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The story of Anna*

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  • “I would like to read more from the Bible”

    Joanne* has recently returned to the Netherlands after many years of work as an ISV partner in Central Asia. As a
    teacher and trainer of other teachers, Joanne was regularly a connecting link in the lives of different people in different ways. In this way, Joanne could also be there in a valuable way for Anna*, one of her students.

    “This story begins in our church a couple of weeks before I was due to return to the Netherlands. Every year we read the Bible with a bunch of church members. Each week we discuss one or more books of the Bible. This particular
    Sunday we had a milestone to celebrate: we completed the Old Testament. Those who had read it all the way through would receive a small gift so I was excited to go to church this day. It is always nice to receive a present, isn’t it? The gift that was handed out was a hand-made cover for your Bible. There were five of us and when it was my turn I got not only the cover, but also a Bible in the language of the country where we were. I was also instructed to give it away to one of the students with whom I had previously shared something of the Gospel. I thought it was a great idea, but it didn’t really suit me planning wise. In three weeks, I would go back to the Netherlands. In those weeks, I would have to clear out my apartment and also say goodbye to many people. Yet a name immediately popped into my head of someone to whom I could give the Bible: Anna.”

    Growing interest

    “Anna was one of my students at the time. One day, after training, she and I talked about faith several times. Anna
    told me that she had never thought about God and faith, but that it intrigued her. She had read the first chapters of
    Genesis on my advice and we talked about this together. We would see each other before I left for the Netherlands. That seemed like a good time to give the Bible to her.”

    Trustful preparation

    “On the day we would meet I was well prepared and I prayed beforehand about whether or not I should give Anna the Bible. A Bible is a beautiful gift, but if someone isn’t interested in having one for themselves, how useful is it? Was it the right time to give this Bible to Anna? An hour before our appointment, Anna called me. She didn’t have a babysitter for her youngest son, so she wasn’t able to meet me. We planned a new appointment, which would take place in the last week before I left. This time too, I prepared well: I had the Bible in my bag, prayed beforehand and was confident that everything would be fine. I was at the cafe where we had planned to meet.”

    A chaotic meeting

    “Fifteen minutes later Anna came in with a crying son. She couldn’t find a babysitter, so she decided to bring her son with her. We chatted and I let her read the story about Abraham having to sacrifice Isaac. Anna found the story very interesting, but her son caused a lot of distraction in the café; other people in the café regularly looked in our direction. At one point the situation was so chaotic that Anna decided to go home. She told me she would continue reading the story at home. Again, there was no right moment to give her the Bible that was in my bag. So I also went home, a little disappointed.”

    Anna’s own Bible

    “At the end of the day I received a text from Anna: ‘Joanne, I find the story about Abraham and Isaac very interesting. I would like to read more about this!’ Now was the time for me to ask her if she would like the Bible I had intended to give her. And so, four days before my departure to the Netherlands, I was still able to make this woman happy with a Bible of her own!”

    Valuable contact

    “Anna and I are still in touch. I keep her in my prayers and ask God to guide her in her personal path of faith. During my time abroad, I was allowed to be a connecting link in Anna’s training to become a better teacher. I may be a valuable link in her search for God now, who knows! That’s how I want to look back on everything I did and still do. I trust that God has everything in His hands!”

    Former Dutch Partner

    *For security reasons, the names in this article have been changed.

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