Elizabeth’s Story

Dear Friend,

“Peter, come quickly, Elizabeth is drowning!”

There was an unmistakable ring of desperation as my mother’s voice pierced the air. Something awful must have happened. I was six and Elizabeth, my sister, was two years and eight months old. She had been with me just minutes earlier playing in the snow. Now, she had fallen into an excavated area filled with water from the melting snow. By the time mom got her out, she was already unconscious.

Christmas time is family time. Our thoughts go to our loved ones. One of my earliest memories is the day this tragedy happened. Our family lived in a small village; we had neither car nor telephone. When I got to my mother she cried out,

“Peter, run and tell your dad to get help!”

My dad’s office was about a mile away. Somehow he had to be alerted. We had to find a car to take my sister to the hospital. A couple of hours later, in spite of all of our efforts, Elizabeth was declared dead.

It was a very sad time in our family; it all seemed like a cruel dream. Yet, I’ll never forget the glow of peace and joy I saw in my mother’s and father’s eyes, even while the tears flowed down their faces. The presence of Jesus had filled the hospital room in the midst of this awful tragedy.

I was just a kid and didn’t understand the full scope of what had happened. I just knew that somehow Jesus’ presence had been with us and my sister was now with Him.

As I look back on that momentous day and the days that followed, the whole ordeal is somewhat of a blur––except for one part: my reaction when my mother cried out, “Peter, run and tell your dad to get help!”

I had never run so fast in my whole life. Just before I reached the office building where my dad was working there was a large field. My heart was beating like a sledge hammer as I raced across that grassy field. I thought I was going to pass out, my legs moving faster than they ever had before. I remember thinking:

“Don’t stop! Don’t stop! Keep running!”

My whole being––my mind, my emotions, my body––was focused on one thing: to save my little sister’s life. Nothing else mattered. Every life is immensely precious. Jesus signified the proper value of a person when He said, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul” (Mark 8:36).

“What is your worth?” The answer is that we are worth whatever someone is willing to pay, and Jesus paid the ultimate price for you: His own life. You are valuable. Your sons and daughters, your mother and father, your friends and loved ones have immense value – not just physically, but spiritually.

When I ran to get to my father, every fiber of my being was aware of the importance of Elizabeth’s life. Every life is so precious!

People shouted along the way, “What are you doing, stop, what’s going on?” “Where are you running to?” I had no time to stop and explain myself. Not a second could be wasted. I had to get help for my sister.

Yet, the urgency I felt for my sister was still insignificant compared with the urgency God feels for people. Our heavenly Father wants everyone to know life, abundant life from Jesus.

Jesus demonstrated this urgency. In Capernaum, the whole city gathered to hear Jesus, but the next morning when the disciples came looking for Jesus, amazingly He was already heading out of town.

When the disciples stopped Jesus, explaining that He must remain in Capernaum, Jesus responded, “Let us go into the next towns that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth” (Mark 1:38).

Jesus was focused on reaching one more town, one more person. He saw immense value in people and we do too.

My sister Elizabeth’s life was so important to me that, as much as a six year old can, I commanded my whole attention to rescue her. How much more important when a person’s eternal life is at stake? After all, Elizabeth is in heaven today.

Every one of your friends and family have immense value. I’m enclosing a response form for you to put the names of loved ones that need Christ. I and our entire prayer team will pray for each one of your loved ones, believing that Jesus will be revealed to them.

God’s love in us makes us reach out in love to the entire human family. When Jesus came in Bethlehem, He came for the whole world. When He died on the cross His blood was shed for every person. No exceptions! No discrimination! No limitation!

This year we have stretched every dollar that you have given to get maximum impact for the Gospel, four Great Gospel Campaigns in the last two months alone in Pakistan and in Indonesia. Hundreds of thousands have responded to the Gospel and received follow-up material. Thousands of leaders have been trained. We have reached political leaders as well as the poorest of the poor.

In Pakistan, where 96 % are muslims, God gave us such favor that one of the secular television networks broadcast our final service for free, live across the whole nation. I preached from 1st Corinthians chapter 15, “Jesus Christ is alive”, across an entire muslim nation.

At the time this letter reaches you, we are just days away from our final Gospel Campaign in 2008, in Ikara, Nigeria. The favor God has given to us in the northern Islamic part of Nigeria is unheard of. Local pastors can scarcely believe it is true as God opens doors in regions where, for decades, no preacher has been given a permit to hold a large meeting.

These past two months of outreaches have not come without a cost. Our funds are depleted and the challenge is now on for this next campaign and the campaigns in 2009. Your support is so necessary this Christmas! Thank you!

Let’s celebrate Christmas in these ways:

  • 1. Celebrate Christmas by esteeming Jesus. Take a moment to worship and esteem Jesus, not only for His gifts and blessings, but for who He is. He is the mighty God, the everlasting Father, Prince of peace. He is Emmanuel––God with us.
  • 2. Celebrate Christmas by trusting Jesus for your family. We read about the shepherds outside Bethlehem, “They came with haste” (Luke 2:16). Heaven is in a hurry. The price for your loved ones’ salvation has already been paid. Let’s believe Jesus for their salvation now!
  • 3. Celebrate Christmas by esteeming Jesus’ final request, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.” Please do what you can to bring people the truth of why Jesus came. I pray some will give $1000 or more; others may give $50, $65, $300 or $500. It’s Jesus’ birthday, so let’s double up and do something extra.

As far as seeing souls saved, I don’t think you could get better value for the money you give. Every dollar makes a difference in reaching souls for Christ.

I’ll never forget the day my sister went to heaven. To me her life was worth all of my attention and strength. That is a small picture of God’s attention towards hurting people.

This is about history-making campaigns, but also so much more. Please look at the enclosed information about VISIONARIES IN PARTNERSHIP I pray for 1000 new monthly partners. Whatever you do, thank you for doing your best for Jesus.

Every soul is worth the wealth of the world. With God’s love in our hearts we see things God’s way; people are worth our love, our giving and our faith. I wish you the best Christmas ever. Thank you for your generous and much needed response this month.

Love in Christ,

Peter Youngren

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