“What Can You Believe Me For?”
The moment is so clear in my mind. I had been on staff with OneHope for a few years, and the forward progression seemed to have stalled out. We were reaching about six million children per year with God’s Word. It was a great number, but God had told us to reach every child and youth on earth. Six million a year wouldn’t do it; too many were moving into adulthood without ever hearing the good news of the gospel. My dad and I were seeking the Lord in prayer. Why is this happening? How can we reach every child if You’re only providing for six million a year?
We both felt so clearly the Lord’s response, “What can you believe Me for?” It wasn’t that He was unable to provide for more than six million a year; it was that we weren’t believing big enough. A spirit of wisdom and revelation seemed to come upon us, and we knew that what God wanted was to double the ministry output the following year. Can you imagine in business, with no promise of extra resources, if you just declared you were going to double your profits?
It would be crazy. But we knew that God’s power was working in us and through us, and we made a power declaration that the following year the ministry would present the good news to twelve million children and youth. We made the declaration. We had no idea how it was going to happen. We were obedient to God’s call and trusted Him as we made the plan that He impressed on our hearts. This is where that third direction, to have faith, came into play. Faith is truly the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Dad and I began to act on our belief, completely in faith. We made plans for a bigger building and the new staff we’d need when we doubled our faith goal. We started researching and dreaming about the new countries that we felt would open to the Book of Hope.
The first thing that happened: my faith was tested. A missionary in the Philippines called me and said he’d heard of our program and needed me to come with him to meet the minister of education. He thought there was a good chance we’d get permission to give the Book of Hope to every schoolchild in the entire nation there. As he was speaking, a spirit of fear gripped me. Here was one of those doors opening, and we didn’t have the money! This wasn’t in the projections we’d made, and I didn’t see how we could possibly do it. I called my dad right away.
“I have an invitation to meet with the minister of education in the Philippines, but looking at the numbers, I just don’t see how we can add anything to our plate right now,” I told him. I needed him to agree with me that it would be senseless to go to the Philippines. There was silence at the other end of the line, and finally Dad said, “Who are you to say no to God?” Ouch. Thanks, Dad.
I got on a plane for Manila. The meeting with the minister of education was extraordinary. He was not a believer, but he was so gracious and listened to my presentation and then complimented the United States for all we had done for the Philippines after World War II to help build schools and create the system of education. But he said in 1963 when the United States removed Bibles from the classroom, the Philippines had done the same, and it was as a reflection
of our own American laws that he had to, at that moment, deny me permission to take the Scriptures into the schools. What a heartbreaking moment! I immediately began to tell him how the United States had changed since prayer and the Bible were taken out of the schools, listing the statistics about drug use, alcoholism, teen pregnancy, and gang violence. Did he want this for the Philippines as well? It was already happening, he told me, and he began to list for me his country’s statistics, which were the same or worse than mine.
I could almost pinpoint the very moment in our conversation when the Holy Spirit came over that nonbeliever, and he pushed back from his desk saying, “I don’t even know why I’m doing this.” He called his secretary in and dictated a letter granting us permission to give the Book of Hope to every single schoolchild in the nation. I was just praising God in my heart!
Then the man turned to me and said, “I’m putting my name, reputation, and seal on this letter, which will go to every school in the Philippines. Can you do this?”
Everything in my humanity said, “There’s no way we can do this.” The money wasn’t there. The infrastructure wasn’t in place.
But again this was where those directions to trust, obey, and have faith were at work. Faith rose up in my spirit, and I said, “Yes, sir, we can do it.” I couldn’t do it, but I knew I was serving an almighty God who can do anything. I boarded the plane for home, and on a layover in Japan I called my dad.
“I’ve got good news and bad news,” I told him. “The good news is we have permission to reach 7.2 million schoolchildren in the Philippines. The bad news is we need two million dollars really bad.” On the other end of the line I heard Dad chuckle. He began to explain.
At the same time we were grappling with financial issues, God had been speaking to a wonderful Christian businessman, Mr. Green. This man had a vision to reach the world with the gospel of Jesus, and he was seeking God’s direction for how to do it. God had already made clear to him that there was a divine plan and that it would be revealed. In May of 1997 he and his family “ just happened” to visit a church where a Book of Hope presentation was
being made. When he heard about an economical way to blanket entire cities with the Word, he knew this could be the plan the Holy Spirit had promised to reveal to him!
Mr. Green had called my dad and asked him to come visit with him and his family. Of course my dad’s schedule is planned well in advance, and the best he could do was promise to meet them next time he was in their area. Mr. Green wasn’t satisfied with that. He asked Dad just to pray about it. And when Dad prayed about it, he felt the Holy Spirit’s leading him to go and meet the Green family. He was so glad he did. The Greens became one of our most generous partners. As I spoke to Dad about the Philippines that day, he said, “Rob, we have a gift of $500,000 and a commitment that will provide what we need for the outreach in the Philippines.”
Together with the extraordinary generosity of many other friends, the Greens helped enable the ministry to more than double our outreach at the time. Have faith. Obey, trust, and have faith. This is how the scope and vision of the ministry of OneHope have grown. It has been a silent revolution, almost a secret from the rest of the evangelical church (although we don’t try to keep it that way). But every day someone like you hears for the first time about OneHope and understands that they can make a powerful difference just by praying and giving, that they can help needy children move from death to life with such a simple gift—the gift of God’s life-transforming Word—and feel called to make it happen.
Then that person joins the silent revolution. They obey God, they trust Him, and they step out in faith, just as I did, my dad did, and the Green family did. Together we’re turning the tables on the devil and rescuing the next generation by giving them the eternal hope of Jesus Christ. Close to a billion children and young people have been touched by the gospel through obedience, trust, and faith in God. We’re amazed every day to see the new directions He takes us and behold the astounding provision He makes for us. Millions in Russia, in India, and in Latin America—this silent revolution of believers who are willing to obey, trust, and put their faith in action are bringing hope to a generation!
We’re affecting destiny, fulfilling the mission God put in our hearts. And you? Are you part of this silent revolution? Are you affecting destiny for the generations to follow, for your own generation? Are you teaching your children and grandchildren how they can affect destiny? You can do it, you know. Seek God for your own destiny, obey when He directs you, trust Him to make the path clear, and have faith that your own personal ministry will make the impact He desires.
Tsenko and Matiu
I think about an American woman named Charlotte in Bulgaria. How many people do you know who’ve been to Bulgaria? It’s not a tourist spot, by most standards. And Charlotte wasn’t a tourist. She was a missionary. She’d followed her destiny and joined a short-term OneHope mission team (at that time we called them Affect Destiny Teams) to help present children and youth with God’s Word. She was no Billy Graham. She was not even a Rob
Hoskins. She couldn’t speak the language, but she was part of the silent revolution, and by God’s grace her impact has been felt in so many lives.
She was working with a team from the local church. One day they went to an orphanage. It was there Charlotte met Tsenko, an abandoned boy. His father had never been around very much. Tsenko could just remember him: a gambler who had a job but lost most of his money in various games of chance. When he disappeared, it was just after Tsenko’s baby brother, Matiu, had been born. Their mom had no hope to provide for the boys. There was no work for a single mother in their rural part of Bulgaria. She went to Greece to find a job. She left baby Matiu with his grandparents and dropped Tsenko at the orphanage. Just a few years later Matiu joined him there. They were all alone.
Matiu didn’t miss their father. He didn’t remember him. But both boys missed their mother and their grandparents. The state made sure they had food and went to school, but boys need more than that. They need someone to comb their hair and help with their homework, to read to them and hug them and love them. Tsenko tried to be strong for Matiu, but he was lonely and felt hopeless. The church team that came to visit brought a gift for each child, the Bulgarian language Book of Hope. They also organized a film showing to entertain the children. They presented The GodMan, seen through the eyes of a young boy who might have walked the streets of Jerusalem with Jesus.
Both fourteen-year-old Tsenko and ten-year-old Matiu enjoyed the film. Then when one of the people from the church began to explain to them that Jesus is real and that He is still loving and embracing children and adults today, Tsenko drew back. How could this be real? The walls went up. But Charlotte was there, and she saw past those walls. As an interpreter helped her talk to Tsenko about his life and about what they’d seen in the film, he opened up to her. As she shared with him from the pages of the Book of Hope, things began to fall into place. Tsenko realized that Charlotte believed. And he promised her he would read the book, and he would try to believe too.
In the weeks that followed, Tsenko kept his promise to read the Book of Hope. It contained not only the scriptural story of Jesus but also special sections designed to speak to the heartfelt needs of young people like him. Slowly he began to realize that although he may not be able to live with his biological family, he could still have the unconditional love of a heavenly Father. Today Tsenko, Matiu, and thirty children from the orphanage are part of their local church, serving Jesus and worshipping together. The church even sends a Bible teacher to the orphanage to meet with them and pray with the young people each week.
Charlotte trusted God, obeyed His calling, and had faith that He would use her faithfulness to affect destiny. And it did, especially for Tsenko. Be part of the silent revolution. Let God use you too to affect destiny for the next generation!
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