Good News - January 2023

COVER STORY 30 JANUARY 2023 Good News • South Florida Edition When Rob called his father shortly after, he said, “I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is we can reach every child in the Philippines. The bad news is we need $2 million right away. And my dad started laughing on the phone” for he had just received a check from the Green family for $1 million. “Dad’s always taught us money follows vision. You go after vision and God will provide and that’s what we’ve seen at OneHope. This year the budget is about $60 million, and the Spirit has lead us to reach 150 million kids.” Bringing God’s word to Communist nations “The Book of Hope was the first legally distributed scripture in the Soviet Union after 70 years when we got permission from the minister of religion to take 50,000 books to the schools in Moscow,” said Bob. The Cold War was still going on. Perestroika and Glasnost had just started, and Gorbachev was the premier of the Soviet Union. “There were no churches to work with us, sowe had to bringAmericans to do the distribution in the schools.We couldn’t find one pastor there in 1990, and a few years ago I attended a conference with 3,000 pastors from the region. The moderator asked how many pastors first received Jesus when OneHope came to your school? So many raised their hands. He counted 1,678 pastors who received Christ when a OneHope team came to their school.” How do they distribute a million books a year in a country where the Bible is illegal? It happens through relationships with leaders. For example, it was an unlikely relationship Bob developedwithVietnameseGeneralVõNguyênGiáp that paved theway for theBook of Hope to be distributed in Vietnam. Bob was introduced to the general by American Veteran Dave Roever during a reconciliation trip to Vietnam for veterans on which Bob was invited to tag along. The general took an interest in Bob because of their shared health struggles with cancer and the two became friends. Before leaving, Roever asked the general what he thought about Bob’s work, which opened the door for a discussion. “We talked about the problems of our youth, and I apologized to him for what America’s done with our pornography and our morals, and said we’ve created a book to help children develop good values that we’re giving to school children.We’d like to do it here inVietnam.When we sat down, he said, ‘This is the Bible. It’s illegal to distribute Bibles.’ I said, it looks like a Bible but it’s a biography.After the general confirmed that they publish the biography of Buddha, Confucius andMao, General Giáp wrote out an order to the communist press in Hanoi to print a million books on “The Biography of Jesus” by Bob Hoskins. “Dad did a little introduction, but it’s the gospels in chronological order,” said Rob. There are now 20 million books that have been distributed inVietnam. ReachingAmerican school children While the Bible is not taught in American schools, the Equal Access Act allows for students to have Bible clubs. OneHope partners with ministries like First Priority, that connects churches to reach the campus for Christ through a relational peer to peer model. “We distribute hundreds of thousands a year here in the United States through all different kinds of campus ministries that are mobilized through the equal access act to have a presence on campuses,” said Rob. “And again, it’s through leaders like Chris Lane, who catch the vision. So if you love kids and you love God’s word then we’re here to partner with you. We partner with tens of thousands of churches, hundreds of ministries. Everything we do is with collaboration.” Another important element of OneHope’s operation is research. “We started our research arm in 2003 with what we call outcome-based ministry,” said Rob. “I started soul searching when dad and mom asked Kim and I to take over leadership of the ministry. I had serious questions about when we go into a community and hand out 100,000 copies of God’s word, did anybody read them? If they read them, did they understand them? If they understood them, did it change their beliefs and attitudes? If it affected their beliefs and attitudes, did it change their behavior?” Outcome-based ministry focuses on measuring effectiveness with a desire to be good stewards of what they are doing. It also allows them to properly shape the message. Bob interjected, “Jesus had a different message for every audience. He had one message for Nicodemus. He had a totally different message for the woman at the well. Jesus, being divine, knew intuitively what their needs were and fashioned his message to their need. We don’t know that intuitively, so we do research.” What started as a simple harmony of the gospel in chronological order has developed into 320 outcome-based programs, and many of these were developed due to collaborative partnerships with churches and youth ministries. For example, Lead Today, a scripturebased curriculum Rob developed with John Maxwell on 16 principles of leadership, is now in 32 public school systems around the world. In measuring scripture engagement, they determined in the United States that kids need God’s word at a younger age. “They’re sticking kids in front of a screen when they’re six months old and the kids are just glued to the screen, so we knew we wanted to go digital,” said Rob. Seeking a leader in the digital field, Rob partnered with Bobby Gruenewald, founder of the YouVersion BibleApp, and together they developed the BibleApp for Kids. The app features 52 animated stories and has a booklet that can be handed out with the digital app. There are nowmore than 12 million downloads of the BibleApp for Kids in the United States and over 80 million around the world. OneHope will still print 93 million books this year, including curriculums and evangelism literature. They’ve also released the Telos Study Bible with Harper Collins, created to meet the need of American youth facing a mental health crisis. Perhaps the most surprising revelation to come out of their research about youth, however, is that the most influential voice in the life of a child today is still their parents, said Rob. “When we did the research, parents were number one, friends were number two and social media was number three…so, this is a tremendous opportunity for parents.” Reflections In reflecting on the history of OneHope, Rob emphasized, “The harvest is ripe. The laborers are few. Pray, therefore, to the Lord of the Harvest to send laborers. (Matthew 9:37-38) So, we pray for people. This ministry is built on God’s people, the Holy Spirit moving on those people, and us learning as a ministry how do we partner and serve them?” Having met Bob and Hazel Hoskins while in Europe, Gigi Graham recalled dinners together with the couple, their love for good food and knowledge of the best restaurants. Invited to a OneHope function a few years ago, Graham said, “I just sat there in tears. I could not believe all that they had done. I was just amazed. He had a vision and I think he has stuck to it and, of course, he has passed that down to his son. He has not veered off that vision of getting that Bible into every child’s hand. And at his age, he’s just as excited about it as he was when I knew him as a young man. Stephan Tchividjian recalled, "I first met Bob Hoskins when I was in high school with his two sons. Since the passing of my father, I can truly say that he has become a second father to me. Bob's lifelong passion for sharing the Gospel is contagious because it's rooted in a sincere humility and awe of God. I love his entrepreneurial spirit mixed with a constant twinkle in his eye. He will travel anywhere at any time to share the love of Jesus. He has a quick wit and sense of humor and yet will sincerely weep in telling a story of one's life transformed by God's Word. Bob Hoskins is one of my greatest living hero's today and I will forever be grateful.” How will Bob celebrate 80 years of ministry? “I’m planning to preach on every continent next year,” Bob answered confidently. He’s planted a church on every continent except Antarctica, where he still managed to distribute the Book of Hope in a school at the research station. When Rob heard what his father had planned, he said, “Hallelujah! Let’s make it happen.” Rob Hoskins Bob Hoskins