“Could a mother forget a child who nurses at her breast? Could she fail to love an infant who came from her own body? Even if a mother could forget, I will never forget you!” Isaiah 49:15 (CEV)
Sophie learned at a young age to pray on God’s promises and to memorize Bible verses that helped her keep the faith through the storm. Life hasn't always been easy for her. Abandoned by her mother at the age of 5, she spent most of her childhood and adolescence with misunderstandings and a sense of injustice – despite the unconditional love shown by her father and the great example of faith he was for Sophie and her sister.
Kettia was raised in a Christian home, but it was not until age 12 that she decided to put her faith in God. “It was the best decision of my life. Knowing Jesus changed my life!’’, she says.
Discovering her God given talents allowed her to serve her local church in many ways, not only as a youth leader, an event coordinator and a Sunday school teacher but also as the director of a much appreciated Gospel choir which sings in various events to the delight of its audiences. She is convinced that asking God to reveal His plans for our lives is crucial if we want to accomplish our purpose.
In 2012, Angela went through a very difficult time: after experiencing difficulty walking and suffering from episodes of blurred vision, great fatigue and pain in the arm that kept her from sleeping, she was told by a doctor that she was suffering from Multiple Sclerosis. Overwhelmed by the news, Angela was soon forced to stop working. She couldn’t understand why her world seemed to be falling apart; after all, she was a believer: "my work, my dreams ... I felt that God did not love me."
One evening, Angela was invited to attend a special meeting held at a church in Montreal, where she listened to a message on the death of Lazarus (John 11). "In the Bible it is written that Jesus loved Lazarus, that he loved Lazarus’ family and that Lazarus was his friend. Yet he still allowed Lazarus’ misfortune – death...". The pastor kept repeating "Jesus loved Lazarus, Jesus loved Lazarus...". Angela says that the pastor's words deeply touched her heart and she then started crying uncontrollably. That’s when "I realized that Jesus loved me ... that night, God healed my heart."
Andréanne is a Christian artist whose music reflects her passion, her love and her deep faith in God. As a young girl, she would often ask God question through songs – and she still sings to Him today, only now she does it on numerous stages.
At the age of 5, she had a life changing experience: one night, after hearing the famous John 3:16 verse quoted on a television program, she asked God to come into her heart. From that moment on she felt that He would never leave her and that she could always go to Him in prayer whenever she needed to. "I like to say to God: 'Speak to me, I'm listening’, and then I talk to Him as to a friend ... ", she told us in her own words.
The Canadian Bible Society provided the Adventure for Life Bibles for Christian camps this summer. We are delighted to hear encouraging feedback from some of the camps. One partner wrote:
Around 70 Bibles from the Canadian Bible Society were distributed to campers during our two weeks of Kids’ Camp (ages 6-11) and Teen Camp (ages 11-14). While in previous years Bibles were given as going-home gifts at the end of the week, this time the Bibles were gifted at the beginning of the week so that they could be used in chapel, cabin devotions, and free time. What a blessing it was to see campers walking back and forth from their cabins to the chapel with Bibles in hand!
Who would have ever believed that reading the Bible cover to cover in 2008 would transform our family?!
Sure, my wife and three teenagers were already Christians, but life was busy and we only did our devotions separately when our individual calendars allowed. However, in 2008, the Wesleyan Church denomination encouraged all of their churches to read through the Bible using the One Year Bible, and our family took up the challenge! Besides the obvious benefits of getting into God’s Word, this opportunity brought our family together like never before. We were accountable to each other. We were competing with each other. And we actually found common ground to talk to each other (so critical during those teen years). And now that we are six years older, I see our young adults having made daily Bible reading a lifestyle choice.
I grew up in a traditional Chinese family in a beautiful coastal city called Amoy. When I was nine years old, a new foreign family moved into our neighborhood. The father is Italian and the mother is Russian, and both of them speak fluent English. With them was their beautiful daughter named Xia Li (her Chinese name mean's "Summer") who was two years younger than me.
On winter solstice - two days before Christmas - my parents asked me to deliver two bags of sweet dumplings to our new foreign neighbors. It's tradition to eat sweet dumplings on that day, and they thought that offering the dumplings was a special way to welcome them. Xia's mother opened the door for me and my friend Min whom I invited along. "That's very nice of your family." She said, and she invited us in. While we played with Xia, she offered us some delicious homemade cookies and hot chocolate.
"Would you like to come to our Christmas party?" she asked Min and I before we left.
Wang Handong, age 43, is now a lay preacher at a church in Wuhan city, Hubei province. Some 14 years ago, he was a stubborn atheist who refused to set eyes on the Bible.
“I used to hate my earthly father. He was a government official and he ruled his household with an iron rod. To break free from the ‘tyranny’ at home, I enlisted in the army, mainly to escape from a dysfunctional childhood and its painful memories.
I remembered distinctly when I was 10 years old my mother brought home a Bible. My father took a look at it and condemned the Bible as “superstitious belief”. He forbade his sons and wife to read the Bible. I did not need any discouragement from him then. One glance at the Book and I pronounced it as “something that can never be beneficial to me.”
Jane Gracey, a long time supporter of the Canadian Bible Society, and her sister, Grace Rush, shared how God's Word protected their grandfather during the war, both spiritually and phsyically:
Edward Forsyth, my maternal grandfather, was a soldier with the Gordon Highlanders (Scottish Regiment) in the Boer War 1899-1902. Every soldier had been given a New Testament by Queen Victoria. Grandpa kept his NT in the left chest pocket of his uniform.
During the Boer War, Grandpa’s Division was often under intense fire. On one occasion Grandpa saw that his General had been injured and he pulled him into a safe area. It was not until later Grandpa discovered that, in fact, a bullet had grazed the NT in his pocket; the NT thereby had prevented Grandpa from being hurt.
Concrete walls and iron bars no longer define the world of one prisoner. In fact, since Eddie gave his life to Christ, his boundless enthusiasm for the Gospel has led many others to the Lord. Prisoners and guards alike love to tell stories about the “Preacher”, as they affectionately call him. Like the time guards ran to his cell because a large group of prisoners had gathered inside. They assumed someone was selling drugs or a fight had broken out. Instead they found the men crowded around Eddie as he read and explained the Bible to them.
It’s interesting how God uses situations for His glory – even our past and forgiven sins. Eddie’s current situation isn’t ideal, but it brought to the surface gifts he had never exercised before. Eddie knows he still has issues to resolve but is confident God will continue to refine his life. Actually, another inmate at the facility can affirm Eddie’s remarkable change of heart. He came to Eddie and said he’d been watching him and wanted to know more about the Bible. It had obviously made an enormous difference in the man he knew before.