The Hope Stories by J. O. Terry
Stories of Hope for Those in Need of God’s Help
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” Psalm 46:1-3.
This manual of stories may be reproduced, adapted or translated as needed by caregivers for use in giving hope to victims of unfortunate circumstances who need to know
there is a God who loves them and is compassionate, who sees their need, and is powerful to help them in their physical need and merciful to help them in their spiritual need. All Scripture references are from the New International Version of the Bible. Black and white line drawings are from the set of “Telling the Story…” chronological Bible teaching pictures, New Tribes Mission and International Mission Board, SBC.
Background—For some time there has existed a need for one or more sets of Bible stories which could be used during times of comforting people following disasters occurring due to accidents, disease, drought, earthquakes, famine, floods, poverty, storms, terrorist activities, or war. When bad things happen to people, they need hope in addition to the other physical help that comes to alleviate their suffering and facilitate a return to a safe and normal life.
While people may be more open to the gospel during these deep crisis times, there may not be opportunity for a longer and more in-depth Bible Storying strategy to present a complete Old Testament foundation and then a generous number of the stories of Jesus. The more immediate need is comfort and hope that both soothes the immediate wounds brought about by the situation, and that can open the door to a more thorough later evangelistic presentation using Bible stories that allow listeners to make an informed decision to believe in Jesus as Savior and Lord.
What is needed is a pocket set of Bible stories that provides a broad spectrum of stories that remind listeners that they live in God’s world where He alone is sovereign, compassionate and loving, and powerful to help in times of need. As such, there is minimal need for a lengthy post-story discussion lesson though a few think-about-it questions or nonstructured discussion may be appropriate. As always a memory verse keyed to hope and God’s deliverance is also helpful to share.
As a relief worker the storyer will likely be tired and preoccupied with the work, so lengthy preparation of highly detailed lessons is not a typical option. What is needed is a compact set of stories which can be used quickly and simply. To that end I share this set of The Hope Stories. The stories are prepared with prayer and you will need to energize them with prayer as you tell them. Any glory or credit goes to our God for his generous portion of Bible stories from which to choose. And also for God’s great love and compassion for hurting and needy people as demonstrated in the stories.
The Bible stories are mostly presented in a chronological order but this does not mean they must be told in this order. There is a mix of stories that includes both men and women. The storyer is free to pick and choose from among these stories as time and opportunity permit, and is encouraged to make any necessary adaptation to the stories needed for the listeners. If additional stories are needed, these stories can serve as models of how to develop additional stories from the Bible version the storyer prefers to use.
In the event that listeners are moved to consider believing in Christ as Savior a story is included to lead to invitation to do so. For others who need more time, any of the already developed evangelistic Bible Storying models could be introduced at a later time when there is stability and good will has led to an openness for listeners to hear more.
While this manual has copyright to protect the developer’s rights to first use and later revision, the manual is offered to users for their free adaptation, revision, and translation. All Scripture used is from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.
Two additional Bible story sets are available. The Water Stories was initially developed for use with water projects which included digging and sinking wells, water reservoirs, and surface water purification systems. These are stories from the Bible that speak about thirst, washing and cleansing, and the living water of salvation. Another set originally developed for use among Muslim women is popularly called The Grief Stories and consists of selected stories of Bible women and the misfortunes they suffered and how God redeemed their lives. Both have subtle evangelistic themes leading to opportunity to draw the net.
May God bless and strengthen the helpers who go to give hope to those in great physical and spiritual need.
J. O. Terry