amp template


 by Esther Espinoza

Buried under the covers, heart racing, I held my breath as I turned another page of my Nancy Drew novel. Will the stalker attack her? Will she be discovered? Oh no! She’s just been whacked on the head by the bad guy. My nine-year-old heart froze; will she survive?

Books were my world, but not any old books. They needed to have a good mystery to make them interesting.

Browsing through the bookshelves in the school library, I started discovering some amazing authors. Not only were they writing mysteries, but their stories were entwined with ghosts, spirits and magic. Something about those books stimulated my mind. I was spellbound.

Fast forward twenty years and you’d find me at my desk writing mysterious ghost stories for children. I dreamed of the day when I would become a well-known author. I imagined sitting at a book signing with hundreds of little fans holding my precious book and getting me to autograph it. I wanted to make a difference, leave a legacy and be known. I wanted my stories to empower children.

Every story I wrote I sent away to a publishing house, but my hopes and dreams shattered each time a rejection letter arrived in the mailbox. What else could I add to make them more sizzling? They were already dripping with mystery, spirits and ghosts.

One afternoon, as I was driving home with my mum, I started complaining about another publishing house that didn’t want my story.
My mum was silent as I ranted on. Then she said, “Why do you write about ghosts and spirits?”

“Because it’s exciting!”

“But, as Christians we don’t believe in any of that.”
Of course I knew that! “Writing is just make-believe. It isn’t true,” I answered.

“Esther,” she paused, letting my name linger in the air. “You can become an amazing, famous writer.”

I smiled, that’s exactly what I wanted!

She continued, “And you can become a great instrument in the hands of Satan.”
Excuse me? I tightened my grip on the steering wheel.

Oh, but she wasn’t finished.

“He can give you all the fame you want. You would be writing for him and for his glory.”
I gaped.

“Why don’t you write Christian books instead?”

“Christian books are boring! What am I going to write about? No way, I can’t!” I shuddered at the thought, but the battle in my heart had begun.

All week her words, “You can become a great instrument in the hands of Satan,” tormented me. I could feel the spiritual battle raging through my soul. I didn’t have peace; everywhere I turned those words echoed. The battle was real! I started feeling the spiritual world fighting for my soul. I couldn’t handle it anymore; I was going crazy.

One Saturday morning, upset that my peace had been disrupted, I knelt near my bed to pray. I knew what I had to say, but I couldn’t bring myself to say it. If I let go of my secular chapter books, my dreams of being an author would die. I wrestled with God in turmoil until finally my heart shouted, “Okay, okay, God. I surrender!”

That was it. No fancy words, no elaborate prayer. Just the simple words, ‘I surrender.’
Then calmly I whispered, “Lord I surrender. I will write for you.” Instantly, the intense battle subsided and a serene peace lingered.

The battle was over.

I knew whom I belonged to and who I needed to serve.

My desire to do more for God grew each day and I wanted to reach out and make a difference. I prayed for 12 months, asking Him to show me what He wanted me to do. Then one day, in June 2011, He handed me a dream, beautifully wrapped with all its trimmings, ready to be untied.

When my younger sister Steph shared her idea of doing a Christian magazine for teen girls, I embraced the concept. I knew that God was opening doors. I had been around teen girls for many years and knew the struggles they faced each day. Most were being held hostage in their own minds. Trapped, confused, lonely and trying desperately to understand anorexia, bulimia, comparison and sexual purity. Subjects that, unfortunately, are pretty much taboo in Christian churches and homes.

My other sisters joined in the excitement, and the possibility of making a difference in someone’s life felt indescribable. In less than two months, 5 Sisters Ministry was born and so began our journey into the unknown waters of publishing. Many mistakes, heartaches and tears later, we distributed the very first issue of GIGI (Gorgeous In God’s Image) magazine.

From the very beginning, GIGI’s aim has been to remind young women to value who they are. It stands for more than physical beauty; it stands for who you are in Christ. When we believe that we are gorgeous in Him, our whole perspective in life changes. We are empowered through restoration.

The popularity of the magazine was growing. Teen girls and their families were emailing us and sharing testimonies of how God was helping them through GIGI. We were elated. God was working, restoring and empowering girls.

In the midst of our excitement, God spoke to our hearts, telling us we needed to do more.

In March of 2013 we started the GIGI Rally. A one-day program for teen girls, their mums, aunts, friends and grandmothers. More than 180 girls get to experience music, drama, and great speakers that discuss issues many girls face.

We also started a magazine for women 30+ called Forever Woman and a magazine for little girls called Little Miss GIGI.

Unfortunately, the dream came to an abrupt ending in September 2015, when we stopped the printing of the magazines due to lack of finances. However, we know God has a plan and is opening different doors to reach girls and women of all ages.

Meanwhile, we continue uplifting our girls via our GIGI blog, workshops and Bible study books. This year, I’m launching a podcast for little girls and sharing wonderful Christian stories. I want them to be excited about Jesus and to never feel that Christian stories are boring.

We are also starting an online magazine for teen girls that will be available later in the year. God hasn’t stopped working. We still don’t have the funds, but somehow God always provides.

I think back on the last few years and see how far God has brought me. Gone is the fear of writing for the Christian market. Now I know that I can make a difference, leave a positive legacy, and empower girls through uplifting and Godly articles. I love to write stories that will enrich their lives and draw them closer to the Kingdom of God.

The most humbling experience for me has been that my GIGI stories about women of the Bible have been extremely popular with the girls. They claim that these stories are their favourites. It blows my mind to see how God transformed the desire for me to write dark stories to ones that glorify only Him.

I am honoured to work for Jesus.

BIO: 5 Sisters Ministry is a self-funded ministry run by 5 Latin Sisters living in Brisbane Australia. You can follow their blog at and keep up to date with their events.

Witnessing 101

Short stories to inspire you.

LifeTalk Radio

 by Becky Carlson

W henever I head out to shop, run errands, and meet appointments, I always carry a few business-size cards with a code that anyone can scan to get a free mobile app for LifeTalk Radio. They are so easy to share with the cashier at Walmart—or anyone almost anywhere—just by saying, “Here is a card for you to get a free mobile app.” Everyone always takes it and says, “Thank You!” with a smile of surprise. Who doesn’t like to get a gift, right?

It is so simple, and yet I have shared a tool with the potential for gospel witnessing 24/7! When a person listens to LifeTalk Radio, they can hear the Good News and the truth about Jesus through uplifting programs and music. Many of those who scan the code to get the free mobile app would never allow a visitor from a church into their homes to hear a Bible study, but they will listen to Bible messages on LifeTalk Radio!

 I have received positive comments from unchurched “atheists,” truth seekers, and people who are members of other denominations. Learn more at:

Results from last month's survey:
How Will YOU Witness?

Smiling every day. (20)


Volunteering at least once. (12)


Other (11)


Praying for a stranger every day. (10)


Offering a genuine compliment to someone everyday. (10)


Giving more hugs. (9)


Writing a personal note to a friend. (8)


Mentoring a young person. (7)


Sharing my personal testimony with a stranger. (6)


Visiting a neighbour. (5)


Visiting someone in the hospital or nursing home. (4)


Take April's Survey!

My Experience at ASI’s Southern Union Chapter Meeting

 by Kristi Jensen

Acouple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending ASI’s Southern Union Chapter meeting in Stone Mountain, GA. I left my university following class on Friday morning and arrived in Stone Mountain after lunch, just in time for the afternoon meeting presented by David Guerrero. 

Initially, I was apprehensive; I didn’t know quite what to expect. Following Pastor Guerrero’s presentation, I introduced myself to several ASI’s staff members who I had only corresponded with via email. They welcomed me with open arms, kind smiles, and encouraging words. I immediately felt a part of a large, diverse, and remarkable family.

Throughout the weekend, I spoke with dozens of people who told me their life stories. Each testimony was unique, but there was One commonality—a calling from Christ to witness in a singular way. They had each followed the call and God had changed their lives.

I left on Sunday with a growing understanding of what makes ASI unique. Is it the mission? Yes. The drive, the talent, the ideas? Absolutely. But the true beauty of the ministry lies in its people. I have never met a group of people so genuinely and passionately radiating love and willing service. In Help in Daily Living, Ellen White says, “The strongest argument in favor of the gospel is a loving and lovable Christian” (p. 470). ASI personifies this message to its core.

I left Stone Mountain inspired. Inspired by the speakers and testimonies, yes; but more than anything, I was inspired by the dedication, the peace, the kindness, the joy, and the love that filled the lives of the people with whom I interacted. What’s more, their spirit was contagious and I left with more love in my heart.

 I strongly encourage you to attend an ASI chapter meeting next spring. I promise you will not regret the decision.

Personal Testimony

 Personal Testimony - Al Trace

At the Southern Union chapter meeting, I had the privilege of sitting down with Al Trace, the director for the School of Massage at Black Hills Health and Education Center in Hermosa, South Dakota. Before moving to South Dakota, Al Trace taught Advanced Massage Techniques at Wildwood. Al shared with me his incredible testimony of following God’s leading in his life during tough years of hardship and health challenges. As I began the interview, Al said:

 “A lot of times as Christians, we are challenged to know how to share the gospel...But I would always tell my students that everyone’s got a story. God allows us experiences that can be life changing. I may not be able to challenge people with doctrinal statements, but nobody can refute my story.”

 17 years ago, Al married Brenda, a woman he met online. Both Al and Brenda had been in previous marriages, and before they committed themselves to each other, they wanted to be sure that God would bless their relationship. Unbeknownst to Al, when Brenda and her ex-husband divorced, she prayed that if God wanted her to remarry, He would give her a clear sign—and not just any sign—but a black, leather-bound Bible.

 Only a week and a half after meeting Brenda, Al proposed. Brenda agreed, but the newly engaged couple was still waiting upon the Lord for His blessing before marriage. Brenda admitted to Al that she had “laid out a fleece like Gideon” did in the Bible when seeking God’s guidance. Al jokingly asked for a hint about the fleece, but Brenda refused to say, reiterating that the fleece was between her and God and that she had never breathed a word about it to anyone.

Time went on, and after several months of long-distance dating, Al invited Brenda to come to Northern California to meet his kids and family. During this time, Al was in the process of moving out of his apartment. On a Thursday evening, Al and Brenda began packing up books from one of Al’s large bookcases. One of the books was a black, leather-bound Bible that had been gifted to Al and that he forgot he owned. He turned to Brenda, and asked if she would like the Bible.

“Are you giving it to me?” she asked.

 “Yes, I’m giving it to you,” Al answered.

 Brenda started crying and told Al the fleece she had laid before the Lord.

This sign encouraged Al and Brenda that the Lord would bless their relationship. 17 years later, they are still happily married.



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