(Editor’s Note: After 28 years of ministry in the Philippines, Send International missionaries Laura Bonney and Ruth Haynes relocated to Uganda in 2013, where they partner with Scripture Union Uganda to reach children for Christ in the public-school systems. This includes a church-based school outreach called VOICE (Values Orientation in Classroom Education) and evangelism utilizing EvanTell’s CrossTalk tract. Recently, Ruth and Laura had the opportunity to stop by the EvanTell office (see picture above with David Souther), and Laura shared the following.)
How did you first become acquainted with EvanTell’s CrossTalk tract?
Ruth and I were missionaries in the Philippines for a total of 28 years. In 2009, I heard from Pastor Joey Casas and his wife that they were doing a CrossTalk seminar and David Souther would be there. I thought that might be a great thing for me to sit in on and to connect with my friends Pastor Joey and his wife.
That is where I met David Souther and sat through that CrossTalk [training] and that was the first time I believe that I had been introduced, though I may have heard of it a little bit previously.
I thought: “Wow! This was great for direct evangelism, this is an amazing tool.”
How did you transition from using it in the Philippines to using it Uganda and East Africa?
We transferred (still under Send) to another mission. We went in residence in 2013.
So, then I wrote to David Souther and said is anyone here doing CrossTalk in Uganda or East Africa, and he responded well there was a missionary in Nairobi but he’s retiring and do you feel that there is a need for that there. I must have responded absolutely. Then he graciously paid [through the support of some generous donors] for the print cost and we started printing them there in Kampala.
That just took off with Scripture Union using them and becoming their main evangelism tool in schools as well as camps.
Is there a specific age range with which CrossTalk resonates in your work?
I think readers, so that would be 6, 7 years old and then even the youth up into high school.
Are there any stories or encouraging moments that stand out?
One that just came through from the Kampala Baptist Church. One of the children there who was a Christian just started using this tool, and it just gave her a means to be able to do evangelism with the other children. So, we thank the Lord for that. That this tool is simple enough that a child can take it once they have seen the presentation and that is born again and can use that as an evangelist.
Another example is in the Philippines. I did the seedlings training up in the mountain city of Baguio and one of the leaders there that attended it said, “You know this is the simplest way that I have heard and useable and transferrable.” She had graduated from a seminary, and she just thought this was THE tool that was so clear and doable to share Christ with others.
What about it do you think makes it so clear and useable?
Well I think the explanation, the sequential you know going you start out with God loves you and we have a problem and there is consequences to our problem. We all have this problem, consequences. You can’t solve the problem ourselves. That’s where Christ is the only way, the Son of God. The Son of God who shed his blood and died and rose again. And then God doesn’t force any of us. You have to make that choice. It’s just so clear.
It was so helpful to have this contextualized and this is where your graphic artist changed the skin tone to fit sub-Saharan Africa and that was so powerful because they can identify with the drawings. So, we blew these up in Uganda and then had them for assemblies when they were doing a large group.
Is there anything coming up this year that you are particularly excited about?
We left CrossTalk and Welcome to God’s Family for Scripture Union Uganda, so they are using them. And just this month they were 28 leaders trained, and the ones in Zande also are being used in 8 different refugee camps in Northern Uganda.
Our colleague Beth said, “You know we often forget the camera, but God is recording all these and it will be revealed one day in heaven all the extent of how this has been used.”
Any final thoughts?
We thank the Lord for EvanTell and their generosity, and we see the Lord has used it in an amazing way.