On Sunday, my husband preached some key Good Soil concepts, using a couple of PowerPoint slides. After the message, we were standing at the back of the church (in New Jersey) and an Indian man from Hindu background who works with the pastor's wife came up to us and said “May I get a copy of that scale; I think I'm a -11 and I want to chart my progress up the scale.“ No kidding! We just about fell over. John has emailed him the scale and we are working with the folks at the church to get him the Hope DVD.
Also, we began to see the main concepts slip away when we started using nationals as assistant teachers, so I have written a slide by slide teaching guide that has been translated into VN already.
—Missionaries in a restricted access country
Last week, we attended Good Soil Evangelism and Discipleship training, which included The Way to Joy discipleship workbook and The Story of Hope evangelistic Bible study workbook. I highly recommend these resources. The evangelistic study is especially good, as it covers the 40 most important events in the Bible so Bible study participants can capture the big picture, and also includes the Chronological Bridge to Life, which includes the eight essential concepts someone needs to grasp to be saved (God, Man, Sin, Death, Christ, Cross, Faith, Life). What really struck me is how I've often short-circuited the process of evangelism, skipping over key concepts or not explaining the story line of the Bible. In our culture here, you may get "decisiones" but the person may not have truly understood the gospel. The course was especially timely since I´m going to be teaching an evangelism course at church next week.
—Jon, missionary in Colombia
Peter and I worked with Ruben, the pastor. He really wanted his people to receive this training and invited those from his church for a one day conference. He also invited people from two other churches as well. We had just over 30 in attendance. With only eight hours to teach, we condensed a lot of the sessions. The training that you gave us on thinking this way really helped and Peter laid out a very good flow for the day. We also were able to include Tony and his wife Maria who are just starting up New Tribes in South Africa. He shared his testimony as an example for the last activity, but also introduced the New Tribes video before we showed it and interacted afterwards in making the transition to Johannesburg. Afterwards we received comments like “I want to teach this in Sunday school” and “I never connected all these stories before” and “storying is very practical for this culture” and “I want to use this at work.” Pastor May even commented that he is going to start preaching this as a series in his church on Sunday evenings. This will help those in the church to use this tool as well in sharing the gospel. We are thankful that we had the opportunity to share it with different cultures and races. Represented were coloreds, blacks, English, Afrikaans, as well as people from Zimbabwe and Cameroon.
—John Mark, missionary in South Africa
We held a two day Good Soil training event in the capital city in January for 15 M's in this restricted access country. Here is a letter we got today from the guy who spread the word among the M's (David): Just wanted you to know that two of our church planters attended the Good Soil seminar and learned so much. In fact, one of our teammates has been significantly more effective this semester and points to the seminar as the turning point. Thanks for making it happen!
—M in a restricted access country of Southeast Asia
Just wanted to say thanks for all you are doing through Good Soil. The material wonderfully fills a definite need in the realm of evangelism and discipleship. I am in the process of completing an evangelism/discipleship manual for the Hmong people of the United States. As far as I have been able to determine, all the tools presently available for evangelizing the Hmong in their language (Four Spiritual Laws, Jesus Film, etc.) assume a certain level of Bible knowledge. After preparing the section on evangelism, I knew that a large piece of the puzzle was missing. The seminar clarified the problem for me and provided access to excellent tools for addressing the deficiency. May the Lord continue to richly bless your efforts for His glory.
—Rick, missionary in North America
We just completed two days of training, using the Good Soil seminar material, with 20 Baptist pastors and evangelists. I used T__ and H__, two converts who are on their way to becoming pastors to help me teach it (and to get them trained). They were great. I turned down an invitation to teach it at a church in the capital city, but the pastor then invited T___ to do it (he is only 23), and I absolutely, unequivocally... APPROVE!
—M in a restricted access country in Southeast Asia
In March our church planter in the North part of this restricted access country will conduct the first national to national training session in the country. This training session will be held in the province where a famous leader was born! In April we will be training a group of pastors and we have yet another convert (starts seminary next year) who will be organizing classes this summer in his home province. Thanks so much for the privilege of being involved in the Good Soil Evangelism and Discipleship. We had so much fun teaching recently in Myanmar and India. We just love this class!
—M’s in restricted access country in Southeast Asia
Some messages from believers in a restricted access country to the “m” who trained them:
We are doing our first Good Soil seminar in the north of our country very soon. It is sponsored by a licensed evangelical church, but it is still very secret, as the security police definitely WILL arrest us if they catch us. The northern branch of this denomination has a new leader who we met in another country last month. He is young, brave, and willing to work with us; very exciting! After that, we are teaching Good Soil to a group of foreign m’s located in the capital city of our country. They in turn will teach their partners in our country.
Keep up the good work! We are now getting Good Soil into a new denomination which has 200-300 little churches in the central highlands among tribal peoples. It will take a while, but it has begun.
Last night J___ did a 1.5 hour presentation for a youth group at a local church. A popular American approach to evangelism was really pushed here last year, but pastors are now realizing that it's not effective and does not produce lasting results. For example:
Out of 100 "professions," maybe one person really got saved. Young people were getting discouraged. Enter Good Soil Evangelism. God has really set things up for us here! J___ just shared some basic ideas: chronological approach, investing time in relationships "peeling the onion,” which our young people loved. The result is we couldn't get out of there without the pastor, the youth leader and the elders getting us to commit to come back four more times to teach the whole course, and of course, they want notes. We know this is going to be big here. Everyone loves it.
—Messages from believers to the missionary who trained them
I appreciate the material greatly! I was a part of the Good Soil Training in May. I will now be teaching my first Good Soil E&D seminar this September in Maine. Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do.
— Phil, Biblical Ministries Worldwide, Owatonna, MN
The Roots of Faith courses were great because they elegantly tied all the small stories of the Bible into one large story. I can now go into any part of the Bible and immediately know where it fits into the context of the entire Bible.
—Missionary to Cambodia
The Roots of Faith New Testament course brought visual chronology of the New Testament events together with application highlights and did an amazingly great job of taking you through the New Testament in a week’s time. As I did the follow-up reading of the Daily Bible in Chronological Order I was able to picture each event as they were taking place and it deepened my understanding of the New Testament. I especially appreciated the pictured event cards (since I am a very visual learner) as they have a left an imprint on my mind that I carry with me and that will stick with me!
—Jen, pre-field missionary to Cambodia
The Roots of Faith is an excellent course. It is not just another evangelism course, it equips people to share the gospel in a chronological, Biblically precise way. Getting back to a Biblical gospel will reduce the many false conversion experiences that take place from using a feel-good, gospel message.
—Jim, missionary to South Africa
The Roots of Faith is a great course! I think that I had most of the "puzzle pieces" from my years of Sunday school, Bible classes etc. but this course helped me put the pieces together into one big picture. Sometimes we can get lost in the details and lose sight of the big picture but this course helps us see the developing story of redemption in an exciting and interesting way! Highly recommend it!
—Melissa, medical missionary to South America
We attended a week-long class, The Roots of Faith--New Testament. The course is based on God’s redemptive plan as it unfolds chronologically through the Old and New Testaments. This New Testament course is a continuation from the Roots of Faith--Old Testament. It continues the chronological study of the Bible and adds 13 additional eras and 50 New Testament events. It continues the development of theological concepts that are vital to ministry with Biblically illiterate unbelievers.
We cannot highly recommend this class enough! This class is available for anyone who wants to have a deeper knowledge of God’s Word and to be able to explain and teach it to others. While this course will help us to share the word of God with those in Liberia, it also prepares us right now. These courses are a great asset in having the foundational understanding for teaching The Story of Hope and The Way to Joy. We are also excited to go through and teach the material to our girls.
—Gary & Michelle, missionaries in Liberia
Have been using the Good Soil materials fruitfully in Micronesia and Philippines. Thank you so much!
—Richard, GDM Missions, Inc, St Petersburg, FL
Many exciting stories to share but suffice it to say at least two more souls are in the kingdom from our The Story of Hope Bible study - PTL! 'Jack' and 'Eric' both gave thanks for their new salvation last night during our study then we enjoyed a big meal of roast duck - closest kin to turkey here - new record attendance for the study, too - 24 for the lesson and dinner - crowded around the table, but rejoiced as each person shared how much they are grateful for what He has done for them this year.
—Missionary in China
Recently the whole group of Portuguese language students accepted a Bible study!!! Praise God for that, for we have four people studying the scriptures. We would have five people, but one of the interested in partaking is Miss ___. She is the sister in law of our Hindu priest neighbor. We will have to work it out for her, because the study is held in our house every Monday at 6 pm. If she attends, her sister in law will see and she will be in trouble with the whole family. Miss ___ faithfully sneaks into our Bible study and prayer services. We would like to thank you for The Story of Hope books; they are being wonderfully used, and we would like to highlight that The Story of Hope is a great FIT for the Guyanese mindset. The studies show God’s attributes from the beginning. The emphasis that God is “One” is made clear for our Hindu Bible students. Praise God for all that is happening.
—John, Brazilian missionary to Guyana
We took a box of Good Soil resources with us while reporting to churches all year and sold them all. They were prominently displayed in our presentation, both in the church ministry and counseling at the pregnancy care center.
—Missionary couple who serve in Peru
Our people at Harmony Baptist Church have almost finished their training in using The Story of Hope and are very excited about it. One of the ladies who received the training has already led a person to Christ, while she was in China.
—Dave, missionary in Hong Kong
The Story of Hope has been printed in Paraguay. Good Soil training has given believers an understanding why people here are not always ready to believe in Christ until they have knowledge of God's redemptive work since the beginning of time. Concepts in The Story of Hope are clearly understood by those who have minimal educational backgrounds. The Way to Joy provides spiritual building blocks for those who want to grow in their faith. Three in a family of five have trusted Christ and are soon to be baptized. The whole family continues studying The Way to Joy now that they have concluded the Story of Hope. The graphic pictures illustrating Biblical stories help people grasp the concepts clearly. The people in rural Paraguay are drawn to visual presentations of Scriptural truth. Thank you for giving us tools for evangelism and discipleship that are being used in the ministry in Paraguay. The harvest will come!
—Paul, missionary to Paraguay
We held our fourth evangelistic camp (e-camp) for this year and our campers were 80 percent native Filipinos. We used The Story of Hope in our presentations. To make the long story short, out of 80 campers who attended, 38 professed to receive Christ during the camp. I praise and thank God for The Story of Hope. We plan to use The Story of Hope in our future e-camps, and follow-up camps as well.
—Michael, Filipino in the Philippines
We have been able to print the chronological Bible study workbook, The Story of Hope, and it is being used in various studies, and people are growing and have received Christ through it.
—Ron, missionary in Mexico City
Our church is using The Story of Hope extensively. We use the books in all of our mid-week home Bible study cell groups. The people love it. We also use it in our youth Bible club on Saturdays and we use it in our daughter church in Rancagua in a few home Bible studies. Brian recently took a number of the books to use in his church, Mike is using them in Southern Chile in the church there, Alejandro and the northern Chile team uses them a lot. An Adelphos missionary (Mario) sent out by our church recently has requested the books so that he can use them in his church ministry in Oro Verde, Argentina. God is using it!
—Scott, missionary in Chile
I’m an ABWE missionary training others to use the story of hope.
—Joan, Binghamton, NY
One of our seminary students is teaching work skills (sewing T-shirts, sweat suits, etc.) to mothers living in extreme poverty. He does this at a center operated by Kids Alive. He has been using The Story of Hope for a Bible study with them. There are 19 women, only five of them believers. In the conversation, he “complained” that he was having trouble moving ahead because the ladies had so many questions. I suggested that he limit the questions and handle them at another time. He said he tried that, and almost has a mutiny on his hands! The ladies are enjoying the material.
Today I spoke with the wife of one of our national pastors, and she said they are using The Story of Hope with very good response in their church cell groups. She said that he has been promoting it to other pastors, so we may see a growing interest.
—Neil, missionary in Peru
For some time now we have prayed about how we could best help all those mothers (who attend our prenatal clinic) with small children who have difficulty getting to our Bible studies because of the long walking distances. Well, about two months ago we decided to take the Bible studies to them. We focused on three neighborhoods that were on the outskirts of our town and decided to invite the new moms who had made decisions through the prenatal ministry to join us in a Bible study called The Story of Hope. We found places near their homes where we could meet and then started weekly studies. The response has been so encouraging and we are thrilled at how God is touching lives.
—Carolee, missionary in the interior of Brazil
We have, for several months, been studying The Story of Hope with a group of believers at our church. Our goal was to prepare them to present the gospel to English speaking people. Several of them work in contexts that are multi-national. We were to study the fifth lesson this last Sunday, but all that changed when we heard that Ageu, who works at a firm owned by East Indians, would be bringing an East Indian friend. His testimony paid off recently as he gave The Story of Hope to one of his colleagues. After reading a portion, the Indian friend expressed a need to have someone study with him, to which Ageu of course offered to help. This man had actually attended a school run by missionaries in India. He knows some about the Bible but is interested in knowing more. They have been talking about this for several weeks and were excited to hear that they could bring their wives and come study with us. So early Sunday morning, when we have our English evangelism class, two young couples were there. Hearing that they were coming, I told several of my regular students that we were going to go back to the first lesson for the sake of our new students. Now my Christian friends will see how we use the materials to evangelize! Things went very well in the class time as we covered most of the first lesson and part of the second: The Great Creator God and The Creation of Plants and Animals. One of them is wanting a "spiritual experience in Brazil," not understanding that they need a spiritual transformation. Also, another is a strict vegetarian due to her Hindu reincarnation convictions. So, when we talk about the unique creation of man in God's image it is extremely important to clarify the distinctions between God’s creation of mankind and animals.
—Jerry, missionary in Brazil
In our last letter we asked you to pray for Ana as we were going through The Story of Hope with her. We are so excited to be able to tell you that your prayers were answered and she is now a member of the family of God. She recently started a new job and wrote in a message to us the following: “Now more than ever I want to continue with the Bible study and I have so much to thank God for because getting this new job can only be His doing.”
—Jon & Marilyn, missionaries to Portugal
Debbie is teaching literacy to Rusta in our kitchen in Simbai. Rusta is a former criminal, but God has done a great work in his life. I taught him how to teach The Story of Hope (TSOH, a chronological story of the Bible in 40 lessons with 40 illustrated pictures.) It is an excellent evangelistic tool; and Rusta has been going all over the Simbai area teaching the Gospel! This is what our ministry is really all about – Teaching faithful men who shall be able to teach others also! (2 Tim. 2:2)
—Bill & Debbie, missionaries in Papua New Guinea
I just wanted to let you know that I use The Story of Hope as discipleship material. I grew up in the church learning the Bible stories, but not really knowing how they fit together. It wasn't until I got to Bible college and took Bible Survey that the stories began to make sense. I've found since college that there are many more people out there like me. Though The Story of Hope is really a brief skim of Bible Survey it really is helpful to believers who have grown up in the church to understand the full story from more of a "bird's eye" perspective. I use the material to sort of make my students thirsty for further Bible Survey study of their own. For new believers, I don't skip this material and move right into The Way to Joy. I start with The Story of Hope and then go into The Way to Joy afterward. All that to say, I am so thankful for the material. Bible Survey is what I love teaching and TSOH is a really good place to start.
—Stephanie, missionary aviator in Togo
By way of this e-mail, I'll give you good news about the Good Soil course we've been doing with The Story of Hope that we finished today. It was incredible for the people involved, who were blessed during the study. I can say that beside being a simple course, there were moments that God blessed through his Holy Spirit planting His Word deep in our hearts. And last night through the study, Jesus put one more flower in His garden, as my nephew Matthew repented of his sins and asked Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Savior of his life! And as I have been asking God, the study group will continue at my sister's house. We will continue to meet and grow in the faith we have in Jesus. Amen!!
—Neto, in Brazil
I learned of Good Soil a few years ago while attending a conference on Bible Storying. I serve as the SBC Missionary to the Appalachia region (AL to NY) and the Delta region (states bordering the Mississippi River). I teach Bible Storying to pastors and ministry center directors and your materials are excellent. As a general rule, people in the USA who live in poverty are visual and the use of a picture in telling the story helps in better communicating the Biblical truth. You also have a planned path they can follow. Thank you for excellent materials to use in teaching the Word of God.
—William Barker, ARM with NAMB, Hurricane, WV
We like the condensed version of the chronological Bible story timeline in Lesson One of The Way to Joy and the Chronological Bridge to Life in Lesson Two. The Way to Joy is very good for a new believer. Thank you for the labor of love you have put into it.
—Missionaries in China
Sunday evening at our church Brazilian missionary Ronaldo gave a report to us on his ministry in the prisons. This fellow was quite a figure around here when he was behind bars, that is when they could keep him there: he escaped more than 20 times! He got saved through Pastor Jenuan's church and is currently starting his fourth year at our seminary in the missions course. He is supported by various churches for his ministry in the prisons. During this report he showed how he is using The Way to Joy materials.
—Jerry, missionary in Brazil
On Good Friday, we had an evangelistic outreach and about 100 adults attended. I presented The Story of Hope slides in PowerPoint and it was wonderful. People were listening and said that they really enjoyed it. We had about 35 people fill out the visitor’s card and are interested in our visits.
—Missionary in Nepal
Have been looking for appropriate materials for outreach to Bengali workers in Singapore. Looks like the PowerPoint slides might come in handy.
Great training and materials. In addition to training pastors and missionaries to learn and teach this, a basic course should be standard training for all Christian workers as well as new disciples and church members.
—--Ed, missionary to Eastern Europe