This picture shares a beautiful story of how naturally our faith can spread:
Meet G, the man on the left end of the group. He met the man next to him (wearing the white jacket) through Facebook and invited him to a conference where he was teaching Worldview Rethink.
That man in turn encouraged P, his sister (next to him in photo in the pink top), to also attend, though she had plans for her weekend already. P decided to attend for just a short bit in the morning, but was so gripped by the gospel message, she cancelled her plans and chose to take in the entire 2-day conference.
After the first day of the conference, P travelled home and pleaded with her father (Mr. R in the red shirt) to attend with her the following day. He agreed.
Mr R heard the message the following day, but seemed unmoved and not terribly interested. He accepted a copy of The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus and read it into the night. The next day, he called together his family and with great excitement, shared what he’d read, saying, “I finally understand the gospel!” B (holding a baby) was one of those members of the family who became a believer at that time.
B’s wife then approached her grandmother (in the blue shawl) and shared the Good News with her. Grandmother gladly received the message and believed.
In the space of a few days, all the adults to the right of G (and more besides) became believers, because the ones around them simply shared the good news they themselves had received.
Truly, sharing the gospel doesn’t have to be complicated. The title of this article, “Each one reach one; each one teach one” was a motto I learned from a faithful ambassador for Christ by the name of Thom Cunningham. With 2 Timothy 2:2 as his guiding principle, Thom taught and exemplified that by simply reaching out to one person and sharing with them, we can be a part of a greater multiplication driven by the Holy Spirit.
It’s amazing the sort of impact one book can have. 20 years ago, in 1997, the book The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus was published. At the time, author John R. Cross and the men working with him had no idea that it would be the catalyst for a global ministry and how many people would come to faith in Christ through it. It was just one book with a simple message: a straightforward, systematic presentation of the gospel from creation to the cross.
The writing of The Stranger was drawn from decades of missionary experience of those working among tribal people in Papua New Guinea and elsewhere. These tribes, previously unevangelised and ignorant of the Bible’s message, responded well to a chronological presentation of the gospel. So well, in fact, that whole villages were putting their faith in Christ, without the age-old problems of syncretism and “rice Christians.” When the Bible was presented from creation to Christ, it made profound sense. The people would understand and believe. Lives were transformed.
But was it only tribal groups who responded so well to the creation-to-Christ method? What about the Western world? As John and his colleagues interacted with people back home in North America and around the world, they realized that some of these people were just as ignorant of the Bible as the tribal people. They knew nothing about God. They didn’t understand who Jesus was and why he came. We live, for the most part, in a post-Christian culture.
The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus was, in a sense, an experiment. It was a book that used the same method that had proven so effective with tribal groups—a chronological approach to explaining the gospel—except this time for the Western world. It was designed so that it could be given away or used to guide people to a clear understanding of the Bible. But would it be relevant and effective?
This past December, one of our translation coordinators shared this glimpse into one of his ongoing projects: “Please pray for our dear brother Rodrick in Malawi. He and two others are currently a few hours southeast of Lilongwe (the capital city) leading a training seminar on how to run effective Bible Studies and Outreach using GoodSeed’s What are Christmas and Easter All About? (in Chichewa, an official language of Malawi). They have 67 attendees from various local and independent churches… This training seminar is the result of the radio broadcasts that took place last year when Christmas and Easter was read over the air. The shame is that they only have 10 copies of the book (due to many complicated things), so we are very excited for the current print run in Malawi to be finished…”
Happily, we can report that the new print run of 200,000 copies has been completed! They are now in the hands of Rodrick, who faithfully oversees their distribution. More recently, over Easter, Rodrick broadcasted the reading of What are Christmas and Easter all About in Chichewa across Malawi. It was a very successful airing, with over 1000 questions called in, a number of books ordered, and 161 requests that Rodrick bring his teaching to their location!
Praise the Lord that many lives were touched. Pray for this faithful brother in Christ as he seeks to build up and strengthen the church in Malawi. Pray for wisdom to know how to respond to so many requests for the clear teaching of the gospel.
If you desire to come alongside us financially in our translation and distribution projects so that Rodrick (and others like him) will be able to reach more people with the gospel, please contact us or visit our donation page.
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:
The Faroe Islands. A network of 18 islands, connected by tunnels and ferries and bridges, situated halfway between Iceland and Norway. As in centuries past, fishing remains the economic ballast, and the sheep dotting the hillsides seem to agree with the Danish name for the country: “islands of sheep.” It has a landscape marked by rocky coastlines and rugged terrain, with the misty shores, hidden harbours and colourful villages making it a photographer’s paradise. Around 50,000 people call this unique and beautiful country home.
This past May, GoodSeed staff member Allan Ellingsgaard, along with John and Janice Cross, spent three weeks in the Faroe Islands. This was a trip back home for Allan, since he was raised in the Faroe Islands. For John and Janice, this was their first time in the country. Despite the innate tourist appeal of the country, the scenery and culture was not what primarily drew them to the Faroes. All three were there for the dedication of the Faroese edition of The Lamb, which was hot off the press.
It was 16 years ago that Allan first dreamed of having a book like The Lamb in Faroese. At the time, he was a leader at a youth camp in the Faroes, and he wished there was a resource that would systematically and chronologically present the gospel to children. It’s not as though the Faroese youth didn’t know the Bible’s stories. The majority of people in the Faroe Islands are very familiar with the basic tenets of the Bible—95% of the population profess to be Christians. But what Allan longed to see was a resource that put all the pieces of the Bible’s message together in a very simple way that would have a broad use, regardless of the background of the individual.
In 2008, this dream started to become a reality when a missionary from the Faroe Islands contacted Allan about the possibility of translating The Stranger into Faroese. It was deemed wise to start with a smaller project, so The Lamb was suggested as an alternative. The missionary was keen on the idea and in 2011, he began the process of translating The Lamb.
It’s May already. And that means the editorial team at GoodSeed is beginning to put together a long list of amazing testimonies that believers from around the world have shared with us. Every week, someone gets in touch with one of our offices to share a story: either someone has led a friend to the Lord with one of our books or someone has come to faith as a result of reading a book or going through a Worldview Rethink study.
We’ve found that testimonies, like the ones in Fieldnotes, encourage believers to make the effort to spread the good news. And it gives us more reason to praise God for the wonderful work he is doing through faithful ambassadors of his message.
Do you have such a story? Has the Lord used you to lead a neighbour, parent, co-worker or stranger to faith in Christ? Or has someone who cared taken the time to explain the good news to you in way that made good sense to you? If so, we’d love to hear from you. Write to us at yourstories[at]goodseed.com. The Lord willing, your testimony may make it to volume 3 of Fieldnotes and be an encouragement to others!
In Canada, the month of May is Leave a Legacy Month. This is an annual national public awareness program designed to encourage people to leave a gift through their will or any other gift-planning instrument to a charity or non-profit organization of their choice. Canadians are living in a time when an unprecedented amount of wealth is being transferred from one generation to the next. But without a will, people lose the ability to control distribution of their estate to their chosen beneficiaries. Mike and MaryAnn* were such a couple. Here’s their story.
The lights dim, train cars rumble, followed by the sound of a whistle blowing. Then the shout of “All aboard!” calls out and a performance of No Ordinary Story is underway.
The auditorium is packed out as 35 choir members find their places on the stage. From the beginning songs, “Train Ride” and “Let Me Tell You What the Bible Says,” to the climax of “Praise the Risen Lord” and “Trust Him,” the audience remains engaged. As the final notes fade away, they break into applause and some are soon on their feet in a standing ovation.
For the choir, director, cast and church leadership, this doesn’t just mean a successful performance. What is far more important is that the gospel has gone forth in clarity, to many people who have never heard it before.
Monday evening. Seven o’clock. The sanctuary of First Baptist Church is a lively place. Almost 40 people are trying to position themselves on four levels of risers on the stage. The choir director is waving her arms at her singers.
“Altos to the left, sopranos to the right, and tenors and basses in the middle. No… everyone move over a few feet to the left. The screen needs to be visible behind you. There… that looks right. Can everyone see me? Hmm… Allan can’t see from where he sits at the piano. Let’s adjust a few more things.”