On a "homicide highway"...you
brought her the hope of Jesus Christ
If you google Gabriela’s hometown of “Petare Norte Caracas,” after the usual Wikipedia entries and TripAdvisor warnings, you find this entry:
“Mapping Transportation and Homicide Rates.”1
It shows which avenues in this immense slum of Caracas, Venezuela, have the highest number of homicides. The murders are represented on the map by red crosses: small crosses for adults, and large crosses for children 12 and under.
This is where Gabriela was growing up. In her barrio, you had to be fast — or ready to fight. She was unruly and disobedient, and her behavior was a heartache to her parents.
But then a local church began reaching out to children in Gabriela’s neighborhood with the Book of Hope. Gabriela was astounded to read the story of Jesus — and how He laid down His life for her. She made the decision to follow Christ as her Savior!
Today, Gabriela’s behavior is changing. Her parents are overjoyed to see she is happier, more obedient, more loving and open to her family. She’s learning values like honesty, respect, and perseverance.
Petare Norte hasn’t changed … but the hope Gabriela found in Jesus is changing her! Thank you for sending God’s Word so that she can be transformed!
Bringing it all back home
The OneHope vision of “God’s Word. Every Child.” was birthed in Latin America — back in 1987 when we reached every child in the nation of El Salvador with the very first Book of Hope.
But my introduction came later … I was the youth minister at a church in California at the time, and not yet involved in OneHope. But our church sent a team to Honduras when the Book of Hope was first received there.
There I met Carlos, a teenager being raised by a single mom who struggled to provide for the family. Carlos himself had been deceived by the Marxist literature that had flooded his nation in those days … He spent his weekends at a Marxist training camp for terrorists.
He attended the largest high school in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras. Our team was there multiple days, handing out the Book of Hope to thousands of students, and Carlos sought me out the day after he received his.
He wanted to know: Was it true? Was Jesus alive?
I had the privilege of telling him YES, and leading him to Jesus — introducing him to a pastor right there to get him plugged in to a church — and change his future from “terrorist” to “follower of Jesus.”
It was then I saw for myself the power of God’s Word to transform lives — and shape nations.
Today, by God’s grace, OneHope Scripture engagement programs still have that power — and are still affecting destiny for children and youth throughout Latin America and around the world. Thank you for being part of it. You may never know the difference you made … but trust me, it is immense.
Matching Challenge Update
Thank you to everyone who donated to the Matching Challenge — Every dollar will be DOUBLED to help reach Russia’s next generation with the Good News!
As of this writing, gifts are still being processed — and we’ve made very good progress toward the $1,000,000 goal of the Russia: NOW Matching Challenge.
Thank you for being part of this great outreach at a critical time for Russia! New anti-extremism laws are clamping down on religious freedom, and we want to reach as many young people as we can with the Gospel now, while the doors are still open
Eduardo’s guitar … It will be worth it
When you meet Eduardo, you notice right away that he loves two things: Jesus and music.
He’s a 17-year-old Brazilian Christian who shares the Gospel with other young people and wants to be a pastor someday — but for now, he struggles with poverty. His prize possession is his guitar, which he plays very well.
Eduardo was excited for the opportunity to join a OneHope leadership program. He has such a heart for sharing the Gospel and meets with other young people every week to do evangelism. He became aware of a chance to go halfway across his vast nation to help distribute the Book of Hope and desperately wanted to go … but the members of the volunteer team were raising their own funds to pay for their tickets. He couldn’t afford his.
Eduardo’s church family was shocked to hear: he sold his guitar to buy his ticket! But Eduardo himself did not grieve:
“It will be worth it,” he said.
God is raising up young leaders in Latin America, willing to sacrifice everything to share the Gospel with the next generation! We praise the Lord for dedicated disciples like Eduardo.
How you're reaching children and youth across Latin America with the Good News!
Vision 2030 for Latin America:
¡Avivemos! Together we build
Our Latin American partners are working together toward fulfillment of Vision 2030 in their region through Avivemos, which means “We’re building it up” or “We’re fanning the flames.”
It’s the uniquely Latin American strategy for engaging every child and youth in the region with God’s Word by the end of the year 2030 and includes:
• Training churches for sustainable outreach programs
• Connecting at least 20% of the churches in Latin America for OneHope outreach (that’s 4,653 churches per year for the next 13 years!)
OneHope Latin America snapshot
• OneHope programs in 22 countries.
• 6 digital programs.
• 12 programs in Spanish.
• 4 programs in Portuguese for Brazil.
• Programs in 5 indigenous languages.
Latin America is a diverse area with digital natives as well as children who may never learn to read. By God’s grace and with your help and prayers, this year we will reach more than 16.5 million of them!
Pilot programs in Latin America 2018
Our Latin America partners have been clamoring for the Lead Today program to help reach young people with God’s Word and equip them to become godly leaders. We are excited to announce 2018 pilot programs in:
2018 — OneHope programs launching for the first time in:
- Suriname — 20,800 children to be reached
- Puerto Rico — 174,000 children to be reached
Please pray for the young people whose lives will be touched by this dynamic new program for Latin America. We hope to roll out in more countries after we evaluate the results this year.
A film showing that changed lives in Venezuela
The children who gathered didn’t know what to expect — but they crowded in to watch The GodMan film. Their nation of Venezuela is in chaos from economic meltdown, but there was no hint of fear or anxiety as these children watched the life story of Christ unfold on the big screen.
When they received their Book of Hope afterward, the children were even more excited!
Together they’re studying through the Book of Hope every Saturday.
Thank you for sending The GodMan film and the Book of Hope to help Latin America’s next generation come to faith in Jesus Christ.
Farewell to a friend of children and a ministry pioneer …
Sylvia Walker has gone home
An incredible woman of God went home to be with the Lord on May 4, 2018. Sylvia Walker had been a missionary’s wife, a mother, a widow … and our first Director for Latin America.
She began as the first distributor of El Libro de Vida in the Dominican Republic, and quickly became a natural at pioneering OneHope work throughout the Caribbean and Latin America.
As an older, single female in the male-dominated culture, she blazed a trail, through a fierceness of purpose, tempered with grace and wisdom. Driven by unbridled passion for Jesus and love of others, she never hesitated to go — even if it meant going to places and doing things she had never done before.
Sylvia was so impassioned that just a few minutes with her made you want to drop everything you were doing and go to the mission field to give children God’s Word. Sylvia faithfully served at OneHope for nearly 20 years.
Time catches up with us all, and as Sylvia became elderly, she was afflicted with health troubles that demanded difficult surgeries and treatments. But she never lost her joy or her zeal.
After she retired from OneHope ministry, she lived here near the ministry center in Florida and actively supported a local outreach to Spanish-speaking people — she was excited about sharing God’s Word and helping to teach practical skills to people in need.
We will miss Sylvia Walker, but our loss is Heaven’s gain. Our love and prayers surround her children and grandchildren who are also missing
A Report from the Field
They’re back, and they’re excited! A team from Celebration Church in Jacksonville, Florida, has just returned from a short-term missions trip to Guatemala.
This was Celebration’s first OneHope mission, and the enthusiasm and dedication of all the volunteers showed it probably won’t be their last.
They worked with OneHope Guatemala Coordinator Shirlly Francia and her husband Jorge — who kept the team busy distributing God’s Word in schools and orphanages. The response was outstanding.
“The team really made a big impact in our hearts; now we are excited and we want to receive more missionaries,” said Jorge. “We feel the power of God was manifested in a precious way. We would like to make our church a missionary house.”
NATION BY NATION
VENEZUELA - A life transformed
Life is extremely difficult for multitudes of children and families in Venezuela right now. Economic chaos, political and social unrest, deteriorating infrastructure … An alarming number of schools have simply closed — nearly three million of Venezuela’s eight million children are missing some or all of their classes because of the crisis.1
And that may not even be the worst of it. Food is scarce … People are hungry. There’s even been a tragic increase in parents abandoning their children to orphanages in hopes the little ones will at least be fed.2
Things are tough in 10-year-old Danny’s neighborhood, a sprawling “informal” town that has sprung up outside the capital of Caracas. But thankfully, there is a ray of hope for Danny and other children like him: the local church reached out to them with the Book of Hope.
Danny chose to follow Jesus, and today he is growing in his faith with his new church friends! Thank you for sending God’s Word to give him hope, even in difficult times.
The first Christian in her family!
A book of her own! Santani was thrilled to receive the Book of Hope, which was hers to keep. In her majority Hindu nation, Santani comes from a very poor family and doesn’t have many possessions of her own.
But even better than receiving the book was reading it — and discovering the love of Jesus Christ, the one true God. Santani was only 13 years old, but she had already heard about many, many gods … their idols and shrines are everywhere in her home country.
Learning that there is really only one God — and that He knows and loves her — was a revelation!
Santani chose to follow Christ as Savior. Today, she’s happily attending the local church.
She’s the first Christian in her family — but we are praying her family will soon come to faith in Christ, too. Thank you for sending God’s Word to bring them hope.
GODS WORD. EVERY CHILD.
From hopelessness to a new life in Christ!
Bitter. Angry. Hopeless. Each of these words could have described Jailene, a Venezuelan teenaged girl, growing up in a broken home filled with domestic violence, physical and verbal abuse.
To escape from the darkness at home, Jailene turned to the streets — partying, drinking, smoking — it all helped to numb her pain and made her believe there was something that could fill the aching emptiness inside her.
Then she received the Book of Hope. The team explained the plan of salvation … and Jailene wished she could believe that there really was hope for her. Over the next few weeks, she read her Book of Hope again and again —
And she found the pain that had been her constant companion began to seep away. Her favorite part of the book was the section entitled, “How to Walk with God.” She read the prayer to make Christ the Lord of her life — and everything began to change!
Today Jailene, at age 26, just completed the OneHope Impact Training for how to use the Book of Hope and other programs in children’s ministry. She’s ministering as a children’s leader in her local church!
Your gift of God’s Word transformed a hopeless young woman into a joyful Christian — and evangelist. Thank you!