REAL LIFE GOD STORIES -
AWESOME CHRISTIAN STORIES - TESTIMONY BOOK
AWESOME GOD GLORIFYING PRAISE REPORTS!
Below is just a sampling of how God is using the REAL LIFE STORIES testimony book to help win lost souls to Jesus Christ, to the glory of God our heavenly Father. Precious Testimonies Evangelistic Ministries is asking people around the globe to PLEASE continue to pray for STEP BY STEP WORLD OUTREACH MINISTRIES so that they can assist in helping Pastors and Evangelists around the globe create their OWN Real Life Stories missionary book of testimonies in their locality ... in their native language ... to reach out to the lost.
Presently, God has taken this particular testimony book into nearly 100 different nations. It continues to be translated from English into the languages of a number of different countries, because third world Pastors and Evangelists are seeing how God is using is so mightily to help win lost souls.
Perhaps God would have YOUR local church produce a testimony book similar to THIS one! Contact Step-By-Step Ministries in how to get started, if you would like some help.
You can hear chapters of the
STORIES read on Video by clicking on the following link:
May 15, 2012: A week
ago today, I went to the Knox Post Office to put a couple of letters in the
inside mail slot. Then I went to the counter to mail two boxes that
contained 2 lighthouse books each, and 1 Church Outside The Box CD each, and
1 "Vision" poster each, that went to my cousin in New York, and my nephew in
Dallas. I told the man what the contents was in each box, and asked him if
he'd like to have one and what they were about, and he said he would. I
asked him if he'd like some extras. He took 6 more. He took one book for his
"personal" book and asked me to write my name in it with my phone #. He
pastors a small church in Michigan City.
This morning 5/14/12 (Just exactly ONE month after giving away the FIRST book) I went back to the Post Office to see how he was doing with his books, and I would say that he was almost as excited about them as I am!! He told me that he gave them all away, starting his own evangelism program, and said that he'd like to have as many as I could spare, and he would turn all the members of his church he pastors, into evangelists! So, I gave him a whole case! This is only the beginning of a great chapter in the story of a great evangelistic movement in North Western Indiana! I'll keep you posted on any updates.
Love from Bookman Bob
May 7, 2012:
two HUGE doors on May 5 for copies of the REAL LIFE STORIES testimony
books to be made available in the
Here are the details of how God did it. I
felt to zero in on the most popular grocery store in the Red Zone area.
Last summer I placed a number of the RLS books on top of garbage cans and
watched copies be ta
But this summer they have placed “No Soliciting – No Dumping” signs up, and that didn’t sit so well with me and the folding table strategy. Hence, the only place left that I could think of would be to place the books inside the store itself. That option didn’t seem viable a year ago, because I could never link up with the manager to get an approval.
I said that it was.
“Have you seen this copy before?”
“Well, not exactly that one, but I saw one like
it while I was in prison in
Earl Meadows is his name, and he began sharing his testimony. He shared how he had been a renegade, breaking the law for years, until he landed in jail. While in there with a lot of time to think, he surrendered to Jesus. After several minutes of listening to him testify (while the store clerk nearby being forced to hear it all!) … I asked Earl if he frequented the store very often. “Every day,” he told me.
“Do you think I might get in trouble if I just left some copies of the book on the shelf that is near the exit of the store until I can talk with the manger … that it would be okay?”
“Nawwww – he won’t care! Put ‘em out
there! People need this book in this area. They have so little
hope. They need Jesus. He’s their
I silently inquired of the Lord at that moment –
asking Him if He would endorse what Earl was saying. I wasn’t able to
hear the Lord say differently … so I put out one cardboard book holder and
15 copies of the Lighthouse RLS book.
“Those copies will be gone in less than an hour,” says Earl. "You have more copies than THAT to leave?"
"I have the rest of the box these came out of, plus a couple of boxes of the original RLS testimony book you read in the prison," I replied.
“Put ‘em all out, man. They’ll go quickly.”
So I went to my car and got many dozen copies and did as Earl suggested. I put up somewhere around 60–70 copies. Upon doing so, Earl says to me, “I know another place you can put out copies of the book. A lot of people show up there. It’s almost as good as this location. Do you know where Joe’s Place is?”
I told him I didn’t.
“About three blocks down the road.
Right on the corner of Hall and
I showed Earl my contact information at the end of my testimony in the Lighthouse RLS edition, encouraging him to pray about letting me videotape him testifying at a future time. I got his phone number, telling him I would be calling him from time to time if he would be willing to sort of monitor how the books were going at the grocery store, and he gladly said he would. Then I drove off toward Joe’s Place.
Where Earl said it was located, I saw only a small strip mall. A big, well kept liquor store was closest to the road, and there were three other businesses connected. Nowhere was there a sign saying “Joe’s Place.” Hmmmm …
In that strip mall is a well stocked clothing store on the far right. I walked in and a clerk asked me if she could help me. “I’m looking for a “Joe’s Place.” You heard of a “Joe’s Place?”
“Sure have. You’re standing in it.”
“Huhhh? I didn’t get it. The store sign on your store says something much different.”
“No – Joe owns this store. He owns the entire building complex.”
“Ohhhhhh. You have any idea how I might be able to talk with Joe?”
“Sure! Go right over there to the liquor
store. You’ll find him right inside.
“Cool!” So I walked to the liquor store. Just inside the store a very cheerful man greeted me from behind the deli counter, asking me if he could help me. I saw a good sized wooden cross around his neck, and asked, “You wouldn’t happen to be Joe, would you?”
“Great. I just met a guy by the name of Earl a few minutes ago down the road at the supermarket, and he said he thought you would let me put out some free copies of a testimony book. Would that be possible?”
“Sure! Be happy to.”
Now … things like this JUST DON’T EASILY HAPPEN … not in my personal experience dealing with retail store owners. First they want to interrogate you; examine the book; then tell you to get back with them, which can be a very delayed process, and one must be very persistent and patient in the process, only to get a “No” in the end. I call it the proverbial “Salesman’s Putoff,” though if it was my property, I too would want to know what kind of “religious literature” was being made available to my customers, and who actually is behind it, so it’s understandable. But Joe didn’t care to even enter that arena, though I told him I would let him look at the book and get back with him if he would like.
“Naw – not necessary. Just put copies out.”
Well – when the door opens WIDE, Norm, have the
good sense to snap out of your stunned-state and go with the Holy Ghost’s
favor in the situation! “Okay – I
can put up a book holder and fill it with 12 copies and put it up there on
the ice machine out of the way so it won’t be in anyone’s way.”
“Nawww”, says Joe. “Put ‘em right there on the counter where people can easily find them. No problem.”
Okayyyyyy. Thank you Jesus! So I go up to the counter where there are THREE cash registers to give your money to when you purchase some spirits or anything else you want to pay for. No OTHER things to look at to distract your attention. No OTHER “religious” material. No free nothing else to look at. NOW just RLS books! When I told one of the gals working the register what Joe said I could do, she said, “Hey – can I have one of those copies?”
On my way out of the store, I assured Joe I’d be back in a couple of days with a lot more copies of the RLS book – knowing full well a dozen copies would disappear as quickly as a chunk of hamburger would disappear in a pond full of skinny, starving piranha fish.
I have only half a box of the original RLS book left, and six boxes of the Lighthouse Edition RLS book left. I can see those copies all be gone in a month or less (depending how many I put out) easily at those two locations … and then we are out of books to put into circulation. The RLS testimony books are the best witnessing resource I’ve found to date, as Earl gushed out a confirmation when I shared with him that Jim was planning on coming out with an Inmate-To-Inmate RLS book in the future:
have a lot of time to read, and they'll read ANYTHING that has to do with
people's personal experiences. Especially if it offers them HOPE for
them to have something better in life than the old life they had prior to
coming to prison," gushed Earl.
Please pray that if God so wills, we can give brother Jim sufficient funds in the future to print up a SECOND printing of the RLS Lighthouse Edition. I’m just getting STARTED putting copies of the book into circulation, and now getting low on books to give out.
Oh – and one more possible praise report.
On my way to the grocery store, I saw a Biker Club with about three dozen
motorcycles parked out front. Several bikers were standing outside the
Club (located on
Jerry wasn’t really interested in having a copy
of the book either … until I
found out that he and his partner,
I know many of you reading this are aware of the efforts behind these Real Life Stories spiritual seed planting testimony books, and you have been covering this evangelistic thrust in prayer (and thank you so much!). As many have discovered, people will pick up these books if put in an easy place for them to find them. Whether handed out personally, or placed in a retail location for people simply to find … it truly is within 99% of people who have lived 20 years on this planet to find out if God is real, and if He IS, what they are to believe about Him. People don’t tell you that – you just have to learn that from the Holy Spirit, though it is very evident when you let God use you to put these testimony books into the hands of strangers.
Yet the lack of finances is what hinders this evangelistic thrust from getting much traction to date to the degree we believe God would love to see it blossom out. Brother Jim Barbarossa has been “behind enemy lines” now for a number of years, doing everything in his power to try to get Pastors and Elders of local church fellowships to “SEE” the potential in producing RLS testimony books of their own as outreach resources in their respective communities. I too have tried to help give exposure to this vision, yet honestly finding myself so frustrated and discouraged because it seems like you are talking to blocks of concrete, if you know what I mean. If Pastors and church leadership see the importance of using some of their finances to try to help reach lost souls in third world countries … yet remain blinded to the importance of trying to reach lost souls in their back yards in a way that really requires very little effort via the testimony books of testimonies from people in their own churches … it simply says to Jim and I that a HUGE stronghold exists in the local church decision makers.
Perhaps it will take a much greater “falling away” in local churches before church leaders are willing to listen a little closer due to empty pews and leaner offering plates to produce RLS testimony books in their respective areas. Perhaps by then it will be too late, because finances will be less and a “hording attitude” consumes most of them. I even realize most reading this won’t give what I’ve shared a second thought. But a few of you will, and for those of you who DO care … I’m asking that you keep this matter lifted up to the Lord with us in prayer. Meanwhile … we do what we are able to do with what we have to work with, and what a joy it has been to date to be used of the Lord to plant spiritual seeds in God’s harvest field – the world. We are assured “that our labor will not have been in vain”, as 1 Cor. 15:58 assures us.
Monday 5-7 Update: I went back to the store where I left several dozen copies of the RLS books on May 5 and ALL of them were gone! That didn’t surprise me. At Joe’s liquor store, only one copy remained! I left nearly two boxes at Joe’s to make available several more books at that location. Please pray that each book will bring salvation to many, many souls.
- Norm Rasmussen
October 27, 2011: A new edition of REAL LIFE STORIES is now available (shown below). It will be exciting to see how God uses this new REAL LIFE STORIES testimony book! Pray about being used of the Lord to get this book working in YOUR community.
There are 48 powerful testimonies in this book. If you would like to learn
more about Lighthouse Church Fellowship in the Chesterton, Indiana area,
you can click on this link:
The evangelistic ministry of www.step-by-step.org is working with church fellowships to make these REAL LIFE STORIES Testimonies Books available as self-witnessing evangelistic tools in their respective areas. If your church fellowship is interested in the possibility of producing a REAL LIFE STORIES Testimonies Book to be made available in YOUR area, be encouraged to contact Evangelist Jim Barbarossa and ask him any questions you may have. You can call him at: 219-762-7589.
June 20, 2011: MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, MICHIGAN RED ZONE
Yesterday was Kathleen and my 29th wedding anniversary date. We drove north of the city of Muskegon up to Rothbury, and had a relaxing early evening anniversary celebration dinner at JJ's Resort. An elderly woman sat very near our table all by herself. I was trying to give my full attention to Kathleen, because of our special evening celebration together, but the Holy Spirit kept prompting me to engage in conversation with the lady. Once we paid our bill and got up to leave, we walked over to Mary Katherine's table and asked her if everything was okay spiritually with her. She quickly told us she was a Presbyterian, and attended church twice a week. We commended her for that, and asked again if everything was okay with her. She then shared that she had a troubling situation she was dealing with back at her home in Washington D.C. and just didn't know how she was to handle the dilemma. Her situation involved her daughter and husband who were living with her. He was a lawyer but had lost his job; hasn't been able to get another job; has turned to drinking way too much while sponging off of her. We asked her if she would mind if we prayed with her about the whole situation, and she was quick to agree. The three of us took her situation to the Lord and then it was time for us to depart. She sincerely thanked us for praying with her. It's so neat to be used of the Holy Spirit like that.
On our way back home, we felt the Holy Spirit prompting us to take some RLS books into the Rowan Park area of Muskegon Heights. There were a few dozen people out in the park, so I picked a nearby picnic table for the books to be easily seen. I placed seven books by a couple sitting at the bench. They inquired as to what the book consisted of and she wanted to know if she could have three copies. I said, "Sure". He had a 20 ounce Budweiser can in his hand, and was quick to tell me he was a Christian, but he hadn't read the bible in years. He was VERY drunk and I felt to engage in only minor conversation with him, as another brother began inquiring as to whether the book was published by a Jehovah's Witness organization or not. I assured him they weren't, but he was very skeptical at first, though he walked away with two copies. He too had been drinking heavily. As I started walking back to the car where Kathleen was, to leave, all seven copies of the book were already gone! I walked back to the car and got seven more copies, and promptly took them back over to the wooden table. As soon as I placed them on the table, within seconds they were gone too! Strike when the interest is peaked, as they say, so I walked back to the car again, only this time I took the entire remaining box of books over to the table. All total, about 30 Real Life Stories books got into the hands of people hungry for God ... in less than five minutes. I believe I could have easily dispersed several boxes of the book right there in the park, had I had them on our possession.
Dear Evangelist Jim,
Warm greetings in the most precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. He died on the cross of Calvary and shed His precious blood to pay the price for our sins.
I’m always thrilled whenever I remember the great things the Lord is doing through us since the beginning of this Gospel Outreach in our different zones. It is amazing, and I give God the glory. I believe that any man used by God must be touched with the things that touch the heart of God. God is not willing that any should perish, but come to repentance and live. Any child of God that has a compassionate heart for lost souls must be used by God to win souls for Christ.
Recently, on my way to teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, there was a heavy downpour of rain that l managed to take refuge in a nearby mosque. On that very day is the worship service of the Muslims, and the Lord lay it on my heart to use that opportunity to share some of your gospel materials sent in the past that l had taken along that day. So l took them out and shared it with some Muslims after the worship service a few meters away from the mosque.
It was the Real Life Stories testimony books you sent recently that were received that emphasized the only hope in life for salvation is Jesus Christ, and that there is no name under heaven given among men whereby we can be saved. Little did l see the outcome of those materials l distributed until April 25th, 2011, when there arose a very serious confusion among the Muslim worshippers in the Mosque as they gathered to pray.
According to sources, there were some Muslims that stood up in the Mosque to declare their stand for Jesus, claiming that Jesus is Lord and that only He can save men from their sins. And upon this declaration, other Muslims in the congregation rose up to fight against these groups of believers right there in the Mosque, and there was a very big confusion on that very day.
As a result of this persecution, these new believers in Christ, 31 young men, decided to pull out from among them and joined our church and we have to place them in the New Converts Class where they will be thoroughly taught the Word of God and be given free Bibles at the end of six months of Bible studies in the New Converts Class.
Christian Bible Church, Nigeria
May 7, 2011: At mid-day, I drove back to each location I left the Real Life Stories testimony book yesterday, just out of curiosity. All the books were gone except for one location, where three copies remained. Here's some just released news about a stabbing that happened in this exact area of Grand Rapids last evening: http://www.wzzm13.com/rss/article/164866/14/Man-Stabbed-in-SW-Grand-Rapids
May 6, 2011: Forty (40) Copies of the Real Life Stories testimony book were placed strategically in western Grand Rapids, Michigan in the mid-afternoon. A stack of seven (7) books were placed in five different locations, and a stack of five were placed at one other location ... in roughly a half-mile stretch. Spanish people make up the majority of the populace in that part of the city, with Afro-Americans running a close second.
May 5, 2011: Thirty (30) individual copies of the Real Life Stories Testimony Book were placed strategically in Michigan City, Indiana yesterday. I had occasion to visit Lighthouse Christian Church in Chesterton, Indiana for the Wednesday night evening service, so I left Grand Rapids, Michigan early to be able to place some RLS books prior to the evening service. One particular experience ... I'd like to share with you.
I placed a copy of the book on top of a trash container near the corner of the big mall in Michigan City. My car was positioned in the mall parking lot about 80 yards away from where I left the book. I no more than got back to my car and was ready to drive to another location when a city bus stopped and let off about 20 people. An African-American couple of roughly 30 years of age started walking in a quick fashion, and the female reached out and snapped up the book and put it under her arm and kept walking. She never broke her walking stride; I wasn't even sure she had taken the time to thumb through the book to see what it even was about! It was just as though she had ridden the bus to the mall to pick that RLS book up ... like she had planned on it and all that was needed to have happen was for me to place a copy of the book there! I know the Holy Spirit had it planned for her to find that copy - that much was obvious!
About 30 copies of the RLS book was placed strategically for people to "stumble upon."
April 2, 2011: 10,000 REAL LIFE STORIES BOOKS PRINTED IN THE PHILIPPINES
My name is Jeof. I have been blessed to have found the Real Life Stories book. I have known the true God on it. What powerful stories this book ever had. This book is a blessing of God to me, very interesting stories. I know now the advantages between the life with Christ and the life with no Christ. Thank you for giving this to me!
My name is Chary. My friend's friend handed me the Visayan CD. The "Gibati ba nimo nga dunay kulang saimong kinabuhi" Cd. I just want to thank you for providing this CD. I just have to praise the Lord and confess the sinner's prayer and asked God to save and forgive me of all my sins. As a beginner in Christ, I feel a need of hunger and am thirsty for more of God's word. Thank you for spreading this instrument to people who needs to be saved.
I'm Jay P. Blessings from our Holy Father be upon you who published the tract and the Real Life Stories book. The book uplifted me and the tract gave me an assurance of an eternal life through Christ Jesus. I was just one of those people who achieved true salvation because of the tools you have been providing. Keep on publishing your evangelistic materials. A lot of people still do not know Jesus and will be able to know through your tools. Thank you.
July 30, 2010:RED ZONE UPDATE - GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN
By: Norm Rasmussen
On July 30, 2010 the Lord gave me the opportunity to sow 40 Real Life Stories testimony books in Grand Rapids, in the Madison and Oakdale area. I arrived their about 5 p.m. Several people were out sitting on their porches by then, making it much easier to give out books.
I do all I know to do to trust the Holy Spirit as to who I am to approach to make available a book to and who to walk on past. To date, I’ve had good experiences when approaching people who are drinking alcohol and/or have been taking other chemical substances. But on THIS one occasion I’m about to share, I began to doubt my ability to have heard correctly as the drama began unfolding.
Several young women were on a porch. Beer appeared to be their beverage of choice. When offered a book, one boldly spoke up and said, “No – we don’t want no books. We’re partying, can’t you see?!”
One gal who had been standing behind the others moved to the front and wanted to know what kind of book I was handing out. When I told her, she eagerly asked for a copy and immediately started thumbing through it. The first gal who had spoken to me said to her, “What you want a religious book for, girl? You think God care about you?!”
“Yeah - He care about me,” she replied, sticking up for herself. “He care for you TOO if you learn about Him!”
Now here’s where it got a bit more interesting. There were four guys sitting on a wooded bench out in the yard, about 20 feet away from the porch. Two of them were having a heated debate about something. Of the two, one was VERY loud and appeared to be VERY angry. My immediate impression was to walk away and move along, but the gal on the porch who had no use for the book spoke up loudly, saying, “Go give those four guys a copy of that book. They are the ones that need God!”
As soon as she said that, one of the guys having the argument broke focus and asked me what kind of book I had. I told him, “It’s a free book of Christians testimonies of hope and encouragement. It’s a $10 book for free and it’s non-denominational. It’s a wonderful source of spiritual encouragement. We all can use a lot of that, can’t we?”
He reached out for a copy, but as he did so, the guy he had been arguing with grabbed the book and really started coming unglued. (I’ll leave out the “expletives”): “We don’t need no one bringing religious books around here. That God stuff is trash. Get out of here – NOW!” He was highly intoxicated, it was obvious, and he handed the book back to me and as I was about to put it back into my hand carrying bag and exit the property, the guy who first took it grabbed it back from me, saying, “I want the #D#&& book! No one is going to tell me I can’t have a book if I want a book!” – all the time looking at the anti-book brother.
Once the anti-book brother see’s his opponent is going to have a book whether he likes it or not, the anti-book brother walks briskly over to me and tries to give me cash out of his pocket. “Here, man, I’m paying for his book. How much do I pay you?”
“I can’t accept any money for these books, sir. I’m giving them out free.”
“Here – take some %$&@# money!” as he threw a wad of cash into my handbag. I reached into the bag and took the money out and tried to hand it back to him, again saying I couldn’t accept money for the books, because it would make me a liar, but he kept insisting in a very CONFRONTATIONAL way. Seeing he was not going to back down, I suggested to him that he give the money to his children on the porch, or to one of his friends, and that seemed to register positively – for a couple of seconds anyway. Once he saw that he had given me a $1 and a $5 dollar bill, he grabbed the $5 and stuck it back in his pocket and said, “You ain’t getting no $5 – you’re just getting a $1!”
Again, I politely and calmly told him that I couldn’t take any money for the books, because they were free. The brother got hotter. The three guys at the picnic table saw how obnoxious and volatile the guy was continuing to be, and started yelling at him to get back to the picnic table and sit down and forget about the money and the book. With a bit coaxing, it worked, and that was my cue to move on QUICKLY down the street, all the while praying for that brother, and all the others. The Holy Spirit used me to leave 8 books at that location, thank you Jesus. That was a fertile location to leave seeds at. At least one devil passionately convinced me of such.
My final experience of the evening was with Mildred. I put her at about age 65 – 70. Mildred was sitting quietly in her car with the car door open, her cane leaned up against her leg. Her feet were resting on the asphalt parking lot of her apartment complex. She eagerly accepted a book. She began to inquire about what I was doing, and as I told her, she became very excited about my passing out the book in her neighborhood – informing me of how so much evil is going on in the neighborhood -- that someone had broke into her car the night before and had stolen her car battery and cheap stereo.
“These kids don’t care who they steal from anymore. They’ll steal from anyone to get a fix for their drug habit. I try to tell as many as I can about their need for Jesus, but they don’t want to listen. They just call me an old fanatical religious nut. I plead the blood of Jesus over my possessions daily, and I don’t know why the Lord allowed someone to steal my car battery. I pick up people and take them to church, so I need my car to run to do that. Of course the devil would like that to stop happening, which is why my battery got stolen, but I’m not angry at whoever did it. I prayed for his lost soul, whoever it was. That’s what God wants me to do; not get angry. And I’m not going to stop pleading the blood of Jesus over my property either. The devil would love me to stop doing that, but I’m not going to stop.”
Nearing the end of our conversational, I asked Mildred how many children she had. “At least 250; probably many more. I’ve taken kids off the street who had no place to go. I’ve put food in their stomachs when they had no place else to eat. I’ve given them a bed to sleep in when they had no place else to sleep, and they receive prayer before I’ll let them fall off to sleep. I’ve taken many of them to church for the first time in their life. I tell them about Jesus because they may never have anyone else who will, at least the way the Holy Spirit wants them to hear. My ministry is prayer for lost souls, and helping out children when God sends them my way.”
This was a lady and a soldier I could have spent hours and days with. We never did get around to her telling me how many of those 250 children were siblings and/or grandchildren.
I listened to her for the better part of an hour and then one of her sons drove up with a new car battery. Even once installed, the starter couldn’t get energy from it. A dangling wire obviously needed to be connected somewhere, but he was over his head as to where it belonged.
I felt we could do well to pray so I asked Mildred and her son and her son’s girlfriend to join with me in prayer – to give the son wisdom in how to get the car back in good running order. Once done praying, I KNEW Mildred’s car was going to be running fine in due time.
Mildred asked if she could have the last two books so she could pass them along, and I gave them to her. Thus – the mission assignment was over and it was time for me to exit that section of the Grand Rapids Red Zone.
In parting, I told Mildred that once we’re in heaven, expect an invitation to come to my mansion for the biggest most juicy T-bone steak she could possibly imagine having.
“I’ll be there!” she laughed. “And I’ll bring hot corn bread and collard greens like you can’t imagine either!”
July 26, 2010:RED ZONE UPDATE – BENTON HARBOR, MICHIGAN
Greetings to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We thank God for your faithfulness and support of our Precious Testimonies ministry which encompasses a wide area in reaching lost for Jesus. If you will remember, the last Red Zone Update we sent you was on June 22, 2010, about our visit into Gary, Indiana passing out Real Life Stories books to many people as the Holy Spirit led us. We now would like to share with you the 2nd part of that mission trip. On completion of our mission assignment in Gary, Indiana , which was on June 19, we drove to Benton Harbor, Michigan on June 20 , Father’s Day , to see if the Lord would have us leave some RLS testimony books in that locality.
As we drove and then walked on foot down the various streets, we trusted the Lord to show us who to approach and strike up conversation with to give the Real Life Stories books to. Just as you cross over the river from St. Joseph to the Benton Harbor side, we discovered a run-down motel where they are temporarily housing some ex-prisoners returning back into society. The first brother we spoke with there eagerly took a RLS book, asking for two additional copies for two people he wanted to give them to. He shared that he had given his life to the Lord while in prison, and wanted to stay on the right path with Him. He eagerly and sincerely accepted the books from us, and we encouraged him to trust God for a local church fellowship to get connected with in his area.
As we walked on, one room in this apartment complex was full of people having a party. Only one girl from that group wanted a copy of the RLS book. A couple of the guys, beers in hand, started chiding her for taking the book, but God gave her the courage to keep it.
Then as we were about to leave the complex, two young men with their britches down to their knees (as it seems the young people are wearing them now days), yelled out to us as we were walking across the parking lot: “Hey – can we have a copy of that book TOO?”
They were standing on the second story balcony. Rather than walking way around, Norm asked them if they could catch the book if he threw it up to them. They said, “Sure!”
The first book tossed, the gentleman caught easily. Norm thought to himself...Good toss. The second book tossed to the other brother, Norm again thought to himself...Bad toss. The brother had to lean way out over the balcony to try and grab it. Norm was sure it was coming back down to earth and he would have to toss it more accurately, but the brother lunged WAY OUT FAR over the metal balcony to grasp the book, and barely managed with the tips of his fingers to get it. Now that brother could play a wide receiver for any pro football team – he is fearless and agile! Honestly, Norm was prepared to try to catch his fall if he came cart wheeling over the metal balcony, but God had mercy on BOTH of them!
Traveling on up to the residential area the Holy Spirit wanted us ministering in, we walked up to a group of young girls playing on the porch of a very rundown house. They each were eager to have a copy of the RLS testimony book.
One of the young girls named Tonisha, about 10 years old, immediately said, "A person who lives not too far away says the world is coming to an end in 2012. Is that true?" We explained to her, "No, honey, that is not so. It says in the Bible the world is never going to come to an end. The world is going to go through a lot of changes in the future, but God is not going to let it come to an end." Tonisha was really relieved when Kathleen also told her that Jesus is definitely coming back to get us all. She said with a lot of love and sincerity in her young sweet voice, "Whew! I want to be here then and see my aunty again because she's in heaven now." It truly sounded like Tonisha really loved and missed her aunty who perhaps had a lot of Christian influence on her young life while she was alive. We reassured her that if she keeps her eyes on Jesus and lives for him as she grows up, she will definitely see her aunty again and Jesus too. Well, those comments triggered all sorts of questions from not only Tonisha, but from the other 3 little girls who were with her on that porch. We took the time and spent about a half hour sharing WHY Jesus died on the cross and how He is coming back to destroy al the evil that is taking place in this world. The more we shared with them, the more questions they kept asking, and GOOD questions at that.
Knowing we were running out of time to get books to others in the area, we had to move along, so we encouraged them to attend Sunday School and ask their teacher(s) all the questions they had about God and spiritual matters.
We mention this young group of girls because this is very typical of young people in the age group of roughly 5–10 years old; especially girls. They are very curious and bold about asking spiritual questions, wherever we go. Boys will listen while you’re talking with the girls, though they remain mostly silent…yet listening. You leave little children like that thinking to yourself: “Lord, these young children are so eager to hear about God. We need more local Christians from the Body of Christ coming into these neighborhoods to reach out to these kids. Parents aren’t taking them to church, it’s quite obvious. Christians need to make it easier for these children to hear biblical truth, so please send more laborers into the harvest field of these poorer areas.” Then as we drove on down another street
Then as we drove on down another street, we came upon another house with more people sitting out on their porch. Another young girl, named Alexandria, looked to be about age 15 or 16. She beamed when we gave her a RLS book. She held it like it was her first purse, or diamond ring. We had given out the last "Do You Know God's Will For Your Life?" book to someone she knew, and she asked us if she could ESPECIALLY somehow get a copy of that book as well, because she wanted to read it before she went to bed that night. We assured her that when we got back to our car, we would drive back and make certain that she got one. Later, when we drove up again, she came running out of the house with the biggest smile you could imagine...she was eagerly waiting for us to return to give her a copy of that book. We gave her the book and she happily thanked us and ran on her way back in the house.
As we walked along down another street in this same area, Norm saw a group of young men playing basketball and felt to go and watch them play, hoping to be used of the Lord to give some of them a RLS book. As he walked on over to these young men, Kathleen felt the Holy Spirit leading her to strike up conversation with an older African American woman sitting in her rocking chair on the front porch of her house. Her name was Annie and there was another older gentleman, named Vertis, standing on the porch with her as well. Annie asked Kathleen what she had in her hand, so Kathleen handed her the RLS book and explained that it was a Christian book full of testimonies of people who had real life stories to tell of how God became real and alive in their lives and how they are now living for Jesus Christ. Annie was very interested in the book and started thumbing through it; she was very grateful and happy to accept a copy of it once she knew it was free with no strings attached.
Vertis on the other hand, did not want a copy of the book but shared he had a real life story to tell too. He began to tell about how he had come from South Carolina 43 years ago and began to share many of his struggles and hard times he experienced before he moved to Michigan. He just was not open to talking about the RLS book we were giving away, but only wanted to talk about his own life in general. Kathleen listened patiently and empathetically as he talked, but did not have the unction to minister to him in any great measure. After Vertis seemed to be finished speaking about his life history, Kathleen graciously ended their conversation by saying she needed to get back to her husband as she pointed to him who was down the street watching the young men playing basketball. Annie and Vertis thanked her and Kathleen left them both saying 'God bless you.' We have no idea where Annie and Vertis are in their lives spiritually or even if they were married, but we are trusting and believing that the Holy Spirit will have his way in their lives as they read that book. After leaving their presence, Kathleen then joined Norm to see how maybe the Holy Spirit would open any doors here to speak with any one of these young men playing basketball. That opportunity did not present itself, so we both left that area and felt our mission was completed for this day in Benton Harbor, Michigan.
June 19, 2010: RED ZONE UPDATE – GARY, INDIANA
God moved Kathleen and me (Norm) to give out 150 Real Life Stories testimony books to people in Gary, Indiana on June 19, 2010. It was a very special occasion in at least two ways for us: One, wherever God asks you to serve on His behalf to help advance His kingdom is special! Two, it was our 28th wedding anniversary. We didn’t really plan for it to happen on our anniversary -- it just sort of worked out that way. This will be one wedding anniversary celebration we’ll NEVER forget!
God had laid it on our hearts for some time to leave some RLS testimony books in Gary. We didn’t know exactly where in Gary we were to go. We just prayed, trusted, and the Holy Spirit had us “stumble” into the Delaney Community … one of the largest most active “HUD Projects” in the city at the present time.
A summer storm roared through the southern Chicago area the night before, blowing over trees and shredding tree limbs. Evidence of the 80-mile-an-hour plus wind sheer was everywhere in the Delaney Projects area. People were out and about, cleaning up the storm damage debris. Kids were playing in the water covering different parts of the roads because of clogged storm drains.
About two hours into handing out books and ministering as opportunity presented itself, God had us meet Brittiney. Brittiney is 20 years old and very attractive physically. She could easily qualify to be a model, with an extremely pleasant personality to boot. She told us she was raising her child, Davie-Aun, age 5 – and also told Kathleen that her life goal was that she wanted to help others who had been sexually abused as she had been.
She was extremely thankful to have a RLS book, and dialogue between her and Kathleen quickly centered around the things of the Lord. As the two of them talked, I was unaware of what Brittiney had shared with Kathleen about her being sexually abused, and I had a strong sense of “knowing” that I couldn’t keep silent about it without asking her myself, so in faith … I moved out in some very delicate territory.
“Brittiney, of course it’s none of my business, and you surely don’t have to answer this question, but I feel to ask … were you sexually molested when you were younger.”
“A number of times,” she softly answered, as she began to fight back tears.
I shared with her that the Holy Spirit had been revealing that to me while Kathleen and she had been talking, and I asked her if I could share with her what I believed the Holy Spirit wanted me to say to her. She cautiously nodded in agreement, even though there were some other people standing very nearby, which didn’t make it all that easy for her, no doubt.
“Have you forgiven those people who molested you?” I sensed she had not, which is why I asked.
She said that she hadn’t. She was uniformed about what God has to say about forgiving our enemies in the Bible. I shared with her that for her OWN good, she needed to seek the Lord for courage and strength to forgive those who had abused her. We could tell that was she was listening intently to every word spoken, and we have faith and peace that it was the right time and God will have the victory in her life on the matter.
Satan started coming absolutely unglued while we were sharing with her on this forgiveness issue, and the importance of connecting with a group of strong Christian believers. One guy, high no doubt, hit on Kathleen as she approached him with a RLS book, which he did not accept. But he, in his own street talk style, essentially asked Kathleen if she was “eager and available” while she stood three feet away from me. Although we didn’t know the meaning of the “word” he used, we caught on real quick as Brittiney scolded him for speaking to Kathleen that way. Kids started moving in closer and yelling louder; car radios came closer and the volumes went higher. The noise level in our EXACT vicinity became extremely distracting and annoying, to say the very least, especially to Brittiney who was trying to absorb everything I was sharing with her in addition to matters of forgiveness.
It became time for us to move on, but not before imparting to Brittiney that God has a very important call on her life, and that she owed it to herself to grow ever closer to the Lord to find out what that calling is. Kathleen exhorted her to get connected to a local church fellowship (as she did a number of different people that day, because few confessed of going to a local fellowship). I told Brittiney I felt she might be a very influential evangelist one day if she purposed to walk in God’s will. Her eyes lit up when I shared that with her. She had hung on every word we shared with her. The Holy Spirit’s ministry to her was going down deep into fertile spiritual soil. When we told her we would be praying for her, she very eagerly and thankfully asked us to pray for her 5-year-old son, Davie-Aun, as well.
Several months ago brother Jim Barbarossa, Director of STEP-BY-STEP WORLD OUTREACH, gave us a book he wrote titled: DO YOU KNOW GOD’S WILL FOR YOUR LIFE? Jim gave us the books to get them into prisons, as we are able. I felt to throw in a few dozen copies of the book in the car when we left Grand Rapids to head to Gary. While in the Delaney Community Project, there were a number of people who told us they were so blessed to be given a copy of that book along with the RLS book.
William Scott and Vickie Warren were two of them thankful to get the books. Vickie was visibly pregnant with her 4th child. They were in their early 20’s, already both having children out of wedlock, though they said they are about to get married in September of this year. They listened soberly to Kathleen sharing with them what it takes to have a successful marriage. “Putting Jesus Christ first in your life and obeying scripture” will keep your marriage together.”
William shared that he had an alcohol addiction he was dealing with, and we assured him that if he made Jesus Christ Lord of his life, in God’s time, he would have victory over his addiction. He seemed to be receptive to what was being shared with him. Before we left them, we were able to pray with them concerning their life issues and upcoming marriage plans. They seemed to be truly blessed that we took time out to do that with them and gave us each a heartfelt thanks.
Then we had the privilege of meeting Otis. Otis had a big grin on his face as we approached him. Instead of us saying something to start the conversation, he blurted out to us: “I know what you’re doing!”
We were a little taken back by his high-energy declaration, so I laughingly asked, “What are we doing?”
“You’re doing Kingdom work, aren’t you? Kingdom work!”
I reached into our canvas carrying bag and handed him a RLS book, and then replied, “How did you KNOW?”
“I could just tell two soldiers for Jesus were in the neighborhood doing His Kingdom work. Thank you!”
We asked Otis to share his testimony with us. He’s been born again about nine years. “I ran from God for years being a heavy drinker, which took a toll on my health resulting in a heart attack. It was after that heart attack that I started going back to church and committed my life to Christ.” Otis in his cheerful manner said, “Better late than never, right?!”
Right! Otis wanted four additional RLS books to hand out to others, along with a few copies of Jim’s “Do You Know God’s Will For Your Life?” book. We could easily have spent the remainder of our time visiting with him, he was such a joy to be around.
Six o’clock in the evening was approaching and the alcohol was flowing more freely (as drugs no doubt were also) and people were getting louder. It was a typical late Saturday afternoon on a warm day. We drove past two young men screaming and yelling at one another in the street -- near rage level. The Holy Spirit impressed us to “Keep on moving! …” and our response was, “Yessiree! Gottcha!”
We departed the Delaney Project feeling as though God was pleased with our time there. There were so many special people we had spoken with while there, and typical … so many were thankful to have the RLS testimony book. With some, you have to persist a little harder with to take the book than others. Males are the most reluctant – teenagers to young men. Younger girls are the most receptive, as are elderly ladies. Older men runs roughly 50% - those who want a copy of the book.
We took 150 copies of the RLS book with us, and had only given half of them away that day, so we decided to spend the night and go back to Gary the next day, in a new area.
That Saturday evening we enjoyed a tasty anniversary dinner at Kelsey’s Steak House in Portage, Indiana before calling it a day. (Norm said it was the best blue cheese dressing he’s ever tasted on a tossed salad, for all you blue cheese fanatics, such as Norm is).
Sunday, June 20, we drove back into Gary, but we couldn’t find any place where people were out of their houses. We even drove into Hammond, Indiana, but it was the same. After driving approximately 2 ½ hours and not finding enough people to give books out to, we lost unction, and decided it was time to travel back home to Grand Rapids, Michigan.
However, while doing all that driving and talking to the Lord, Benton Harbor kept coming to mind. So on our way back to Grand Rapids, we did a detour and drove into Benton Harbor, Michigan, and found a section of the city that housed many of the poor. We were able to leave the remaining 75 RLS books in that neighborhood, along with a couple dozen copies of the “God’s Will” book as well. What a fruitful time we had! We’ll be sharing highlights of that red zone area in another update shortly to follow this one.
June 2, 2010: Norm Rasmussen: MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, MICHIGAN Update
RED ZONE UPDATE: MUSKEGON
RED ZONE UPDATE: MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, MICHIGAN
Over May 2010
Memorial Day weekend, Kathleen and I felt impressed of the Holy Spirit to
take some REAL LIFE STORIES books into the Muskegon Red Zone area.
This has been the first occasion Kathleen has been able to be with me to
take the RLS into "Red Zones", which made it especially exciting for me
(Norm), because I LOVE being engaged with her in ministry assignments.
Over May 2010 Memorial Day weekend, Kathleen and I felt impressed of the Holy Spirit to take some REAL LIFE STORIES books into the Muskegon Red Zone area. This has been the first occasion Kathleen has been able to be with me to take the RLS into "Red Zones", which made it especially exciting for me (Norm), because I LOVE being engaged with her in ministry assignments.
It was in my heart to first go back to a
FARMER’S MARKET location in Muskegon Heights and leave some RLS books on the
bench where I left them last year on a couple of different occasions.
I was expecting a lot of flea market vendors to be there because the weather
was beautiful and it was a holiday wee
Questioning why this was the case, I walked up to one of the vendors to make some inquiry, and I began speaking with a lady whose name is Toni Rose. She immediately asked, “Aren’t YOU the one who left those testimony books here last year?” I said that I was.
“Wow! You won’t BELIEVE how God has used
that book to minister to people! I told everyone to get a copy
of that book while they were still available back there on the table where
you left them for people to take! You could have left thousands of
them there and people would have ta
“I took my copy home and began reading it before bedtime. My husband, who has been in a somewhat backslidden state, wanted to know what I was reading, so I began reading chapters of the book out loud to him in bed while I was reading it. He began commenting how much hope it gave him, and I could sense God was doing something deep inside him as I read him a testimony night after night!
“I gave a few copies to some of my kinfolk, and they were getting so encouraged as well. Some of them aren’t even SAVED, so the book is just wonderful – you can’t BELIEVE how wonderful – for people who have heard about the Lord, but for whatever reasons, just live in sin and so many don’t care of the consequences that can happen!”
Now mind you…I never asked Toni ANYTHING about the book when we first started talking. She just started gushing on her own. I truly wished I had my video camera along to capture all that she said, and how so excited she was to share about the book. She probably would have been intimidated with a camera in her face, so maybe it was best.
All I can say is that if there have been any doubts of how useful the RLS testimony book IS to the Holy Spirit…don’t try to convince Toni it’s NOT useful!
We felt to spend some quality time with Toni, asking her about how the Lord has worked in her own life…and then I REALLY wished I had brought along my camcorder! You can never capture such exciting passion for Jesus and people being on the front line trying to help win lost souls on camera as when you have that first encounter with another saint sharing how God has worked in their life, and has used them, no matter how hard you try.
Over an hour later, we felt we better get moving, otherwise the RLS books were doing no good sitting in the trunk of our car. We left 20 RLS books with Toni to pass out, and then walked to a back bench and left several copies in the same spot as they were left in 2009.
Then walking to the car to drive off, a gentleman was sitting on one of the benches some feet away, watching what we had just done.
“That’s a nice thing you’re doing there – leaving those religious books for people to have,” he said.
Hmmmm…I’m thinking to myself. He didn’t have to say that. Maybe I should go over and see what kind of conversation we can strike up, and see where it goes.
It didn’t take long for Ricky to begin opening up about how upset he was about his son punching him in the eye. He showed me his eye – swollen bad! “I raised him – put food in his belly and clothes on his back – and he treats a father like THIS?! He has no respect for me!”
He began to get more and more “passionate” about the matter, and then after some exchanged dialogue, he began to open up to me that he had been having strong temptations to kill his son over the beating his son had given him.
– higher mode. I asked him if he had ever made Jesus his Lord and
Savior. He quickly acknowledged that he had. “Okay – then you
may or may not be aware of what Jesus tells us to do regarding our enemies.
We’re to love them, and the way to demonstrate that we love them is to PRAY
for them. Are you aware Jesus said that in the Bible?”
Ricky said he wasn’t. He then got to hear about the WISDOM of praying for our enemies, which concluded with: “If you want God’s blessings and favor to flow in greater measure in your life, you’ll begin to pray BLESSINGS upon your son as the Holy Spirit leads you, instead of wanting to kill him for what he did to you.”
I continued to impart words into Ricky as I felt the Holy Spirit gave them to me, and then a big bus stopped and a few people got off. One gentleman who told us his name was Turner asked Ricky where he got “that book” he had in is hands, and Ricky pointed him to the stack we had just left on the bench about 100 feet away. Turner started to go get himself a copy, but Kathleen offered to get him one instead.
Upon asking Turner a couple of questions to start up some conversation, which included telling us that Jesus was his Savior and that he wouldn’t be alive today if Jesus wasn’t there for him (brick fell on his head from high overhead; it should have killed him). Turner informed us that he had walking pneumonia, and was having a hard time getting over it. Kathleen and I asked him if he would like us to pray for him because Jesus could heal his pneumonia, and he said he would like that. I asked Ricky if he would like to join with us in prayer, and he indicated that he WOULD, so the four of us joined hands and Turner got prayed for. Turner will have a testimony of how Jesus healed him…I felt strongly in my spirit.
Next: Toni had asked me if I had considered asking permission to put RLS books in the local grocery market nearby, so I thought I had better find out whether that was the Holy Spirit’s “direction” or not. I walked in and talked to an employee name Vickie. Vickie said she would talk to the assistant manager of the store - if she could have a copy of the book - which seemed to be a reasonable tradeoff! We talked with the assistant manager who told us that he would have to talk with the head manager who wasn’t there, so I told him I’d get back with him bye and bye.
It was time for Vickie to have a break so she walked out to our car with us to get her book. She lived in the area, and we began asking her different questions about “how bad” the area was for crime. She shared of a breaking and entering incident in her own house that happened not long ago of an 11-year-old boy looking for things to steal – while everyone was at home sleeping. “It’s bad,” she said. “Really bad. We’re all becoming prisoners in our own homes. You don’t even want to walk out after dark. We have open drug dealing right here in the store parking lot. It’s almost as bad as what goes on over there in Rowan Park (only a few hundred yards away) at night, but it’s even going on here in the parking lot during the day!”
We found out that Vickie was a strong believer, and asked her if she would like to pray with us that God would move on the manager’s heart of the store, if He wanted books to be made available in the store. She was happy to pray, so the matter is left in the Lord’s hands. It’s easy to get copies out to the people in the area: no need for them to be in the store…but whatever the Lord desires.
“Now where … Lord?”
We drove away and started driving around in some of the area, looking to see how many people were on their porches enjoying the cool out there on a very hot, humid day. I’ve grown to love porches. People walking are more difficult to talk with or more reluctant to take a book. People sitting on porches are going no place and most enjoy a stranger walking up and visiting with them – offering something of a $10.00 value for FREE.
Not many porches on houses in that area, and so not many people were out on any. Besides, it was very hot out and most were inside enjoying air conditioning or shade.
In our aimless driving, we came upon a street Kathleen recognized, where some dear friends of ours live, and we soon came to Jerry and Jamaesha Gilbert’s house. We needed to fill up our water bottles. Jerry was out doing ministry, but Jamaesha was babysitting her darling granddaughter. We began loving the air conditioning in Jamaesha’s house (at least I did) and there is never a loss of things to talk about with Jerry and Jamaesha. We go together into one of the Muskegon prisons (West Shoreline Correctional Facility) and minister as a foursome. It's a long story, but we have precious times with them ministering to the brothers in prison.
ended up leaving some RLS books with Jamaesha to pass out and left to
head back for
It was fun to watch.
We got a late start that day, but we felt we had accomplished in the afternoon hours what the Lord wanted, and we know we’ll be going back again.
We’ll also be checking in with Toni Rose from time to time to see how things are going with the RLS books. A resource like her is priceless in that city, because her history has been to personally disciple the “down and outers” for years now. Kathleen and I won’t be there to do any follow-up. People like Toni, Jamaesha and Jerry who live in that city, CAN and WILL.
The Lord is laying on our hearts to take the Real Life Stories books into some Red Zone areas of Gary, Indiana. We would really appreciate your prayers for this next assignment from the Lord: That we will go at the right time and in the right areas leaving the books with the right people.
Many of you reading this don't know who Evangelist Jim Barbarossa is (www.step-by-step.org). Jim is the one God used to first come up with the Real Life Stories testimony book -- working with Jubilee Worship Center in Hobart, Indiana at the time. The Lord appears to now be opening doors for Jim and his wife Carla to network with a church in Waukegan, Illinois to help them publish a NEW Real Life Stories testimony book that can go out in their respective Waukegan area, and we are asking saints to pray about this assignment as well. There is always a lot of warfare that goes along with an assignment such as this.
Thank you so much for your important and priceless prayer coverage! We will on occasion keep you updated about the Red Zone areas that we visit to prayerfully advance the Kingdom and steal territory from the enemy.
May 1, 2010: Norm Rasmussen: KALAMAZOO, MICHIGAN Update
I felt impressed of the Holy Spirit to take my last box of 40 Real Life Stories testimony books down to Kalamazoo, Michigan on Friday, April 30, 2010. I believe the Holy Spirit wanted me to get some of the books to area churches in that city so Pastors can see for themselves what can be done with testimonies from their own church.
In driving completely around – circling - Kalamazoo, I found about 15 different churches, and felt impressed to leave books at 10 different churches.
At one of the smaller, older churches, an Afro-American was standing outside the church when I drove up. His name was Dennis. I asked him if he was the Pastor of the church. He replied he wasn’t, but just helped serve there. When I offered him a Real Life Stories book, he became very excited, and asked if he might be able to have a couple more books. When I asked him, “What for?” … he answered that he had a heart to reach out to the young boys in the neighborhood, and thought the book might be a good resource to do that. I assured him it definitely would be.
In asking him how many young boys came to his church, he said, “Mostly only old people come. We only have two youth coming to our church.”
I felt strongly gripped by the Holy Spirit to pray with him, and he was excited that I was willing to do so. My prayer was that God would give him even a stronger desire to reach out to the youth in the community, and that God would put things together to make that happen. After praying … I encouraged him to feel free to contact our ministry if the three books were being used by the Lord with the youth. I told him that the Lord might be willing to provide more books for FREE, depending on how things play out with the youth.
I never inquired where the “Red Zone” is in Kalamazoo, but the Holy Spirit kept drawing me to an area located in North Central Kalamazoo. It’s virtually all African Americans living there where I was, in rundown houses. The poverty is obvious just driving through the area, and in my estimation, there is no better place to leave Real Life Stories books than areas such as this.
The afternoon tempts were nearing 80 degrees with higher humidity levels. Perfect weather in the spring to be outside celebrating the coming summer. By 3 p.m. in areas like that on a Friday, you start seeing more and more people outside on porches, trying to stay cool, and having liquid refreshments of various sorts. I love porches the best, because people are in a more relaxed state of mind. They aren’t thinking about much; in no rush going anywhere … and they don’t feel as threatened by a white person talking to them as they do walking along the street.
Down one side street, there is an apartment complex of sorts, very rundown. Many kids were playing outside. I approached a few of the older children – around roughly age 10 -12 – and inquired if they were interested in having a book. When you mention it’s a 10 dollar book that you’re giving away FREE of encouraging stories about God, that gets their interest up very quickly. It becomes almost an inwardly laughing routine-like experience for me in how things usely go with children. Once you find one child who will take a copy of the book (which is invariably a girl), then another girl decides she would like a book. Then younger girls and older girls decide they want a book TOO. Kids come running from the other side of the streets, curious to see what all the action is about. Then the boys break down and start asking for a book, and sometimes two books, and three books! The hoarding phenomenon kicks in so you have to make certain you only have just so many books with you on any given street, because the children can almost become offended if you tell them they can’t have all the books they might like to have. The boys usually want to give them to their buddies, they say, when they ask for more than one book.
In asking different children WHY they wanted a book … it was amazing what most of their answers were: “I want to give it to my Momma so she can read me stories out of it at bedtime.”
I tell you … tears well up inside me as I type this. The children are so hungry to hear about God in those sections of cities all across America. No doubt it would be the same way in poverty stricken areas all around the globe.
Of course, usually there is at least one hilarious experience you can share when you take these RLS books into these poverty stricken neighborhoods on Friday evenings. I saw a group of about a dozen people sitting in chairs in the shade on the side of a street. They were starting to barbeque. I was quite hot from the heat and walking, and though I had a bottle of water to drink, my “worldly” sense of humor kicked in and the first thing I said to them, as I walked up to them to break the ice, was … “Boy oh boy am I thirsty. I would give just about anything for a tall drink of cold Budweiser about now.”
Now I used “Bud” because most all the guys either had a glass 40 - ouncer with the standard paper sack wrapped around it, or a smaller 24 - ounce can of “Bud” with a brown bag around it, keeping the brewsky a little cooler. Most everyone was drinking “Bud” in other words. There was a couple of smaller bottles of hard liquor sitting near the chairs as well, so it was quite obvious they were getting started early for a Friday evening “social.”
As I stepped a few feet closer to the group … three-quarters of them were men between the ages of 20 – 30 … I’ll bet at least 5 of those brothers grabbed their container of “Bud” almost simultaneously and said, “Here, man – have a drink of my cold Bud. Cool yourself off, man!” The generosity was so warming; not kidding. It’s as though “color” doesn’t EXIST in such a setting.
I graciously told them I was just teasing with them to see how willing they would be to part with their “cold refreshments”, and also informed them that I had water to drink, so “Thanks a ton anyway, guys. You’re too generous!”
After that, I shared the book. Everyone was reluctant – at first (Fear peer pressure phenomenon). One gal sitting quietly taking it all in caught my focus, and I took the copy of the book in my hand and simply sat it on her lap. I felt to say, “This is a special gift from God just to YOU. I cannot leave without giving this to you, so please have it.”
She looked up at me very perplexed … then after a few seconds said, “Wow … just for ME?’
“Yep.” A slight smile came on her face.
Well – that broke the ice. Then another gal asked if she could look at a copy. I handed her one. She started thumbing through it, asking a few questions, and then another young lady asked if she could have a copy. As that was happening, one of the brothers stepped up to me and asked me if he could look at a copy. As he thumbed through it a little, a couple other guys asked if they could have a copy, and I stood there STUNNED that everyone in the group would have taken a copy if I had enough, but that was the last of the 40 books, so I told them they would have to share them with each other.
The last guy to get a copy of that group was older – maybe 45. He said, “I’ve been watching you. You’ve been giving that book out to kids on the street, haven’t you?” I replied that I had been. He replied to that, “That is very kind of you. Can I have a copy of the book to give to my grandson?”
What a Friday evening in Kalamazoo, Michigan! That’s the last copies I had of the Real Life Stories book. Kathleen and I will be making our way down to Jim & Carla Barbarossa to pick up a few more boxes of the book bye and bye. Someone donated $150 to get more RLS books into circulation. I’m trusting God to provide more of the books as time goes on, as He wills. I simply love passing them out to folks.
It’s in my heart to put these books in different cities, so we’ll see how the Lord leads in times ahead.
If anyone reading this is stirred to be used of God to pass out these powerful Real Life Stories testimony books in your own locality, you can contact Jim and Carla to get copies by going to their ministry website: http://www.step-by-step.org
April 26, 2010: Jim Barbarossa, Director - STEP-BY-STEP WORLD OUTREACH:
February 19, 2010: Rich Otero Testimony:
I started going to Jubilee Worship Center (Hobart, Indiana) when I was eight years old. I’m thirty-three years old as of right now. The reason I’m making mention to that is because I can't recall ever being challenged or told to be a witness for Jesus. I always thought that was the Pastor's job. It wasn't until Brother Jim Barbarossa started coming to our church that I finally had someone tell me that it was my job all along to tell people about Jesus. I didn't receive it right away because like an old dog, you can't teach it new tricks.
For the first month or so I tuned out the Take-5’s, because I was shy (hence; fear) and it was hard for me to approach someone and just begin to tell them about the Lord. It wasn't until scripture after scripture and testimony after testimony that I started to grab a hold of all this.
Then Bro. Jim received a God idea! He thought it would be a good idea to put our deepest most personal stuff in the world on a book for the world to read. I was always raised that it is nobodies business to know my business. What happens behind close doors stays behind close doors. So once again time went by before I wrote my testimony.
Then in one service brother Jim began preaching on the call of Evangelist: “Evangelists - Come forth!” Of course my first thought was there is no way I’m an evangelist. While nearly everyone went forward, I stayed in my seat, but the Lord had a different plan. I was called forward so I went up there out of obedience. I didn’t jump in right away, but through time and through brother Jim’s constant challenges … it has moved me out of my comfort zone.
I now try to take advantage of any open door or situation the Lord puts me in. Having the Real Life Stories books has helped my confidence tremendously. Had it not been for Bro. Jim and the Lord allowing him to be in the right place at the right time, I don’t think I would have ever realized I'm called to be a witness for Jesus.
I'm thankful for Jim being in my life as a mentor and a friend. I thank him for not allowing me to settle for the ordinary -- to push through and allow God to be God. To trust in the Lord always and He will make your path straight. I have led many of my friends to the Lord just by being a witness for Jesus and I thank God I didn't wait for someone else to do my job.
January 1, 2010: It was in my heart to start out the new year by taking some Real Life Stories books into the Grand Rapids, Michigan RED ZONE. Twenty-four books seemed the right number to take.
I contacted David to see if he would like to go with me, and he happily jumped at the opportunity. David is a front-line ambassador on behalf of Jesus – a special treat to be around because of his devotion to God.
We had a blue sky but the temperature was in the mid-20’s. I knew there wouldn’t be many people walking the streets. I also knew that there would be folks with a lot of hangovers from bringing in the new year, so corner liquor stores “to have just a little nip of the dog that bit me the night before” seemed like our best bet at finding people to give the book to.
At the first corner liquor store there was plenty of activity. David felt to stay in the car and pray for me while I approached people.
Two physically attractive ladies pulled in the lot driving a late model SUV. From their dress, they could have been higher class hookers. Maybe they were joint owners of the store! The driver stepped out of the car while talking on her cell phone, walking into the liquor store. The passenger had her window partially cracked, but she too was talking intently on a cell phone. I sensed strongly that I was to get a book to them, but I just couldn’t see the right opportunity to do so. A few minutes later the driver exited the store, and as she opened her door to get into her car, I told her: “I’m supposed to give this book to you. You’ll like it. It’s filled with hope and encouragement.”
Interestingly … she took the book as though it “was meant to be”; jumped into her SUV, and off they drove. Well … book number 1 was easy, thank you Holy Spirit!
Three other people receive a book at that location. Vince was the last one to get a copy. Vince was standing off alone. He had walked to the liquor store. I put him at around age 20. He was a little hesitant to take a book at first – inquiring more about it than most, but then decided to take it. As I walked away, praying that God would use the book to touch his life greatly, my heart went out to him. I could sense he was emotionally in a lot of pain, but I didn't sense I was to ask him if I could pray for him.
We drove to another liquor store, but I had little success and getting people to accept the book – at least those I approached. Of course, when people quickly drive up to a liquor store – jump out and walk briskly into the store to get what they came after – they just wanted to leave as quickly as they came. It’s a bit “awkward” for them when someone walks up to them in that setting and asks them if they would like a book of encouraging Christian testimonies … most likely nursing hangovers, no less. I can accepted the hesitancy on their part, due to the setting.
I felt to show David the Omega Life Alternatives house so I drove there. Pastor Eric Price happened to be there; we woke him up (accidently). About a dozen of the Real Life Stories books were on the literature rack that I had given him a month or so previously to give to prisoners reentering society that live at the house. After some wonderful conversation, but before leaving, The Holy Spirit moved David and I to pray for Pastor Eric and then it was time to continue our mission of planting more Real Life Story seeds.
Across from the Omega Life Alternatives house is a small convenience store of sorts. They sell liquor. Several people were outside talking. Four particular guys were standing talking – laughing – enjoying themselves greatly while sipping on 40-ouncers in a bag. Two of them were struggling with gravity, having a difficult time standing on their feet. Dealing with drunk people can be “fun” – yet can get “testy”. I felt the Holy Spirit said to “Proceed.”
Three of the four gentlemen eagerly took a book. The fourth stuck his lower lip up in the air and kept it there the whole time while I conversed with the other three. Obviously he was having an issue of some sort with God, I had to assume. One gentleman told me that when he came down off his new year’s buzz, he was going to get right with God again. One of the other guys half-heartedly said the same thing, as they passed the 40-ouncer around, taking turns with wetting their already very wet whistles.
A few more books were given out as well at that location. Many people walk to that particular location, rather than drive, and stand outside, enjoying each other’s company. It is a setting much more conducive to casually dialoguing with people than the liquor stores we had frequented earlier.
After leaving there, I wanted to drop in and say “Happy New Year” to a saint I expect to videotape this year while she shares her testimony, and in route to her house, I drove by the apartment where Robbin lived in the late summer. Low and behold, she was standing outside with someone, and I stopped the car and yelled across the street to her. She abruptly broke her conversation with the person she was with and walked briskly over to our car. “Brother Norm! Happy New Year! How are you doing, anyway?!”
“Staying blessed in Jesus! Just down here starting the New Year out right. Giving out some more books.”
I introduced David to her. I introduced her as “Evangelist Robbin”, which is precisely what she IS. She shared with us an encounter she had a few weeks back with a guy who was high on drugs and being a bit hostile in her apartment complex, and she began to witness to him. While she was ministering to him, like a red hot poker was put on him ... the guy went screaming out of the complex - ran out into the road - and began beating on an unsuspecting motorist's vehicle he stopped in the street. "It's like he went nuts, or something," she shared. "Someone heard all the commotion in the complex and called the police earlier, and so the police showed up and put him in their car, all the while while he was shouting uncontrollably that he needed to give his soul to God. Strangest thing I've ever experienced! I never found out whatever happened to him after that."
God has His people positioned in just the right places, at the right time.
“Hey – do you have any books I can have to give out?”, she asked. I felt impressed that seven copies was what I should give her. She was tickled to get them, and I was tickled to give them to her.
The three of us talked a little more, and then I told her we had to continue our mission. The lady I wanted to bless wasn’t home.
David felt the Holy Spirit was saying that we should go to one of the popular missions on Division Street just south of downtown Grand Rapids, and it seemed right to me as well. It’s not located exactly in the Red Zone, but people from all over show up there to get some hot food into their belly, especially when they are broke from buying "holiday cheer" from the night before. Actually, there are two missions in that area, very close to each other, so I knew there would be no shortage of people to give copies of the book to. The “challenge” is to make certain they ONLY go to the individuals the Holy Spirit says to get them to. Some people standing in line to eat at a mission will take just about anything you give them, if you’re kind and persistent enough … thinking that if they don’t take it, maybe someone won’t let them in to have the free hot meal and even maybe a bed for the night.
But before arriving at the mission location: There’s a popular fast food restaurant in the Red Zone area that I had visited in late summer. They have a table in the waiting area with several magazines. That tells me that people have time to read while they wait for their food order to go. The last time I was there, I sat for nearly an hour, hoping to talk with the solitary individual taking both orders and doing all the cooking. The opportunity never presented itself, he was so busy with customers.
I felt to give the place a second try. I walked in with a copy of the book. There was a customer waiting for his order. I asked the manager if I could leave a copy of the book for people to read if they wanted to, and he gave me his blessing. I didn’t even have to say hardly a thing about what is in the book. “Wow! David! Keep praying!!!!!” I thought. Lord willing ... I want that place to be a location where I can leave many more books for people to take.
We pulled up and parked on a street off Division dividing the two missions. I no more than stepped out of the car when someone in the back seat of a car parked across from us shouted, “Hey – can I have your car?”
There was a lady seated on the passenger side; a male driver, and the male in the back asking me for my car. My first thought was that he had to be kidding with me. I cautiously walked toward him, and asked, “You are kidding, aren’t you?”
“No man – I’m serious. I need a car. Will you give me your car?”
By then it was clearly evident he was very drunk. The driver was as well. What came to me was, and I answered, “How am I supposed to get home if I give you my car? I live ten miles away, and it’s freezing out here.” He provided no answer.
The driver seemed intent on being the spokesman of the trio, and was being quite vocal. I cautiously walked closer to their vehicle, carefully sizing up the situation as much as the Holy Spirit revealed it to me. The lady was the only sober one of the trio; that was clearly evident. The guy in the back seat began telling me how he drank too much the night before and was nursing a terrible hangover, and how he needed a vehicle to get home so he could sleep. The driver kept being emphatic that I should “loan” his friend/acquaintance my car to get himself home, and between the driver doing that and the guy in back telling me how bad of a hangover he had and he needed my car, I felt to say to him:
“I used to have bad hangovers on New Year’s Day too but no longer. I get high on something that leaves no hangovers. You might want to try it.”
“What’s that, man? You got some good stuff?!”
“It’s the Holy Spirit. He’s the BEST spirit you can drink of. Ever tried Him?”
Now when I shared that … I was learning up against the side of their car, my forehead resting on the back of my hands, looking in through the half-opened window from the passenger side. Quickly the driver said, “Get your hands off my car! Get ‘em off NOW!” He was serious. Mentioning drinking of the Holy Spirit had touched a nerve in him, obviously. I complied. In so doing, the lady asked, “What you got there in your arms? Looks like books.”
I told her what they were, and she asked if she could have a copy. I gladly gave her one, and she smiled and graciously thanked me. The driver didn't want her taking the book, but she resisted, telling him, "Mind your own business! The man didn't have to give me this book!" It was time to move on to someone else.
David stepped out of the car and we walked over to a group of guys waiting for both missions to open their doors. Two guys were talking and I asked them if they would like a copy. One eagerly wanted a copy; the other didn’t want one at all. David began conversing with them. The one who accepted the copy began talking freely with David, and David felt to remain in that setting. I moved around, praying inside as to who I was to give copies to.
A few walked up to me and asked what I was giving out. When I told them, they asked for a copy. The books were going quickly. A male Native American asked for a copy. Either his Native American wife; girlfriend; or maybe kinfolk or just an acquaintance ... began to vocalize NOT to take the book. He told her bluntly, "Shut UP!" - and she went storming off mad in the opposite direction. One thing is clearly evident with street people. They don't care what others think about them! "Take me as I AM, or get out of my face." It doesn't take long to understand the parameters you're dealing with.
One guy didn’t want a book. Rather, he wanted to know if I would give him a dollar to buy a can of beer. He said his head was hurting terribly. He was not walking stable at all, and with the strong smell of alcohol on his breath, I had to seriously question what one can of beer would do to help his hangover. At least a dozen cans might make the pain go away, temporarily, I thought to myself. However, I told him that I had no money with me, and all I had was books to give out, which was true.
He KEPT persisting that I give him a dollar, and it became evident that he wasn’t going to settle for a “ I really don’t have any money on me to give you.” Because he wasn’t receptive to a book, I wanted to move on to other people. He kept following and pestering me for a buck, and I quickly asked the Holy Spirit how I could get him to leave me alone. No sooner than asking the HS that, this came out of my mouth as I smiled and asked: “Hey, brother, would you like some JESUS for that hangover?”
Man – you never saw anyone do a 180 and leave so quickly! I had to keep a straight face from nearly busting a gut!
Now then … in the activity of the 50 or so people talking and moving around, I felt uneasy about the two guys I had first talked to … and purposely positioned myself on the street corner where I could see my car and them – being about 30–40 yards away. The guy who wanted me to give him my car walked over to my car and began looking through the driver’s window. After several moments, he turned and saw me looking at him and then quickly started looking in the outside mirror of my car, pretending to see if his hair was in place. With very short hair, sure enough it WAS, I thought! But he kept putting on his act, but stopped looking in the mirror and just used the reflection of the window to keep checking his hair, mumbling loudly to himself, weaving as he struggled to stand upright.
As I checked in with the Holy Spirit as to how I would deal with this if the gentleman made any attempt to break into the car, the driver buddy of his yelled over to him out of the opened window, “Hey man – get away from his car. He’s standing right there watching you, you idiot!”
It took a bit for it to register, and then compliance followed. Whew ... thank you Jesus!
The doors of both missions opened and everyone made a mad scramble to get in line and inside. The guy VERY interested in my car joined the rest and went inside, and the driver and his book recipient drove off.
With everyone now inside, David joined me and we drove away. David shared how God gave him opportunity to minister some much needed hope to both of the individuals – sharing parts of his own testimony as seemed appropriate for the moment, and praying with them, while others looked on.
David asked me how many books were left. “Two,” I answered.
“I believe I know WHO they are to go to. Can I have them to take with me?”
And our mission was accomplished for New Year’s Day 2010. Twenty four (24) Real Life Story seeds planted in God’s harvest field. Happy News Year, everyone!
December 12, 2009: There was an explosion at work today. It was a Real Life Story book explosion!
When I put them there - as I came in - I really did not want anyone to see who put them there, so I could hear the feedback.
But a lady that does the cleaning that I have said "Hi" to each day ... said to me when I was walking away: "WHO put those there?"
I answered, "I did."
She asked, "Do you go to the church associated with that book?" I answered, "Yes."
"I thought you looked familiar. I have been coming there some in the last year. That is a good idea -- bringing those books. I thought about bringing one but I didn’t know if it would be okay to take one." (Precious Testimonies Staff Note: YES - that is WHY they are available at the church ... for people to place out into the community. Check with someone in authority at that church about it.)
I then told her which page my story was on in the book, and showed her my picture on the book cover, and she was quite taken back.
I sat at the break table on my break and there were two people there. One was reading the book, and I asked, "What story are you reading?" ... and I acted like I was reading too.
"The depression page. I don’t see how Jesus can make a difference in a person's life. I think we make a difference in our own lives."
Well ... she said that to just the right person. So I started asking her questions, and she just started pouring out her heart to me. I was able to share a little about the before and after “me” ... when I met Jesus, and how my life is different ... and in ten minutes I thought I was going to get her to ask JESUS into her heart ... but she did not and we had to get back to work.
Okay - by lunch three books were missing.
Two people were at the table reading the books. I sat down and picked up a book and acted like I was reading, and asked, "What are you reading about?"
They began to pour out their lives to me! I got to share my JESUS again!
They still didn’t know I brought the books.
We were working in the training room because we were still training, and someone brings one of the books into the office area, which is far from the break room, to the gal training us, and exclaimed, "Did you see this S—T?!" (bad word).
Well ... there are only four of us in this room, and I am doing like ... super good ... right up with the top sales person of the month, and I am a brand new employee -- so nobody better mess with me, right? Yet nobody knew I brought the books yet.
The trainer responded: "Let me see that F…..S…! (bad words). She takes the book ... and for the next hour in the training room with the door shut ... she is reading that book, while the others out there do not know she is reading it.
While she's in there for us to ask questions if needed, because she is training ... I thought: Wow - she has no clue I brought that book. She put it in her purse to take home!
Well ... word got around that I am the JESUS FREAK ... officially due to talking at the break table…………THANK YOU JESUS!
I plan on taking six more books next week! Let’s see where they end up, and what happens. Well ... that was my 2nd week on the job.
November 18, 2009: The REAL LIFE STORIES testimony book has now been translated into the Burmese language. Check this out!: https://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0AVh1rO41ADV3ZDMyOHBrNl80NjlmNnhkcnpjZg&hl=en
November 10, 2009: Grand Rapids RED ZONE Update
REAL LIFE STORIES testimony books are being distributed smack dab in that part of the city through the oversight of a gentleman named Eric Price. Allow me to briefly explain who Eric Price IS. First and foremost, he's an evangelist - pastor. His passion is to see lost souls restored back to God. But he has a second passion that dovetails closely with his first passion. That is to see dark strongholds in the inner-cities of America penetrated with the light of the redeeming power that only is available through Jesus Christ. (Eric is fully aware that no other "religion" has to offer what Jesus Christ has to offer). That passion was given to him by God while he was in Africa on an evangelist outreach in the heart of the Congo some years back. God spoke to him that his call was not in third world nations any longer, but rather, to help penetrate the darkness in the inner-cities across America, where crime is growing and litterly quietly reigns in certain localities ... where police departments and city officials are running out of resources in their efforts to curb that crime (drug use and trafficking with increased killing, prostitution, burglaries, fear, apathy, hopelessness, etc.).
Eric has a third passion that dovetails with the first two. It is for men and women coming out of prison who have little or no means to have a bed to sleep in and food to eat, so they can seek to find employment to make it on their own. In doing something tangible about this growing need (perhaps "sobering challenge" would be two better words to use) society is faced with, Eric is establishing transitional housing facilities for prisoners being released from prison. There are strict rules every ex-prisoner must abide by, or they will no longer be allowed to stay there. But what is unique about the transitional housing Eric is providing, one does NOT have to be a Christian to have a bed. What one believes about God is NOT a qualifying factor to have a bed there and a bowl of porridge at the breakfast table. The only qualifying factor is that one must abide by the rules, because their are numerous ex-prisoners who would love to have the SAME bed already being taken. I'm not at liberty to say any more about that issue, but suffice it to say ... Eric's primary call is that of an Evangelist.
Now HERE is where his passion becomes of great interest to many. He and his growing staff are soliciting and networking with every religious organization in the area surrounding his transitional housing locations. He knows that the more people living in the RED ZONES across the land unite for the common cause of trying to hold back the darkness from increasing in those areas, the easier task it will be.
Enter the REAL LIFE STORIES testimony book. Eric realizes this book can only HELP the cause IMMENSELY. It is a valuable resource letting people realize that REAL CHANGE to stop engaging in ways not pleasing to God whereas being cutoff from God's blessing - favor - on their lives ... starts on the deep insides of a person. It starts in our spirit being and then eventually works its way into the mind where decisions are made that motivate our actions.
The REAL LIFE STORIES testimony book can find a place in the bedroom of every criminal, or would-be criminal in the making ... to be read any moment of the day or night. It is not a resource flagrantly condemning anyone. It is not a resource that threatens the mind of the criminal or would-be criminal at ALL. Rather, it is a resource clearly communicating that God is REAL and ALIVE on planet earth, and for anyone who will seriously get serious with Him, God is not only fully empowered to help that person out of their darkest pit of despair and hopelessness, but very EAGER to! Am I trying to make it subtly appear that the book is on par with the Bible. Absolutely not! But Satan has so effectively brainwashed so many people to even crack open a Bible in America to start searching it for themselves ... it has become useful to Him to provide additional resources like the REAL LIFE STORIES testimony book to impart some initial desire to one day give the Bible a chance.
Because the REAL LIFE STORIES testimony book is a resource God is using so mightily in third world countries to bring spiritually blinded people to God the Creator, it can do the very same thing where darkness reigns in the inner-cities across America. Eric Price clearly sees this, which is WHY he is willing to help get the book into circulation in the Grand Rapids, RED ZONE. (Prayer warriors - Eric can use all the prayer he can get!).
What Eric is doing is a prototype of sorts, without getting into specifics. State and city officials are monitoring what he is doing in the Grand Rapids RED ZONE, as are the police - understandably. They are fully willing to assist Eric's efforts. There are many complaining to all three groups of people to do MORE to curb the growing crime, (with shrinking budgets; reduced man-power!) but very, very few like Eric are willing to get "down and dirty" and DO something tangible about it.
Let's express that a different way. There are very, very few "Navy Seals for Jesus" willing to put their very lives on the line ... forgoing quality marriage and family life, and potential lucrative financial livelihoods on the line like Eric is ... for the sake of their country. Eric is doing that both for a "heavenly country" he has yet to visit, though a full-fledged citizen of in GOOD STANDING ... AND also for the benefit of ALL the people of America, ultimately. He isn't doing it for fame nor fortune, because that's not the way to get either, and he secretly doesn't battle "Death Wish Compulsory Disorders Disease" (AKA as suicide tendencies). He's doing it because he is fully persuaded God has asked him to do it. Only a few cut the demands of being honored with the title of getting to be a Navy Seal. Fewer yet cut the demands of purposing to put their lives on the line to see RED ZONES transformed into LIGHT ZONES ... but Eric is actively involved in the "recruiting process".
Eric gave up a very likely professional basketball career several years back to get "down and dirty for Jesus", but not a lot of people know that. Eric gave up corporate success because he is a college graduate in a highly financial rewarding business sector. Eric may one day choose to live in a decent home in the "safe" suburbs, but that's not the case currently. Eric sleeps at the same transitional housing unit where the prison parolees sleep. And he gives up a bed to a parolee by sleeping in his office, on his couch. It's not a fancy, plush couch either, by any means. It is located just a short distance from his desk. Gunshots ring out all hours of the night on way too many nights. People get shot or shot at just yards away on occasion from the transitional housing unit. It would be safer for Eric and the parolees to be sleeping in prison than it is where they currently live and sleeps. Sirens blare hour after hour through the night, responding to gang shootings and other crime-related disturbances. John Wayne would be lost in such an environment (sorry, Duke), because his horse would get shot out from underneath him the first week on the watch from a stray bullet most likely, and a wild west 6-shooter can't hold up to highly efficient 9-MM's and semi-automatic rifles. It's a vicious war zone, folks. If the darkness continues to grow, their ultimately is only one last recourse. To put more soldiers on the American payroll (at YOUR expense, ultimately) and post them up and down the streets of the RED ZONES across America. That might end up being YOUR son or daughter, which only makes them fair game for "target practice" for trigger-happy gang members riding by.
Allow me to go off on a little tangent here if you will be so kind. Let's address an "issue" that people living in safer environments like to "throw out" - as though they are qualified to offer any viable solutions to assist in helping prison parolees readjust to society. "Safe" Americans don't want "dangerous scum-bag prison parolees" living next to them, where you aware of that? ESPECIALLY if they have sexual misconduct charges on their record. Why ... that's worse than having Satan himself living in their neighborhoods ... because - hey ... we ALL know anyone with a sexual misconduct charge on their record is a latent pedophile, RIGHT?!!!!! It's okay to have gang members recruit your son and daughter into their "fold" and teach them how to have a hard enough heart with no conscience to kill the "opposition" - but GOD FORBID little Johnny or Suzy ever come near a "latent" pedophile!!!!!
(What most of society don't realize is that MOST prison parolee's with sexual misconduct charges on their file are NOT pedophiles, or "latent" pedophiles. Rather - most of them had allegations of sexual misconduct with an under-aged person. That folks, has been going on since the human race began, and guess WHAT? It isn't going away, not with sexual lust of various degrees being thrown at society on every means of mass media we have).
And so what's my point in saying all this? If people don't want prison parolee's living in their "safe" environments, then where else do they sleep and eat coming out of prison while trying to find a job and their own place to live, when there is so little money available to house and feed and oversee them? Answer: Where there is CHEAP housing. Where is the CHEAPEST, affordable housing to be found in every city across America where odds of getting employment can be obtained? In the RED ZONES!
And guess who are the least afraid of doing God's work in RED ZONE areas. Prison parolees who learned to conquer fear while in prison! Is the light bulb getting a little brighter?
And so ... that's the latest to report in the Grand Rapids RED ZONE and how God is using the REAL LIFE STORIES testimony book. Pretty exciting, don't 'ya think?!
October 1, 2009:
Muskegon RED ZONE
Forty (40) REAL LIFE STORIES testimony books were made available from STEP BY STEP WORLD OUTREACH MINISTRIES to be used specifically in one of the “RED ZONES” (high crime rate area) in Muskegon, Michigan. Here are some of the highlights of how the Holy Spirit led Precious Testimonies to disperse those 40 power-packed evangelistic "missionary" seeds.
In praying about dispersing those 40 books, I felt the Holy Spirit was telling me to connect with some local ministry reaching out to the poor in that city. Here is how God connected me to the ministry of His choosing.
Years ago, God gave my wife and I the opportunity to videotape the testimony of Doug Malear. At the time, Doug was on staff at Western Michigan Teen Challenge located just south Muskegon. Fast forward in time. Doug was given the call to establish a ministry in Muskegon to reach out to the lost. Several years later … Hope Lighthouse Ministries is feeding the poor, sleeping the poor, clothing the poor, and providing SPIRITUAL food and guidance to the poor. They are ministering to drug addicts, prostitutes – people from all walks of life. If that isn’t impressive enough, they also provide help to prisoners being released from prison: Spiritually and physically feeding, sleeping, clothing them, and trying to help them find employment in a very difficult high unemployment area.
After many years, God put me back in touch with Pastor Doug, and Doug provided me with an insert that I could place in each of the 40 REAL LIFE STORIES testimony books so people who didn’t know WHERE to go for spiritual help and/or simply having their basics needs met to help give them get on their feet, had a place to connect with. Sweet!
Hope Lighthouse Ministries has a store front coffee café outreach of sorts – recreational facility – used clothing; etc., right near the very HEART of one of the key RED ZONE areas … giving people in the area a safe sanctuary in which they can come in off the streets in the heat of summer and cold of winter. They have a spot where people can walk out with free Christian literature. The Holy Spirit impressed me to leave 7 REAL LIFE STORIES books there.
Harold, one of the faithful brothers God has called to connect with Hope Lighthouse Ministries, informed me of the local park where frequent drug dealing is done after dark. I made my way to that park. A number of younger men were just “hanging” in the park, and a number of them were given a copy of the book. There was eagerness on the part of so many to receive the book. Through spiritual discernment, I could sense the hopelessness in so many of them. Time after time I prayed that God would use the book to quicken inside each of them their need for Jesus Christ, because in Christ Jesus, HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL!
A large welfare agency facility is located very near the park. I felt impressed to leave some books in the waiting area. A guard was sitting nearby, and I asked him if it would be okay if I left a few copies of the book there. He said, “No problem. People will be happy to have them to read and take home. Can I have one too? This job is really boring at times!” Of course I gave him one. I left 7 others on one of the tables nearby.
Many of those VHS tapes have been “covertly inserted” into high crime areas in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. So in going to Muskegon with the 40 REAL LIFE STORY testimony books, I asked God to show me WHERE I could also leave several hundred VHS born again testimony tapes. Low and behold, there is a location in the RED ZONE called The Farmer’s Market. Anyone can sell their goods there any time of the week, which people do. They have permanent wooden table tops set up with roofs covering them - wonderful. There were two vendors there the first day I was in town. I asked one couple selling used clothing and jewelry if they thought it would be okay for me to leave some Christian “seeds” on one of the tables.
“Oh sure. There’s a couple of local Pastors, we assume, who leave Christian literature at that very back table your car is parked at right now. People take what you leave there.”
The Holy Spirit said, “Leave seven REAL LIFE STORIES books as well.”
The next morning, September 11, I put Hope Lighthouse Ministry inserts into 120 half-hour testimonial tapes, and drove back over to Muskegon – to The Farmer’s Market. All 7 REAL LIFE STORIES books were gone. Two thirds of the video tapes were gone. No one trashed the remaining tapes. Hot spot for Jesus! I left the 120 video tapes … and seven more REAL LIFE STORIES books. “Jesus – don’t let the devil trash them. I’m trusting you’ll protect them. Lead people to them who are ripe for Salvation.”
We’ll be trusting the Lord to hear some eventual feedback from the Muskegon area – hearing how God has used the “seeds” deposited there.
God has been strongly impressing Precious Testimonies to help give the REAL LIFE STORIES testimonies book additional exposure for many months now, and if you haven’t had a chance lately to scan over the Precious Testimonies website, take note that we’ve felt impressed of the Lord to make the ENTIRE BOOK available on video, primarily for those who have reading difficulties. Here is a link to the book on video:
We would like to encourage all reading this to go to different REAL LIFE STORIES video clip chapters and leave a comment from time to time. You comments can help give the book much more exposure.
Just to be very clear … we are not giving exposure to the RLS testimony book to make a dime of it. Our primary purpose is to ultimately help see souls saved from it. But rather than just see THIS Real Life Stories testimony book be used so mightily, we would MUCH PREFER to see Pastors from churches in every city across the world publish a REAL LIFE STORIES testimony book of their very OWN. A book of testimonies from people in their OWN congregations to be made available as an evangelistic tool to go out into their own respective communities, just as THIS RLS book has gone out across the city of Hobart, Indiana through the joint cooperation of STEP BY STEP WORLD OUTREACH and JUBILEE WORSHIP CENTER located in the Hobart area.
Saints … we see this particular book as a “forerunner” – a “prototype example of sorts” to let Pastors and Evangelists AROUND THE WORLD see FIRST HAND how God will use a book of Jesus-glorifying testimonies from people of their very own church to reach lost souls in THEIR respective areas. This is no SMALL THING to God. It is a HUGE thing! We’ll keep you updated as things progress reading this mandate from God.
September 23, 2009: Jim & Carla Barbarossa's recent trip to London:
We took 45 Real Life Stories books on the trip and every one was given out and people received them with great joy.
One day we went to McDonalds to grab a bite to eat. They messed up our order. As we went up to the counter a lady (from India) stopped us and said can I help you, is there a problem? We said yes and explained, she said I will fix this, you go sit down I will bring it to you. When she brought our order we filled out and gave her a Real Life Stories Book. She was very happy to receive it. A couple days later we stop in again, this time there is a line backed up to the door . As we walked in I saw her on the other end of the restaurant she waved, came across to the other end and said come we have a second line here. She moved us from last to 2nd in this new line. God used this book to give us favor!!!! It was only because of the gift of the book that she knew who we were. After placing our order they said go have a seat someone will bring out your food. When the food arrived we thanked this lady (Krupali) and gave her a book. Krupali was very happy to receive the book. A few days later, we stopped in again, when Krupali saw us she came to the table and we talked. She said she was going back to India for a few months and then would move to Canada. She said I am not a Christian, but I like Christians. She a said she would read the whole Book and then email us. As we left McDonalds Carla started to cry for Krupali, she wanted so much for her to be saved.
On arrival at the airport in London, we helped an older lady with her bags. We then gave her a Real Life Stories Book. She was so happy to get the Book. Her name was Hanna and she is from and was on her way to Poland. God is using these Books all over the world.
At the hotel we gave a Book to a young girl by the name of Ravneet, her father was from Kenya and her mother from India. She was very happy to receive the Book. We saw her every day and had many times to talk with her. She said her and her mother had read a couple chapters of the Book. She had many many many questions. On the last day we asked if we could pray for her. She said yes. We laid our hands on her hand and prayed for God to reveal himself to her. To make Himself real to her. After the prayer she said no one has ever prayed for me before!!!!
Saints listen to this. There are people like Ravneet around you every day that no one has ever offered to pray for. When people are like this their hearts are touched when a person offers to pray for them. Almost everyone will allow you to pray for them. When you pray for a person, you are inviting the Holy Spirit to manifest, you are putting a demand on the Power of God to touch and change the life of the person you are praying for and even others that may be watching. So often we have seen people brought to tears as the Power of God touches them as we pray for them.
Saints I challenge you today to make a commitment to God to offer to pray for 1 person God brings across your path each day. If you will do this you will have an exciting, fruitful life watching God transform the lives of hurting people.
Will you accept this challenge today?
August 22, 2009:
We received an email today from Jim Barbarossa. A ministry near Rockford, Illinois emailed him, inquiring about what publisher Jim used for REAL LIFE STORIES, and might recommend using themselves ... to publish there OWN book of testimonies to go out into the community! WOW! Jim was as excited as WE ARE to hear other ministries tapping into testimonies of their OWN to help reach the lost!
Jim & Carla Barbarossa were in Ecuador from August 5-13, and here is what happened about REAL LIFE STORIES: "Everyone that was not actively sharing their faith was challenged to repent and pick up their baton and start telling people about Jesus. A challenge was put forth for those that would be willing to write their testimony so they could use it to make a Real Life Stores Book in Ecuador and about 70 % of those in attendance accepted the challenge represented many many different churches."
August 15, 2009:
RED ZONE UPDATE: 08-15-2009
The remaining box of 40 REAL LIFE STORIES someone supplied funds for anonymously and designated specifically for the RED ZONE in Grand Rapids, Michigan were given out on August 12, 2009. Allow me to give some highlights of what happened that day.
If you read my prior RED ZONE Update below, I mentioned a lady by the name of Robbin. Robbin rents a room in the heart of the Red Zone, and she knows a great many of the people who live in the area, not to mention that she has relatives who are ministers (Pastors) who ALSO live and avail themselves to minister in the area. Because Robbin was so helpful the last time I was there, I drove to her location first upon arriving in The RED ZONE. Fortunately, Robbin was sitting out on the steps of her apartment building when I drove up.
The Holy Spirit used Robbin greatly that day, to say the least. Robbin was greatly instrumental in helping pass out all 40 books while I was in her presence!
Later on in the afternoon, she asked me if I wouldn’t mind driving her to her parole officer, because she didn’t have the money to take the bus. I felt it was the least I could do. While on our way, I don’t remember how many times she would have me stop – RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD BLOCKING TRAFFIC - and she would hand a copy of the book to someone in another car, endorsing the book highly of course. Some were baffled; startled; surprised … to say the least, that someone would hand them a book in such a manner. Yet everyone accepted a book! Over and over I was chuckling inside, watching the Holy Spirit work.
Robbin is 46; Afro-American. She’s missing most of her front teeth. She is single; has four children out on their own. In her run-down apartment building in the heart of the Red Zone, there is open drug dealing during the night. Shots ring out frequently from gang activity. Often she wakes up to see people asleep in the hallway door, stoned of course. Robbin wants to live in a safer area of Grand Rapids, but doesn’t have the financial resources to do so. Financial assistance has run out, she says, and she desperately needs a job. Her work skills are minimal. Upon asking her why she had to report to a parole officer, she informed me that she has 22 prior cases of larceny against her. She’s been locked up for stealing in the county jail a number of times, and has also done time in the State Prison for the same reason/s. I gave Robbin the name of an individual who lives in the area … encouraging her to pray and wisely get in contact with the person, about a possible job. I also ended up ministering some things to her that I felt the Holy Spirit wanted me sharing with her, ESPECIALLY about the Evangelistic call God has on her life.
We park in front of the Grand Rapids Police Department, so Robbin can go inside to report to her Parole Officer. “I’ll only be a few minutes, okay?”
There was only one vacant spot to park in -- across the street, and I managed to squeeze my car in that spot. Of course I was hoping I didn’t have to put change in the parking meter, because there wasn’t an abundance of change in the car. All I had was my credit card; no cash. The meter wanted money and a policeman was writing tickets left and right a few cars away, so I quickly scrounged around and fortunately found 3 dimes. That gave me 24 minutes. Twenty minutes passed and I was getting nervous. No Robbin. Standing in front of the meter as it expired – hoping a policeman wouldn’t see the expired meter – a brother walks up to me with a warm smile on his face from out of no where and asks me how I’m doing. I told him about my dilemma, and he reaches in his pocket and puts in another HALF HOUR of time for me, without my saying a word! I asked him why he would do that for a total stranger. He replied, “Oh – I just felt to.”
Jesus – you are TOO MUCH! He was wearing a tee-shirt with a big photo of a young boy and himself on the front of it. I asked him if that was his boy, and he said, “Yeah. I wear this to honor him. He got shot at age 24 in gang related activity.”
Moments later out came Robbin. She had been crying and was trying to dry her eyes. I asked her if everything was okay. “Yes – Jesus is so good. Norm – could I have those 7 remaining REAL LIFE STORIES books so I can give them to my parole officer? I was telling her about you and whoever it was who paid for those two boxes of books (80 copies) of the book that someone provided for – for the RED ZONE – and she was so excited to hear about it that she wanted to know if you had any books left so she could give them out to ex-offenders checking in with her who also lived in the Red Zone. ‘Most of them are crack addicts and prostitutes,’” Robbin said the Parole Officer had told her.
Now I’m thinking inside: A Parole Officer from the Police Department wants to give away to certain of her clients REAL LIFE STORIES books to people who currently live in the RED ZONE? God – this HAS to be You!
Robbin took the 7 remaining copies back inside the Police Department to her Parole Officer. She was beaming when she came out. Mission accomplished.
I’m asking all reading this if they would be willing to stand with us in prayer and in faith that God will provide Robbin Quinn with a job – the RIGHT job. In praying for her, also let’s ask and believe that she will reach the resolve to NOT get back into crime, but reach a higher place in her walk with Jesus from here on out. She is a FEARLESS warrior on the front line for Jesus, but it’s obvious there are strongholds that need to be broken. And in praying for her, if the Holy Spirit speaks to you about a future husband for her, she would be delighted to have a godly one.
So now we wait to see what God has from here. Kathleen and I will be trusting Him for more copies of REAL LIFE STORIES to put to work. We love being used of the Holy Spirit to pass out that powerful evangelist tool!
Last evening over dinner, Kathleen (my precious wife and teammate in ministry) was sharing how our close friends, Jamaesha Gilbert and her husband Jerry, have been hearing from the Holy Spirit to get down in their OWN “Red Zone” in the city of Muskegon. Kathleen shared about what we were doing in Grand Rapids with REAL LIFE STORIES, and she could hardly sit in her seat, she was so excited. Jamaesha hasn’t even seen a copy of the book yet, but wants some copies ANYWAY to put in the hands of the right people. Keep her and Jerry lifted up in prayer (and I’m thinking of their church; appropriating some “mission funds” for copies of the book, if you catch my drift. Inserts can be glued on the inside of the back cover of the book that the books were provided by the local church that provided the funds to obtain the books - thereby providing a LOCAL CHURCH a newly-won soul (or a seeking lost soul) to Christ can get connected to), as well as Kathleen and I, about obtaining copies to go into the darkest area/s of Muskegon. Every decent sized city in America has it’s very own “Red Zone” where drug related activities will end up essentially gutting that section of the city … only to have the “gutters” move on to another section of the city – to eventually gut the souls of people and the physical dwellings as well. The causalities of the “gutting” are the current and future cases the Parole Officers can tell you about, or the ones that Pastors will conduit their funerals of. Most of them won’t be remembered or honored on the front of someone’s tee-shirt, sadly. The ones who make it to heaven will be honored for eternity, but first they need to get right with God. The REAL LIFE STORIES book is an anointed resource to help accomplish the task.
August 12, 2009:
Thanks to the dedication of Pastor Som and his Team in Nepal, the Real Life Stories Book have been translated, printed and distributed to pastors and leaders in the Nepali language to reach people in Nepal. Please read Pastor Som’s email below and see the pictures. (Jim & Carla Barbarossa - Evangelistis - Step By Step World Outreach)
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Here are the pictures of the Real Life Stories Books in our Nepali language.
We thank God for this work and also we thank Apostle Jim for this Book and to all the Team of Step by Step Ministries.
We have been able to finish the work of this Book which has taken a very long time and we had lots of problems. But God gave us success in all the problems.
We believe that this Real Life Stories Book in the Nepali language will be so very effective among our Nepali people and win them to Christ Jesus. Please keep praying for us and our churches to work with this Book, CDs and Tracts. We believe that these Tools will bring new movement in wining souls in our churches.
Today we had opening program among pastors. And also we distributed 4 Real Life Stories Books to each pastor. Also we instructed them on how to use this Book. The program held well, we thank God for that.
Now, as soon as possible we will distribute these books to people to win
them in Christ Jesus.
Please keep praying for us. We need more Books and CDs and Tracts because our target is to distribute to all the unreached people of Nepal.
In Christ Jesus
Pastor Som and Team
August 7, 2009:
RED Zone Update:
On August 6, 2009, I felt impressed of the Holy Spirit to take one of the two boxes of REAL LIFE STORIES that someone anonymously paid for, down to the Red Zone yesterday in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Forty copies of REAL LIFE STORIES to be deposited in the dead center of the current highest crime area of the city. I like to think of those 40 copies as “40 special forces soldiers” being dropped behind enemy lines to help do the work of God.
Here are a few highlights of this delightful mission:
My first encounter: I parked my car in front of a house where there were a couple of dozen people outside on the porch. I loaded up my paper sack with handles to carry my “soldiers”, and walked across the street to the house. I observed there was no drinking alcohol that I could see, and I was a bit curious as to why there were so many people on the porch.
Upon making friendly communication –- sharing that I was giving away a free book of encouraging Christian testimonies to anyone interested in having a copy, one lady immediately said she would like to have a copy. Then another wanted one … and another … and another … and ...
I believe about a dozen copies were deposited with that group of people initially, most of them being female. Most of the males didn’t seem interested at the time – typical (my experience has been that women 2:1 show more interest in the book thus far, but then I'm just a tin-horn rookie at this, so that ratio may change in time).
I then asked if they were having a family get-to-gather, or what? I was informed that a 55 year old lady of the family had passed away, and they had just come back from the funeral. I offered my condolences, and another gal piped up: “No need to feel sorry for her. She’s in glory with the Lord! This is celebration time for her!”
Several of the women agreed with her, but still most of the men; mostly younger men, remained silent, faces somber.
Something kicked in, and I began to share: “You know – a precious friend of mine, Harold Hall, shared something with me a couple of years ago that I had never heard before. He said, ‘You know, the human race is standing in one long line, each waiting for there appointment with God. Thus in one sense, life is just standing in this one long line, waiting for our appointment … and we ALL have an appointment coming with God.’ Your friend who just passed into eternity has now had her appointment with the Creator, we can assume. She went to the head of the line in front of us, which is sometimes the way it works. You imply she knew the Lord, so she’s smiling huge, right?”
“Right!” came back a reply from the first gal I gave a book to, as she thumbed through it.
“We often forget we all have an appointment with God. When that time happens … we better have the RIGHT answers to any questions He asks us, RIGHT?”
A few of the ladies agreed with me. Now here is what is so cool! Three guys, probably in their mid-20’s, almost simultaneously asked: “Can I have a copy of that book too?”
“You sure CAN!”
Then three or four other guys, older, asked for a copy too! Holy Spirit was having a ball!
I didn’t make it down the street very far before walking up to a couple of ladies sitting on their porch. Both asked for a copy. But one sitting closest to me began to share that she was a believer, but has had many struggles. I felt impressed to prod a bit, and after a bit of time, she opened up to me and said that although she had been a believer for many years, she STILL was not able to forgive herself for all the things she had once done. I asked her if she believed that God could forgive her for what she had done, and she stated that she wasn’t sure, but even if He could, she STILL couldn’t forgive herself.
When you observe a soldier of Jesus Christ locked inside a self-imposed prison of their own making, and their not even realizing they had locked themselves in that self-imposed prison, you can’t just walk away – leaving them in that prison of torment. Thus I asked her if she would allow me to show her HOW to obtain the key to unlock the prison door and slam it shut behind her and NEVER step back into that cruel, self-imposed prison again.
She seemed confused at first, but then I kept clinging tightly to the Holy Spirit to give me just the right words to say to her. She is not very knowledgeable of scripture, which made it a bit more difficult for me to quote her scripture that she was familiar with, though I gave her sufficient truth to plant and water at this prison stronghold she had built around her.
Then I began to ask her more personal questions. I asked her if she had addictions she couldn’t break of one kind or another. She told me she had some. I told her that when we don’t forgive ourselves from things we have done, confess them to God as 1 John 1:9 says we can and MUST do to receive His forgiveness, then trust the matter is settled FOREVER with God ... therein lies the power we give the devil to hold us in bondage to addictions of various kinds – never mind how it robs us of our joy with God, and can greatly hinder our prayer lives as well as our desire to feed on God’s Word (these TOO being cruel deadly side-affects of not forgiving ourselves - God - others).
I asked her if she had ever asked God to help her forgive herself, and she said that she had, but every time she did that, she still FELT she wasn’t forgiven. Then I gave her some instruction in how Satan will make us puppets of his delight when we allow him to base our beliefs upon “feelings” that run contrary to the Truth of God's Word. That caught her attention greatly.
After sharing many other things that can happen in our relationship with God when we don’t forgive God (as though God needs forgiven, which is NEVER the case truthfully, but nevertheless, when we believe God has wronged us, then we need desperately to forgive Him for our own good) – forgive others – and forgive OURSELVES … we are setting ourselves up for one life-long miserable relationship with God. Furthermore, I asked her if she was familiar with the passage in the Bible where Jesus clearly states that if we don’t forgive, our heavenly Father will not forgive us. She wasn’t.
I then dumped a real heavy and sobering “reality bomb” in her lap. “Are you aware, sister, that after all the time you’ve been a Christian, that God may NOT have forgiven any of your sins that you’ve asked Him to forgive, simply because you’ve REFUSED to forgive yourself … though you been in the dark about it all this time?”
That was the knockout blow to Satan when I shared that with her. Her eyes got big, and she began to cry. It was now time to take the rifle off safety and start firing bullets at the demons who had to be enraged in anger.
“Sister – you can step out of your self-imposed prison this very moment if you would like. It’s up to you. I would be willing to pray for you, if you would like, and you can begin to experience joy in your relationship with Jesus unlike you’ve every experienced before. All you have to do is take a huge step of faith and believe God will use me in prayer to help you experience that. Would you like to be set free?”
The tears rolled harder and she said that she was ready. I asked her to simply repeat after me while she gave me permission to lay a hand on her shoulder. Then the Holy Spirit guided me in having her declare that she NOW forgives herself for all the wrong she had done in the past, and that by faith, she would trust God that He not only DESIRED to forgive her right then and there, but that she was now forgiven, whether she “felt” forgiven or not.
Afterwards, I encouraged her to read her Bible more, asking God to show her in His Word where His “contract to humanity” clearly states that He forgives ALL sin – not just some – and we are the wisest people on this planet when we forgive ourselves for the sin we have committed, and really – the most unwise people on this planet are those who refuse to forgive God – refuse to forgive others – refuse to forgive ourselves - when the Cross gave us the right to do so.
God did something very special for her and she’ll never be the same, thank you Jesus! She just got released from a prison cell she wasn’t even aware she was in.
I walked upon another porch where a brother about 50 - 55 years of age was sitting, smoking a cigar. He gladly wanted a book. (He ended up giving me $5 to buy a couple MORE copies of the book by the time I left!). He shared a couple of things, and I asked him if I could sit down and join him a moment, because my feet and legs were hurting a little. He encouraged me to sit. After a bit of gentle prodding, he began to share that he had been addicted to crack for years, and God delivered him of it. He had spent time in prison for his addiction, but had been set free now for years. He shared he drank some beer and smoked a lot of pot and he knew he shouldn’t be doing that, but he seemed confident that God “Isn’t done working with me yet.” I was quick to share the same about myself!
I listened to a great deal of his testimony, finding it very refreshing and edifying. He is a precious brother in Christ, to say the least. Then an older gentleman walked up and I was introduced to him. I was told that this older brother’s wife was in intensive care, suffering from a stroke, and things didn’t look good. He was caring a heavy load, it was quite obvious. The brother who had finished his cigar by now asked me, “Would you mind praying for his wife? She sure could use prayer.”
I checked in with the Holy Spirit. I heard Him respond very clearly, thank you Holy Spirit. “Ask them to pray a prayer of agreement with you, and I want you to BELIEVE that I’m going to answer the prayer you pray. I’m giving you faith to believe, so pray confidently.”
Wow! If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to hear such a thing from the Holy Spirit at a time like that … well … it’s as though you are standing in front of Jesus, and He’s commanding: “Pray for a miracle and EXPECT to get positive results!” Kind of like telling Peter, “Step out of the boat, soldier, and leave your life-jacket and cell phone to call 911 behind!”
As I felt impressed to pray: “Father – she belongs to You, and if it’s her time to step into glory, then let it happen quickly without much pain for her and her family. But if it’s not her time, then heal her quickly and completely. Let this instant healing be one more chapter to add to her testimony, and let it result in the salvation of many others … using her miraculous healing to glorify You in ways we simply can’t imagine right now.” The two other brothers agreed, and it was time for me to move on. I KNEW God responded to our prayer. Another battle won for Jesus!
I stepped onto another porch. A couple of older ladies gladly wanted a copy of the book. A little girl, exactly four years old, stepped out of the house with about seven dollar bills pinned on the front of her dress. She told me it was her birthday. I asked her if she was having a good birthday. She shyly acknowledged that she was. I asked her if anyone had sung her the “Happy Birthday song.” She said that it had been sung. She was beaming with happiness and had that cute innocent look of a four year old child loving the attention I was giving her. Inside, I was wondering HOW I might make her birthday even MORE special, and within a second the impulse was to say to her:
“How would you like a special birthday present from Jesus? Would you like that?”
She looked up at me – bright-eyed – and exclaimed: “Yeah!”
I handed her a copy of the book. “I know you’re a little young yet to be able to read this, but I’ll bet your mom will read it to you, won’t you Mom?” Mom smiled and assured me she would.
I handed the book to the little darling and she handled it like it was a million dollar bill. It’s worth that and much MORE!
It was time to keep moving and as I stepped down off the porch, the mother said, “Mister – let’s sing the song to her again. That would be special to her.”
And – I led the other two women in the “Happy Birthday Song” to little Sarah, proving just how much God has not gifted me with the ability to sing all that well, but LOUD? Yes! The whole neighborhood got to hear us sing. Little Sarah hopefully will never forget her fourth birthday. I won’t.
My bag was getting near empty of REAL LIFE STORIES. I began to focus solely on giving books to teenage boys and girls cruising the sidewalks. I’ve learned it can be a bit more challenging to give books away to younger people cruising the sidewalks, but if they are out on a porch, they are more receptive. I’m sure it’s because of the “embarrassment factor.”
One teenage boy about 15 years old came walking by. I asked him if he would like a copy of the book. "He answered quickly and firmly, "No. I'm an atheist. I don't believe in God." Then he turned around a started to walk in the direction he was headed. Drats. Rejection. Those can be the tough ones.
But then before thinking, I said to him, "I used to be nearly an Atheist for about 35 years myself. And then I was going to commit suicide, and God made Himself real to me and spared me from taking my life, and now I'm down here trying to help others find peace with God."
He stopped dead in his tracks - turned sharply around - walked back to me, and snapped, "Give me a copy of that book!" I handed him a copy; he did a quick 180, and continued on walking. Front line Holy Ghost engagement. I did some determined intercession for his lost soul as I continued on my way to whoever the next person was to be.
Thirty six books were gone. I had four left to deposit in the Red Zone. Then I met Robbin. After going a bit in dept with her as to WHY I was handing out books in the Red Zone, she insisted I talk to her sister on her cell phone. Her sister is the Pastor of a church on the corner about 100 yards from where we were sitting. I’ll be meeting this Pastor in due season; we’ll see what God might have in store.
But Robbin Quinn also insisted I meet a sister-in-law, just around the corner. I met the sister-in-law, Eileen Alexander. Eileen was a crack addict 8 years ago. Prostitution to maintain her addiction came lot and parcel with the addiction – usually the two going hand in hand. In prison, she hit bottom, and told God she couldn’t make it on the outside anymore without His help. She couldn’t break the addiction without His help. When she stepped out of prison, power to say “NO!” to temptation to do crack and give her body away was with her. It’s not only remained with her since then … she is now being used of the Lord to help other women addicted to crack to get off it through the help of Jesus. It was obvious to me I was speaking with a “Navy Seal for Jesus.”
She ended up getting the remaining 8 copies of REAL LIFE STORIES … to be given out to the gals she’s ministering to. She may get MORE copies from the second box of 40 books someone enabled us to have for the Red Zone – we’ll see what the Holy Spirit has to say about it down the road.
Furthermore, I suspect we’ll be sitting up a time for us to put a camera on her, and perhaps Robbin as well. We’ll tape their testimonies and put them up on the Precious Testimonies website for God to take their stories around the world.
A brother was painting Eileen’s house. He and a friend stuck up conversation with me. The brother doing the painting was hitting on Robbin to be his wife. You could smell beer on his breath; a little loosed tongued. Robbin told him he would have to put Jesus FIRST above any woman before he was marriage material for her! He told her he wasn’t ready to do that quite yet. Robbin said she wasn’t wife material for him yet EITHER! I applauded her stance. I struck up lengthily conversation with him after that, encouraging him to put Jesus first in his life. I spent nearly an hour depositing spiritual seed inside him. The other guy stood nearby, the whole time, never saying one word, yet taking every word in.
Forty REAL LIFE soldiers in written form got dropped behind enemy lines yesterday for Commander Jesus in the Red Zone. Whoever you are that made that possible to happen, I trust this puts a smile on your face and a burning glow of joy in your spirit. It sure did me; a bunch of angels no doubt … and more than likely the sweetheart who recently had her appointment with God.
July 30, 2009:
Norm Rasmussen RED ZONE Update:
I felt impressed of the Holy Spirit to drive to "The Red Zone” in Grand Rapids to pass out the remaining copies of REAL LIFE STORIES of the original box of 40 we initially ordered from Step-By-Step World Outreach Ministries. Here are a few highlights of doing so that may be a blessing to others – especially those who took the time to write out their testimony and allow it to be placed in the book.
But before sharing some highlights of my little “mission trip”, I want to share a HUGE praise report. About an hour before driving to The Red Zone, brother Jim Barbarossa emailed us and shared that someone donated the funds to send us 2 boxes of REAL LIFE STORIES (80 books!) to be given out in The Red Zone. All I could do was say: “WOW!” Whoever you are that did this, please KNOW that each book will be given out in the Red Zone as the Holy Spirit clearly directs.
Now to some delightful highlights:
I parked my car in a vacant church parking lot and put the 20 REAL LIFE STORIES books in a paper bag with handles. I didn’t get but about 30 feet from my car when a teenager of about 15 years old walking my way, asked, “Hey man, what’s in you bag? Food?”
I replied, “Well … sort of. Spiritual food.”
He responded: “Hey man, could you give me a little money so I can buy some food. I’m so hungry and I don’t have any food to eat. Just enough for a hamburger would do. I don’t get any money until the end of the month so things are really tight. You know how those things go.”
I checked with the Holy Spirit and felt impressed not to give him any money. He was drunk and/or stoned on drugs; had an open can of beer in a brown paper bag, and my thought was: If he can afford beer, but not food, his priorities are a bit mixed up.
I then spoke: “I really don’t have any money to spare, but I do have some spiritual food that is better for you than regular food. Would you like some of it?”
I reached in my paper bag and pulled out a book and handed it to him. “Is this a bible, or what, man?”
“Nope. Not a bible. Just a book of testimonies of common people sharing how God has worked in their life. It’s a $10.00 book, and you can have a copy for free if you would like. Maybe you can sell it for $10.00 and get some money to buy yourself some food.”
“Wow, man! You giving me a $10 book for FREE?! Sure – I’ll take a copy, and I’ll read it. Thanks, man!” And off he walked, not walking all that steady. I thought to myself: Lord - too cool! Let that book plant and water seeds in his soul and spirit that will bring him to salvation.
I walked past a hair saloon and the Holy Spirit impressed me to turn around and walk in and give them a copy so patrons can read it, waiting for their hair appointment. Inside, two gals were sitting, eating a late lunch. I asked them if it would be okay to leave a copy. One nearest me said, “What’s the book about?”
“It’s a book of testimonies of Christians who have shared how God has worked in their lives. It’s a great read and so encouraging. People love reading it.”
thumbed through the book a little and said, “I would like to take this home
for myself to read. Do you have an extra copy?”
“Sure do,” and handed her a second copy. The other gal spoke up, “Can I have my own personal copy TOO? I could really use some spiritual encouragement right now.” She was handed a copy.
Quite a few people were on both sides of the street, just passing time mostly. There are mostly small businesses in the area I was at. As certain people walked by, I would stop them and ask them if they would like a free book of wonderful Christian’s testimonies to give hope and encouragement to people. Not one REFUSED! Had anyone refused, I would respect their honesty, but no one refused.
Now this was the highlight of the whole “mission trip.” I had given out about half of the books by this time. I was sitting on a concrete structure of sorts, just watching people as they walked up and down the street. I was near an intersection, and I observed a girl in tight jeans and a tight top walking across the intersection. Several of the guys eyed her, because God has given her a nice figure and nice facial looks. I wondered if maybe she was a young prostitute of about 18 years old, maybe a little younger, but didn’t want to judge her either.
She was walking at a pretty fast clip compared to all the other people, and she sort of caught my extra attention because of it. Once she crossed the intersection and was on my side of the street, she walked directly up to me and asked, “We’ve been over there on the house porch watching you, and we’re curious what you have in your bag there that you are giving out? Wha’ chu' giving out?”
I replied, someone taken back by this, “I’m giving out free books. It’s a book of Christian testimonies of common people who were touched in special ways by God.” As I said that, I handed her a copy of the book to look at.
She didn’t look but a couple of seconds, and then asked, “Can I have a copy of this book? My friends over there on the porch will be happy to know what you’re giving out, and I’m going to read it too.”
She got a copy and walked back to where she hard started. I said under my breath: “Now Holy Spirit, it doesn’t GET more fun than THIS! You are too cool!”
One brother in a wheelchair saw an old acquaintance of sorts, and the guy in the rusted pickup truck yelled out to the brother in the wheelchair some friendly greetings. The brother in the wheelchair, estimated to be in his 60’s, evidently wanted to get closer to the truck, so he wheeled himself out into the center portion of the road and began chatting with his friend. Soon cars behind the truck were backing up, not able to go out around the truck because the gentleman in the wheelchair was blocking the lane.
Horns started honking and the guy in the wheelchair began to yell at the honkers to be patient, because he wanted to talk to his friend. The honking got louder and the guy driving the truck decided to leave. The guy in the wheelchair came my way, muttering obscenities out loud at the impatient drivers. Once he got up on the sidewalk, the Holy Spirit impressed me to drop a blessing in his possession. I asked him if he would like a copy of the book. He gladly said he was, and he needed something to calm him down, and maybe this book would do it! It was all I could do to keep from cracking up laughing. “You’re too cool, Lord!”
I had three books left. I was sitting near another intersection, and a lot of car traffic was starting to make the street busier. I was watching a group of guys in the 20’s and 30’s talking to each other and on their cell phones. A girl of about 16 road past them on her bicycle, and one of the guys stopped her. She didn’t stay there long, but rode her bike across to my side of the intersection, smiling. She was very attractive, and about half a dozen guys kept eyeing her and saying things. As a guy, I could quite easily guess what they were saying about her. I was hoping the Holy Spirit would send her by me so I could give her a book, but just then someone yelled out through an open car window, because the stop light was red. At first I wasn’t sure if the driver was talking to me, or someone else, but because I was the only one sitting there, I assumed he had to be talking to me.
He said something again, and I thought I heard parts of what he said, but then I stood up quickly and walked toward his car before the light turned green. Ten feet away he said, “Are you that guy on TV that plays those testimonies? I know that has to be you.”
“Yeah – we play testimony videos on TV, every Sunday morning here in this area.”
“Yeah – I KNEW that was you. That’s a great broadcast. I watch it all the time. What are you doing down here, anyway?”
“Letting my light shine for Jesus. Want one of my light bulbs?” That didn’t connect with him and I reached inside my bag and gave him a copy of the book. He was so blessed to get one. His male passenger was taking this all in, trying to figure out what in the world was going on!”
The light turned green and off they had to drive. “Holy Spirit – now THAT was classic! Thanks VERY much!” The girl had gone in a different direction, so she’ll have to wait until the next two boxes of books get into my possession.
Four guys, quite big; probably in their 20’s, with britches dangling down around the South Pole if you know what I mean, were walking toward me. One appeared to be drunk the way he walked. He was the smaller of the four. He was closest to me, and I asked him if he would like a REAL LIFE STORIES book.
“What’s the book about, man?”
“It’s about people sharing stories of how God worked in their lives. Really encouraging stuff.”
One of the silent guys then spoke up, “Hey man, I would like a copy of that book. Can I have one?”
I handed one to him. The inebriated brother got sort of jealous, and he snapped at his friend, “Hey – I want a copy TOO. You got MY book!” I handed him my last copy.
“I’m going to read this, man. Thanks so much!” He began thumbing through it as the four of them continued walking slowly on down the street. I prayed that God would touch their lives through the book.
SUMMARY: I have never had any resource that was so easy to give away to people. If anyone reading this has fear about giving copies of REAL LIFE STORIES away, my experience is that it is incredibly easy. I’m anxious for the two boxes of the book to arrive in the mail that brother Jim just sent out. I fully believe God plans on moving mightily in the Red Zone, and these books are the equivalent of “John the Baptists.” They are a “forerunner” of God planning on making a move in that oppressed area of Grand Rapids, Michigan. People are hungry for God; you can sense it when you're near them.
July 6, 2009
THE REAL LIFE STORIES BOOK IN NEPAL HAS BEEN TRANSLATED AND WILL SOON GO TO PRINT. 1000 COPIES WILL BE PRINTED TO START OFF THIS BOOK PROJECT! Thank you Jesus!
YOU WILL SEE 6 NEW FACES ON IT. 6 OF THE NEPAL WORKERS WROTE THEIR TESTIMONIES AND THEY HAVE BEEN ADDED TO THIS NEPAL VERSION OF THE BOOK. Awesome Jesus - Fantastic!
PASTOR SOMB, THE LEADER IN NEPAL HAS ASKED US TO COVER THEM IN PRAYER AS THEY FINISH THE FINAL STEPS OF PRINTING THE BOOK.
THEY HAVE ALSO ASKED US TO COVER THEM IN PRAYER AS THEY START SENDING OUT TEAMS TO USE THE REAL LIFE STORIES BOOK OF NEPAL TO REACH THE LOST.
WHO WOULD HAVE EVER THOUGHT WHEN WE STARTED WRITING THE FIRST TESTIMONIES ABOUT 8 YEARS AGO THAT GOD WOULD USE THEM LIKE THIS?!
JUST THINK ABOUT THIS. GOD IS USING THESE STORIES TO HIS GLORY TO REACH LOST SOULS IN PAKISTAN IN THE URDU TONGUE AND WILL SOON BE USING THOSE SAME STORIES IN NEPAL IN THE NEPALI TONGUE TO REACH THE LOST.
IF YOU HAVE NEVER WRITTEN YOUR TESTIMONY, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
GET IT DONE!!
ALLOW GOD TO USE YOUR TESTIMONY TO HIS GLORY.
ALLOW GOD TO USE YOU TO START A BOOK PROJECT IN YOUR NATION!!!
Matthew 9:37-38 (Amplified Bible)
Then He said to His disciples, The harvest is indeed plentiful, but the laborers are few.
So pray to the Lord of the harvest to force out and thrust laborers into His harvest.
Revelation 12:11 (Amplified Bible)
And they have overcome (conquered) him by means of the blood of the Lamb and by the utterance of their testimony, for they did not love and cling to life even when faced with death [holding their lives cheap till they had to die for their witnessing].
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT REAL LIFE STORIES BOOKS CLICK HERE
SHALOM, JIM AND CARLA
July 4, 2009
Norm Rasmussen from PRECIOUS TESTIMONIES reporting: I've been greatly blessed and amazed at the praise reports Jim and Carla Barbarossa have been forwarding to us to publish over the last several months, and decided it was time to start passing out some of the Real Life Stories books myself. Kathleen and I are on limited funds at the present, so we could only afford a box of 40 books to give away.
There is a location in the inner city of Grand Rapids, Michigan that the police and the city government officials currently call "The Red Zone." It is the highest concentration of gang crime, drug dealing, prostitution -- which brings physical violence along with it. Yesterday, July 3rd, I took 20 Real Life Stories books and a couple three dozen VHS testimony video tapes that we used in times back to play at Public Access Cable TV stations, and drove to the Red Zone, in the early evening. In a 99% black neighborhood, many males and some females were outside on their porches, drinking alcohol, getting a head start, I'm assuming for the 4th of July weekend.
Many people refused the VHS testimony tapes simply because they no longer have VHS tape decks to play them on ... which is WHY I need to get those tapes out into circulation soon, because most people have already converted over to DVD players only. But after talking to enough people, I was able to deposit all the tapes I took with me in their neighborhood.
The Real Life Stories book was much easier to give away. In speaking with brother Jim about the book, I made it a point to tell everyone I spoke with about the book that it was a $10.00 book, "So if you don't find time to read it, please pass it along to someone else who needs some hope and encouragement." 100% of the people I gave the book to promised me they would. A number of them responded, saying, "Wow - you are GIVING AWAY a $10.00 book to a STRANGER? That's pretty amazing! Thank you so much. I'll make sure I read it and pass it along!"
As brother Jim shares in the update below this one ... it is really EASY to give people the Real Life Stories book. Of course, with a video tape, it takes "time" to watch it fully to know what is on it. When people open up the Real Life Stories book, they see that they can read a chapter at a time when they want, and come back to the book at a later time to read another short chapter. People consider those things when you hand them spiritual seed.
I spoke with a black brother the other day about my going into The Red Zone, beings I'm lily white. He knows Kathleen and I go into State prisons and do ministry. He made a remark: "Well, you can minister to them in prison, which is awesome, or you can get to them before they get sent to prison, or get sent back to prison, which seems to be a better way to go, don't you think?" I took that as my cue from the Holy Spirit that I need to start depositing some "light" in the midst of the black darkness that permeates The Red Zone.
To all reading this ... we ALL have "Red Zones" in our communities, to one degree or another, where hopelessness and despair is so thick you can cut it with your Holy Ghost knife. If most people living in those hopeless neighborhoods don't even see any "light" -- hopelessness and despair always translates into an INCREASE of lawlessness. Truly - many of them are more RIPE for Jesus than 99% of the people you'll see at the average Shopping Mall, simply because it usually takes great hoplessness and despair before the Holy Spirit can begin to do a thorough work in the life of a person.
It takes just ONE Gideon with a handful of REAL LIFE STORIES books to take "light" to your Red Zone. My technique is a little different than Jim and Carla's in giving the book out. I tell people "It's a book of just common, everyday, ordinary people whose lives has been touched by God in some way, and they cared enough to take the time to write down some of their life story so a book could be put together to give HOPE and ENCOURAGEMENT to others, and that is what the book is doing."
In a very, very rough neighborhood, no one took an offense to me being there and what I said about the book, but rather, many THANKED me for being there and giving the book out. That REALLY blew me away! In a way I wish the photos on the book were of more black faces, if you know what I mean, because I think black people are a lot more receptive to hearing black testimonies ... but in DUE TIME ... several of us are trusting the Lord a REAL LIFE STORIES book with primarily black testifiers will come into fruition - RIGHT?!
I'll be going back to our Red Zone in the near future. I'll take more books with me. Kathleen and I will be trusting the Lord to obtain more Real Life Stories books.
One praise report before signing off. After giving actually THREE books to a brother and his wife on their house porch, (along with several testimony tapes), the brother said, "You don't know how much this means to me that you showed up here today to do what you are doing. You really don't know. I needed this really bad." As I stepped off their porch to keep moving down the block, the Holy Spirit spoke to me: "Go back and pray for him. I'll reveal to you some things I would like you to pray about."
I stopped, turned around, and told him, "Would you like for me to pray for you?" His eyes lit up and he said, "I sure would!" I put my right hand on his shoulder as he was standing, and asked the Holy Spirit to reveal to me what I was to pray for. Thoughts began to come to mind, and I began to pray for financial struggles they were having; conflict they were having with siblings and family members and friends; conflict he was having with his employer; conflict he was having either with the church he was currently attending -- or conflict (hurt) he had accumulated from church attendance in the past - perhaps both. The Holy Spirit didn't clearly show me exactly what that was all about, but He DID clearly reveal to me that both he and his wife were really struggling with being able to pray and trust God period. They were just "worn down; worn out believers." Sound at all familar?
I prayed against and for all those different areas. Then nothing else came, so I assumed my prayer mission was accomplished. Upon finishing, I felt to say to both of them: "You are a mighty man and woman of God. You are here in the midst of spiritual darkness, and God has called you to be here to live as LIGHT in the midst of gross spiritual darkness. Do NOT allow the devil to put out your lights, okay?"
Both of them just stared at me. As I started to walk away once more, he again said, "You just don't know how much this means for you to show up on our porch today. You just don't know ..."
Well ... God KNEW, which is all that matters. As long as I have the ability to remember, that episode will be burned in my brain cells. It made my entire day! There is absolutely nothing that beats depositing something of eternal significance into someone's life ... when they are least expecting it. Isn't Jesus good?!
NOTE: We would LOVE to hear and publish praise reports on this page of OTHERS who are passing out REAL LIFE STORIES books. This page serves as a means of glorifying our Lord Jesus Christ, but to also encourage others to seek the Lord about passing along REAL LIFE STORIES books themselves. Of course, a THIRD purpose also is included, which is to see local churches/Christians around the world publishing their very OWN Real Life Stories book, to pass out into their communities. Testimonies work, folks, because they are non-threatening, when they are told in a way that simply glorifies God. No one needs to "beat down" on another when they write up their testimony. All they need to do is "share the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth ... and leave the judging to the judge and the jury." God has called us to be WITNESSES to the truth. We don't need to do anything else when writing our testimonies.
June 21, 2009
Jim and Carla Barbarossa, Directors of STEP BY STEP WORLD OUTREACH, just returned from the upper peninsula of Michigan and they would like to tell you about the trip and ask for you to pray for the people they met along the way.
Mark 16:15 (New King James Version) And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
Acts 1:8 (New King James Version) But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Revelation 12:11 (New King James Version) And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
Over the years Carla and I have tried to make these scriptures and a few others a part of our everyday life -- not just an event that happens on certain days or times.
In celebration of 35 years of marriage, we decided to take a couple days and drive up to the northern part of Michigan. In preparation of the trip we packed our suitcases, including one suitcase with 80 Real Life Stories Books. To encourage others to grow in courage and boldness and in obeying "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature", we kept a brief log of how the Holy Spirit moved us to put them out into circulation:
We left on Sunday afternoon June 14, 2009. We drove about 2 hours to Jenison, Michigan where we had a meal with some friends at a local restaurant. At the end of the meal we presented our waitress Marla with a copy of the Real Life Stories Book with a generous tip. (Book 1)
We then drove a few more hours and checked into a Holiday Inn Express where we presented the person at the front desk with a Real Life Stories Book, which they joyfully received. (Book 2)
In the morning over breakfast we meet four ladies that were in the area for a golf outing. We signed copies and gave each of the four ladies a copy of the Real Life Stories Book which they were so excited to receive. They made many positive comments. (Book 3, 4, 5, 6)
After breakfast we left a copy of the Real Life Stories Book with a tip for the lady that would clean up the breakfast area. (Book 7)
Before leaving our room we signed a copy of the Real Life Stories Book and placed a tip in it and left it on the bed for the person that would clean the room. (Book 8)
We then drove a couple of hours north and stopped at a tourist information center to get some directions and flyers. We thanked the lady that helped us and presented her with a Real Life Stories Book. She said she loved to read and was so pleased to receive the book. (Book 9)
Next stop was in the town of St. Ignace for coffee, and after getting our coffee we signed and presented Patty a copy of the Real Life Stories Book. She seemed amazed that someone would give her something. (Book 10)
From there we headed an hour and half north to the Tahquamenon Water Falls. As we entered the park and paid the fee we gave the attendant at the gate a Real Life Stories Book. Her name was Chic and she was very happy to receive the Book. She said she loved to read. (Book 11)
After the water falls we headed back to the south and it was coffee time again. We intentionally found a different place to get coffee so that we could give out another Real Life Stories Book. We signed and gave a copy of the book to Kara in the city of Mackinaw. (Book 12)
Around the corner form the coffee shop we saw a beautiful Victorian Bed and Breakfast Inn. We stopped in to have a look. The lady showed us a couple of rooms. Before leaving we signed and gave her a Real Life Stories Book. She was so happy to get it. Her name was Vicki and she loved to read. (Book 13)
We then took a short walk around Mackinaw City. Carla spotted a purse store. We gave the owner of the store a Real Life Stories Book. (Book 14)
From there it was on to a jewelry store where we gave the lady working a copy of the Real Life Stories Book. (Book 15)
Then on to the Times Gift Shop, again leaving the worker with a Real Life Stories Book. (Book 16)
As we continued down the street I saw a man sitting on a bench and he looked board. I said to him, you look board here is something for you to read. His name was Ricardo, I signed the book and gave it to him. He was very pleased to get it. (Book 17)
At this point we found our hotel for the night. It was the Baymont Inn in Mackinaw City. We signed and gave a Real Life Stories Book to the lady that checked us in. She was so happy to get the Book. Her name was Kelly. She said, "I really needed this! You have no idea how much I need this book." (Book 18)
After checking in to the hotel we found a great Italian Restaurant called the Nona Lisa. As the hostess was seating us we signed and gave her a Real Life Stories Book. Her name was Alissa and she said she loved books and thanked us several times. (Book 19)
While we were eating, the manager came up to our table and ask how everything was. We said it was great and we had a gift for him. His name was Don. We signed, showed him our pictures, the pages of our stories and gave him a Real Life Stories Book. He was so pleased to receive the book. (Book 20)
After dinner we took another walk in town. Carla spotted a clothing store. After looking around we gave the clerk Elaine a copy of the Real Life Stories Book. (Book 21)
Then the smell of fudge filled the air so we had to stop at the fudge shop. After several samples we purchased some fudge. We then signed a book, pointed to our pictures and stories and gave Carmen a Real Life Stories Book. She said she loved to read and loved books. (Book 22)
The next morning at breakfast at the Baymont we left a Real Life Stories Book and tip for the lady that cleaned the tables. (Book 23)
As we left our room we filled out a Real Life Stories Book and left it with a tip for the person that would clean our room. (Book 24)
While checking out of the Baymont in Mackinaw City we gave Bobbie a Real Life Stories Book. (Book 25)
From there it was on to catch the Sheplers Ferry to take us to Mackinac Island. As we entered the parking area, we were met by a young man and given instructions as to where to go next. We showed Kevin our pictures and signed and gave him a Real Life Stories Book. He said he liked books and was very happy to get it. (Book 26)
As we pulled up to the next area at Sheplers Ferry we meet Theresa. After she gave us more directions we showed her our pictures, signed and gave her a Real Life Stories Book. She was so happy to receive it. (Book 27)
While Carla went to the ticket window a young man by the name of Andy tagged our bags. I showed Andy a book and our picture and stories and gave him a Real Life Stories Book and a tip for handling our bags. You should have seen the joy on Andy’s face. So happy. (Book 28)
At the ticket window Carla gave Dawn the ticket agent at Sheplers Ferry a Real Life Stories Book. (Book 29)
We are now on the ferry. And there is a young lady selling maps of the island. We had heard it was her birthday. We asked her name and said we have a birthday present for you. After showing her our pictures, stories and signing the Real Life Stories Book, we wished her a happy birthday.
Regina was so joyful, she could not believe someone gave her a birthday present. She thanked us several times. (Book 30)
When we arrived at the dock on Mackinac Island, the bag boy for our hotel was waiting for us. He directed us where to go and then carried our 3 suitcases on a bicycle to the Inn on Mackinac Island. D.C. was the boys name and he was waiting for us when we arrived. We signed a Real Life Stories Book for him, showed him our pictures and stories and gave him a generous tip for all his hard work. (Book 31)
At check-in at the Inn on Mackinac Island we gave the receptionist a Real Life Stories Book. She was so happy to receive it. (Book 32)
When the maintenance man came to our room to check the air, we gave him a Real Life Stories Book. His name was Nick. (Book 33)
When leaving the hotel before a walk into town we stopped at the front desk. We meet Loretta and gave her a copy of Real Life Stories Book. (Book 34)
Then it was on to town and we continued to meet people and pass out Real Life Stories Books:
Starbucks - Rebecca (Book 35) Lexy (Book 36)
T-shirt Store - Alaksandar (Book 37)
Yankee Restaurant - Ariel and Amanda (Book 38 & 39)
Magic Fashions T – Shirts – Anisa (Book 40)
Fudge Store – Jessica (Book 41)
Art Store - Cody (Book 42)
Grand Hotel - Marilene, Anita, Fabian, (Books 43, 44, 45)
Manewein Mansion - Gary (Book 46)
Inn at Mackinac – Eileen (Book 47)
Trading Post – Kate (Book 48)
Whimzy’s Gifts – Amanda (Book 49)
Nephew’s Gifts - Grace and Anna (Books 50 & 51)
Governor’s Mansion – Nancy (Book 52)
Coffee Shop – Suzzane (Book 53)
Balsom Shop – Marie (Book 54)
Sheplers Shuttle Driver - John (Book 55)
Sheplers Ferry Baggage Claim - Kllin (Book 56)
Shepler Parking Lot Attendant – Andy - he stopped us while pulling out of parking area. He asked, "Are you the people that gave me a book the other day? I set it down in the parking gate area and someone took it. Could I get another one from you? I was really looking forward to reading it. (Book 57)
DQ - Katie (Book 58)
Margo Souvenirs - Samantha (Book 59)
Enchanted Knights Mystic Store – Alissa (Book 60)
Nonna Lisa’s – Christina (Book 61)
Brigadoon Bed and Breakfast Inn - Owners Doug and Lydia (Book 62)
Workers - Hope (Book 62) Kaye (Book 63)
Guests at Brigadoon - Bruce and Kimberly (Book 64) Mel and Sybil (Book 65)
Magic Fashions T-Shirts - Omar (Book 66)
Blue Herron Bakery and Coffee - Cadillac, Michigan - Tiffany (Book 67)
We have shared all this with you for 2 reasons:
1. We really felt the Holy Spirit tell us to get some prayer support over the lives of the people that received the Real Life Stories Books on this trip and in the future.
2. To encourage you to make sharing Jesus a part of everything that you do. In the Real Life Stories Book you have the easiest most effective tool for sharing your faith that we have ever used. Not one person we offered a book to refused it or was upset in any way. Just the opposite, everyone received the books with great joy.
For those who are shy and just not good at talking to people, this can give you a way of sharing your faith and sharing in the Harvest of Souls. When you give out a Real Life Stories Book you are being a Witness for Jesus. You may never talk to the person; you may not lead them in a sinner’s prayer, but you will have done what God has asked you to do -- you will have been His Witness. When you share a Real Life Stories Book you are setting the stage for the Holy Spirit to touch someone’s heart and bring them into the Kingdom of God.
It has been our experience that once you give these Real Life Story books out they get passed onto friends and family. So the 67 Books we passed out above can affect a couple hundred different people as they are shared from person to person.
It is so much fun to see the world, to help people, and serve Jesus ... all at the same time.
Again please call out to the Lord -- please pray for all the people above that received copies of the Real Life Stories Books.
We may never see any of these people at Jubilee Worship Center but we will see some of them in Heaven and that is what is most important.
Shalom, Jim and Carla
Please read below an email from Evangelist Michelle who answered the call as an Ephesians Chapter 4 Evangelist on our first trip to Puerto Rico. She is now working as the in house evangelist at her home church where she is teaching them to use the “Witnessing Made Easy” Tools.
Dear Jim and Carla,
God bless you powerfully during this New Year 2009.
Good news! I've continued to work under the obedience of our Almighty God, reaching out to the lost here in Puerto Rico.
I've been giving the 5 minute segments on Evangelism every Sunday at my local church as I've been led by the Lord. Two weeks ago I spoke to the congregation about not forgetting what the real reason for the Christmas season really is.....Jesus. And that the best Christmas gift we could give was the Gift of Salvation, that we had to take the Good News of Salvation to the lost.
I told them during the segment, once more, the work I was doing taking the Evangelism CDs (the ones you left me upon your last visit) to restaurants, post office, stores, and even leaving them in restrooms everywhere I went. I extended an invitation for anyone who desired to do the same to help by purchasing blank CDs and giving them to me, that somehow we would find the way to reproduce them all and give them back to the church so everyone could have the chance to give them out when they go places.
I received awesome feedback from people who were amazed at how simple it seemed for them to do the same and that they wanted to help. One man walked up to me and handed me some money and said, "Here, so you can buy CDs." When I looked, it was a 100 dollar bill. As I thanked him, another man told me the same and handed me a 5 dollar bill and promised to help with more later.
People were excited. With that money, I purchased 200 blank CDs, cases, and labels. Last Sunday I was able to give to the church the first 100 CDs for them to go out and evangelize with. This Sunday I will take the other 100.
I pray to God that the church's eyes have been opened completely and will continue with their help in order to keep taking the message of forgiveness and salvation to Puerto Rico.
Thanks for your motivation and for teaching me this Evangelism strategy.
My husband and mom helped to reproduce the first 100 and I made the other 100 myself. I will keep working with God's help.
Your spiritual daughter,
2-10-2009: Dear STEP BY STEP
WORLD OUTREACH MINISTRIES,
I have seen your powerful book of "REAL LIFE STORIES BOOK" online; I really want to get and read it. I strongly believe that this Book will help me and encourage me more in my life and also for my ministry among the village people in the remotest areas of my country.
Sir, as you may already know about my country, Myanmar, it is very difficult to get Christian books. So, if you can send me some books for me and my ministry, it will be really effective and blessings for you.
My address is…………….
I will be waiting
with prayer to hear the information from you soon.
Dear Reader - are you at peace with God? If not, you can be. Do you know what awaits you when you die? You can have the assurance from God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain. Either Jesus Christ died for yours sins, or He didn't (He did!). Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God? We plead with you ... please don't make such a tragic mistake.
To get to know God; to be at peace with God; to have your sins forgiven; to make certain heaven will be your home for eternity; to make certain that you are in right-standing with God right now ... please click here to help understand the importance of being reconciled to God. What you do about being reconciled to God will determine where you will spend eternity, precious one. Your decision to be reconciled to God is the most important decision you'll ever make in this life.
The staff and our ministry supporters so greatly appreciate hearing how God is touching lives for His glory through this outreach. If this ministry has touched you in some special way, would you please consider taking a brief moment and share your blessing with us? It is always encouraging to hear how God is using this ministry to touch lives for His glory through this outreach. Simply email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
We truly thank each of you who allow us to publish your testimony, for those who faithfully pray (and fast) for this outreach, for those of you who help support the ministry financially, and for those of you who pass along these testimonials and other ministry writings to others. The part the Holy Spirit has you play is vital in helping win lost souls and being engaged in discipleship, and we can never thank you enough for the labor of love and support you provide on behalf of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Precious Testimonies is supported financially by those God impresses to sow into this ministry. We bring before the Lord in prayer the needs of the ministry as He determines them; ask Him to meet them; trust Him to meet them; engage in warfare prayer on a regular basis (and occasional fasting) as the Holy Spirit moves us to; remain patient for His perfect timing to be administered in these matters; and are truly thankful to Him when answers are met by Him. (Mark 11:22-24 is our guidelines - pathway - roadmap to God in all this).
Precious Testimonies is a non-denominational 501-C-3 evangelistic ministry, and financial love offerings to this ministry are tax-deductible. A financial summary can be viewed by clicking on the following link: Financial Summary.
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