Can there be hope for such a man?

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Storm and glassSometimes we are tempted to view certain individuals around us as “lost causes,” too far gone or too hardened to ever be reached by the gospel. Charlie* was such a man. Hearing how his life has played out, one would be tempted to think that there was no hope for him. He was a drunk and suffered from depression. Occasionally, he would explode into a fit of angry violence. And he was serving a long, long sentence in a maximum security prison for a double murder. Can there be hope for such a man?

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Dad, are we Jews or are we Christians?

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By This Name in HebrewA Jewish parent shared this question of identity with a GoodSeed staff worker one afternoon during a meeting in the ancient city of Jerusalem. His teenage children had posed the question to him after being repeatedly harassed at their local school for their beliefs. Finally they confronted their father, frustrated with these attacks on their identity. “Dad, are we Jews or are we Christians? What are we and what’s the difference between the two?” they asked.

He reassured them, “You’re both. You’re Jews who believe that the Messiah has come, just as He promised.”

As a ministry looking to support the Christian faith in Israel, the Bible Society in Israel (BSI) began looking for a resource that would explain the harmony between the Old Testament and the New.

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Peace in the family at the cost of peace in her heart

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familySometimes the journey of walking with the Lord is not always a straight or smooth path. And when the difficult choices affect our children and other family members, we often find ourselves agonizing over the best way forward. Marthe,* a Creole woman in Haiti, shared a part of her journey with us.

Marthe had come to understand the gospel many years previously. But she had little support for her faith. Her husband belonged to a Christian cult; her parents and other relatives were entrenched in a different belief system that was not welcoming toward the biblical worldview.

Each choice she tried to make in following the Lord brought criticism and a great deal of pressure from those she loved. After a while, it seemed easier for her to simply keep the peace and “not stir the waters to change things.” So, for several years, Marthe shoved her Christian beliefs to one side to remove the conflict from her life. But while her relationships within her family eased, her heart was not at peace.

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This can’t wait! There are only hours left

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time“Ming Wei, you need to come home urgently. Your grandmother might not last long!”

When he received the phone call from his parents, Ming Wei’s* heart grew heavy. Not only was he concerned about his grandmother’s health, he had a much deeper concern—he was worried about the spiritual state of his grandmother.

As an overseas Chinese student, Ming Wei had the opportunity to learn about Christianity and had become a believer just a couple of years ago. Now as he packed to go home to China, he was anxious about how to broach the subject of the gospel with his ailing grandmother. Since coming to Christ, he hadn’t found himself in this position before and he was at a loss as to how to talk to her about Christ. One thing he did know—time was short and this would be his one and only opportunity to address her eternal destiny.

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400,000 copies of L’histoire qui fait toute la différence!

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drcEach 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.

Until now.

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By This Name studies take off in Thailand

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thailandKeith and Elaine* had enjoyed the past two years. Living in Thailand had its challenges and the language was not simple to learn, but they had grown to love the country and its people. They also appreciated the pastoral leadership Chaow gave to the Thai church and enjoyed building relationships with the Thai believers. As their understanding of the language progressed, they were able to participate more in the work Chaow and his wife, Lawan, were doing.

But Keith wasn’t sure how to respond when Chaow approached him about leading a Bible study. It was an intimidating thought. Yes, he had put extensive hours into language study and yes, he would love to come alongside the church’s discipleship program, but he did not feel ready for the responsibility. Where would he start?

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These are miracles for us!

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School

Ada and Konrad* told our German staff, “These are miracles that we’ve personally experienced…we can only marvel at them!”

Konrad is the principal of a school in a German city. Though it is a Christian school, he could clearly see that many of the students and their families had little understanding of the Bible. He wondered how he could help them know God better and understand the gospel message.

He recalled how he and his wife, Ada, had gone through a Bible study that used the German edition of The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus. That course had helped them both in their faith, and now Ada was regularly leading ladies’ studies with it. Konrad began informing the students’ mothers about Ada’s studies. Were they interested in attending?

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A scene straight out of the book of Acts

A scene straight out of the Book of ActsIn a quiet German city, the Monday night study had come to an end. Fourteen participants had been coming together once a week for fifteen weeks. Several were believers who had wanted to learn more about the Bible. Others were accompanying friends who had never read the Bible before. In this gathering were Germans, Russian-Germans and Italians. And in all the weeks that the group met, no one dropped out.

There was nothing new or radical in what was taught. The study leader simply used the German edition of The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus to take the participants though a simple and coherent explanation of the gospel message. For many in the study, they heard the gospel clearly for the first time.

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Looking for Italian coffee

Looking for Italian coffeeIt seems God can use just about any circumstances to bring people to him. Agnes* has a love for Italian coffee and in the small German city where she lives, she knows of an Italian gelato cafe that serves great coffee. One day, she stopped by to get a cup of her favourite brew and was dismayed to find that the cafe had just closed for the day. As she stood among the al fresco tables wondering what to do next, she noticed a couple sitting nearby at a table. She wasn’t sure why, but felt prompted to speak to them.

Exchanging pleasantries with them, Agnes learned that they were Elena and Salvatore, a couple who had just moved from Italy. When Agnes told them that she really loved the coffee from the cafe, Elena replied, “Well, of course; it’s Italian!” They had a good laugh and chatted a little more. Elena said that, being new in the city, they didn’t have any friends and that it was hard to get to know people.

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Sometimes it takes many believers

Airport TerminalThe journey of a person from knowing nothing about the God of the Bible to being able to put one’s trust in him for salvation takes many forms. Sometimes, it’s a straightforward journey; other times, it takes many believers along the way, each providing another piece of the puzzle—explaining a little more about who Jesus Christ is and what he accomplished on the cross for all people.

During a long journey, Jian Hui met Nick and Lisa,* a missionary couple on their way to Southeast Asia. They had a wonderful chat and agreed to keep in touch via email. Nick and Lisa wrote about their lives and Jian Hui described hers.

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