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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...




OneHope: God’s Word. Every Child.

By Bob Hoskins
Feb. 20, 2011

OneHope’s vision is simple: “God’s Word. Every Child.”

Our desire is to see every child and young person on earth meaningfully engaged with Scripture. Our mission: “To affect destiny by providing God’s eternal Word to all the children and youth of the world.”

The mission began in 1987. Through the influence of John Bueno, who was then a missionary in El Salvador, we received an invitation from that nation’s minister of education to give Scriptures to every schoolchild in El Salvador — about 986,000 children! We worked with educational specialists and Bible scholars to develop an age-appropriate version of very important portions of Scripture: the life of Christ and the plan of salvation.

That first book, El Libro de Vida (the Book of Life, later to become the Book of Hope), was a harmony of the Gospels that told the life story of Jesus so that nothing was repeated and nothing left out. It was presented to every schoolchild in El Salvador in 1987. By God’s grace, more than 713 million children and youth have now been touched through OneHope’s ministry.

Social justice vs. spiritual justice
The question inevitably arises — especially among nonbelievers, but often among Christians as well — in a world where children are suffering from such severe physical evils as poverty, hunger, war, AIDS and abuse, how do you justify giving them a book when they need food, clothing, medicine and shelter? The answer is twofold.

When you ask why OneHope is not more involved in social justice issues, we answer: The foundation of social justice must be spiritual justice, or it cannot be called “justice” at all. The story of little Tiffany Solano Arias, living in the slum of San Juan de Lurigancho on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, illustrates this point.

A guerrilla war had raged across Peru’s mountainous frontiers, and hundreds of thousands of peasants, campesinos, had been forced to flee their rural homes, seeking both refuge and employment in the big cities. Tiffany’s parents came to Lima, the capital, but found no work and no hope. They joined thousands of squatters living in makeshift shacks. Their home was built with what they could scavenge, and they had to buy the roof on credit. Every week they paid the contractor for the tin shingles that kept the rain out of their house.

This was the life Tiffany was born into. Her father had given up hope and descended into alcoholism. It fell to Tiffany’s mother and older sister to keep the little family afloat, working as maids in better neighborhoods. It was a hard life, but Tiffany didn’t let it get her down.

We met Tiffany when she was 9 years old and the Book of Hope was given out at her school. Our team conducted a school assembly and gave each student their own book and an invitation to the local church for a HopeFest Celebration. Tiffany was so outgoing and friendly, she caught the attention of our team — and she invited them to come home with her and meet her family.

They arrived on the day the workmen had come to repossess the roof. The family had fallen behind in the payments, and the contractor had his men peeling the roof off the house. Tiffany’s mom was appalled that strangers were there to see this humiliating moment. She needed and deserved help, social justice; all we could give her was the Word of God.

Tiffany’s mom read through the Book of Hope with Tiffany that night. The next night they went to the HopeFest Celebration, and they both dedicated their lives to Christ. Soon Tiffany’s older sister and brother also chose to follow Jesus. Their neighborhood church surrounded them with love and support.

Tiffany’s dad, astounded by the transformation of his family, soon began attending church with them. Not too much later, he stopped drinking and committed his life to Christ. Once out of his alcoholic haze, he was able to get steady work. Soon he moved the family out of San Juan de Lurigancho and into a middle-class neighborhood, into a home with a roof.

A roof or a transformation?
When our team showed up at Tiffany’s door that day, we might have been able to come up with the money to pay for her roof, and that would have been very helpful at that moment. What we actually gave Tiffany and her family, the Word of God, accomplished so much more. It put them on a path that led to amazing transformation for this life and an eternity with Christ.

I mentioned the answer to the social justice issue was twofold, and this is the first answer: Unless it is built upon spiritual justice, the working of social justice will always be temporary. Even if it brings physical and material hope in this life, it cannot carry over into eternity. John Piper reminds us:

“Christ doesn’t want you to choose between pouring your life out for the alleviation of unjust human suffering now and the pouring out of your life to rescue the perishing from everlasting suffering. … I don’t want you to choose between those two. Christ is calling us to pull these together. If there rises in your heart a resistance to the phrase ‘eternal suffering’ or if there rises in your heart a resistance to the phrase ‘suffering now,’ if resistance rises to either one of those, either we have a defective view of hell or a defective heart.”1

The second part of the answer to the question about social justice vs. spiritual justice is also evident in Tiffany’s story. OneHope invests in providing God’s Word through the compassionate hands of local churches and ministries. The same church that gave Tiffany her Book of Hope also stepped up to help Tiffany and her mom and siblings, even before their dad chose to follow Jesus.

The local church and indigenous ministries are the very ones who can best provide both compassionate and spiritual aid to the neediest people.


For nearly 50 years, BOB HOSKINS and his wife, Hazel, have served as AG missionaries in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. Bob founded the ministry of OneHope in 1987 and serves as an ambassador for OneHope seeking to establish relationships with government and ministry leaders.

1. John Piper, “Celebration of the Bible — Ephesians 3,” The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization, Cape Town, South Africa, Oct. 20, 2010.

Email your comments to pe@ag.org.