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27 March 2020


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Dear {recipient.first_name}

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 4:6-7)

In these extraordinary times we are sending out news updates weekly as so many local churches are looking for ideas and ways to connect congregations and their community while the country is in lockdown. It is encouraging to hear how lots of churches have found that ‘congregations’ for their live-streamed services are larger than on normal Sundays. Read below for our suggestion on how to invite local people to join you this Easter.

I was sent an encouraging story, which has been circulating on the internet. Having checked the source with Giuseppe Pellegrino, the translator in Italy, we’ve included it below. I hope it will encourage you to pray and to be bold, asking God to work through these uncertain times, as so much that people rely on is stripped away.

Since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe’ Hebrews 12:28.


Roy Crowne
HOPE Together's Executive Director 

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A testimony by Dr Julian Urban,
a 38-year-old doctor in Lombardy 

Up until two weeks ago, my colleagues and I were atheists…I always laughed at my parents when they went to church. Nine days ago, a 75-year-old pastor came to us for medical help. He had grave respiratory problems, but he had a Bible with him and it impressed us that he was reading the Bible to the people who were dying and holding their hands.

We were all tired, discouraged doctors, psychologically and physically spent, and so we found that we were listening to him... We realized that we have reached the limits of what man can do. We need God, and we have begun to ask for his help, when we have a few moments free. We cannot believe that we who were fierce atheists are now seeking for interior peace by asking the Lord to help us...
 
The 75-year old pastor [has now] died. Despite the fact that in the last three weeks we have had over 120 people die in our unit, and we are all exhausted and feel destroyed, he succeeded, despite his own condition and our own difficulties, to bring us a PEACE that we no longer hoped to find.

The testimony was written by Gianni Giardinelli and translated by Giuseppe Pellegrino.
Share stories of hope!
Our Hope for All magazine is available to read online at hopeinfo.org.uk. Share these stories of hope with those you know. Printed copies can still be ordered from the HOPE shop it you want to post them to friends, colleagues and neighbours to encourage them.
Opportunities to give away the magazines have changed, but we heard one story where a village grocery shop has welcomed copies of the magazine for customers to pick up
Discover the Bible with friends
Around the world people have been using the Discover Bible App to read the Bible with friends, and many have come to faith as a result. You can set up a WhatsApp group or Zoom call to read the Bible with a small group and use the Discover App questions to discuss what you are reading. Find out more about the Discover Bible App here discoverapp.org @discoverAppDBS.
Give away a gospel
Our new illustrated Mark’s Gospel is available in packs of five from the HOPE shop. Order a pack and post copies to friends to read and chat about during the lockdown.

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Invite a friend to an Easter service
Who could you invite to an online Easter service? If your own church isn’t live-streaming, find a local live-streamed church service that might suit your friends – then invite them to join you for Easter Sunday, 12 April. Next week we will send an invitation you can use online to invite friends to Easter celebrations.
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What if? the Amplify Young Evangelists Academy

This year we have 62 amazing young evangelists as part of the Amplify Young Evangelist Academy [11-17s]. They began their journey in September 2019 at the first residential, and they have been meeting in accountability and evangelist training groups. They have just done their final residential for the year [13th-15th March - yes one day before social distancing was introduced]. And soon they will do their specialist mentoring. They will continue to meet in their groups online, and we are already hearing of new online initiatives being created by the young people to reach people where they are in national lockdown. Applications are now open for the next year 2020/21, beginning in September 2020; applications close on 31 August 2020. Most of the Amplify year is based online as that is how the groups will meet going forward, even beyond COVID-19 pandemic. So no need to wait to apply for a young evangelist you know. Find out more here.
We would love to hear how you are connecting with people in this season – and if there are ways we can support you and pray for you, do get in touch.

with love and prayers from the HOPE Together team


 
Glenys
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