Every number is a person. Every person has a story.
One of our mentors recently shared this summary of a recent conversation with someone in Europe:
Annie* wrote in as a new Christian seeking assurance of forgiveness. Several months pregnant, she was finding it difficult to bond with her expected child. Memories of 2 abortions she had nearly forgotten were haunting her. She asked why she was finding it so difficult to receive God’s forgiveness and to forgive herself.
In the course of our conversation, we talked about how guilt (feeling bad for the things we have done) is different from shame (how we feel about ourselves because of things we have done). Guilt finds its solution in Christ’s death for us. Shame finds its solution in God’s view of us as his beloved children.
I invited her to discover more about her identity in Jesus by studying Ephesians with me. Every day, she would send in observant and poignant summaries of how God was freeing her from both shame and guilt. After Ephesians we studied the Gospel of John together.
In the course of a few months, she went from being weighed down by guilt and shame to worshiping God with a heart filled with joy.
In mid-November she gave birth to her first child. The birthing was difficult, but she was able to rest in Jesus and trust that all would be well. She continues to grow in Christ, seeking to show his love to her child and to her husband.
*name changed to protect confidentiality
A man from Russia (we’ll call him Paul) had a real question — Why did God save my life? He turned to the internet to find the answer and found Jesus through Digital Strategies.
Paul wrote in to IssuesIFace.com because he was convinced God had saved his life (physically) while undergoing cancer treatment, in answer to prayer. (He was not a believer, but a Christian had prayed for him, and encouraged him to pray too).
In his reply, the mentor asked, "Has anyone ever shared with you what it means to know God personally? According to your understanding, how does a person become a Christian?" In response, Paul wrote, “Unfortunately I have not had the opportunity to have someone share with me what it means to know God personally. I also don’t really know how a person becomes a Christian. I have never attended Church. So this is where the glorious work begins!” After the mentor explained the gospel, over several online messages, Paul responded that he invited Christ to come into his heart!
His mentor shared and discussed truths that will help him grow spiritually and soon realized that this new believer was truly eager to serve Christ with his life. Paul wrote: “I read about the Great Commission in Matthew. You know, I have been looking into different ministries for ways to reach out to more people, and God is very clearly telling me to use my talents to glorify Him….Instead of putting all my energy into earthly work and letting God have whatever is left over at the end of the day, I am being directed to do the opposite and start with God’s work….” He also wrote of reaching out in any way he can to a friend who is currently battling cancer, and of getting established in a local church.