Changing Lives in Africa, One Children’s Bible at a Time

This update is related to the One Million Bibles: A Crossway Global Initiative campaign.

What Happens If I Forget My Bible?

Have you ever arrived at a Bible study, only to remember as you walk in the door that you left your Bible at home? Thankfully, you probably don’t need to worry. The leader likely has extras on hand, or maybe you even have a spare Bible in your car. If all else fails, you have your phone with full access to a multitude of Bible apps and options for reading.

Alternatively, picture this scenario: you’ve been invited to a Bible study, but you’re not sure whether you can go since you don’t have a physical Bible or even a phone to access one digitally. It’s not that you don’t want a Bible—in fact, you have dreamed for years about having a copy of your own, or even just one to share with your whole family. But the friend who invited you to go still encourages you to come, telling you that most others in the group don’t have one either.

When you arrive for the Bible study, you’re surprised to see that only three of the 20 people in the group are holding a Bible. A few others have notebooks and pencils, but most have nothing at all.

Help Us Distribute Bibles to Children in Need

One out of every two children born in the next thirty years will be born in Africa, but many won’t have access to God’s Word. Your gift of $50 will provide Bibles to ten children. Would you partner with us to support the future of the global Church? Learn More.

Bible Study without a Bible

Perhaps many of you identify with the first scenario. You’ve probably forgotten your Bible before when going to a Bible study, and it probably wasn’t a big deal. But the second scenario frequently occurs for children in Awana clubs throughout Africa.

The percentage of kids in a given club that would have Bibles may be nothing more than 15%. This means that in some clubs only 2–5% of the children might have a Bible . . . the maximum would be about 20% of the children. And that still means that 80% of the children in the club have nothing. —Joseph Mbange, Awana Africa Leader, Zambia

The Awana Africa team has been faced with a huge task: they have thousands of children active in their Awana clubs who are learning more about Jesus, but they don’t have Bibles to share with them. And those children almost never come with a Bible. Their families often aren’t able to find a Bible at a reasonable price, if one can be found at all. Joseph further explains what it’s like for many of the children:

Because of the economical situation in many countries . . . many children are dependent on the leader to give them the memory verse during the club meeting, which they will go home and memorize that week. . . . One thing we have been trying to encourage is for the children to come with a small notebook like they would use for school to write memory verses. But still, many don’t have notebooks. They are more dependent on oral recitation than on their own copy to read.

Volunteer teachers each week faithfully share the memory verses with the children, who have been quick to learn oral methods of memorization. And yet, nothing can replace the value of a full Bible, allowing children to read the verses in context for themselves.

Impacting Children and Families for the Sake of the Gospel

Children attending Awana aren’t the only ones impacted by their time memorizing Scripture. As they come to put their faith in Jesus and learn more of God’s Word, they also share it with their family and friends. Jeff Kantumoya, a fellow worker for Christ with Awana Africa, recently shared this story:

A girl came up to me one day at Awana and told me she wanted a Bible of her own. She comes from a non-Christian family, so when she took that Bible home she gave the Bible to her mother and asked her to read it out loud to her. Now that family has come to know the Lord—the mother and the eldest sisters have even come to church with her. And this girl can now recite many verses by heart. So if Bibles were given to these children, I'm thinking this scenario would happen over and over again with many others.

Crossway is partnering with Awana as they seek to give children in African countries “the opportunity to know, love, and serve Jesus.”1 Through the One Million Bibles Initiative, Crossway is raising funds to provide 100,000 children’s Bibles to ministries like Awana International. The Lord is prospering the church in Africa, and Crossway is honored to help resource the flourishing African church. Joseph pointed out that this flourishing church is providing several unique opportunities:

The door of opportunity is open for the gospel in Africa; we just don’t know how long it will be open. To give you an example, the minister of education in Zimbabwe asked if we could bring in our games for their physical education class, and share the gospel while we’re there. This is the time that we believe God has called us to take advantage of this open door.

The Lord has provided an incredible opportunity all throughout Africa to share the gospel with young people who are eager to learn more about it. Join us as we seek to provide 100,000 children, and their families and friends, with God’s Word.

Pray for wisdom for the Awana Africa team as they consider the locations and clubs that will receive the Bibles from the One Million Bibles Initiative. Pray that these Bibles would be placed in the hands of children who have never owned a Bible.

Pray for the Lord to provide more people to partner alongside Awana by either joining the staff team or by volunteering with one of the clubs.

Pray for Awana clubs throughout Africa to continue to flourish during this strategic time for gospel work.


  1. “About,” Awana International,
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