of the communist regime is worse. Minh’s parents decide to risk this flight in the dark.

Thus began more than eight months at sea. Minh has never forgotten that terrifying time. Eventually, after many trials and a circuitous route, his family landed in Canada. They had escaped death but not misery. It was a struggle for Minh’s parents to rebuild their lives. They had been doctors in Vietnam but now in Quebec, they had to be re-qualified as Canadian physicians. There was a quota system for foreigners so both parents struggled as they learned French, worked at menial jobs, took care of the children and laboured towards being certified as doctors.

Minh remembers those difficult years. His parents eventually qualified as doctors and inspired by their perseverance, he too has become a physician. But even as life improved, Minh was searching for something more. He wanted answers to what life was all about.

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This one makes sense!

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wheelchairLorna* had been bedridden for years. The cold walls of hospitals and nursing homes were all too familiar to her as she lived day after day in a routine of doctor visits and prescriptions. Lorna’s fragile health was the result of years of physical abuse from multiple men in her life and teenage alcoholism. Lorna had come from a traditionally religious background, but she knew so little about hope and freedom. And with few friends and a family who didn’t bother visiting her, each passing day accentuated her loneliness and isolation. She felt like a prisoner in her wheelchair.

Belinda first met Lorna when she was a caregiver in her home. Belinda’s heart broke over Lorna and she did what she could for the older woman but they lost touch soon after. Belinda continued to pray that salvation would come to Lorna and her family and hoped that one day they would reconnect.

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They grabbed on to each truth

Chlldren reading The LambStephen and Geraldine* wanted to share their testimony. They wrote us the following email as an encouragement to other families who are going through, or have gone through similar circumstances:

Our family has been so richly blessed by The Lamb. We have been through the book several times with our children and have been excited to see how well they have grasped the gospel at a very early age. My wife and I have also been challenged to reconsider how well we grasped the gospel ourselves and how we can better teach it to others.

However, last year the rubber really met the road when we were faced with the tragic loss of our unborn child 19 weeks into the pregnancy. At that time our children were five, three, two and one years old.

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TERM Seminar: I realized how much the world really has changed

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TERM Seminar in Coeur d'Alene, ID

I realized how much the world really has changed… we really can’t just assume people are biblically literate—even those who attend our church every week. I’m going to talk to church leadership about how we can use these tools for outreach… and also with everyone who is already in our church.” – Fletcher, 2015 TERM participant

Fletcher was enthusiastic as he shared with us his evangelism plans. Having finished the one-day TERM Seminar in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, he had caught the vision of how it was possible for an ordinary believer like himself to reach the people in his community with the gospel. He had come to see that in today’s world, believers needed to rethink how to share the unchanging gospel in a way that makes sense to people with little or no knowledge about the Bible.

Fletcher was among 100 attendees who were at the first of our seven seminars being held across the USA this fall. Some of the participants lived right in town. Others came from as far away as Libby, Montana and Seattle, Washington. But the ones who travelled the farthest were those of a church group from British Columbia, Canada!

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Just throw me down the stairs

Woman staring at the sunCandice’s* emotional life was in a free fall. Her thoughts were consumed by wanting to escape from work and from her life. One day at work she approached a flight of stairs. Glancing down at the steps before her, Candice turned to her co-worker and said, “Just throw me down the stairs!”

She got her wish the next day when she fractured her tailbone while snowboarding. Her injury gave her time to reflect on her life. For months now, she had been a zombie at work. To protect herself, she realized she had “turned off” her emotions every time she was at work. Now Candice discovered that she could not turn them back on. She felt she was becoming a robot, at risk of losing all her humanity. Candice was in complete misery. She felt trapped, with no way out.

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You can give away the gospel

Whether it’s an ordinary day or on a vacation; whether it’s with a close friend or someone you’ve just met, you can share the gospel simply by giving away a book, CD or DVD. Learn how:

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There’s no way you’re sharing that story!

Can we meet?Sandra* is an easygoing person with an affable manner that allows her to easily make friends with strangers. She knows how to tell a story and she can engage in tough conversations without getting into an argument. She has been volunteering at a hospital and gets to meet many types of patients. Not too long ago, she met Erin, who was dying of a serious illness. Having appreciated an earlier visit, Erin wanted another opportunity to talk to Sandra. Fortunately, Erin’s doctor, who was sympathetic to her needs, also knew Sandra and so arranged for the two women to have some time together.

What ensued was a three-hour meeting. Sandra had brought along with her a copy of What are Christmas and Easter All About? and, with Erin’s permission, was able to read aloud the entire booklet. Sandra went on to answer Erin’s questions and, by the end of their visit, Erin had put her trust in Jesus for salvation. She was now a believer!

Barely three weeks after this meeting, Erin passed away. She left a letter instructing her young adult sons to invite Sandra to speak at her funeral. Erin specifically requested that Sandra read aloud What are Christmas and Easter All About?, just as she had done during that earlier time together. A furore broke out. Jeremy, Erin’s brother, strongly objected to Sandra’s presence at the funeral.

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A good book will go anywhere

A good book will go anywhereI have a vintage collection of little books I inherited from my late father. Most were published in the 19th century. I enjoy gleaning literary morsels from their yellowed, sometimes fragile pages.

One book in particular, despite its small size, stands tall in my view. It’s titled, The Traveller’s Guide From Death to Life. Imagine my surprise to learn over five million copies of this book have been printed in various editions. That is a lot of books even by today’s best-seller standards!

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