A Story of Faith in Action

As prison guards searched her belongings, fear and doubt threatened Ana Machado’s resolve. God had called her to share His Word. He had opened too many doors at the Miami, Fla. correctional facility for her to turn back. What would she find inside? How would the women respond?  

“That first day, God provided the strength. He opened so many doors to get to those beautiful souls,” she shared.   

When the guards finally allowed Ana and her two friends to enter, they saw hundreds of women standing in line for their evening meal. With nothing to offer but God’s Word, Ana asked each woman if she might be interested in joining a Bible study. Most declined, but one woman in her 20’s hesitated.  

Looking over her shoulder, the young woman said, “I’ll come.”

As Ana and her friend Martha talked about Jesus and His love for sinners, the woman sat in tense silence. Encouraged by the group to share, Martha remembers her saying:

“My grandmother was a Christian woman. I just came out of being in solitary confinement for 30 days. I’m one of the most hardened ones in here. In that solitary confinement, I was given a little pamphlet about Matthew, and I was reading the gospel. And when you said you were beginning in Matthew, something pushed me that I needed to go with you ladies. I just need you to explain to me more about Jesus.”

Captivated by the woman’s story, Ana’s fears and doubts dissolved. The “hardened criminal” before her was simply a lost and lonely young woman. Ana, herself, had been lost once, longing for something to give her peace. She knew how it felt to hunger for Saving Grace. With a compassion born of the Holy Spirit, Ana and Martha shared the gospel.

“Will God really forgive me?” the woman asked. “Will He really forgive me for everything I’ve done, for all my crimes?” 

Speaking from experience, Ana said “Yes.” In tears, the woman fell to her knees and accepted Jesus as her Savior.

At the end of the study, the woman shared:

“My life has been transformed because of this Bible study and because I have come to know Christ. That first night I was so fearful, now I talk to the others in here, the other inmates, about Jesus. And because I was who I was, I have learned that it’s given me a platform. And they listen.”

Today, Ana continues to share God’s Word with the women in the Homestead Correctional Facility. She is no longer afraid because they have become like family. 

“God has showed me through the prison ministry that although they are incarcerated, although they are behind bars, with God they can all find true freedom. They are leading a free life in Christ, even behind bars. This fact alone is so humbling. We became their advocates. When you hear their stories, God softens your heart. You truly learn to listen,” Ana shared.

Through a simple act of obedience, Ana stepped through prison doors. From there, God opened hearts. Each of us has a BSF story to share, and each of us has one that God is writing. How will God use you to impact others for Christ? Where is He calling you to share?  

Share Your BSF Story

How has God used BSF to change your life? How are you sharing BSF with others? We want to celebrate God’s work in your life! Share your BSF story below.

209 Comments

  1. When I first joined BSF, I didn’t know how to trust any one including God. I have changed in the past 20 years – so much so that looking at my past, it seems like I’m seeing someone else. Glory to God for his mercy, forgiveness and love of His children. I lived in “Saint Mary’s Children’s Home” from 8 months until I was 5. My parents had been ordered to undergo psychiatric care. When we were reunited, I met 3 other siblings who also lived in the Home, but in other buildings.
    Although there were moments of closeness, I never bonded with my parents. Being a parent meant Strict Discipline. Maybe they didn’t want me to repeat their mistakes. No matter the reason, I never felt loved (by my standard) or trusted. That is, not until the Holy Spirit picked me up and set me down to study His word. I am Grateful to BSF and my sisters who have prayed, supporting me and one another. I’m not a great student but as time passes, I know I am growing. I finally forgave, found trust, and understand love. It’s a blessing to love others because God then blesses me with His love. I can trust others now, because I trust God explicitly.

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    • Marquita – thank you for sharing! Only God can give us that strength to forgive. Your story is a beautiful encouragement to all who are struggling with past wounds. A wonderful testimony!

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  2. BSF though on– line expounding of God’s word helped me draw closer to God much more than ever before!

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  3. I grew up in a spiritually abusive high control group that also happened to be my family. Broken and deeply isolated, I found the strength to leave at the age of 20. Although cut off and abandoned, the abuse did not stop there. For most of my adult life, my desperate need for love and approval kept me grasping for their acceptance and longing for reconciliation. To say the Bible was used as a weapon against me would be an understatement. My mother passed away four years ago. Eye opening events that took place thereafter led me to challenge that which kept me spinning in circles. I had believed God was the central player in my lifelong punishment and ultimate rejection. Someone told me about BSF earlier this year and without giving it much thought, I signed up. I knew it was going to be a challenge for me when I realized we would be studying the Old Testament, the primary source of my fear and confusion. With the support of my wonderful, patient husband and gracious women from my BSF group, my understanding of God is shifting. I have been so afraid to look for myself, but the veil has finally lifted and I’m blinded with God’s love and grace that’s splattered throughout the pages of the Old Testament. I lost a lot of time and I don’t know what my future holds, but this I’ll say. As I wipe the tears from my eyes, I will stand to my feet. Then I will run. I may not accomplish anything of great importance, but I’m still going to run. This is the race set before me. To know the real God. And this time, no one and nothing is going to stop me.

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    • Sheri, Reading your story brought tears to my eyes. It was like you were talking about MY life. Once my parents passed away, (I was over 50 years old) I was able to forgive and stop blaming. I agree with you about BSF: it has allowed me to grow spiritually. Looking back at the past 20 years, I see how God guided me through the ‘baby steps’ and matured me to being able to run. (not physically). Keeping a Gratitude Journal helped me to overcome the hurts of childhood and I constantly am thankful for BSF and my sisters in Christ who are traveling this road with me, giving such love and support that I never knew before. The Holy Spirit has given each of us a ministry: Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Thank you for sharing your story. It confirmed God’s work in my life.

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  4. What a beautiful and touching story. Thank you Ana for being strong in the Lord and revealing to us that it’s all about HIM! We just need to step forward in obedient to see His Greatness and how He can use us in unimaginable ways. Thank you both, Martha and Ana for being such faithful and willing followers in the Call .

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  5. I started my first BSF when my children were babies. I was Christian with a strong testimony about life. Over the years BSF and the Holy Spirit have worked together to strengthen and deepen my faith. What a great joy it is to live in and love Jesus as He guides me step by step every day.

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  6. Because BSF keeps us in the word, change is inevitable. It’s now 6 years since a dear friend introduced me to Bible study. The fruit is that am renewed to approach life not to myself only but helping others as well to be likewise. first of all with a God- centered approach but also not in isolation. All through scripture,it was God involved with ordinary people like me.

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  7. BSF has given me an opportunity, with other men in Liverpool, UK to explore and gain increasingly intimate Biblical knowledge, and learning how it all fits together. I have been a born-again Believer since age 10 (Iam now 77), and have been painfully aware of the persistent Biblical illiteracy in our churches, which does not bode well for us in the days and years to come. We need, now more than ever to be able and equipped to give an account of our faith and ownership with Christ before those who would oppose us, and strong Biblical knowledge is the only sure way of equipping us for this. BSF makes a great contribution here.

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    • Michael – thank you for sharing!

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  8. When I first entered BSF I had accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior but I knew very little beyond that. Thanks to a loving and caring wife who had just recently started in BSF, I was encouraged to join.
    My first study was Romans and that was the match that lit the fire for bible study. I looked forward to Monday nights and my small group. As God’s word was revealed to me through study and discussion it made me want more. After three years I was asked to consider being a Children’s Leader. I prayed and questioned God because I didn’t think I was ready for such an undertaking.
    But the bible shows how God uses ordinary people, just like me, to accomplish His will and to glorify Him. For the next fourteen years I was both a Children’s Leader and a Children’s Supervisor for a new start up class. Throughout this time God continued to provide me with strength and wisdom to lead these precious children to Him and to demonstrate how studying God’s word can be fun and make a true difference in your life.
    Miss Johnson’s mantra of “Seven Years of Study for a Lifetime of Service” was certainly true in my life. I have been leading a Sunday School for over six years at my church (yes, Children’s Leaders can teach adults 😊) while also serving as a Deacon. This would not have been possible without almost twenty years of BSF training. BSF prepared me to serve the church and I am forever grateful and humbled.

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  9. On Tuesday my son 12 asked me to buy juice. I was down to my last dollar but I still gave him. After buying the juice he was given a $20 dollar in change. Upon seeing it he asked the cashier If all was well as he was just given $20usd as change. He gave it back and upon reaching the car he told me what had just happened. His words were mum with all the bsf lessons mum and what I see you doing I couldn’t walk away with that money though I know we need it. I nearly cried as I listened but at the same time I gave glory to God as I remembered my prayer that God would raise a remnant in my children’s generation and i felt that was God’s way of telling me nomatter how the world will continue to fail he still has those that will stand for his glory

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  10. God is using BSF to change my whole family’s life. I grew up as a Pastor’s kid, but my whole family has struggled with finding a good church home since my Dad retired from pastoral ministry. We have been discouraged with the lack of Biblical teaching and study in most churches. My mom started doing BSF 4 years ago when a friend invited her, and today my mom leads a BSF group that I attend with my grandmother and sister in law. I am praying for a children’s program to be started in our city so my daughter study God’s word with other children! I cannot overstate the encouragement that BSF has been to me, my mom, grandmother, sister in law, and each of our families. We all attend different churches, and knowing that no matter what is taught (or not taught) in church on Sunday we can go to BSF and be spiritually fed makes all the difference. My husband loves hearing about what I am learning in BSF, and we are praying for a men’s program to be started in our town as well. Thank you to the dedicated leadership of BSF. I love that the focus of BSF is on the Bible, and not on any outside ideas that seem “popular” or “relevant.” The Bible is the only thing that really helps when life is hard, and it is what we need. BSF has helped me learn how to read the Bible better all the time, not just when I am doing my weekly homework. Thank you!

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  11. How big or small are we on this planet which begs the question?
    How many Earth’s can you fit inside our sun? The answer can be a spiritual answer or a discussion! Because You get various answers from 2, 100, 500, 1,000 100,000, and up but rarely the right answer which is 1.3 million. This can be a shock to many and begs the question how did God do this? It will make many people think about how small we really are… like a grain of sand And now you begin to look at your relationship to Jesus. I have had great success with this question.

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  12. This is outside of my comfort zone which is usually where I am called to go! Last year God led me to a project of sharing His Word through advent ornaments. This year I was praying about how He wanted me to share about them. What I heard was to share them with my circle…I thought of my friends and family. Then I saw the “Your Story Matters” BSF email…ok, I hear you, Lord! I used to be a School Counselor and have since been called to let my license go and to share and teach His Word, both inside BSF and with my occupational training. It’s like when Nehemiah said, “I was cupbearer to the king.” (Nehemiah 1:11). God calls and changes our roles! We are strategically placed and when He calls, we get to go. In BSF, I am a Children’s Supervisor in a new Student Program class and outside of BSF, I have been called to empower people with Truth. BSF has been the tool He has used to change my whole life around. I love the Word and I know that is because, by His great design and provision, I have been taught and shepherded by women of faith who have gone before me and had the heart of God to share and sacrifice so that I could know and have the heart of God too. To God be all the glory! 🙂

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  13. I use to be a BSF children’s leader, many years ago. Because of a lot of medical issues I stopped. I loved every minute of it though. It helped me work with the little ones in my church, limited mobility issues and all, then my husband passed away and my daughter helped me to realize that I didn’t need to be alone, so a year later she purchased a house in the area of my other children, & took me there to live. I was like a fish out of the water,! I felt so alone, then one day as I was having a big party ( pity party) the Lord directed me to my computer to see about an online BSF class, after a while I obeyed. The administrators were were unbelievable kind to me, inviting me to an in-person satellite class whenever I could make. I discovered a church member who lives in my vicinity went to BSF too, I went and everyone was so kind & considerate of my limited mobility & made me feel like they had been waiting for me to come. I can only thank God for sending me back and for revealing to me that I could still be used in His service. I have learned so much about Him that I need to pass on. Studying about the prophets and learning the “why” of their msg. made me more aware of why it became so important for me to share.

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  14. Praise God for your ministry. My heart shouts for joy when someone is able to come to Jesus from a dark place. May the light of Jesus continue to shine there through this ministry.

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  15. I was hesitant to comment. Not for any other reason than I didn’t know that with all the other great contributions if mine would be of value. However, I was struck by the Spirit to summarize my story and include a time when He was clearly working in our BSF group, and He offered me a chance to do His work.
    And as the Spirit reminds me, be fully transparent. It’s the only way to tell my story because it really isn’t my story, but being transparent is the best way to bring light to His work which I like to remember as my personal miracle.

    After 20+ years of an active alcoholic, I finally went to recovery and gained some sobriety. That alone would be an awesome story and reflect His working in my life in creating a personal miracle in my life 😊

    But, it goes on a bit…barely 2 months sober, I went through my first ever BSF study in ’19-’20. After that, I wasn’t sure I’d continue, but I was asked in Aug ’20 to be a Children’s Leader in the Fort Wayne program. I’m quite ignorant in regard to Scripture and was at best a Doubting Thomas when I was an active alcoholic…how could I be any kind of ‘instructor’? But I prayed and asked guidance on Sunday morning before church. That sermon was all about how Micah trusted the Lord and put himself in challenging situations but in ones where he trusted the Lord to guide him. I took that as an answer and accepted the opportunity to be a part of the Children’s program.

    Last year, ’21-’22, was my second as a Children’s Leader. And it was the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I had been in a rough patch; I was still sober but feeling sorry for myself. So after our BSF Leaders’ meeting that Saturday morning, I got in my car and prayed thanking Him for the gifts of grace, mercy, and sobriety and asked Him that if I could be of service to Him that day that He let me know (and be pretty clear because I’m slow on the uptake lol).

    Less than half a mile of driving after finishing my prayer, I received a call from a fellow BSF instructor asking me to call a person in his adult men’s group who had relapsed with alcohol and was in a bad place. Even I couldn’t miss that sign as a clear one from Him on how I could be of service to Him!
    I called the alcoholic who’d relapsed and over the course of a month, he was able to get some sobriety and get back to working a daily recovery plan.

    I am taking the year off as a Children’s Leader to attend to some personal affairs, but I stay in touch with my fellow instructors and look forward to continuing my service to Him next year as a Children’s Leader and in any way I can as He presents the opportunities to me!

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  16. I have been going to BSF for a little over 10 years. BSF helps me not only remember to study on a daily basis, but guides me through study. I have also met and stay in contact with small group members, making forever friends in Christ. Going to BSF is very important to me and it’s part of what I do on Monday’s. I really notice and feel it when I miss a week.

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  17. I have been attending BSF with my mom and sisters since I was 18 years old off and on waiting for new opportunity’s to rejoin. And go through it again in my 30 s and 40 s it’s always been a go to for me a constant in my life even if I changed church’s I stayed with BSF.. Gods story in me is to grow me into a willing woman of great character and faith believing on Him in the midst of troubles and tragedies. Knowing I am loved and cared for so is my family always we have stayed constant in love of the Father bringing my father and brothers together to join.. a family joining in and hearing Gods word. We shared with each other our past and present learning and love God . But I remain strong in Christ in my nursing career meeting others who went to BSF and grew closer as I did.

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    • Rebecca – thank you for sharing!

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  18. I did bible study at Lieber Correctional Institution in South Carolina. When you sit down with men that have nothing to give except themselves you have a true worship of God. Turning hearts and minds to the ways of Jesus Christ moves your spirit to places that you can only get to by sharing HIM.

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    • Ray – thank you for sharing!

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  19. I wasn’t raised with any spiritual input, in fact, my parents were atheists and none of my relatives were churched. When I was in the 3rd grade a classmate who lived in my neighborhood invited me to a club at her house. As it turned out it was a Good News Bible Club. I was only allowed to go 3 or 4 times before my father put a stop to me “hearing all that nonsense.” But I had heard about a God that loved me no matter what and there was some “nonsense” about His son who died for me. That was confusing but I liked the part about unconditional love from a God who created the whole world. (Unconditional love was not something felt within my family.) To counteract the “nonsense” that other people believed my dad decided to read us Bible stories and then explain why simple, uneducated people needed these stories to help explain things in the world and to think for them. But, as we know, God’s word does not return empty, but will accomplish the purpose for which it was sent it (Is 55:11). I believed these stories as being true. For many years after I would hear or observe things that church going people did that didn’t fit with what I already knew. I knew if I ever found the God I heard about in the stories and at my friend’s house everything would make sense. When I was 28, I got married in October and moved to a city without any friends. A neighbor invited me to go to BSF and I signed up in May. In early September I had a month-old baby and found a sitter so I could attend class. I went mainly to meet other women. I finally understood why my sins kept me from God and why I needed a savior. So many things change quickly. I convinced my husband to go to church because it would be good for our child. I knew very little about prayer but ask for prayers that my husband would return to the faith he had as a young man. By the next September he had sold his business and we moved to Dallas so he could attend seminary. We’ve never looked back. We’ve had to rely on God, and He’s always been faithful. I needed to know the academics of Christianity. BSF gave me that, but mostly it led me to have a true heart for God.

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    • Mary – this is such a powerful testimony! So grateful for the way God pursues His people. Thank you so much for sharing

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  20. Today I am recalling my experiece and how God brought me to BSF. I say this because, I had just moved to Beaumont Tx. I was very scared to this new journey was bringing me into, you see I had been seeking God and honestly God knew that in his perfect timing He would bring himself into my life. My husband and I came knowing we needed to find everything, apartment, furnishing everything. I prayed and asked God to provide for our needs. Well He is so merciful and I knew I didnt want new furnishing becasue of cost and low and behold, right next to the aparment we found an Estate sale and I found everything that I needed, now while I was there I stated about us moving her and also seeking a church. There was definitely God fearing people there and offered me to attend at there church. I went and I received a welcome that took all me fears of my thought (in my mind) why God what are you doing with me, you see I had been seeking God as a mentioned and I had recently been baptised, so I was actually I was saying out loud on this .. why God! what are you doing! dont you see I am new I need you, I prayed and prayed and I found a place where I could find food God’s food. I recall so clearly on a sunday in Dec 15, 2013 while attending service and while I was singing away in worship a lady turned around me and boldly said .. I don’t know why but would you like to go to bible study with me on Wednesday, crazy right someone just a woman asked me. I recall saying Yes and we made arrangement to meet up and we did.. it was the Wednesday before Christmas break .. for me well it was okay with me I was just so excited. I was told when the studies would start again on Jan. Here is where I knew it was God guiding me answaring my prayers, showing me just how Merciful he was to me. You see when Jan came back, I went to the church on that next Wednesday after break, The lady that invited me waa there and I recall her seeing me there, she looked shocked seeing me there, she apologized to not reach out to me about it starting back. I recall telling her NO WORRIES all is good, You did your part the rest of this was for me. I thanked her and let me say the lady is now, I can say is a dear friend of mine. God not only feed my sould but also gave me a friend, a sister in christ and I LOVE HER DEARLY. On Nov 23rd 2022 I sent her a Thank you text expressing my gratitude and LOVE friendship for her. This is how God brought me to BSF and since then I have had the honor to continue not only, where, I started but through other cities since, I travel with my husband, BSF is everywhere. I introduce my self as a BSF gypy. I get to meet so many amazing God fearing woman in the state of TX. My home home BSF is actually San Antonio. God is Almighty!, he is never too late, always when, perfect time. He answers is my everything, even in times of trail and tribulations, and my joyful time. I never knew but God does. I had a stroke in Feb 2019, my greatest fear at that time was thinking, I wouldnt be able to read and speak, how could I continue with my studies, well, let me say every day I deal with my aphasia and sometime it can be very overwhelming but I think , this is just God working in me, a GIFT so to me this is new ME and I am okay. So anyone reading this know God gots us, so share your BSF cause we all have a story of how we received this amazing gift. Well thank you for taking a minute or 2 hearing my story. btw excuse any typo errors we will brame them on my brain hiccups

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    • Dee – what a wonderful story! So encouraging. God can do amazing work through a single act of obedience – a quick invitation to BSF. Thank you for sharing!

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  21. Thank you for sharing this powerful story!

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  22. As a convert to Christianity, BSF methods and practices gave me the opportunity to study God’ word away from any denominational biases. Just me and the Word.
    Completed 14 years (7 in leadership) of BSF in English. Last year I rejoined after I found that it is being offered in my native language.

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  23. In a library a woman handed me a BSF card. A second later I went to find her and she was gone (angel). I had just gone through the sudden death of my 23 year oldest son. I attended BSF looking for peace and healing from the deep, heavy darkness, anger and grief. My first Leader was Meg. I have always been a believer but did not know the Word. I fell in love with the Bible. God sent both the library lady and BSF Meg to me to alter my path. My husband developed cancer and I had mentioned to Meg that he was a Marine. Meg (working at the VA) kept after me for two years occasionally asking if I had checked my husband’s cancer with the VA. Turnes out, he was stationed at Camp Lejeune 45 years ago and was covered for the cancer he developed. Meg was the conduit to God’s plan. Today my husband is in remission, and I’m forever blessed/thankful to Meg and God and his plan. Having a son die suddenly and not knowing the Word, I had that chance that we all hear about to choose the darkness or the light. I chose God’s light and to walk with the Lord as He and I rebuilt my life without my son. Since I chose God, my family has been blessed X a million; it’s incredible. This is my 6th year in BSF and I’m hooked. I have made life- long friends from BSF. I know the Word enough to play it forward with others who grieve. God has placed me in front of so many who have lost a loved one. I had the honor of meeting a lady yesterday who lost her husband. December 23 will be two years, and I can see her sadness of going through another holiday without him. I look forward to sharing my story, BSF, and the never-ending light of God with her. God will fill your life with joy and happiness again. Thanks for reading this.

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  24. Thanks a lot for sharing, I want to share the story with others, and wanted to download it and save it. Please guide me, I appreciate these stories of encouragement.

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  25. I could not be more thankful for BSF! Although I had been a Christian for many years, I had an issue with how I treated my husband. I was pretty critical and did not appreciate him as I should. Even though I knew what the Bible said, I never really followed the precepts regarding considering my husband lord. But BSF helped me to become a servant and to get into the habit of being more the person God wanted me to be. BSF became the catalyst of change in my life. It’s been a process but BSF began the change and I am so appreciative of what God has done and is continuing to do. I thank God for BSF!

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  26. My wife had attended BSF long before I did and because she was taking time to study Gods word each night, my curiosity drew me in because I saw a changed woman, a happier, more contented woman. So I joined a men’s group and after a few years, it gave me the courage to lead my Sunday School class . I was being fed Gods word at BSF and started feeding Gods word to my class at Church. It was then that I discovered my personal relationship with Christ Jesus! Before then, I had known a lot about Christ, but didn’t know Him personally! Thank you BSF, my time spent studying Gods Word, illuminated by Gods Holy Spirit, has literally saved my life!

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  27. The things from BSF was shared by member and I was very excited about it . And so I follow the lessons through her.

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  28. BSF has changed my life! I wish everyone could experience it. I had no idea the depth of relationship one could have with God until BSF.
    After attending a welcome class 10 years ago, I walked out thinking ‘nah, this isn’t for me’. I filled out a registration card so it looked like I was interested and I hadn’t wasted their time, but I was dead set on not going back. 4 months later I got the welcome call and I have to say, I was pretty excited, what did I have to lose? I was the gal in the group who was always asking questions during discussion time. The rest of my group was patient and I loved hearing their insight–how could these women know so much about God’s word? I was simply amazed and a bit jealous if I’m being honest. I wanted that same knowledge.
    While I attended BSF I was very reluctant to share, I didn’t really want them knowing what I was dealing with behind closed doors. Everyone else seemed to have more perfect lives than I did. No one else came within seconds of committing suicide? No one else struggled to put food on the table? No one else had a husband that hit them? I was embarrassed.
    What I have learned is God had a plan for me all along. He planted me at BSF to build my strength, my courage, my faith, and my relationship with Him, so when I reached the deepest valley in my life, I could trust in Him….completely. God carried me through that valley and revealed Himself to me in ways I could never imagine. Now I am one of those knowledgeable women I desired to be like and I’m no longer embarrassed to talk about hard things because I learned that there is a group of women who are eager to pray for you and walk along side you.
    I felt called to be a Group Leader this year. If you had asked me 10 years ago if I would be a group leader, I would have said ‘No Way!’ Like I said, God had a plan for me all along.

    How Great Thou Art! (The song I just heard while finishing this-how perfect!)

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  29. This has really challenged me, so God help me to be an Ana

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  30. BSF opened my eyes to the work of the Holy Spirit. For years I struggled with depression and guilt for being depressed. I grew up in a Christian home, but secretly thought for a long time that it was too hard to be a Christian. 1Thess. 5:16-18 always made me feel like a fraud, because I wasn’t always joyful, I didn’t pray as much as I should have (certainly not continually), and I didn’t give thanks in all circumstances. I always wondered who would be able to live up to all these things.

    Many times, I resolved to be a “better” Christian. I resolved to have a closer walk with God. To do that, I tried hard to have 1) daily quiet time 2) more prayer 3) more dedication to serving. Of course, each time I fell short.

    Secretly, I concluded that it is easy to become a Christian (simply accept Jesus), but it is too hard to be one. BSF helped me to shatter that lie. This is my second year in BSF. Last year we studied Matthew. I saw the work of the Holy Spirit from a perspective I had not seen before. I learned that the mighty power that resurrected Jesus is the same Spirit who dwells in me and enables me to be more like Christ.

    This was a new concept for me. I was so focused on “what to do”, I overlooked that first I should get out of my own way and let God do in me what I could never do myself.

    When I go back and read those verses that used to haunt me and make me feel like a fraudulent Christian, I see now I didn’t read the last three words:

    “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

    I pray for God to help me understand more about living in the Spirit. This year, I am learning that God continually pursues me. I am glad He does. I am glad He didn’t give up on me when I essentially gave up on Him.

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  31. I have been a member of BSF for 37 years. One of my teaching leaders made it very clear that I couldn’t take in all the wisdom of God’s Word and not share it. Not long after that someone came to my church looking for volunteers for a ministry called Need Him. I knew God was calling me to this ministry. I have been involved in this ministry for many years and not a day goes by that I am not sharing either what I learned in BSF or directing them to the BSF website.

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  32. This is my 15th year attending BSF and I am so grateful to God for leading me to this blessed group of BELIEVERS. I was missing something but I didn’t know what it was until I became a part of BSF. I was attending church service faithfully every Sunday, sang in the choir, participated with different ministries for feeding the homeless but was not satisfied. I began praying for God’s help. Well, one day I was in the Mall shopping and a very friendly lady approached me, gave me a card and invited me to BSF because she said she felt I wanted to get closer to God. I thanked her but as soon as I left the store I threw the card away. I didn’t realize God had answered my prayers by sending this lady to me. I continued praying to God for direction and He sent me another lady that was a member of my church that said the same thing. She invited me to BSF and promise to go with me. I agreed to go and she met me there the following week. Just look how God works! The class I was placed in, my group leader was the first lady that invited me to BSF. As I am writing my testimony, tears are flowing down my face because God saved me and my entire household. I still have struggles but I can truly say He come quick when I am in need. Hallelujah to His Holy Name. Don’t stop praying, don’t stop believing! God is so faithful and when the doctor gave me up, nobody but Jesus healed me. When I was in need of food, God provided for me. God is a miracle worker and I’m still here. God kept me and I am no longer on any medication and I am really happy because God found me and gave me what I needed. Thank you to my BSF and I pray that God continues blessing everyone.
    This is not the end of my story ……… I am so grateful for the things He Has, He is doing and will do for me and this ministry called BSF.

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  33. Twenty-five years ago, my own personal family Doctor invited me to start BSF to bolster my own faith and personal walk with God. Six years into BSF, in 2004 my wife and I were called into military ministry with Cadence International serving as part-time missionaries to the troops around the world. This has taken us multiple times to Italy, Spain, Germany, Okinawa and here in the US to South Carolina. What a joy it has been to use my BSF training and put it to use as a Bible teacher, leader, and friend to so many young men and women who are hurting for God. I’m still in BSF when we are home and still learning. BSF started me on a daily “deep and dirty” search, not just for answers to the questions, but to the Savior we call Jesus. The study through BSF has been pivotal to my military ministry and to my life. Thanks!

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  34. A friend from church had repeatedly asked me to come and visit BSF. I was already in a church group study, but she kept asking (THANKFULLY!). When the Revelation study became available through BSF in 2015, and she asked again, my husband and I both signed up. Little did we know that this study would transform our lives and our marriage!
    We went through a major health battle in 2016-2017, and in studying the Book of John, we were learning that Jesus is the Bread of Life and the Living Water…our only true source of hope. Ironically, my husband was hospitalized for 28 days and could not digest food nor drink for 42 days. Jesus WAS our nourishment! It was a very trying time for us. Thankfully, he was healed! The study helped us to lean into God and learn to depend more fully on God and His promises. Since then, my husband has been a children’s leader and a men’s leader. I served as an Asst Children’s Supervisor one season and attend class every week. Having BSF in our lives, discussing our lessons and praying together has brought our marriage of 19 years to a much deeper intimacy with God and each other. We make better decisions together, too, as we work together. I have also used the BSF material to share with seniors and to help me write songs which I share to help spread the Gospel and memorize Scripture. I was especially interested in memorizing the Attributes of God and used a BSF hand-out as inspiration to write, record and share a song called, “Attributes of You.” It brings me so much peace. My husband and I are now going through another health battle but I have more faith and less fear due to my growing knowledge of God’s redemptive plan. I’m not fearless yet, but speaking and singing the Attributes of God and His promises really help me overcome anxiety. We also enjoy the fellowship, support & prayers from our BSF brothers and sisters. “We may not know what the future holds but we know Who holds our future!” Thank You, Lord and thank you, BSF!

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  35. Bsf holds a very special place in my heart. My mom and sister abrogated started going to bsf 2-3 years before I did. I’ve been wayward for awhile at that point. My mom would go to bsf, praying for me, the ladies at bsf praying for me .. one woman in peticular looked for me in California at a shelter while I was out there homeless.. This year is now my 2nd year in bsf and that lady is now my leader! Bsf has given me the chance to know my savior and get to know some of the most amazing ladies I have ever known in my life! Thank you bsf!

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