Here in America, despite many excellent materials and programs, churches often struggle to attract both workers and children. In Africa, the reverse is true. Churches there have an abundance of kids and many adults eager to nurture them. So what’s missing?
What’s absent are materials that train volunteers what to teach and, further, how to communicate those ideas so children develop life-long faith in Jesus. Now a concerted effort is underway to put those resources in their hands.
In the photo above, leaders of 25,000 churches in Uganda receive their first copies of a complete new curriculum provided by David C Cook and donors like you. Janet Muindo led the Ugandan side of the joint effort between Cook and the 12-million-member Church of Uganda. She says that not only will all the churches use the program, but so will about 5,000 Christian schools and a growing number of weekday Bible clubs. She says,
You gave all it takes to help us reach children for Christ in Uganda.
Janet joined with Marlene LeFever, Vice President of Curriculum Development at David C Cook, to train a team of trainers this past summer who are now coaching children’s teachers and leaders across the nation. The goal of this ministry is to go far beyond educating children with famous Bible stories, to helping them find life in Christ that overcomes daily hardships sadly common for most children in Africa. Poverty is the norm. Abuse from rape and family violence is widespread.
Many areas cope with recent horrors of war, child soldiers and extremist Muslim attacks on churches. This curriculum goes far beyond ordinary Sunday school lessons to deal with such harsh realities. Much of the content was originally developed in our J127 program that helps orphans in Asia learn to trust Jesus and overcome severe trauma. Within the first few weeks that churches in Uganda had these resources, stories of deep impact came pouring in.
My name is Geoffrey Kambasu. I have 14 years. My mother died and left me with my father who drinks every day. I live with my grandmother who is often very sick. I go to school but teachers send me home because I have no books. At home I have to fend for all of us including my drunkard father. I have been planning to kill myself. After hearing that Daniel lived by praying and had faith in God, I want to ask God to give me Daniel’s faith. Because I too can pray and God will answer my prayer.
Another teen says:
I am Baluku Moses. 16 years. We were staying in Katodoba. My family was chased away from Kilembe because the neighbors said my parents were witches. I hate our neighbors. But when the teacher talked about Jesus the friend, I cried reflecting on the problem of our family. But then I got hope that Jesus can be my friend and to our family too.
One teacher told of a 13-year-old girl who, in response to a lesson, found healing after sexual abuse:
Mary (not her real name) is now 13 years old. One year ago she was raped by her dad. She was not in any way going to have him as a friend anymore. She wondered if Jesus would accept her as a friend! She prayed to receive Jesus’ love and forgiveness. Then she asked what she could do for her father to receive Christ and be changed.
The 54 nations of Africa have remarkably young populations. Almost half of all Africans are children and youth, an ideal match for David C Cook’s strength and calling.
Now that Uganda is underway, Cook is extending the program to tens of thousands more churches and literally millions of additional children in Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal. As mission outreach, David C Cook provides curriculum development for hundreds of lessons, leader training and logistics at no cost. Still, based on the Ugandan experience, it costs another $10 per church to supply the entire program.
Please give so willing volunteers across the continent will have the resources to lead millions more children to become life-long disciples of Jesus.
Update: In 2018, David C Cook transferred oversight of the J127 clubs to an in-country partner which continues to shepherd and grow this program. By supporting David C Cook’s Life on Life curriculum, you will be helping support this program as well.