Hope Springs International

Lasting Change One Village at a Time


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How Does the Church Change the World?

I am old and so are some of my memories. Back in the ‘70s when I first began going on campaigns to Ghana, West Africa, there were reports of a lot of baptisms. While the numbers made for successful reports to churches back home, most of those so-called converts were sadly never seen again. There is also the possibility they were given a false feeling of security from saying yes to something they did not understand.

A similar thing happens even today when we focus on making “converts” and not making disciples. Jesus never sent us to make converts, but disciples, and there is a big difference. Here is a quote that sums up the problem very well:

“In the United States and around the world, leaders sometimes say, ‘Our greatest problem here [in this country] is that the church is miles wide and inches deep.’ Obedience to the Great Commission suffers because nominal Christians, who have been momentarily ‘converted,’ do not grow in integrity or character or biblical knowledge or Christian living. These superficial decisions are not necessarily integrated into the way they live, treat their spouses, operate in their community or participate in business and politics” (from the book Western Christians in Global Missions by Paul Borthwick).

In an article entitled “No One Likes the Product,” Mike Glenn explains why today’s generation, and past and future generations for that matter, are not buying into the Christianity they see. “Because of what they see every day in the lives of those who proclaim to be Christian. Rarely can people remember an encounter with a Christian who was kind and loving. Everyone, on the other hand, has a story about a Christian who was rude and condescending. Many of us who are Christians won’t use the word anymore because it has become associated with attitudes of bigotry, hatefulness and judgment. We introduce ourselves now as ‘Christ-followers.’

“No one wants to be a Christian these days. The word is almost an insult in polite conversation.” https://www.christianitytoday.com/scot-mcknight/2021/september/no-one-likes-product.html

When Jesus gave the Great Commission, He was starting a movement. When people came to Jesus, He minced no words when it came to His expectations of His followers. “And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’ ” Luke 9:23. Crosses today are worn as jewelry and placed on the walls in our homes, but you would never have done this in the first century. Crosses were a symbol of the most heinous form of torture and death known at that time. It would be like wearing a miniature electric chair around your neck. Or hanging an electric chair on your wall. When I “take up my cross” it is a picture of my death to self that Christ might live through me.

Jesus was calling people to love Him with a love that surpasses all other loves. “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26, 27 (emphasis mine). Jesus says our love for Him must surpass love for the closest people to us on earth; in fact your love for Him makes your love for those relationships look like hate in comparison. Stop for a moment, read that again and reflect on what Jesus said.

You and I don’t determine if we can be His disciple; Jesus does that. Remember we are part of a movement that He started. It won’t be easy, and He makes that abundantly clear in many places with many illustrations.

I have been reading recently about the lives of early 18th and 19th century missionaries. One common thread running through all their stories is their commitment unto death, to take the Gospel to areas of our world that had not heard of Christ regardless of the consequence to their own lives. One of those stories was about Adoniram Judson. His commitment to Christ is humbling and inspiring.

Adoniram lived from 1788-1850 and was a missionary to Burma for almost 40 years. Before he left for the mission field, he fell in love with a lady named Ann Hasseltine. Knowing the hardships that were ahead of them, Adoniram wrote a letter to Ann’s father asking for her hand in marriage. Take just a moment and slowly read this letter.

“I have now to ask whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world? Whether you can consent to her departure to a heathen land, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of a missionary life? Whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean; to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death? Can you consent to all this, for the sake of Him who left His heavenly home and died for her and for you; for the sake of perishing, immortal souls; for the sake of Zion and the glory of God? Can you consent to all this, in hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory, with a crown of righteousness brightened by the acclamations of praise which shall resound to her Saviour from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?” Wow, can you imagine getting that letter asking for your daughter’s hand in marriage?

Ann’s father did give his consent, and many of the things mentioned in his letter were fulfilled in the lives of this couple. Ann had three pregnancies. The first ended in a miscarriage while moving from India to Burma; her second child, Roger, was born in 1815 and died at 8 months of age; her third child, Maria, lived only 6 months after Ann herself died in 1826 of smallpox. Adoniram Judson lost two wives and six of his 13 children on the mission field. Ann and Adoniram suffered through many other trials while serving as missionaries. They left their homes and their family to spread the glory of God to an unreached people.

Ultimately, their sacrifice yielded much fruit. While Judson only had 18 converts after 12 years of work, when he died he left 100 churches and more than 8,000 believers. He was making disciples, who made disciples. Today we can see the results of his work since there are 2.5 million evangelical Christians in Burma (modern day Myanmar).

Judson also wrote a grammar of the language that is still used today, and he translated the entire Bible into Burmese, which took him 24 years to complete.

It is amazing what can transpire in our lives when we realize the seriousness of the commission that Jesus gave. We call it a “Great Commission” for several reasons. The one who gave it. The importance of the mission, salvation of souls. And the urgency of it, because so many people who face a Christless grave have yet to hear. Maybe it is time we took another look at “The Great Commission.” We will do that next time.


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Global Missions…How Things Have Changed!

By Lee Hodges

Global missions have been in my heart and mind since I was a teenager. I remember being moved with a passion and concern for the lost when missionaries visited my home church and told how God was using them to bring people to Christ. Missionaries became my heroes. They were my early motivation for becoming a minister.

A major turning point in my life came from reading the books written by Elizabeth Elliott about the work of her husband and four other young missionaries. These brave souls were determined to bring Christ to the jungles of South America only to be killed by those they came to reach. “The rest of the story” reveals some of the very men who killed these missionaries were eventually brought to faith in Christ.

I was also encouraged and motivated reading about the lives of missionary pioneers from Europe in the 19th century. Many of them packed and shipped their belonging in coffins because they knew they would die where they were going.

“Some estimate that 70% of the world’s Bible-believing Christians (as opposed to nominal or cultural Christians) now live in the Majority World (those outside of North America).”

Paul Borthwick

This kind of story and testimony is rarely heard today, but the work of missionaries in the 19th and 20th centuries was so critically important. Paul Borthwick in his new book “Western Christians in Global Mission: What’s the Role of the North American Church?” says “Some estimate that 70% of the world’s Bible-believing Christians (as opposed to nominal or cultural Christians) now live in the Majority World (those outside of North America).” Those early missionaries who put their lives on the line for the Gospel of Christ planted the seeds for the harvest going on in the Majority World today.

While this is exciting, it is not a complete picture as there is still so much to be done. Almost 3 billion people made in the image of God are destined for a Christless grave having never heard about Him or His death on a cross for them. What makes this picture even more sad is the USA, which followed those 19th century missionaries with a strong missions emphasis after World War II, has significantly decreased in sending missionaries within the last 20+ years. We have seen an inward trend of “Let’s fix America first.” While no one today would question the validity of reaching people in America, we still must never lose sight of the vision God has for the entire world to hear the Good News.

The church’s mission should never become a choice of us OR them, but should always be us AND them. The first Christians made a similar mistake. Even though Jesus’ words were intended to send them into all the world, the early disciples didn’t want to leave Jerusalem. It took a period of persecution to move them out of their reluctance to leave the familiar and comfortable.

Today the USA is presented with wonderful opportunities at home and abroad. We may not have gone to all the world, so God is sending the world to us. Now the mission field is in our back yard, as new immigrants are our neighbors who have connections around the world.

It is also interesting that the countries where early seeds were planted by mission efforts in the past are now sending missionaries to the USA because they are concerned that we have lost sight of the mission we first shared with them. A book titled “Word Made Global: Stories of African Christianity in New York City” features a specific case study of African church plants based in New York City from churches out of Liberia, Ghana and Nigeria. The Redeemed Christian Church of God in Nigeria has already planted 500 churches across North America.

“The Redeemer Christian Church of God in Nigeria has already planted 500 churches across North America.”

“Word Made Global: Stories of African Christianity in New York City”

While some might think “we can’t do both local and foreign,” let me share another quote from Paul Borthwick’s book mentioned above: “Most of us are living on an island of affluence in the sea of poverty. We fail to realize this because we think that everyone else around us is more affluent. So we often think of ourselves as ‘poor,’ failing to remember our relative position in this globalized world” (page 26).

Our challenges in following the commission of Jesus to carry the Good News to all the world are not financial. God has provided us with everything we need to do what He has commissioned us to do. Ours is a faith and trust issue. When we deal with those issues, then we will join Christians in the rest of the world to accomplish the vision of God.

“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:9, 10). God’s vision fulfilled is that all people hear the Good News! We may pray, “Come quickly Lord Jesus,” but not until all hear! There is work to be done, souls to be saved, that God might receive glory for the gift of His Son. How could we hold such a priceless gift and not share it with those who have never heard?


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A Gifted Couple Reaching the Unreached in Niger

When Ayouba Moussa first contacted Hope Springs about the work that he and his wife Sirleide were doing in Niger I felt this contact was different from the many we receive from time to time. The more I learned, the more I felt that God wanted us to help in some way. Over the next few months, we learned of the great need for a health center in support of the work they were doing with close to a thousand children. When we shared information about this great work and their need for the health center our donors step up and not only funded the construction of the health center, but also the furnishings for the center as well.

The more I learn about Ayouba and Sirleide, the more I see how they are uniquely suited for this work.

Ayouba comes from a Christian home. In 2007 he entered mission training with (YWAM) Youth With A Mission in the capital city of Niamey, Niger. By 2010 he was added to the staff at the Discipleship Training School. That same year Sirleide moved from her home country of Brazil to serve as a missionary in the city of Niamey. YWAM organized a youth camp for the city of Maradi, a large city almost 700 miles away. Ayouba was selected to do the Discipleship Training at the camp. A friend of Sirleide who was working with the camp invited her to come along.

While at the camp Ayouba and Sirleide became close friends and discussed the great need of his home village of Soura very near Maradi. It soon became obvious they had much in common, as they both had such a strong desire to work with children.

After returning from the camp both Ayouba and Sirleide spent the next 6 months seeking God’s leading and would decide to get married in January of 2011 and then began making their plans to move to Soura. That move would take place early in 2012 with the goal to reach the next generation for Christ.

When the children of Soura and surrounding areas saw the love that this couple had for them, they were drawn to them instantly. There is little to smile and feel good about in a country like Niger where most of the population is Muslim. Islam is a religion of rules and laws requiring legalistic obedience without grace. In Islam, hope for heaven is based on how hard you work and there is never any assurance that you will make it. Add to this deep poverty, sickness, and malnutrition where your greatest concern is not what will we eat next week or next month but tomorrow. When these children saw this couple’s love it shined like a beacon in the night. Their smiles and the story of a God who loved them brought hope.

Today Ayouba and Sirleide minister to hundreds of children, often using their meager income to feed and care for those who suffer the most. This is such a devoted couple committed to serving “the least of these” to bring glory to God who brought them together for this work.

Over the years they have built strong relationships not only with the children, and many of them have come to faith in Christ. They have also built strong relationships with many of the parents as well. Even though they have experienced some displeasure from Muslims in their village, this has not deterred them from continuing to work with the children. The parents of the children tell them they see such a difference in their children. They are happy, help around the home. This is opening doors to speak with the parents about Christ and the difference He can make in their lives too. This couple is sowing seeds of faith in the hearts of these children. The older children who have come to faith in Christ are now being discipled to take the message of Christ to other villages.

Henry M. Stanley a British explorer first referred to Africa as the dark continent because there was so much unknown and unexplored about it. Today, much of Africa is still a dark continent for another reason. The Light of Christ is yet to be seen in all its glory. Ayouba and Sirleide are changing that one child at a time.


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New Health Center, for the Future of the Kingdom of God in Niger

“Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Luke 18:16, 17.

Bassirou is eight years old and has been coming to the “Good News Club,” a ministry of Amour et Compassion du Christ (Love and Compassion of Christ). Ayouba Moussa, the director, told me that Bassirou and his brothers and sisters walk more than a mile to learn about Jesus. Like most kids who attend, they don’t have shoes to wear. Bassirou and his siblings are from an extremely poor Muslim family and would never have known who Jesus was without the “Good News Club.”

Ayouba recently learned that Bassirou was seriously ill, so he and his wife Sirleide went to visit the family. Bassirou had a serious case of malaria with a very high fever and appeared lifeless. It was obvious to them he needed medical care, but Bassirou’s family live in deep poverty and had no means to pay for his care. Ayouba and Sirleide knew they had to do something so they took Bassirou to the hospital some distance away.

At the hospital Bassirou received the treatment he needed. The doctor that treated him said he was in critical condition because the malaria caused severe anemia, resulting in loss of oxygen supply to his body tissues. He told them Bassirou would have died in a day or two if they had not brought him for treatment.

Ayouba and Sieleide Moussa gladly spent more than half of their monthly support check to pay for this child’s care. Without their concern and intervention, this could have been just another tragic story, just one more needless death of a child who was curable with a short visit to a health center and an antibiotic.

The World Health Organization estimates that about 94% of all malaria deaths occur in Africa – most commonly in children under the age of five. Malaria is a major public health issue in Niger and is endemic throughout the country. Malaria accounts for 28% of all illnesses and 50% of all deaths in this nation of more than 25 million people. These are preventable deaths!

This is the reason building this health center is so critically important. Ayouba and Sieleide are working with hundreds of children of all ages. Many of them are coming to faith in Jesus. As they grow older in Christ, they will be the next generation to carry the message of Christ to this nation. We simply cannot allow an easy-to-treat disease like malaria take the lives of these children before they have an opportunity to mature in faith.

Bassirou has recovered and is able to return to the “Good News Club,” but all is not good news. Bassirou’s little sister (in the pink dress) recently died of malnutrition, a second major challenge for this area and the children coming to “Good News Club.” This is the reason we will start a feeding program for these kids soon.

Your donation for the new health center is an investment in this next generation of Christ followers. It is one of many ways that Hope Springs can literally bring hope to people who have so little. hopespringsint.com/donate


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Imagine you are a young girl in rural Africa.

I want you to meet Mahelta Moussa. Mahelta is from Mokolo village which is about 15 kilometers (9.3 miles), from Dono-Manga, Chad where our health center and schools are located. Mahelta heard about the opening of our primary school in Dono-Manga in the fall of 2010.

She rode the family bicycle to Dono-Manga and enrolled in school.Six days a week (yes school is Monday through Saturday), Mahelta rode that bicycle back and forth to school every day. Her bike ride was not over paved roads, but hardened, rut filled walking paths, and in many cases sandy soil. She was an excellent student and remained in school through the six years of primary school. When the time came to graduate and move on to secondary school…there was none. So, Mahelta repeated the sixth grade two more times in hope that a secondary school would be possible. She began school as a young teenager, but with no secondary school, she and her parents felt it was time to move on, find a mate, and start a family. Sadly, for her, our secondary school would become a reality the following year.

Mahelta got married in July of 2019, and this past May gave birth to a baby boy. I hope when he is ready to start school, he will be able to attend the school his mother did.

Girls like Mahelta face many physical and cultural challenges. They are vulnerable to abuse, exploitation, and put her at grave risk of physical violence walking long distances to school. But in rural Africa without an education, you are denied a chance to fulfill your potential and break the cycle of poverty. Educating a girl changes her destiny, as well as those of her future children, and ensures that she can contribute to the economic life of her community. Most of rural Africa is an oral learning society dependent upon others to read and interpret for them. Learning to read opens a vast new world.

Hope Springs’ Primary and Secondary schools reached a record total enrollment this year of 1,134 students. The girl/boy percentage for the primary school is 40% girls 60% boys. In our secondary school, the percentage was 34% girls 66% boys. Overall, 38% girls 62% boys. These are high percentages of girls compared to other schools in Chad.Something as simple as the inability to buy a uniform keeps many children, boys, and girls alike from attending school. Add tuition to this and most kids in Chad cannot go to school. We want to remove all obstacles for the children in our schools. We do not charge tuition and now we want to provide uniforms. Here is the link to a recent video about our schools and the need for uniforms. https://www.dropbox.com/…/h7o37qwo…/HSI%20Schools.mp4…


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Magic Kingdom – Tragic Kingdom

“A ‘dirty little secret’ is that few Christians have read the Bible from cover to cover. One source claims that fewer than 10 percent of professing Christians have read the entire 41BbgqfkgNL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Bible.” – Richard Stearns in his book, “Unfinished.”

This is especially enlightening in that most everyone you meet seems to have an opinion about what God thinks, and what He expects of us. You would think the way some people talk they are an authority on God. But Isaiah the prophet said, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9. The only way to know what God is like is to read the story that He wrote.

The Bible is God’s Story from Genesis to Revelation. The hero and the villain of the story are revealed in the opening pages of Genesis 3. The story of what God is doing is a thread running through all the remaining books to the final chapter of Revelation. Reading the story also teaches us much about God’s character and His motives. We learn He has a plan and a purpose that includes each one of us.

Although Jesus is seen throughout the First Testament, we get a picture of God in the flesh when we encounter Jesus in the Second Testament. The four Gospels are written accounts of the life of Jesus. We learn from His words and actions what God thinks, how He feels, and how He responds to people and situations in real life.

When Jesus’ time on earth was ending, He gave His disciples a mission that would affect the entire world. When we became Christ followers, we inherited that same mission. We are now characters in God’s continuing story created to play specific roles in God’s story. So, the ultimate meaning of our lives must be found in learning how our stories intersect with God’s story.

Now that our lives are a part of God’s story, we must learn to see the world as God sees it. Should not the things that break the heart of God, break ours? But today there are so many things competing for our attention, our time, and our money. C. S. Lewis once said, 17eae94f27b7b8241589cfbb2dd1480e--knits-the-he“Prosperity knits a man to the world. He feels that he is ‘finding his place in it,’ while really it is finding its place in him.”

Competing values are challenging us constantly. The world view preaches “get more, and keep more.” While Jesus says, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions,” Luke 12:15. Jesus told the story of the successful farmer with a bumper crop whose solution was not to share, but build bigger barns (Luke 12:16ff).

In his book, “Unfinished…Believing is only the beginning,” Richard Stearns of World Vision asks an interesting question. “What would people be like if they had been born and raised inside the Magic Kingdom park (Walt Disney World), and had never seen the outside world? Since our worldviews are shaped by our contexts, imagine what a distorted worldview they would have” (page 46).

In the rest of this chapter Stearns develops the contrast between the blessings we have in maxresdefaultthe USA, our own “Magic Kingdom”, as compared to living in what he calls the “Tragic Kingdom,” and life in one of the developing (Third World) countries. He describes at some length the Magic Kingdom’s many blessings and conveniences, things that we take for granted, and have come to “expect” because they have always been a part of our lives.

Stearns then turns his attention to the realities of the “Tragic Kingdom.” His list is real and tragic:

• One billion are chronically short of food.
• Two billion children under weight.
• 783 million have no access to clean water at all. (Current figures are 663 million. We are making progress).

Add to this the plight of wars, refugees, and 18 million orphaned children.Children5

He then asked the question, “Are you feeling the heaviness yet? I am not done.”

• One third of the world lives on less than $2 per day.
• Three quarters live on less than $10 a day.

He closes this comparison of the kingdoms with this paragraph. “And, finally, the most terrible statistic of all: “Nineteen thousand children under the age of five die every single day of largely preventable causes simply because they are poor. That’s almost 8 million children every year, one every four seconds. This is something God sees every moment of every day. Is this what you see?”

Two different kinds of poverty. One with opportunity, one without.poverty-contrast2

Most of us in the US cannot wrap our minds around such statistics. A young man made a comment on our Hope Springs Facebook some time back. He said, “Quit sending all that money over there to help those people; we have so many that need help right here!” His comment struck a raw nerve and my first reaction was anger. But as I reflected on what he said I realized this is a normal response of so many who have been raised in the “Magic Kingdom”. The worst conditions they have seen in the “Magic Kingdom” would be a dream come true for many who live daily in the “Tragic Kingdom.”

Jesus once asked His followers a heart-probing question, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46)

When you listen to Jesus you are not left with questions about the seriousness of being a Christ follower.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me you evildoers!’ ” Matt. 7:21-23. (Emphasis mine). To us those are some impressive works. Who would ever think that those were evil deeds? But apparently why we do something is more important than what we do when it comes to following Jesus.

When we see so much need in the world it is not only hard to get our minds around it, but we ask questions like, “What difference could or would I make?” “My efforts would 7ab82ae2f23ac85ddb4d8543101c11bfonly be a drop in the ocean of need.” Stearns in his book told of a time when speaking at a donors’ conference. He said to his audience, “God’s deepest desire is not that we would help the poor” —then paused for effect and continued, “God’s deepest desire is that we would love the poor; for if we love them, we will surely help them.” Love and compassion for people was at the heart of everything that Jesus did.

“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:35-36).

Think of all the stories in the Bible of ordinary people without great talents or abilities, but who were willing to be used by God. Their work may have seemed like a drop in the ocean, but it sent out ripples of effect that profoundly touched many lives.

To overcome the influence of our culture, Christ followers must develop a revolutionary mindset. To do that we must spend time with the King learning from Him, seeing the needs of the world as He sees them. We need to see His heart of compassion and be moved to do what He has enabled us to do. Our King was sent on a mission; now that mission is ours.

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (Isaiah 61:1-2; also quoted by Jesus in Luke 4).

For that mission to be successful you and I must see our role in its success.

“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” John 20:21

Let me leave you with a final quote, “The meaning, purpose, and significance of our lives is found only by aligning our lives with God’s purposes, in lives committed to following Jesus Christ.” Sterns – Unfinished.