A Witchdoctor Finds Jesus

Witchdoctor Finds JesusShe Heard about Jesus

“I scraped by selling rice cakes, tea, and coffee in the village,” Lally says, “I sold medicines that promised healing also. And when my husband died, I supported my family by becoming a prostitute and had more children. I quit that and went back to witchcraft.”

Then, an evangelist walked into Lally’s village, going house-to-house inviting everyone to a Project Philip Bible study. “I was interested for some reason,” she says, “and it was the very first time in my life that I heard about Jesus. So I attended the Bible study each week.”

“One of the lessons was about how God is always with us and sees all that we do,” Lally recalls, “and that made me think about my life. I began to hate so much of what I had done. I needed Jesus’ help and I asked Him to save me.”

Today I have God’s Word

“That’s when I began to feel a new joy in my heart,” she says brightly. “And each time I read God’s Word, I learn new things about my life and how I can live today. I’ve given up my witchcraft and I’m growing in my faith because I have a Bible in my language of Malagasy.”

When asked if she has more to say, Lally insists on adding a word of gratitude. “Thank you, because I needed this Project Philip Bible study to understand how Jesus could come into my life. Because of Him my life has changed. This is what I tell my children and anyone who wonders why my life is different.” And she adds, “This can change anyone’s life.”

When Life Falls Apart

Only God Can Help

Only God Can Help

“Something happened to my family,” Kare admits, “Our children became afraid and they couldn’t sleep at night,” he says sadly, “it was like they saw evil.” Kare and his wife lost their joy as they saw their children suffer.

Frustrated and uncertain about what to do, Kare heard of a man in his village who was a pastor, “He was a believer in Jesus and I thought that maybe he could help us,” he recalls. “We asked him to come to our home and told him about how our children were suffering.”

“He listened patiently and then told us about Jesus, saying that Jesus calmed people who were troubled, how He healed and helped people, and that Jesus was ready to do that for my family too,” Kare says. “He told us about salvation and giving our lives to Christ. And he said we should start praying for our family because only God could help us.”

Our Lives Changed

Over the next few weeks this pastor returned to Kare’s home, and they started to study God’s Word together using Project Philip Bible studies. “We heard so many great and important things about God and salvation for the first time in our lives,” Kare says with excitement, “and I invited my brother and his family, and then the pastor started a children’s Project Philip Bible study also.”

This is when things started to change for Kare and his family. “We prayed and studied God’s Word and our lives changed,” he admits. “It was amazing for us. It was wonderful. And we saw how God helped us.”

Searching for Hope in Colombia

Living in Paradise

Colombia has the second largest population of internally displaced people (following only Syria), and many have been forced to flee the drug violence, civil war, and natural and economic disasters, to try to settle in Bogota. “I want my children to have a chance,” says a mother named Saida – her husband and six young children fled to this area several years ago and struggle to live on about $3 per day in a barrio named Paradise.

Saida’s home is just a 6-foot by 12-foot wooden shack that sits on short stilts to elevate it above the open ditch of raw sewage, and the tiny kitchen is out back with a butane stove perched on a small table with the only visible food being a small bag of potatoes. The only hope for Saida’s family comes from believers who serve God by sharing His Word in Paradise through Project Philip for Children. Yimmy is here in Paradise every day, teaching children’s lessons and helping them read God’s Word using the easy-to-read illustrated Bible for children.

Lost and Found

“To reach these families, we have church services every Friday and Sunday, and keep these gatherings short so people can return to their households, their children, and their jobs,” Yimmy says. “As adults and children understand God’s Word by using Project Philip, their lives are transformed and they discover hope for the first time.”

Yimmy’s ministry is motivated, in part, by his own experience. “I lost everything in my life not long ago, and at that time I did not believe in God, but then God changed me,” he confesses, “I know God’s Word changed my life, so I know it can change the lives of the people of Paradise.”

Where There is No Church

eNews_1701_story1

Have You Heard About Jesus?

“As I rode along, I talked with people—one person after another—and the Holy Spirit kept lead me farther and farther away from my home,” he reports, “and I stopped to talk with a shoemaker who was sitting under a tree—this was where he did his work, and when I saw him he was busy. After a minute, I started a conversation with him, asking ‘Did you hear about Jesus Christ?’ He said, ‘No.’”

This was the first time anyone in this village in India had heard about Jesus Christ and the Gospel, Saadhin discovered. And that shoemaker, although he refused Saadhin’s invitation to trust Jesus at that first meeting, was willing to continue the conversation—inviting Saadhin back many times over the next 6 months. “And praise God, one day after a long talk, the shoemaker accepted Jesus,” Saadhin says.

Time, Prayer, and a New Church

“We started our first Project Philip Bible study in the shoemaker’s home, and his daughter and wife were the next to receive Jesus Christ after studying God’s Word together,” Saadhin reports with joy. And the next step to building a church, he learned, was to receive the permission of the village’s head, but this man said no, “He said he would not allow a foreign religion in this Hindu village,” Saadhin reports.

“It took time, and prayer—about 2 months of this,” Saadhin says, “but the village head saw the transformation in the shoemaker’s family, and then he heard of other families trusting Jesus and how their lives changed. That’s when the village head dropped his objection and we began to build a church here.” Saadhin adds, “Today, this new church has about 20 believers worshipping together every Sunday, and they are bringing new friends with them, and today we will baptize 4 new believers and all the village will come to see it happen.”

My Family Will Be Different

eNews_1603_story1Living the Light

“Did you know that only a few people have electricity here in our Gaza Province?” Ndava says with a wry smile, “and my life is so different because I live in the light and I am bringing others to this light. I will never go back to the darkness that I lived in.”

“My parents and the rest of my family were not believers. Instead, we lived according to the traditional practices of worshiping family ancestors and trusting witchdoctors to help us when we were sick or scared,” Ndava recalls, “and we were just like everyone else in Xai-Xai—except for the Christians.”

“It all changed for me when I was reached through a Project Philip Bible study. You see, there was a flood back in 2000 and we all had to take refuge in a shelter nearby. God sent a Philip to lead Bible studies for us, and that’s when I heard about Jesus and accepted Him as my Lord and Savior,” he says.

A New Job Now

“After receiving Jesus I became a new person,” Ndava reports, “and I started telling others about my new life—telling my family that only Jesus Christ is Lord, and that only in Him will we find the solutions for all our problems.”

This led Ndava to admit he needed help. “I began attending the Project Philip training for Philips because I sensed that I wanted to keep winning souls to my Lord,” Ndava admits. “This is my job now—my training to be a Philip. My job to take care of our food and home is my second job now.

A Life Without Hope

eNews_1703_story2I Met Jesus

She lives in a small city in Venezuela—a country facing a desperate financial crisis that punishes the poor most of all. Religion is often a confused mix of superstition and culture in Armanda’s city, and they find little consolation. Without the help of believers like you, the great majority of people in Venezuela simply cannot afford the cost of a Bible. And in desperation, people like Armanda consult spirits, “searching for help and answers to solve our problems,” she says.

“But when the Lord Jesus Christ came into my life, it was when I needed Him the most,” she adds, “because it was when I was diagnosed with cancer.” She began her chemotherapy treatments and continued to attend a Project Philip Bible study near her home. “I felt weak because of the treatments and spent my days in tears, but in that Bible study I met Jesus and He strengthened me and gave me peace.”

My Savior and Healer

“Today I repeat this prayer, ‘The Lord is my Savior and Healer, and I shall not want,’” she says with determination. “I am your sister in the Lord, because I have come to know Jesus as my Savior and I have given myself wholeheartedly to Him. To those who made this possible, thank you.”

Armanda says, “You have helped me know God’s Word for the first time in my life—when I needed it the most—and God has changed the way I think, live, and how I live with my family and friends. I know my Lord Jesus Christ has allowed me to see things from an entirely new perspective.”

Hope Has Arrived

Hope Has Arrived

God is Building the Church

Almost 2 years ago, a passionate believer named Ajalria and his young family settles in a small village in India. “As I was training with Church Planter Training, I was sincerely touched by God’s Spirit. I knew I had to find a place with no existing church and start one,” he recalls. “So I prayed to God to lead me to a place to build a church and God led me here.”

From a modest Project Philip Bible study, Ajalria nurtured the new believers and together they began to grow. Soon, they were building a church for the group that grew to almost 50 people. “The people around us complained about us building a church in their area. They asked us to stop building. We told them that we are here to bring peace and that we believe God is building the church.”

Persecution and Growth

“Praise the Lord for His protection,” Ajalria adds, “and when we finished the little building some of the villagers started coming and are still with us.” Every Sunday morning, believers gather to worship together, study God’s Word, and pray—including their prayer that soon, they will be part of starting another new church nearby.

“This is a healthy church,” Ajalria comments, “and they need courage to be Christians in this village. Persecution comes from their neighbors and from local officials—from verbal warnings to threats against their safety, promises to ruin the building, and even warnings that I could be hurt.” He remains undeterred, “Thank God they have only taunted me, and thank God people here are trusting Jesus Christ as their Savior.”

New Life in Chile

New Life in ChileChanged Lives

Neglected as a boy, Vincente lived on the streets and as a teen he was tangled-up in drug use and theft. He quit school and soon immersed himself in a life of violence and eventually jail. After serving short jail sentences, Vincente fell deeper into the drug trade in Chile and found himself serving a serious term in a prison. But that’s when he heard the Gospel for the first time—in a rehabilitation center connected with the prison—and his life changed completely.

Soon, Vincente was made a leader in the rehabilitation center, and he found his true calling. “Because of my background, I knew the needs of the inmates,” he says, “and I knew that it was through studying God’s Word that these men had a chance to change their lives.”

From Prisoner to Pastor

Using Project Philip Bible studies today, Vincente is known as Pastor Vincente, and he leads the Cachapoal Rehabilitation Center in Peumo. “I’ve trained 34 residents to be Philips (Project Philip Bible study leaders), and the easy-to-read Bible is essential for these men,” Vincente reports. “They just don’t have any money, and therefore they need Christians to help them, and when they learn God’s Word through Project Philip they discover a way of sharing the Gospel with others. They also find meaning in their lives after wasting so much time using drugs and in prison.”

“Their lives are being changed, just like my life was changed,” Vincente confesses.

Searching for Hope in South Africa

Finding a Way

Hope in South Africa
Amelia’s aunt tried everything in her power to help her—she invited Amelia into her home and helped her return to school. Amelia had missed so much, but she still dreamed of something more—she just couldn’t get herself out of trouble. “I had lost focus—of where I wanted to go, of the plans I had. And I also forgot the struggles that I went through,” she says. “My grades dropped drastically in most of my subjects. The school called my aunt many times, but I continued with my behavior.”

“Until one day, a Pastor who always preached in our school came with a rather interesting approach—better than the usual preaching which was really boring for most of us,” Amelia says. “He invited us to attend a program called Project Philip Bible studies, and it caught my attention from the start.”

A Life Transformed

“This program brought me back to life,” Amelia confesses, “and I started seeing things in a completely different way. I was able to see the difference between right and wrong. I joined the church nearby and found Jesus my Savior.” She continues, “It’s been such a reviving experience to see my life change. My academic achievements have improved and my relationships changed for the better. I see all of this as God’s greatest work and I thank Bible League International for this program. Glory be to God, my Creator, my Redeemer, my Savior.”

Amelia was reached through Bible League International’s Adopt-a-School program in South Africa—a ministry to provide God’s Word for children and youth in the poorest slums—those abandoned in the hopelessness of poverty and crime. Training and equipping believers in under-resourced churches nearby offer the opportunity of learning God’s Word using Project Philip Bible studies to offer hope where it’s needed most.

Lost in Albania

Nothing Changed

Lost in Albania
He felt the pain and pressure of a violent home. “My father was violent to us, his children, and our mother, and I felt helpless to do anything,” Luka says with sadness, “I became an adult without ever having been to school. I was horrible toward my own family—to my own wife and children.”

“We were poor like everyone else here, and everyone in my family lived with us—my father, brother, and sister—because they didn’t have work, and we never had enough money,” Luka admits. “I asked for help, continued to go to mosque and observe my family’s religion, but nothing changed.”

God’s Word Changed Him

Then Luka’s daughter invited the family to a church she had started visiting—for a concert, and since they enjoyed music Luka was happy to attend. “There were a lot of people there and everyone wanted to talk about God’s love and how Jesus will save those who seek help. Those words affected me. I sought out someone who could help me, and that person invited me to a Project Philip Bible study.”

“That’s where I realized this God is the true God, and I gave my life to Jesus because He died on the cross for me,” Luka confesses, “and that’s when Jesus started to change my life. First I felt peace, then I stopped my drinking. I asked my wife to come to church with me, but my family refused my invitation and abused us because of this new faith.”

Even though my family punishes us because of my faith in Jesus, I still talk to others about salvation. Every night my wife and our children read the Bible and pray together,” Luka says, “and I’m so thankful for God’s Word in our lives.”