The Query is a collection of stories – stories of hope – arising from a simple question: “What is the reason for the hope that is within you?”

They were gathered through chance encounters with strangers across America: on airplanes, in restaurants or cafés, at a car dealership, in a jury waiting room.

The stories are as diverse as the storytellers: a teen anticipating senior prom in the arms of her first love; a crusty construction superintendent; an engaging nuclear physicist; a widow scarred by life, with no hope; a Catholic priest on assignment in Rome; a long-haul truck driver; an Army colonel with tours in Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan; a seasoned executive in the twilight of career; a thrice-married divorcee yearning for another chance; an eager young Polish immigrant, now a Fortune 500 engineer; and many more.

Listeners eavesdrop on deeply personal conversations as stories unfold. They are struck by a sad truth when Todd, the bankruptcy attorney and attentive husband in the story “Everything Changed”, shares: “I’ve been reflecting that we don’t really take the time to listen to people anymore.”

Often the stories turn to matters of faith. Some story tellers found hope through church in the middle of despair. For others, church or religion was a source of hurt, leading the author to observe: “I wonder. How would a faith community – a church, a mosque, a synagogue, a temple – be perceived differently if it became known above all as the people who listen, and not the people who preach?”

Christ Lutheran Church in Visalia, CA, took on the challenge of worshipping under the theme of hope during the season of Lent, and of utilizing Larry Moeller’s book, The Query, as our small group reading assignment. It was a memorable Lent. Larry’s book deals so delicately with the subject of hope as put forth in 1 Peter 3:15. The stories that he relates reveal an honest approach to engaging strangers with an important topic -hope. We then created a small group curriculum which relied heavily on the chapters in The Query, while at the same time helping to make connections to the previous Sunday’s worship focus.

It is rare that we find such a valuable resource for our small group ministry. The Query was so well received and opened so many doors for discussion. I cannot speak highly enough for how Larry’s work enabled us to find such depth in this past Lent season. I highly recommend others to give it a try!

Brian Malison
Pastor Christ Lutheran

Larry Moeller’s compilation of stories of hope is thought provoking and will stimulate discussion on life’s experiences. A great read!

R L Olson
Stories of Hope

My wife and I both agree, this is a really great book, with very interesting life stories…  I found myself feeling better about life in general and realizing I, too, do have a hope within me.

Michael D. Maher

I enjoyed reading this book and the premise intrigues me. I will begin posing The Query when so motivated and will look forward to the responses I receive. This book is uplifting in the messages conveyed by the responses. I think there is yet hope for humankind. Will be gifting copies of this book to friends.


“The Query” came along at a time in my life when all was broken. The stories others shared helped me to remember we all have both bad and good times in our journey. This book enabled me to focus on my faith and to know God had not forsaken me. The short queries help the reader to pick it up and spend a few moments in meditation.

Debbie Lehman

If you are a people watcher, as I am, then this book will delight you as it not only presents the varied stories of random people, but on a higher plane their spiritual values and perspectives. All are as different as one would expect in a random sample with no agenda in the telling. The stories are short, so you can pick the book up and down ( though just try to put it down! ). This is a book that fosters optimism in our country’s soul.

Beth Sulc

This is a treasure of stories from real people on what brings them hope. The breadth of the American spiritual experience is explored by Larry Moeller by asking a simple question, “What is the reason for the hope within you?” then giving them the space to find and explain their answer. Although The Query comes from an unapologetic Christian source, anyone will find their soul expanded by hearing the answers.

Dean C Lohse