THE BIG STORY:
FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD …
She went to a Hope Club — heard an amazing story — even learned to tell it herself — and received a small card with an illustration of the story to remind her how it goes.
She went back the next week — learned another story and got another card — now she can flip them over, lay them side by side — and see the beginning of a much bigger illustration.
The only way she can complete this larger story picture is to come to the Hope Club meeting again the next week — After 16 weeks, she’s heard all the stories — and now her collection of cards can be fitted together to create the large illustration of the Bible’s overarching metanarrative of salvation.
“From the first day I came to this group, I began to realize that I am important, and I have value, because God loves me, and He cares for me,” says Marieta, a little girl from Mozambique.
She chose to follow Jesus … and began sharing the stories she learned with her mother, who also came to faith in Christ!
This is the power of God’s Word, spoken or written or conveyed in simple illustrations. This is the power of God’s Big Story!
FORWARD BY EVERY MEANS POSSIBLE
by President Rob Hoskins
These are the pivotal moments!
OneHope global ministry partners and leadership have been praying, reviewing reports, seeking the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and have finalized the ministry plans for the new year.
I’m excited to share the ministry theme for OneHope in 2022: FORWARD
We are moving forward — by every means possible — to reach 136 million children and youth with God’s Word this year and see lives transformed in nations around the world!
This is a huge step forward in the vision of God’s Word. Every Child. And I was reminded of how the Lord instructed Joshua in the Old Testament, the new leader of the children of Israel on their journey to the Promised Land:
“Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go” (Joshua 1:7 NKJV).
The temptation to turn aside from the mission — to the right hand or the left — must have been strong, just as the distractions of our world today could easily pull OneHope off mission. But for the sake of the next generation, we won’t be turned aside.
Through faithfulness, innovation, and prayer, we move forward to reach the next generation.
In a hopeless place … you gave Zarni the hope of Jesus!
Zarni lives in a limited access nation, a place where believers are persecuted, and sharing Jesus is extremely difficult.
Violence against Christians is commonplace — Families and the local government may ostracize Christians and demand they be excluded from village life, harassed, or even assaulted.
Nevertheless, there is a strong church, and local believers are committed to sharing Jesus with the next generation, and they’re willing to take great risks to reach children and youth with the Good News.
The nation, which we cannot mention in print for security reasons, is also extremely poor, and Zarni’s parents work long, hard hours to try to keep food on the table. For her own part, Zarni says …
“I didn’t listen to my father and mother. My lifestyle was very bad. I cared for nothing, and I didn’t know God in my life.”
But then you sent God’s Big Story, and our Stories of Hope curriculum for a Bible club in Zarni’s village. She began attending — And now, Zarni says …
“I realize that I am loved by God, and He gave His life for me…. My life is changing, and I am becoming a good person. Thank you so much for the wonderful and amazing messages and introducing the living Word of God.”
Praise God! This is the impact of His Word, transforming young lives — even in places where there’s intense opposition to the Gospel.
GOD’S BIG STORY —
HOW YOU’RE REACHING THE NEXT GENERATION, EVEN WHEN THEY CAN’T READ
WHAT IS GOD’S BIG STORY?
In African churches, many children are raised in families who identify as Christian, but may not really have a faith of their own. Churches offer Bible clubs to help children learn more about God, but they struggle with low attendance.
Our local church partners were looking for a solution, especially because some children couldn’t read and might not ever learn. Others can read, but they come from families and cultures where the most important stories aren’t written down … rather they are passed from generation to generation through storytelling.
We were looking for a Scripture engagement program that would …
- Work for children who can’t or don’t read
- Fit in to a society where the most important things are handed down through storytelling
- Give children a deeper understanding of the Scriptures and the gift of salvation
- Keep kids coming back to Bible club week after week
The solution God guided us to for Africa is God’s Big Story, our program made up of 17 Bible stories that convey the overarching metanarrative of Scripture and lead children to faith in Jesus Christ.
Teachers and club leaders tell the story out loud to the children in the style of the culture, and in fact, the goal is that by the end of each session, all the children can also tell the story themselves!
Each story is supported by a baseballcard-sized illustration that children collect at each club meeting — which keeps them coming back week after week. When a child collects all 16 cards, she can put them together like a puzzle to make one large illustration of the story of salvation through Jesus.
This program was so successful in the nations of Africa where it was first introduced in 2010 that we began to receive requests for it from partners worldwide, and today God’s Big Story has been expanded for use in 40 nations!
WHAT GOD’S BIG STORY MEANS TO ME
I am Sara Catarina from East Timor. I am 11 years old, and I am very happy because I have learned the stories of the Bible through OneHope. The 17 stories in God’s Big Story were told by the teachers, which helps us know Jesus more by listening to the stories in the Bible. I am very grateful to the ministry OneHope. God bless you!
FOR NOW THERE ARE FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE. BUT OF THESE THREE, THE GREATEST IS LOVE.
—1 CORINTHIANS 13:13 CEV
When asked what the most important commandment was, Jesus answered: LOVE.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. This is the first and most important commandment. The second most important commandment is like this one. And it is, ‘Love others as much as you love yourself’” (Matthew 22:37-39 CEV).
At OneHope, we take this commandment seriously, and recognize the practical truth about love (and faith) taught in James 2:15-17:
“If you know someone who doesn’t have any clothes or food, you shouldn’t just say, ‘I hope all goes well for you. I hope you will be warm and have plenty to eat.’ What good is it to say this, unless you do something to help? Faith that doesn’t lead us to do good deeds is all alone and dead!” (CEV).
This is why we support our church and ministry partners in compassionate works, because feeding the hungry and giving shelter to the homeless are practical expressions of the love of Christ.
The greatest and ultimate expression of Jesus’ love was, of course, His death on the cross to purchase our salvation. This ultimate love is another gift we give to the children of the world — and perhaps the most important one. Because it ensures their salvation and eternity of life in Christ.
Thank you for sharing the love of Jesus in practical, physical ways with people in need and in eternal, spiritual ways with children and youth all over the world, as you give them the Good News that Jesus saves.
It’s the ultimate gift of love!
NATION BY NATION
GOD’S WORD BROUGHT HER BACK TO FAITH IN CHRIST
Aline grew up in church — her mother is a children’s worker and evangelist. But when Aline went off to her first year of college, everything changed!
She was surrounded by young people who wanted to party all the time, and her new worldviews had nothing to do with God or Jesus! She drifted far from her childhood faith.
Then tragedy struck — she contracted dengue fever and had to leave school. At home her mother nursed her back to health … and gave her the little book she uses to tell children about Jesus —a special edition Book of Hope for Brazil that focuses on the story of Jesus from the Book of Mark in the Bible.
The story came flooding back to Aline, and this time, she truly connected with the life of Christ — “I made the best decision of my life and surrendered my heart to Jesus!” she says today.
God’s Word. Every Child.
A MIXED-FAITH FAMILY, A MIXED-UP BOY — AND A TRANSFORMATION
They live in a nation where Christians are often under the threat of persecution for their faith — extremist members of the traditional, majority religion denigrate believers in Jesus …
But in Praful’s family, religion wasn’t controversial. His mother had been born into a Catholic family, and his father followed the traditional religion of their nation. His mother followed the traditional rituals with her husband … and she celebrated Christian holidays with her side of the family …
To Praful, religion didn’t seem to matter much at all. Especially because the family is impoverished, and he himself had gone to work as a young teenager. Making money to help feed the family was more important than any gods or idols.
But then his friends began attending a youth group at the local church — they were so excited about the first meeting, Praful asked to change his schedule at work so he could attend. He received his own Book of Hope and began studying God’s Word with the group.
One day after class, Praful asked the pastor to explain more about Jesus … and that night in his dreams Praful saw the Lord calling to him: “Come to Me! I love you so much!”
Today Praful has committed his life to Christ, and he’s growing in his faith as he attends youth group and services at the local church. Thank you for sending God’s Word to show him the way to new life!
$1 shares the Gospel with 3 children. How many will you reach?