Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Place of Refuge

Overcomers Caring Ministries started about seven years ago in the Kibera slums in Kenya as a feeding centre. Then it developed into an orphanage for children from the slums. We fed them and shared the Gospel with them. We taught them the importance of being clean and drinking clean water and how to make the river water into clean drinking water.
I had the opportunity to go to this orphanage again this year with a group to do some upgrading on the building. The kitchen was too small, and the cook was cooking on a woodstove that smoked a lot. We built a new, larger kitchen and got a new stove—one that won’t smoke!
The children were sleeping on the floor with cardboard under the mattresses. When it rained, both got wet. We got some bunk beds and made new mattresses, sheets and blankets, so now the children have comfortable, dry beds to sleep in.
We had taken some LifeLight New Testaments with us and gave them to the children who could read and promised to read them. They were very grateful!
More than sixty children play in a yard that is not very big. One day as I was finishing my lunch I realized that I was the only adult around. Even with no supervision, the children were playing happily, with no fighting. They are like a big happy family, trying to forget a troubled past. It was so good to see the happy faces of the orphans. For them this orphanage is truly a place of refuge—an oasis in a world of poverty and pain.
Helena Peters

What a Gift!

While visiting some of my Colombian friends, Francisco and Martha, I gave them a copy of the Spanish/English New Testament from LifeLight Ministries. Martha opened it with joy and read, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, nor has it entered into the mind of man what things God has prepared for those who love Him.” She was so taken up with what she was reading that she kept on while I visited with the rest of the family. She loved to look across the page to see the translation.
This family has been in Canada for almost two years, and the Holy Spirit is working in their lives. (Francisco was shot in Colombia by some extortionists and is crippled.)
Recently I made a trip to El Salvador on a tour with thirteen advocates of Compassion Canada. I took some of the English/Spanish New Testaments to distribute to the children. I spent a day with Carlos and gave him a bag of gifts. Of all the gifts, he treasured the New Testament most of all! He is trying to learn English, and he liked the side-by-side message in both the languages.
May the Spirit of Jesus Christ continue to bless people by opening up the Scriptures in a language they can understand!
Len Johnson

I inherited your book on living; it’s mine forever—what a gift! And how happy it makes me! (The Message).

Lord, this is my only Bible!

Ambassadors for Christ Canada has been doing extensive short-term ministry throughout Latin America over the past several years. Through mission teams comprised of both lay people and church leaders, Ambassadors for Christ has engaged in leadership training, evangelism, church and school construction and renewal ministries.
Every time we go we take Bibles from LifeLight Ministries to distribute. Many believers and church leaders in Spanish-speaking countries are so poor that they cannot afford Bibles.
I (Brian) was preaching in a poor barrio. As always, I had brought a few Spanish Bibles with me. After the service, the pastor told me about a young man who needed a Bible. I said I would be happy to give him one, and as I presented him with one, I couldn’t help but notice how overwhelmed he was by this incident. I asked him to tell me what was happening.
He told me that he had been witnessing to another man whom he worked with for several months. One night as he was praying, he felt that God was telling him to give his only Bible to this man. At first he argued with the Lord, saying, “Lord, this is my only Bible, and I can’t afford to buy another one. If this man becomes a Christian, then I will try to help him get one.” However, his conviction from God was too much, so he yielded and gave his only Bible away. (This was on a Wednesday.) Then he said, “Now here we are, on Friday night, and God has given me a new Bible that is nicer than I ever could have imagined!” With that, he left to go, gripping his new Bible and rejoicing in the Lord.
A few days later we were at our host pastor’s home. While we were visiting, he received a phone call from another pastor who had heard that we had given out a few Bibles. She asked if we had any more, since she did not currently have one. I remembered that I had more back in our hotel room, so I asked her to meet me the next day. The next day she walked several miles and came bouncing into the house as she anticipated receiving this new Bible. As Linda, my wife, presented the Bible to her she hugged us repeatedly and kept saying “gracias” over and over again, with a huge grin.
These and other experiences have convinced us that whenever and wherever we travel with mission teams, a necessary item for our luggage is Bibles to give away.
Brian & Linda Hamilton

Monday, October 15, 2007


Out of the Darkness
Grace Amos
When my grandpa died, it hit me harder than I ever thought it would. After the funeral I kept thinking about death and about why we are on this earth if we’re all just living to die. I felt so lost!
One night I was home alone and decided to dig around in my closet. I had no idea what I was looking for, but as I was going through some boxes that I was keeping for my mother, I came across a book. At first I thought it was just some self-help book, but when I read the title, How to Find God, I became curious, so I sat down and started reading it. I soon realized that it was actually a Bible! After reading the section “How you can know God” I was in tears, as I realized why my life was in complete darkness, and in November 2006 I accepted Jesus into my heart.
Those were the first steps, but I didn’t really do anything about my new life until New Year’s Eve when I went to church instead of going out with my friends to party. My kids and I were living on a reserve in Saskatchewan at the time and were attending a small church.
Things were going well and I was growing in my faith, but when we left the reserve and moved to Winnipeg, I backslid. I started drinking and using cocaine and was back in darkness. Because of my choices, my kids had to do without a lot of things. I felt awful and cried all the time. Finally I said to myself, “There’s got to be more to life than this!” So I started reading that book again, prayed the salvation prayer and rededicated my life to Jesus. I found such comfort in knowing that Jesus was my Saviour!
I used to be a people pleaser; now I just want to please the Lord. Once I was a follower of the “living dead”; now I only want to be a follower of Jesus. I messed up when I tried to live according to the seven sacred teachings (I’m aboriginal), and the “spirit world” dropped me when I screwed up, but Jesus always picks me up when I fall. I still have many flaws, but God is so patient with me. A Christian friend told me that Moses, David and Paul were also far from perfect, but God still chose them to spread the Good News.
I’m just a baby in this new life, but I’m just so happy to know the Lord. I still have so much to learn, but this book, How to Find God, has helped me through many struggles. The Christian life isn’t all just sunshine and rainbows, but I know that God won’t give me more than I can handle.
Since I accepted Jesus into my life, my kids no longer have to do without food and clothes. I have found a good church, no longer go the parties I used to go to and, just recently, I destroyed all my old music CDs.
Thank you, LifeLight Ministries, for making these “baby Bibles” (as I like to call them) available for people like me.
You are my lamp, O Lord;
the Lord turns my darkness into light (2 Samuel 22:29).

Van Essen Ventures

We, together with Donna Kovacs, our newest committee member, attended MissionFest in Toronto from March 1-3. Donna’s talents were greatly appreciated.
Special guests included the African Children’s Choir and speakers Ravi Zacharias and Franklin Graham. In spite of bad weather, huge crowds attended. Marilyn and Donna had planned to share with the school children on Friday, but the event was cancelled due to an ice storm.
The three busy days were very fruitful, and we thank the Lord for the many people with whom we had contact. (Marilyn saw friends she met in the 1980s!) Pray that in the coming year we may be able to find people whom God has given an interest in helping us in this ministry.

The following two items were submitted by Donna Kovacs, John and Marilyn’s helper at these events:
Biker Day
Port Dover, Ontario: 150, 000 people visited Port Dover on Friday, July 13, for Biker Day. A record number of bikers converged on this small community on that day.
And we were there as well! We handed out approximately 160 New Testaments for bikers in three hours and then helped the various Christian Biker Associations hand out their Scriptures, tracts and magnets for another hour. We experienced many blessings in serving the Lord in this way.
One woman, known for her adulterous lifestyle, received a New Testament and gratefully said, “Heaven, help me!” That was not an empty plea!
As we attempted to hand another woman a NT, she said she needed “hope.” We told her that this NT would bring hope, and she gratefully accepted it.

Friendship Festival
Friendship Festival, Simcoe: The Friendship Festival is a civic holiday in Simcoe. We entered a float in the parade and handed out 430 goodie bags. Each one included a LifeLight Ministries newsletter, a story about Jesus, and some candy. Our float featured the Great Commission verse, … go and make disciples of all nations…, and the LifeLight banner was carried in front of the float. In this way we reached out to all who were there, not just those who received the goodie bags.
Praise God for the many other ministries represented in the parade and for the positive reaction from the crowd—clapping, cheering and some positive comments! There seemed to be a sense of gratitude at seeing the Gospel being shared so publicly.

Future Events
Pray for us as we participate this fall in the Norfolk County Fair here in Simcoe, a mission conference in the People’s Church in Toronto, and the annual Pumpkin Fest in Waterford. There will be a LifeLight table or booth at each of these events.
John and Marilyn Van Essen are the LifeLight Ministries reps in Ontario. They make their home in Simcoe.

The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to change the people of God.

Berge Lake Bible Camp

Teens Camp took place at Berge Lake Bible Camp in Lynn Lake, Manitoba, from August 31 to September 3. The teens received The LifeLight New Testaments.

Camp Memories
● Camp was awesome! Next summer I’m going to bring some friends who have never been to camp.
● I’ve been going to camp ever since I was old enough, and this year I decided to change my life by being saved.
● One of my best experiences was the devotions under the stars, in God’s creation.
● There is no place on this earth where I feel as close to heaven.
● I loved it so much I didn’t want to go home on Saturday. Whenever I’m at camp I feel so close to God.
● I made many Christian friends who had a positive influence on my life.
● I really liked the singing and playing with all the lovely bugs and listening to the birds singing in the morning.

Penners give LifeLight NT at Midway Bible Camp

Bill and Anna Penner, missionaries with Continental Mission in northern Manitoba, have many opportunities to distribute Bibles. This summer they gave Bibles to campers at Midway Bible Camp. The children were so grateful for Bibles written in a language they could understand.

Dauphin Bible Camp - Campers Treasure Bibles

In one of our cabins we had a group of girls from a variety of backgrounds—broken homes, hopelessness, lack of self-respect, culturally saturated, and a general lack of knowledge of God’s Word. One girl, in particular, came from a rough home and had experienced continuous spiritual warfare. The cabin leader provided her with a Bible. She began to study it with the leader and then took it home.
Another group of girls came with translations that were hard to understand and to memorize. Thankfully, we had easy-to-read Bibles from LifeLight Ministries which enabled the campers to easily read and begin to understand God’s love for them. A Bible is truly the most important gift that anyone can ever receive, and it is a blessing to see campers treasure them.
Richard Bankert
Dauphin Bible Camp is situated on the northern edge of Riding Mountain National Park, ten kilometres south of Dauphin, Manitoba.


Bible Camp…
… Not just decisions, but disciples for Christ
… Win a child…win a life…
… Reaching and teaching youth for life in Christ
… Where Christ and a great time go together
… The Jesus they see is the Jesus in me
… Hearts are turned toward God…one heart at a time
So keep my words in your hearts and minds…. Teach them to your children... (Deuteronomy 11).

Changed Attitudes
In today’s society it is very common for people not to have their own Bible and not to have heard the message of Jesus. Our world has become so “correct” that many of the kids who come to Teen Ranch have no clue about the gospel.
The leader in the cabins talked to the campers all week in “Time Outs” about God. In one cabin, particularly, many of the girls had very little knowledge about Christianity and didn’t pay much attention. As the week unfolded, many of them started asking for Bibles, and the leader would find them sitting on their bunks and reading their very own Bibles. They were so excited about these Bibles and were intrigued by God’s Word. It was so encouraging for the leader and for the rest of us to see the how the attitudes of these girls changed. God works in mighty ways, changing people’s hearts and minds.
Many of the leaders wrote notes of encouragement in the Bibles, and it’s exciting to think that five to ten years down the line those kids will be grown up and, we pray, will still be reading them and will look back and remember the love that was put into them.
Thank you, LifeLight Ministries, for helping these kids know about Jesus and providing us with Bibles to help them in their spiritual growth. What a blessing!
Ashley Goldsmith
Teen Ranch is set in the beautiful Caledon Hills, one hour northwest of Toronto, Ontario.

Eagle Bay Camp's Message for Campers

Jesus, the Light of the World

Each summer a ministry provides us with pillows for every camper with a picture that relates to our theme and to the main Bible verse for the week. Our verse this year was John 8:12, When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, “I am the light of the world; whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Our theme was “Jesus is the Light of the World.” At the final chapel service each week we give the pillows, together with Bibles, to the campers. Each year we see the pillows come back, and the kids also bring their Bibles from the previous year.
It was a sunny fall day at Eagle Bay Camp, and I was walking the grounds in prayerful thought about the summer programs. I was praying that the children would remember the real meaning of camp—the message that Jesus is the light of the world!
Later that morning the phone rang in my office. It was the grandmother of one of the campers. Kokum (in the native culture grandmother is “Kokum”) asked me when she could come and pick up the unclaimed clothing from camp. Each year clothes are donated to Eagle Bay and all the unclaimed clothes are given to a local reserve. I told her she could come anytime and that we were looking forward to seeing her. Thoughts were still racing through my mind: Did the campers really understand the message? Do they know that Jesus is the light of the world?
That afternoon Kokum arrived with her two grandsons. As I opened the door, I noticed that one of the boys was reading the Bible he had received at camp. As we were loading the boxes of clothing I asked Kokum whether her grandson was reading the Bible regularly. She responded, “All the time!” This thrilled me because this boy didn’t seem to be listening or paying attention during camp. After they drove away I praised God for His Word and the message that really was made known in the hearts of the campers.
William Watson
Eagle Bay Camp is located 200 km northeast of Winnipeg, in close proximity to Lake St. Martin.

Beaver Creek Bible Camp Celebration!

In the summer of 2006 I was one of the assistant directors at Beaver Creek Bible Camp. This new position provided great opportunities, great challenges, great growth and great leadership experience. As much as I loved and enjoyed being a part of the director team, at times I missed being in the cabins, especially the evening devotions with the campers. One thing I had always loved as a counsellor was to see my girls reading their Bibles. Many campers come to camp without Bibles but get to go home with their own Bible at the end of the week!
During the summer I felt so blessed to have a few chances to go into the cabins and join them for their devotion times. On each of those evenings I was able to be in the cabins of campers who gave their lives to Christ!
On one of these nights, just before the evening staff meeting was to begin, one of the counsellors came to get me. She was absolutely stoked, saying that one of her girls had accepted Christ during devotions. She wanted me to come and help celebrate with her cabin and talk to our new sister in Christ! What a night! All the campers were excited but none as excited as the new Christian. After everyone settled down, she sat on her bunk, switching between reading her Bible and asking questions. Her counsellor and I took turns talking to her and to each of the girls one on one.
It was so exciting to see her delight both in her new relationship with the Lord and in reading His Word. The next week we heard that she had led her younger sister to the Lord on the way home from camp. She couldn’t keep her new peace and joy to herself. May we all learn a lesson from her!
Pray that all the kids who receive Bibles at camp will read them throughout the year and that they will grow closer to the Lord as a result! Some of them will only learn about Him at camp for one week, but as they take their new Bibles home, they can learn all year long.
Dayna Kroeker
Beaver Creek Bible Camp is located about 2½ hours north of Winnipeg.

Camp Cherith gives out Pathlights to change Children's Lives

Their First Bibles
It was a privilege to give a Pathlight Bible to every camper who accepted the Lord at camp. This summer we gave away more than thirty Bibles. For most of the campers it was the first Bible they had ever owned. Following are comments from two of the parents of the campers:
●Thank you so much for everything! Another year of camp has come and gone, another year in which my son has come back singing the camp’s praises. I am a huge believer in your approach to making God the focus, while providing so much for the kids on so many levels. Having my son grow in the Lord is fantastic; he has come a long way since the time when he was ready to just walk away in his first year. (I still remember the phone call.) Thanks again, and may God richly bless you and continue to be present at the camp now and always.
● My daughter attended the first week of girls camp this summer and continues to rave about the experience. She is also doing jobs for neighbours and her grandmother so that I can register her for both weeks next year! You have made a profound difference in my daughter’s life. Her long-term goal (she’s only 10!) is to become a counsellor-in-training and then, of course, a counsellor at Camp Cherith.
Camp Cherith is located on the picturesque Saugeen River near Walkerton, Ontario.

Leaf Rapids Bible Camp Helps Kids to Grow in Love

Dustin (age 11) came to camp craving love and affection and to have fun. He learned so much
about God through the Arts and Crafts and during group sessions and chapel time. Most importantly,
he learned a lot through the Scriptures. Our camp theme was taken from Matthew 22:37: Jesus said,
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love Him with all your mind.”
Dustin was able to quote this verse from memory.
He was interested in learning about the Bible and about who God is. He received a
LifeLight Bible, which he took home, and which will help him in his spiritual growth.
Rob Kostiuk
The Bible camp in Leaf Rapids is on Turnbull Lake in northern Manitoba.

2007 Golf Tournament a Success!

In spite of the cool, misty day, seventy-four enthusiastic golfers showed up for the 2007 LifeLight Ministries Golf Tournament in Steinbach on September 18. Inner City Youth Alive earned twenty-one Bibles with a special game at one of the holes, a Bible for each first shot that went onto the green. After a scrumptious meal, some ministry highlights were shared, followed by the distribution of prizes.
One lucky golfer received a certificate from Powerland Computers for a weekend at Wilderness Edge in Pinawa. Tower Engineering Group donated a registration prize—four box seats for the hockey game the next evening. All the participants had the opportunity to choose a prize from the wide selection available. Each one also received a copy of The Message LifeLight New Testament.
About $11,000 was raised, which will be used to get the Lion Graphic Bible to the people of Russia in their language. David Loewen of Kingdom Ventures, who spent several years in Russia, says, “A Russian Graphic Bible is important. It is in keeping with many Russian people’s visual approach to learning, as they read pictures like we read words.” Lena Hamm is working on the translation of this Bible and hopes to have it completed by the end of the year.
Thank you to all the sponsors, golfers and other contributors who helped make this event a success.

ANNOUNCING: New Arrival!

Caroline Loewen

The Message LifeLight, the Bible in contemporary language, is now here! LifeLight Ministries is delighted that their shipment of the long-awaited New Testament written in colloquial, contemporary language has arrived and will be going into hotels shortly.
The Message is copyrighted by Eugene Peterson, who did this translation as a working pastor. His earlier vocation was a seminary professor, so he is familiar with the Hebrew and Greek biblical languages. His aim was to “get the words of the Bible into heads and hearts, getting the message lived.” He has succeeded in “getting the language of the Bible into the language of today.”
Mr. Peterson wants us to consider The Message a reading Bible, written in words that we use “to gossip and tell stories, give directions, and do business, sing songs and talk to our children.” Here is an example from John 4:9, where Jesus asks a Samaritan woman for a drink: Jews in those days wouldn’t be caught dead talking to Samaritans. Another quote from the last chapter in the Bible, reads, He who testifies to all these things says it again: “I’m on my way! I’ll be here soon.” Yes! Come, Master Jesus (Revelation 22).
The Message LifeLight (#01LLM) is available from LifeLight Ministries for a donation of $5.00.