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Helping Children See Their Invisible God

“Mom, why can’t I see God the way I see you and other real people?”

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Gazing out the car window always seems to prompt deep or funny questions for kids. My 6-year-old wants an answer to everything that is happening in the world. Where does rain come from? Why do humans salivate? Can she have blue hair? (The answer to the third question was no.)

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Seeing God…What a wonderful question! Believing in a God we don’t see is not only a dilemma for children, but something even adults can struggle with every day.

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Jesus said: “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are
those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)

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How do we help children wrestle through the fact that they can’t see God? What does the Bible teach us about this? Here are some suggestions for navigating this conversation:

  • God always makes a way for us to know Him. The Bible tells us that Moses asked for the same thing. He wanted to see God.
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 “Moses responded, “Then show me your glorious presence.”’

The Lord replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh, before you. For I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.  But you may not look directly at my face, for no one may see me and live.” The Lord continued, “Look, stand near me on this rock. As my glorious presence passes by, I will hide you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and let you see me from behind. But my face will not be seen.” (Exodus 33:18-23)

God told Moses that no one could look directly at Him and live.[1] Use this opportunity to explain to your child that God did not leave Moses wondering. God made a way for Moses to feel His glorious presence. He even protected Moses by covering him as He passed by.



Moses couldn’t look directly at God because of the sin in his life. When God created humans, they were perfect. But the first humans, Adam and Eve, disobeyed God. Sin and death came into the world. Every human born after them was no longer perfect. However, God had a plan to save people from their sins. And one day, God would be able to walk and talk with them face-to-face just as he did with Adam and Eve.

God made a way for Moses to see and feel Him. And He was preparing a way for all other humans to see him, too.

1) How did God make a way for Moses to see God? (God hid Moses in the crevice of a rock and covered him with His hand. He allowed Moses to see Him from behind.)

2) Why couldn’t Moses look directly at God? (Moses’ sinful nature prevented him from looking directly at the perfect, magnificent God.)

3) How did God protect Moses in this story? (He made a way for Moses to see Him without Moses dying.)

Have your child close their eyes and keep them closed. Hold a flashlight pointing toward the ceiling as you walk past them. Ask if they could sense your presence and if they saw the light emanating from the flashlight. Remind them that God’s brilliance is overwhelmingly more powerful.

This activity will work better in a darker room. But remember not to point the flashlight directly at your children’s eyes when you do this!

  • God took on human form. He came into the world as baby Jesus. It is through Jesus Christ that humans could see God again because Jesus is God.

“For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.” (Colossians 2:9)

“Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave[2]
and was born as a human being.” (Philippians 2:6-7)

God’s desire is that we see Him. It is so important to God that we know Him that He came to earth in human form as the person of Jesus Christ.

God and Jesus are one.[3] The people walking on the earth about 2,000 years ago had the chance to see Jesus, and therefore also saw God. Jesus Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.[4]

Jesus’ full divine glory was hidden by human flesh. Jesus was 100% God and 100% human. Even though people were seeing Jesus face-to-face, many did not believe in Him. However, many did. And this is how the Church started.

Jesus willingly died on the cross for all the sins of the world. He rose from the dead and went to heaven to prepare a place for those who love and follow Him to be in God’s presence in the future.

Again, God made a way for people to see and feel Him.

1) Who is Jesus Christ? (Jesus Christ is God)

2) How long ago did Jesus Christ live on the earth? (Jesus lived on the earth about 2,000 years ago)

3) What did Jesus come to earth to do? (He came to die on the cross to save us from sin)

Ask your child to hold an ice pack or cubes with their bare hands. Acknowledge how the ice is cold and can feel like it’s burning. Then, take the cubes back and wrap them in a towel. Now, have your child hold it again. Explain to your child that Jesus was 100% God and 100% human. He chose to wrap himself in human form so we could know him.

Ice is the best for this activity—hot materials may burn yourself or your child!

  • In what ways can you help your child see God now?
  • We can see God in creation.

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” (Romans 1:20)



God created everything! All the things we can see around us—and even the things we can’t see. This is one of the ways God shows himself to us.

1) What have people seen since the creation of the world? (People have seen the earth and sky)

2) What did God create? (God created everything)

3) How can we see God in creation now? (We can see His power and divine nature through His beautiful creation)

Take a field trip into nature (the mountains, beach, or a local park). Or simply have your child look out a window up at the sky and clouds. Contemplate the Creator together and talk about how intricate creation is. No human hand could design the oceans, skies and mountains.

  • We can have God’s Spirit in us. Introduce your child to the Holy Spirit. If you’ve never talked with your child about who the third person of the Trinity is—this is the time.

“If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate,[5]who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.” (John 14:15-17)

1) How can we show God we love him? (We obey His commandments)

2) How does the Holy Spirit help us? (He leads us in all truth)

3) Why can’t the world recognize the Holy Spirit? (The world is not looking for Him so they can’t recognize Him)

God has made a way for us to experience Him in a very deep and personal way. When Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, He promised to send His Holy Spirit. And when we believe and receive Jesus Christ, God comes to live in us through the Holy Spirit.[6]

Explain to your child that the Holy Spirit of God lives in us to guide, empower, teach and help us to follow the Word of God, and He shows us our unique purpose here on this earth.

Through the Holy Spirit we know God is with us, always. Once again, God made a way for us to be with him – until we see Him face-to-face, once and for all.

Sit with your child. Ask if he/she would like to pray with you. Ask God to show Himself in a powerful to you and your child today, and for them to receive the guidance of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

  • We can see God through His Word. Jesus is the Word of God (the Bible). He is God. 

In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.” John 1:1

Jesus has many names – one of them is the Word. Jesus is the Word of God. God speaks to us through His Word. The more we know and understand the Bible, the more we know and see God. This is why it’s important for us to learn the Bible and memorize what it says.

1) Why should should we read the Bible? (To know and see God)

2) Who is the Word of God? (Jesus is the Word of God)

3) How can we hear God speak to us? (Through His Word)

Set aside time each day for devotionals with your child. Read a Bible story together, ask questions and let God speak to you.

You can also find great resources at:



5 ways to help kids understand the Bible
Teach kids to share faith using Bible App For Kids


[1] Exodus 33:20
[2] Servant
[3] John 10:30
[4] Colossians 1:15
[5] Comforter, Encourager or Counselor.
[6] 1 Corinthians 3:16


God’s Great Heart for Children

I was born into a Buddhist family. And to be born into a Buddhist family is to suffer abusive treatment, which is known as a disciplined life. This is a normal way of life. I know firsthand the experiences of a child growing up in a Southeast Asian country.

I have often considered myself a Zacchaeus among other people as I have always been below average height. Growing up, I felt small and insignificant. I grew up in a very tiny village and often was neglected by my parents. My father was an alcoholic and my mom was always occupied taking care of her nine children. Whenever visitors came to our home, we were expected to leave and eat on the roadside. I felt totally abandoned. I was fearful to spend time at home, which meant most of my time was spent out on the streets. My parents never knew if I attended school or not. Even at the age of 10, I had to pick my dad up from the streets after he had been drinking.Buddhist

At age 13, my friend invited me to a youth camp. It was there I accepted Jesus Christ. I immediately began witnessing to my friends and family. I brought more than thirty teenagers back to youth camp. I encouraged my father to drink at home where I could watch over him and talk with him about the Gospel. I began leading family devotions in my home every night. After three years of prayer for my family, my father and mother became Christians.

Out of the 70 to 80 children I grew up with, I was the only one to graduate from high school and attend college. I chose to attend Bible College. After completing my degree, I taught for twelve years. In 2009, I attended the Global Congress Conference at OneHope. God began to stir in me a desire to work with the children of my country. I also attended a children’s conference in New York. A woman approached me and began to prophesy about the ministry I would begin with children in my country.

As I arrived home, I realized my own story is intertwined with the children’s stories I encounter everyday in Southeast Asia. I decided to resign as head of the Bible College and being a senior pastor, and begin a children’s ministry. I started with no resources for the children. I had to write my own Bible lessons. Despite difficulties, I knew that God had called me to minister to the children of my country. God revealed to me my great desire to reach the next generation. In 2011, OneHope brought the 17 Stories curriculum as a resource for my ministry. I know God prepared OneHope to reach the children of Southeast Asia.

I get the unique opportunity to see children’s lives changed by the Gospel everyday. *Victoria, one of the girls who attends our Bible clubs, walks two or three miles every day to do so. She knows the walk is worth her time because the Gospel transformed her own life. She received a new Bible story every week from the 17 Stories program. Her friends at school would eagerly wait to hear the new story she learned. Now that she has accepted Jesus, she tells her parents the same stories she learned. She hopes they will believe so the whole family can be in heaven one day. Victoria’s favorite story is Noah because she wants to see that story become real in her family too.

Although Victoria is small, her reach is large. Her age doesn’t limit her influence. I want to see my nation rich with the Word of God and lives like Victoria’s transformed by the hope of Jesus. I desire to see the 20 million children of my nation reached with the truth of the Gospel. God values children and encourages believers to receive the kingdom of God like a child. I know He uses children to impact the world. In my country, oftentimes the worth of children is missed. God loves to use those whom society least expects. I know firsthand because God is able to use me, a Zacchaeus, to reach the children of my country. 

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*Note: Names changed in this testimony to protect the identity of the individuals involved.

God’s Word for EVERY Child?

Our “impossible” goal to reach every child in every nation with the Gospel

In 1987, during a time of fasting and prayer, I received a vision from God. I saw scenes of children being attacked by Satan—an attempt to literally destroy an entire generation. The targeting of young people and children for destruction broke my heart.

But God didn’t leave me without an answer.

I asked a good friend and ministry partner, Dale Berkey, to pray and fast with me, asking God to reveal His plan for the children around the world to escape this attack. The message I received was very clear, “I want you to take My Word to the children of the world, and you will do it through leaders; I have sent my Word to heal them.”

Responding to the Vision

Since God had specified “His Word” and “leaders,” by faith, we took our first step. We acquired the names of the fifty most powerful people in every Spanish-speaking nation—presidents, ministers of education, and ministers of health—and inscribed their names in gold on beautiful Vida Study Bibles. These Bibles were then presented to the country leaders through missionary friends and Editorial Vida.

As a result, we received invitations to be the guests of presidents in several countries. But most amazingly, an invitation came from the Minister of Education in the country of El Salvador asking if we would provide the Word of God to every child in every school in the country! God was leading the way and showing us how we were to take His Word to the children of the world.

Our team went to work to develop a harmonized Scripture portion specifically for children and youth. The result was El Libro de Vida, or what is known today as the Book of Hope. At that time, a million children in El Salvador were handed God’s Word.

An Impossible Goal?

My son Rob has, since 2009, carried on the vision of OneHope under the banner of “God’s Word. Every Child.”

Do we think our goal of reaching every child around the world with a contextualized Gospel presentation is possible? It sounds too big—and for us it is—but with God, NOTHING is IMPOSSIBLE.

We celebrated reaching our billionth child with God’s Word in February of last year. But we only paused long enough to thank Him for his favor, then kept on going because there is still so much to be done! We have plans to reach nearly 100 million more kids with the Gospel this year through our partnerships with churches, non-profits, schools and governments around the world.

Utilizing research and implementing an outcome-based ministry model has allowed us to develop a variety of tools for churches and other organizations to minister to the wide range of heartfelt needs of children and youth around the world.

We are excited about what God is going to continue to do when we dream big and follow his leading to expand the Kingdom.

Photo: OneHope Founder Bob Hoskins presents the 50 millionth Book of Hope to Tiffany in Peru. She is now reaching her own community with the Gospel. Watch her story here.



Bob HoskinsAfter spending years as a missionary around the world, Bob Hoskins founded the ministry of OneHope in 1987. Since that day he has worked tirelessly to tell each and every child about the love of Jesus, never losing sight of his God-given vision.

updated 4/16

Is God’s Word Enough for Our Kids? Part 2

Read part 1 

A young woman getting ready to enter the mission field many years ago asked my mom for her best piece of advice. Mom told her, “You have to be flexible and creative.” It was great advice then, and it’s been solid for our ministry undertakings as well.

Through the years, we’ve had to find ways to share the power of God’s Word in innovative and creative ways. Here are a just a few:

How We Are Reaching Every Child with God’s Word

Film. In 2005, OneHope came up with a way to reach the illiterate, preliterate, and alliterate with the Gospel story through the medium of film. Each of the 11 versions of The GodMan has live-action introductions and conclusions that feature a relatable story line of characters speaking the local language where the film will be viewed—an innovative first. In addition to The GodMan, we have utilized short films contextualized to specific cultures including:

  • En Tus Manos (In Your Hands) follows the struggle of a boy growing up in a violent neighborhood in Bogota, Colombia.
  • Paper Flower Set in fast-paced Tokyo, Paper Flower follows two girls on very different paths as they try to get what they think they want. Paper Flower tackles some of the most dire and serious issues that Japanese teens face: suicide, enjo kōsai—or “compensated dating” as it is referred to in Japan—and family honor.
  • Before Dark tells the story of a jaded child soldier struggling to fight for the life he was destined to live, not the one that was forced upon him
  • Running Deer follows a Native American teen named Tyler as he is caught at a crossroads between moving on from life in his small town and facing the hard realities at home with the people who mean the most to him.

Storytelling. Ministry leaders reported the struggle of kids not returning to church programs after their first few visits. OneHope looked into the challenge and created God’s Big Story—a program that helps children learn Bible stories and uncover the underlying message of redemption and restoration through a series of illustrated cards. One story is told every week at the Bible club, and a card is given out illustrating that week’s story. A teaser for the following week’s story and invitation to return to hear it and collect the next card in the series helps boost return rates. The curriculum has seen incredible results, significantly raising program retention and helping better reach children in oral storytelling cultures.

Thematic programs such as Foundations for Farming, a program that equips teachers to train students about no-till farming from a Biblical perspective, are currently in the works. Curricula like this not only provide opportunities for students to increase in knowledge that will help them and their community survive and thrive, but also to actively engage with God’s Word. The same goes for our Hygiene Matters program, where schoolchildren learn life-saving information about good hygiene practices to prevent or treat intestinal worm infections. More importantly the material addresses the deepest need of their hearts— their need for salvation through God’s Word.

Sports. A universal language in any country around the world is the basis for programs and materials that equip soccer and cricket coaches to engage their players in Scripture. The Bible metanarrative is presented in conjunction with foundational sport skills and life skills as part of a 16-session program helping children understand a relationship with God along with 16 other important life skills such as integrity, self-control, leadership, confidence, and perseverance.

Digital. Today, we are developing innovative tools for this generation of digital natives, including the Bible App for Kids­—a free Bible storybook app now also a print storybook Bible developed in partnership with YouVersion. These innovative programs are bringing children’s ministries around the globe to the next level of what is needed to reach children and youth in today’s tech-savvy world.

As we contextualize the Gospel to a variety of situations, we remain undeterred in our mission to reach every child with God’s Word, because it is our conviction that God’s Word is enough for this generation—and every one that will come after it.

Do you believe that too? Let us know in the comments section below and share your story about how you are helping kids be undeterred.

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Rob-01Rob was born to missionary parents, which is where his passion to spread the truth in God’s Word began. Rob has served with OneHope (formerly Book of Hope) for over 22 years, and been president since 2004. His leadership, coupled with the implementation of an innovative Outcome-Based Ministry (OBM) model, has expanded the literature distribution ministry to include a rapidly growing catalogue of innovative mediums. He and his family, wife- Kim, daughters- Diandra and Natasha, live near OneHope’s global headquarters in Pompano Beach, Florida, but their hearts beat on every continent around the world.


Is God’s Word Enough For Our Kids? Part 1

OneHope began in 1987 with the Book of Hope—a contextualized harmonization of the Gospel for kids! At the time, no other ministry was going to such lengths to make sure children received a copy of the Good News they could easily understand. From the get-go, we have continued to innovate resources for churches and organizations around the world to use to share the Good News.

As social justice started becoming an increasingly popular movement, people began challenging us on whether providing God’s Word to children and youth is enough.

Maybe you have also asked yourself this question too. Is God’s Word really enough to save a child—for today as well as for eternity? Enough to radically change lives in the here and now? Enough to make a difference in life’s day-to-day realities?

Our answer to that question is multi-faceted, but starts off with a resounding YES. We believe that God’s Word is more than enough; it is beyond what each of us deserves (Romans 6:23). God’s Word is powerful and alive (Hebrews 4:12). Presenting people with the Gospel message and giving them a chance to accept and believe in Jesus is the only “thing” we can give that will introduce them to the One who can truly transform their lives (Ephesians 2:8).

The Gospel Instead of a Roof

At OneHope, we want to alter destinies, not just modify current circumstances. Tiffany’s story is one that we love to share because it speaks into the inter-related topics of social and spiritual justice.

Tiffany received our 50 millionth copy of the Book of Hope in 1999. The OneHope team walked her home to celebrate the exciting milestone. Her community was a congested and dirty alleyway filled with makeshift scrap houses. The celebrants arrived to find the roof to her house being repossessed because her father had failed to make the roof payment.

There were several organizations working in the area that helped people with housing, but instead of providing Tiffany with a new roof, we had provided her with God’s Word. Tiffany became a Christian and this started a domino effect as she shared her faith with her family.

Not only did her mother accept Christ, but her father finally did too. Her father’s conversion helped him beat his alcohol addiction, which in turn enabled him to return to work and support his family, including paying for the roof. The entire family was healed in a chain reaction to our handing Tiffany the Book of Hope.

As her story illustrates, the Gospel is the best long-term solution we could hope to give to people like Tiffany. In hindsight, providing a roof would have simply covered her family’s problems, hiding the hurt and abuse going on inside that home. Instead, God’s Word opened up and addressed the root of their problems, setting her family on a trajectory of healing and hope for the future.

Social Justice vs. Spiritual Justice

There are thousands of “Tiffanys” out there; her story is actually quite average. But it affirms the research that teens who become involved with a faith community, are engaged with the Bible, and have a life-changing encounter with Jesus can be permanently transformed.

There is no justice—social or spiritual—without Jesus.

Proclaiming the Gospel and providing compassionate relief BOTH constitute evangelism. And both are important. But until we treat the root cause of problems, we will only be providing temporary aid and not affecting lasting life-change.

Our tagline is God’s Word. Every Child. That’s a tall order, but one we are passionate about fulfilling. We have always believed that if we could share God’s Word with every child the world would be drastically different.

In order to reach every child, we need to speak their language. That means leveraging a variety of mediums and formats to make Scripture engaging and relevant for a variety of ages and situations.

Next… how we are reaching every child with God’s Word.



About the Author:

Rob-01Rob was born to missionary parents, which is where his passion to spread the truth in God’s Word began. Rob has served with OneHope (formerly Book of Hope) for over 22 years, and been president since 2004. His leadership, coupled with the implementation of an innovative Outcome-Based Ministry (OBM) model, has expanded the literature distribution ministry to include a rapidly growing catalogue of innovative mediums. He and his family, wife- Kim, daughters- Diandra and Natasha, live near OneHope’s global headquarters in Pompano Beach, Florida, but their hearts beat on every continent around the world.


Using video to make the Bible POP

Veteran Bible teacher, former children & family pastor, and former itinerant musical missionary for Campus Crusade for Christ’s Keynote division Dominic Francese developed

Each video presents teaching from the Bible through tasty, bite-size videos, so that children and their families can be discipled for Jesus, online and at home, throughout the world.

 At OneHope, we appreciate the focus on International Outreach to Un-Reached People Groups. To date, BiblePop has seen its strongest impact through allowing indigenous Christian ministries to re-broadcast its episodes in areas of the world usually considered unfriendly to the Gospel.


It’s exciting to see how God’s Word is being broadcast to kids around the world in many formats!


UnknownDominic Francese is married with four daughters and lives in southeast Michigan. Since the end of his stint with Campus Crusade for Christ (now called CRU), Dominic has worked as a church pastor in Carmel, Indiana, and Livonia, Michigan, and is currently leading a regional riding-arena Cowboy Church outreach, in addition to the extensive production-related work that he carries out for his BiblePop ministry. BiblePop has operated under the auspices of Artists in Christian Testimony International, based in Nashville, TN, since 2011.

Parenting Into Grace

My 9 year old son asked me a tough parenting question as I walked out of his bedroom last night.

We had just finished our pre-bed routine, and after a new story from the Bible App for Kids, a couple of sibling pot-shots at his older sister, and a short bedtime prayer, I was reaching for the light switch when his pensive, little brain conjured up this inquiry:

“Dad, sometimes I have bad thoughts run through my head. I can’t make them stop. I try to make them stop, but they just keep coming. How do I make them go away?”


In one short interrogative, my 4th grader stumbled squarely into the greatest issue we face as human beings. Sin isn’t just a list of the bad things that we do, it’s a disease rooted deep inside us.

Last year, I was diagnosed with a blood disorder. The antibodies that normally fight off infection issued a unilateral executive order that the platelets in my blood were now foreign objects that needed to be destroyed. This screwed up reaction causes my blood to clot when it isn’t supposed to. Scabs around a wound stop dangerous bleeding, but scabs floating freely through in the veins and arteries in your head stops….well…life.

I use this analogy to explain sin to my kids. It’s like a blood disease. It’s inside of us. We were born into it. And it isn’t something we can cure by ourselves.

So how do we step into a question like this with our kids? We parent them into grace.

  • The Law (God’s holiness) is meant to crush us.
  • The Gospel (Jesus’ death and resurrection) raises us up.
  • The Holy Spirit (God’s promised gift to the redeemed) empowers us for righteousness.

This is the Good News!

But in our desire to be both perfect and loving parents, we sometimes respond with two unfortunate mistakes. In my son’s case those might look something like this:

It’s okay buddy, God’s love is big. Don’t worry about it.


What?! (Schwartz!) You can’t do that! Exercise some self-control! No television or video games for a month!

Problem #1: Our sin is not okay. Let me say that again. Our. Sin. Is. Not. O. K. Brokenness is part of the human condition, no doubt. And surrendering to the fact that you’re broken is the beginning of hope and healing. But no matter what this culture of tolerance and acceptance is telling you, your sin, my sin, our sin, is not something God overlooks. And it won’t stand up under the weight of God’s holiness. Don’t tell your kids that it will. The solution to our sin is not the removal of God’s standard. Let the Law crush them.

Problem #2: We can’t fix ourselves. Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. It doesn’t originate in us, it originates in the work of Christ on our behalf. Sharing Jesus with our kids solely as an example to emulate will do them in. Showing them Jesus as a Savior will bring them life! As Tim Keller so poignantly says it, “The key question in order to change you is not ‘What would Jesus do? but What has Jesus done for you?

My son stumbled quietly toward a beautiful truth last night. His “blood disorder” was producing bad things in his heart and mind and he knew it was wrong (the Law was beginning to crush him). Where we parent our kids from that point becomes the key question.

The Law crushes. The Gospel raises up. The Spirit empowers.

Let’s parent them into that grace. I wish I always got this right, but I guess that’s why I desperately need this message, too.


Cooper BioErik Cooper is the vice-president of Community Reinvestment Foundation, Inc., a non-profit that mobilizes business to create sustainable revenue for missions work all over the world. He blogs regularly about life, ministry, business, and missions at