A Letter from June
Just yesterday, I read the amazing story of “Aisha,”(Her name has been changed to protect privacy0 an Albanian teenager who was sent to a state-run orphanage at the tender age of three . . . after her parents’ tragic death in a car accident. Starving from being without food for days at a time, she lived in a cold, dark room with no electricity. For years, Aisha dreamed that someday someone would adopt her so she could have a family again. Sadly, that “someday” never came.
At age 14, Aisha, like many other Albanian teenagers, was sent to a boarding school. There she was sheltered and fed, but again deprived of the guidance, nurture, and love that her empty heart so desperately desired. When she was 17, a boyfriend promised to take Aisha to “find a job.” Instead she became his captive and then began experiencing the harshest abuse she had ever known.
Aisha recently shared her story on The Key (the Hope For The Heart radio broadcast produced by our Albanian ministry partners). Station founder counseled this distraught teen by using portions of our Albanian Biblical Counseling Library. According to them, our resources “helped Aisha see herself in a different way and make a decision to live a different life.”
Their broadcast staff also shared with Aisha a copy of Seeing Yourself Through God’s Eyes, “one of the best study books for Christians in the Albanian language,” according to the founder. “Women’s cell groups from all around Albania and Kosovo are using this book as a key spiritual resource. It has changed the lives of thousands of women.”
When I read these words about the impact of this one book upon thousands in these two countries, I feel so deeply humbled and grateful that God continues to use our ministry to change lives . . . half way around the globe!
It’s one thing to read reports about the wondrous work God is doing worldwide through Hope For The Heart, but this month—as we celebrate 25 years of ministry—it will be my privilege to travel to Europe and the Middle East to see with my own eyes—and heart—His great handiwork in the changed minds, hearts, and lives of so many who have been helped by our countless ministry co-laborers.
It astounds me to report that Hope For The Heart is at work in 60 countries on six continents, and in 24 languages. This fast-paced trip will enable me to discuss the progress of key plans and projects in six of those countries, and to encourage our ministry partners abroad, some of whom work amidst ever-increasing threats of terrorism and oppression.
I will also have an opportunity to teach at various conferences in different countries. For example, I’ll teach on How to Forgive . . . When You Don’t Feel Like It (Harvest House Publishers, 2007) at a Budapest conference for 450 leaders from across Hungary. In advance of the conference, our Hungarian ministry partner (a former staff member of Hope For The Heart) has translated our Forgiveness book and Quick Reference Guide on Forgiveness into their language.
In Albania, I’m scheduled to speak on Seeing Yourself Through God’s Eyes (Harvest House Publishers, 2008) to nearly 600 leaders over three conferences. I’ll also have an opportunity to minister at
three informal Heart to Heart events, where I’ll sing, share my testimony, and answer audience questions. I’ve been asked to speak and answer listener questions with partners in Albania on their broadcast.
In Jordan, I’ll be interviewed by the host of Arab Women Today, an immensely popular Christian radio program that is heard in all 22 Arabic-speaking countries. I’ll also have an opportunity to discuss and plan for the continued translation of our Biblical Counseling Keys on marriage and family topics in Arabic. Our forward-thinking team is piloting an entirely new format for our Arabic Biblical Counseling Keys—a series of attractive, themed mini-books that can be slipped into a pocket or purse. Each topic in the series will open with a culturally-appropriate story illustrating how that real-life issue impacts a family, and each topic will close with biblically-based, practical solutions.
But before I leave, I have one favor to ask: Would you join me in seeking the Lord for His divine wisdom, favor, and protection during this 17-day journey? Please pray for hearts to be encouraged . . . lives to be changed . . . and, most of all, for God to be glorified in all that is said and done. For those who have asked and sincerely want to know about our major needs, well . . . this is certainly one. Just the airfare for one person is around $2,300 (three of us are going), but these prices are small compared to the privilege of making such a large impact. If you are led by God to help us, we will be so deeply grateful! Ask the Lord if He would have you partner with us financially in our international work.
Our ministry is growing most rapidly overseas, where hungry hearts are discovering—many for the first time—that God’s Word contains the biblical hope and practical help that transcends cultural barriers . . . that “Hope For The Heart” is not just a name, but also God’s loving promise for all who believe.
Yours in the Lord’s hope,
original post – 2011
P.S. Some have asked if I’m fearful of traveling throughout the Middle East in view of the escalating global unrest. Certainly, I’m well aware of the dangers and instability in our world today. But far greater is my awareness of God’s promise to give me divine guidance throughout life. Therefore, I trust in His perfect will and in the exact moment of His sovereign choice to escort me safely into His presence. Until then, I will joyfully say—and sing!—“For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”1 Thank you for your meaningful prayers and support.