English Ministry

The Story of Reyna Garcia

March 26, 2015 | English Ministry
When Michigan law changed in 2008, barring undocumented immigrants from holding a driver’s license, Reyna Garcia could no longer attend her Catholic church because it was beyond walking distance from her home. So she decided instead to visit a Christian Reformed congregation nearby, unsure of how she would be received. “I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Reyna said in a recent interview with Josh Larsen, editor of ThinkChristian.net. “Maybe because I was Latino I wouldn’t be allowed. But little by little it was OK. And when I shared my story everything changed. For them and for me.” Think Christian, produced by ReFrame Media (the English outreach of Back to God Ministries) included Reyna’s story in a series of articles entitled “A More Welcoming Way.” “The series invites a healthy dialog about immigration reform and the church’s role in the process,” Larsen explains. “Think Christian has spent a fair…[Read More]

Having a Heart of Grace

March 11, 2015 | English Ministry
“You’re only going to like me if I’m a Christian.”  A youth pastor from Chicago heard these words during a discussion on faith between classmates in the local middle school cafeteria. Children meet and build relationships with unbelievers throughout their daily lives. How do Christians grow youth into authentic Christ-followers and equip them to show God’s grace to their friends who are not Christians? Kids Corner, a web-based audio Bible program, provides resources for young listeners such as these to learn how to put their faith into action. In a series that launched March 7, Lucille, a Christian character, wants to help her unbelieving friend. Lucille wrestles with the internal conflict many of our children will encounter – how to have a heart of grace when being a friend to someone who has a differing worldview. Ron VandenBurg, Senior Producer of Children’s Ministry at Kids Corner, says “the goal of…[Read More]

Bible Studies Help Children’s Faith Formation

February 24, 2015 | English Ministry
The Kids Corner ministry team received a request from Sue, who is mentoring Tammy, a former prison inmate. Tammy’s drug addiction and imprisonment caused incredible pain and confusion for her two sons, ages 11 and 12, and she is determined to stay clean this time. When Tammy’s boys asked Sue to help them learn the Bible, Sue contacted Kids Corner.  “I’m not sure where to start,” Sue wrote. “Will you please send me your Bible studies to help me with this?” The Kids Corner team mailed Sue the children’s study booklets right away. “Kids Corner has created Bible study materials for children,” says Ron VandenBurg, senior producer of children’s ministry for ReFrame Media, the English outreach of Back to God Ministries International. “Our goal is to provide resources that help children develop a lifelong love for the Bible.” In addition to the Bible study correspondence program, Kids Corner produces a…[Read More]

Finding Common Ground in the Names of God

February 12, 2015 | English Ministry
When retired school teacher Glenn Ploegstra began using the “Names of God” issue of the Today devotional in his discussion group with Muslims and Christians, he found a surprisingly common connection with people of traditionally different faiths. Every three weeks Glenn and other Christians from various branches of Christianity meets with a group of Turkish students, mostly committed Muslims, at Cleveland State University (OH). The gatherings—called the “Bible-Qu’ran Group”—began several years ago when Glenn’s friend Bill Schubmehl connected with the university students from Turkey. These students, in addition to achieving their masters or doctorate degrees, also wanted to understand western culture and the Christian faith. The meetings begin with a potluck buffet of ethnic foods brought by the participants. Then after a time of fellowship, members spend 60-90 minutes learning about Christianity one week and Islam the next.  “I became involved because of my interest in people from other cultures,” says Glenn.…[Read More]

Today celebrates 65 Years

January 22, 2015 | English Ministry
Eighty-one-year-old Colleen has read the Today devotional “for as long as I can remember,” she says. And it’s very possible she’s been using Today for 65 years. Back to God Ministries first produced Today (originally The Family Altar) in 1950. People listening to The Back to God Hour were begging for resources to help them and their families learn more about the Bible. The daily devotional met those needs for new believers…and many CRC families. Within months of the first printing, the subscription list grew to 40,000, and by 1990—the Today’s 40th anniversary—circulation was nearly 300,000. Stories poured in from around the world. Today was blessing families and changing lives of prison inmates in North America, seekers in Asia, and new believers in Africa. Today is even credited with helping launch new churches in West Africa! Shay wrote, “I have been in and out of prison since I was 11…[Read More]

They Whispered the Name “Jesus”

December 3, 2014 | English Ministry
“Have you ever been to a Christmas party before?” Elaine asked the Chinese students in her Spotlight English Club. None of them had. The group of a dozen students, studying in South Asia, met a few hours each week to practice English in a Christian setting. They used Spotlight resources, produced by ReFrame Media (the English outreach of Back to God Ministries International) and our ministry partner Words of Hope. “I asked if any of them had ever decorated a tree in their house. They laughed,” recalled Elaine. “I asked if they had ever put up a string of lights. They shook their heads.” Elaine decided to organize the students’ very first Christmas celebration! She encouraged her students to invite their friends, and made sure to include the Christmas traditions dearest to her. Twenty four people came—a record high for this Spotlight Club! “There are stories of Santa and reindeer, but today I will share…[Read More]

No Coincidental Encounter

November 14, 2014 | English Ministry
Seated next to a table of four people at a restaurant in Leesburg, VA, Victor Maglio and his wife, Riaa, couldn’t help but overhear bits and pieces of the conversation. The Maglios, residents of New Jersey, were in Virginia for a wedding. “Then, on a last minute recommendation, my wife and I had brunch at the restaurant, where we heard the people at the table next to us offer a sincere prayer,” recalls Victor. “Then their conversation led to an enlightening discussion focusing on our Lord, Jesus Christ, and his Church, and of a ministry reaching out to people around the world.” Victor’s attention was peaked when he heard familiar names like Tim Keller, John Piper. Then he caught bits and pieces about a radio program called Groundwork, and the international ministry Words of Hope. “It seemed inappropriate to interrupt,” says Victor, who was intrigued by the conversation he overheard. “Having…[Read More]

Announcing: The Juicys Winners

November 14, 2014 | English Ministry
ReFrame Media’s Church Juice just revealed the four churches who received the 2014 Juicys grants. This year, both first place awards go to churches in Texas: Harris Creek Baptist Church in McGregor, TX (large church winner) and Resurrection Houston (small church winner). Knox-Met United Church in Regina, SK received the small church runner-up award and Broadway Church in Vancouver, BC the large church runner-up award.    “The Juicys are a way to recognize and reward those churches who’ve worked to improve their church communications during the last year,” explains Church Juice senior producer Jerod Clark. “It includes giving these congregations a grant to jump start their next project For Harris Creek, multimedia experiences aren’t just around because they’re trendy. They are a vital way to reach their congregation through a medium they understand. They reimagined what an annual report could be in helping the congregation of 900 see the true work being done. The church launched…[Read More]

Praying for Others Made the Difference

November 12, 2014 | English Ministry
Inmate Roland Harris felt “stupid and unloved” until he was given an opportunity to pray for people he didn’t even know. The 47-year-old former drug addict spent much of his lifetime in prison, where he received his first copy of the Today devotional. While filling out the order form to receive the booklet each month, Roland noticed a checkbox to sign up for being a prayer partner. “Honestly, I wasn’t sure what that was,” admits Roland, “but I was ‘down’ to pray, so I checked the box.” Then Roland noticed that as he prayed for others, “things started happening,” he says. “I haven’t been a Christian very long. But my faith was growing as my prayer life grew.” As a prayer partner for Back to God Ministries International, Roland receives a list of prayer requests each month. People from around the world who respond to BTGMI outreach send prayer needs,…[Read More]

A Life of Faith, Softly Spoken

October 13, 2014 | English Ministry
At age 6 as a student at The Learning Center for the Deaf, Timothy didn't yet have a language for the hope that he would come to have and the Savior he would come to know. When he unexpectedly died at age 24 early September 2014, those who knew him well testified, that "his faith was in everything he did."  His cousin, Kimberly Davis, recently wrote about Timothy's life and witness in a Think Christian blog.  "Reading this [beautiful tribute] is a great reminder to me that we don't always 'have time' to talk to a loved one before we lost them," commented Steve about the article. Another reader added, "Thank you too for the reminder that opportunities for human connection and community surround us daily. In an increasingly digital world, human touch has become a scarce commodity. Thank you most of all for helping us all understand that God has uniquely…[Read More]