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Global Stories

20-year-old Paula is a student in Chile. She has been looking for a Bible course to take for a while because she felt that she lacked knowledge about the Word of God. All the courses she found were either too time-consuming or too expensive.

One day, she was searching for courses on Facebook and came across LHM—Chile's Facebook page. She saw the Bible course Toward a New Life advertised and realized it was a perfect fit because it was short and free. She took the class which gave her the basic tools, based on the Bible, to answer other people's questions about Christianity and Jesus' existence.

Paula shared that there are many temptations in this world, especially in a university setting. She explained that her classmates do things that are sometimes tempting, but since the Holy Spirit is in her she is able to discern what to do and what not to do.

With that being said, being a Christian does not mean you have to live a boring life. "On the contrary: your life will be abundant; you will have peace," Paula says. "Friends often come and go, but having a relationship with Christ means that you will have an exceptional, extraordinary friend who will be with you through the good times and the bad." Now Paula feels equipped to enter into discussions with non-Christians who ask questions about Christianity.

In many countries around the world, most of the population is under age 25. Because of circumstances like broken families and secularism, many of these young people do not receive spiritual education in their homes, which means they are shaping their values based on their peers and the media.

Lutheran Hour Ministries—Panama developed a program called Project JOEL (Jovenes con Espiritu Libre, or youth with a free spirit) to address this issue by making a positive impact on youth in Latin America who may otherwise be influenced in other ways. Using games, sporting events, puppet shows, workshops, and songs, Project JOEL implements Bible studies into schools to share the Gospel with unreached youth. By partnering with the schools, the teachers can reinforce what the young people learn through Project JOEL, which helps make the outreach even more successful.

Felipe is just one example of how the program not only impacts the children it is teaching, but the volunteers who are involved as well. He is a university student who decided to do his social work for a local school in conjunction with Project JOEL so he could share the message of values with children.

He works with LHM staff and makes visits to the Minnesota State School and the Occupational Merchant Marine Institute of Panama. On those visits he is put in charge of prayer times, develops the biblical readings, and promotes the message of values.

The work Felipe does with LHM—Panama has allowed him to strengthen his spiritual life. He says, "I have been blessed to want to bless others, I have been helped by wanting to help others, and I have established a deeper relationship with God by wanting to make Him known to others. This has had a tremendous impact on my life."

Angalia is 24 years old. She lives in Nairobi, Kenya, where she makes her living selling secondhand clothes. But her former way of life was much different.

Like too many young Kenyan women, Angalia turned to prostitution to survive. Not only did that career prove insufficient to pay her monthly bills, it left her feeling guilty. She distanced herself from attending church as she had during childhood. Now she felt unworthy of returning.

One day, during a chance encounter, someone invited Angalia to a monthly fellowship activity hosted by LHM—Kenya. She continued to attend. After several visits, she felt the Lord nudging her to separate herself from prostitution.

Angalia participated in Reaching Rahab, an LHM program that helps young women escape prostitution through vocational training. Soon she had the skills she needed to run her own small secondhand clothing business, her current endeavor. She also completed our Bible Correspondence Courses, which helped her mature in her rediscovered faith.

"I am happy that God by his grace has saved and transformed my life," Angalia says. "My family has accepted me back, and now I have a sense of acceptance and belonging."

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Baiba is a 30-year-old woman who is married and the mother of two girls. But her marriage has not always been smooth.

"When I got married, I was very young," she says. "I thought marriage was a magic wand where everything becomes perfect. Back then, I didn't realize you have to work on your marriage, build your family step-by-step, and, most of all, be humble."

One Sunday she came across a program on the radio called "The Little Truths" sponsored by LHM-Latvia that was discussing family relationships. As she listened, she couldn't believe what she was hearing - she started to understand that she had been putting her needs and opinions first.

"To be honest, at first I was very mad," she says. "As days passed, I kept thinking about the program and wanted to have answers. But it was hard to admit that I had been doing something wrong."

She looked up the program on the internet and called to ask for more information. LHM staff sent her several brochures about family, relationships, parenting - and building a loving relationship with God.

"I still have my ups and downs," Baiba says. "But I have peace and strength in my heart that I haven't known before. I know now that I'm not a failure or a bad wife. I am human - a human loved by God!"

The Christmas season is recognized as the most likely time of the year for non-Christians to consider matters of faith. From the carols that are sung to the nativity scenes that are set up to the imagery on the front of Christmas cards, Jesus is placed front and center in our cultural eye. The season also provided LHM ministry centers around the world with more opportunities to give unchurched people the gift of the Gospel than any other time of the year.

Staff and volunteers in Thailand hosted their annual Christmas outreach program in nine government schools to explain the true meaning of Christmas to teachers and students. Through a two-hour program including songs, an English activity, a viewing of the Red Boots for Christmas animated video, and more, the ministry team presented the Gospel message to more than 4,000 primary and middle school students.

LHM-Ethiopia staff and volunteers ended 2018 by hosting a joyous Christmas celebration filled with songs of praise, messages sharing the Word of God, and the distribution of oil, flour, and soap to people in need. The event proved to be practical and timely by encouraging participants to live a Christian lifestyle and teaching them to how pray.

In Guatemala, a local television network aired Little Shepherd and Red Boots for Christmas on a Sunday morning to share the meaning of Christmas with viewing families. Volunteers passed out flyers throughout major cities to promote the airings and distributed headbands that included the LHM-Guatemala phone number so people could call to receive a children's coloring book. Adults stopping by the ministry center received an Advent devotional booklet.

Volunteers in Kazakhstan shared the joy of the season by purchasing gifts for hundreds of children in local orphanages and medical centers. Each gift included materials that shared more about the love of Christ and the hope He provides in their time of need. Staff also partnered with a local church to host an event for children and adults that included a tea party, decorations, prayer, Christmas carols, and a program sharing the story of Christmas.

Read more stories from our ministry centers around the world:

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