A New Creation in Prison

eNews_1710_story1From Poverty to Prison to Christ

“I grew up in the slums of Mathare—one of the oldest and worst slums of Africa. People live on top of each other,” is the way he describes it. There are more than 700,000 people crowded there, just three miles from Nairobi, the capital. It is plagued by disease, drugs, crime, and too many people living without hope.

“I grew up with just my mother, she was a Christian and we went to church, but soon I stopped caring and that’s when my life fell apart,” he continues. “I lived like everyone else in the slum–drinking, stealing, and addicted to drugs—it was too late for me.”

“Sitting alone on that bench,” he says pointing across the prison yard, “I realized how far I had drifted away from God. The next thing I heard was an invitation to join a Project Philip Bible study and I jumped at the opportunity.”

Eager to Help

As he listened, he heard the things he knew from his childhood. “But this time, I knew that I had to give my life to Jesus. Believe in Him. Live for Him. So I did that, and Jesus is my Savior,” he says boldly. “I am no longer the addict I used to be. Jesus has transformed my life, and I’m so happy today.”

An eager learner, Alexander also learned that he could help others understand the Gospel. “I learned how to lead others to Christ so their lives can be transformed like mine. Today, I’m the one asking others to come with me to Project Philip Bible studies, and when I’m released someday, I will do the same. I need to go back to the place I was raised and tell them how God changed me.”

The Life God Wants for Me

The Life God Wants for MeHow Jesus Saves

From his small village in northern Ghana, Jalam is eager to tell his story, “I stopped schooling years ago because we had no money, and I had to work on my family’s little farm. Before we would plant, my family would offer gifts to an idol named Kakpeu—a tree idol that we thought made crops grow and protected our field. We would offer birds and other small animals, and hope we would see no danger.”

“It never made much sense,” Jalam now says, “but that’s because I have learned about the true God from the Bible.” In a nearby church, people gather for Project Philip Bible studies, and after dozens of invitations from the pastor, Jalam finally decided to attend.

“When I started, I was given a Project Philip Bible study book, and one of the lessons was about Jesus as our sacrifice,” he remembers, “and how God gave us His Son to be our sacrifice, and anyone who believes and follows Jesus will be saved.”

Living a New Life

“This is what I needed to understand,” Jalam says, “I only need Jesus, and I don’t need to make sacrifices. So I stopped the idolatry and I stopped the sacrifices, and I gave my life to Jesus.”

How has his life changed? Well, Jalam is happy to say, “I stopped worshipping Kakpeu right away, and instead of spending my money on sacrifices, I use my money to really help my family. And when my mother saw the difference in my life, she wanted to learn about Jesus too.”

Today, Jalam leads a regular prayer group devoted to asking God to save others in their village. “I have been sharing my faith with my friends too and by God’s grace one of them has given his life to Christ,” he says with a smile, “this is the life God wants for me.”

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.”

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.

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.

From Confusion to Christ

From Confusion to ChristAladaugo’s Story

The religious tensions of Ghana’s landscape are a challenge to ministry. And limited access to Bibles and biblical resources means too many people live in confusion or uncertainty—like Aladaugo did. “My parents were traditional believers, they worshipped gods and brought me up with similar values. When I was around 13 years old, my uncle took me to the southern part of Ghana to stay with him and his family.”

“You see,” Aladaugo recalls, “my uncle is a Muslim and made me become a Muslim too. I had no choice but to surrender to his instructions. So I practiced Islam until I left his place.” Soon, he found work as a carpenter and was surprised to learn that his teacher was also a pastor. “And he talked to me about Jesus as he taught me carpentry. That’s when I gave my life to Jesus Christ.”

He Believed God’s Word

Next came the opportunity to join a Philip Acts 8™ Bible study—to help him grow in his new faith. “He invited me and I learned how to live as a believer,” Aladaugo says, “and I learned that I had a problem with my uncle—I found it difficult to forgive him for forcing me to live as a Muslim.” That’s when Aladaugo learned about forgiveness. “I said I was a Christian but I couldn’t forgive, and that had to change. I had to change,” he admits.

“I learned from the Bible that I was able to forgive my uncle, and today we are on speaking terms. I now live happily without things against people, and I feel free and will continue to live for God alone,” Aladaugo promises.

It Was Almost Too Late

eNews_1603_story1Go Back to Church

After a night of troublemaking with friends, Cossa was arrested for theft (someone in the group had stolen some electronics that night and Cossa was implicated alongside others). “I was put in prison because one of my friends stole something expensive,” Cossa says, “and I spent 7 days there.” This got his attention.

“My mom told me, ‘Son, you stopped going to church and now you went to prison instead. Please go back to church,’” Cossa admits shyly. And he did—and that’s where a believer heard his story and encouraged him to join a Philip Acts 8™ (Project Philip) Bible study. “After several Bible studies, I saw the need of receiving Jesus and I did receive Him as my Savior.”

According to God’s Word

“The first thing I felt was peace in my heart. If I’d lived according to God’s Word, I wouldn’t have to fear prison,” Cossa says. “I am a different person now because Jesus transformed my life through the Bible. Instead of getting into trouble late at night, I’m studying God’s Word. I even went to my mom and asked her forgiveness for the pain I caused her. And I thank God for those who provided the Philip Acts 8™ Bible study for me, and today I have my own Bible. Thank you.”

Mozambique is a country facing violent political divides and devastating economic hardship—these obstacles often hinder ministry for the most vulnerable. But when under-resourced churches receive training and are equipped with God’s Word, they eagerly reach those at risk—whether near larger cities or in rural areas. In the face of significant suffering, people’s lives are being transformed today.

How He Serves God

eNews_1609_story1

Church Planting Where Needed Most

Abera grew up in a rural area, and since he was a child he’s seen how important a church is for people. “I was raised in a Christian family and was always active in church ministries,” he says, “and today I’m happy to help churches in my area with youth ministry.” He is modest about the time and travel he undertakes, but shows how confident he is that God’s Word will accomplish His purpose.

As Abera travels constantly, he always carries Bibles and Philip Acts 8™ (Project Philip) Bible study materials with him. “After a Philip Acts 8™ Bible study concludes, the people go to evangelize others who have never heard the Gospel nearby,” Abera says, “and many accepted Christ as their Savior because of this.”

How They Show Transformation

Hundreds of people in the area are participating in these Philip Acts 8™ (Project Philip) Bible studies thanks to Abera’s hard work and the generosity of those who help provide God’s Word in this region of Ethiopia. “Everyone is always thankful once they learn the Gospel,” Abera says.

And when people learn God’s Word, Abera says, “they practice Christian charity by helping the less fortunate—their collection went to support orphans, clothing was donated to families, and then people went to work on the farmland of several widows and the elderly.” Abera adds, “This is how they show their transformation.”

She Needs a Different Life

Gloria heard the Gospel

She Prayed a Lot

But a neighbor knew what Gloria was going through. “She prayed a lot and she invited me to attend a Philip Acts 8™ (Project Philip) Bible study,” she says. A small group meets in the village—sharing the few booklets they have and always able to use more for new people ready to study God’s Word.

This is when Gloria heard the Gospel for the first time. And, she also learned how she could be the one to tell others about salvation and new life in Jesus Christ. New believers are characteristically bold and eager to share with others the story of their transformation, and when Gloria heard this, she confessed that she wanted a story to tell of how God changed her life.

I am a Philip

“I accepted Jesus as my Savior, and now I am a Philip and not just a Gloria,” she says with a smile. In this rural area of Zambia, poverty and personal hardships seem to go hand-in-hand, but Gloria found help in God’s Word.

“I have started a Bible study in my house, and the most exciting part is that even my husband has joined the discussions we have.” The way God has transformed Gloria’s life gives her the opportunity to reach others in her village—everyone knew her old story and today they’re learning her new story of life in Jesus Christ.

Turning to God

Project Philip Bible study

His First Bible

The pastor of Likpamor’s church received training with Project Philip evangelistic and discipleship Bible studies, and began to share what he was learning with the church. “He brought us a Project Philip Bible study in our language —Konkomba — and told us when we study these lessons we can receive our own Bible,” Likpamor says.

Distance and poverty make access to God’s Word difficult in this area of Ghana. So, providing pastors with Project Philip training, and equipping them to reach their villages with Bible studies and Bibles is essential to transforming lives. For many, this was the first time they had the opportunity to learn God’s Word by studying the Bible, and most had never been able to afford a Bible of their own — until today.

Living for Jesus

“When we studied the story of Nicodemus where Jesus told him unless a man is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God, I pondered the message and realized I was deceiving myself,” Likpamor confesses. “There I made up my mind to serve the Lord Jesus and stop the idol worship. I dedicated my life to Christ and since then my life has been transformed.”

Likpamor says, “My life has changed, and I am now active in my church. I thank God for my life and I will continue to live for Him alone.”