The two small islands of St. Kitts and Nevis are one nation, officially the smallest country in the Western Hemisphere for both their diminutive physical size and a population of only about 40,000. The tropical weather and friendly people make it an ideal destination for a winter vacation. A week in the sun turned out to be yet another confirmation of the impact of The Story of Jesus.
When friends from Chicago asked Eric Thurman, President of David C Cook’s Global Mission Division, and his wife to join them for a few days at their timeshare in St. Kitts, the Thurmans enthusiastically agreed. Not long after arriving, they discovered that besides being an idyllic vacation spot in the Caribbean, it is yet another place where The Story of Jesus is helping local churches win children and their families who are not yet connected with churches in their neighborhoods.
Eric describes having dinner one evening with Nigel Browne, President of Youth Impact Ministries, a home-grown campaign that attracts and develops pre-teens and teens to become devoted disciples of Christ. Eric says,
“Nigel is an impressive businessman. He worked his way up in banking and is now an officer of the Central Bank of the country. Yet, for all that success he is most energized when he speaks of his work with youth.”
When he was a child, his family regularly attended church, but he did not take it seriously until he turned 16. At that point he realized that truly following Jesus meant a whole lot more than merely showing up on Sunday. Ever since then, he has been growing in his personal faith and organizing events to help young people come to the same realization he did.
A consummate organizer, he recruited 24 churches in his small nation to cooperate in staging large youth events. He networks with youth leaders in neighboring island nations as well. It was, in fact, the director of Youth for Christ in nearby Antigua who first told Nigel about The Story of Jesus. Now he is making plans to use it as his newest method to present the Gospel to thousands more young people.
During his brief vacation in the Caribbean, Eric Thurman visited St. Kitts smaller sister island, Nevis. Most of the citizens of both islands have slave ancestors. Thankfully that terrible era is past. Their nation is free, progressing well and the last remnants of sugar and cotton plantations are closed. Still, to know complete freedom, each person needs to discover freedom in Christ. The Story of Jesus is helping local churches communicate that story.
While on Nevis, Eric, his wife and two friends visited an historic church making final preparations for a big celebration two days later, its 300th anniversary! Members were lovingly cleaning the premises, grooming the landscaping and putting a fresh coat of paint on the gate that leads to the entrance. One worker spoke proudly how this enduring Anglican parish was his family’s church. Unfortunately Eric would be back home before the festivities, but saw enough, however, to reach this conclusion.
“This is a picture of exactly what David C Cook is working to accomplish. We want to foster the vitality of local churches of any denomination or independent, that are, like us, committed to raising up dedicated followers of Jesus. The Story of Jesus gives these churches a fresh reason to talk with neighbors who are not yet active with them. It is fun to see the new and old together. Here is a church that has been faithfully making disciples for three centuries. At the very same time, I met Christians in the same neighborhood doing something very new, toward the same goal, using the Story of Jesus.”
The Story of Jesus came out less than one year ago and already church networks in 27 nations are using it as their leading outreach tool. Church networks in another 60 countries are exploring the possibility of adopting it as well for major campaigns. At ten cents a copy, The Story of Jesus is an exceptional giving investment for anyone eager to support evangelism around the world.