This update is related to the One Million Bibles: A Crossway Global Initiative campaign.
“I just can’t see myself turning to anything else. I see people think about other religions, but I don’t know how someone believes that.”
This is a reflection of the heart of one young man named Epa. His life was changed at a very young age when he came to live at a place called Rafiki Village in Nyamata, Rwanda. “When I came to Rafiki, I knew about Christ and salvation [from my grandmother], but once I arrived I became more rooted in my faith.”
Epa is part of a class of ten students who just graduated from the Rafiki Rwanda village. Their school days are structured much like those in the West:
On a weekday, you get up . . . and you get ready for school. We have breakfast and assembly [first thing in the morning] and at 8:00 school starts. You go through the whole day of school, [jumping from] subject to subject. And then school is out at around 4:00. After that you have the option to play sports, or you could just settle down and relax and wait for dinner. After dinner you probably clean up and study some more, and that’s about the end of the school day.
And yet, there is something in these regular school days that make them distinctly different from many other schools: they study God’s Word throughout the day. Naome, another recent graduate, explained that “We use our Bibles a lot. We have devotional groups where we study a passage, and if you’re the one giving the devotional you would use it to prepare. And of course we use it in church, and additionally in our personal reading time each night.” Along with the regular Bible classes they have each day, these in-depth studies provide each Rafiki student with a robust understanding of the Scriptures.
The moment that a student steps into their time at one of the ten Rafiki Villages scattered throughout Africa, they receive a Bible of their own. Epa reflects that while “I didn’t have a Bible before I came here, I don’t think I could read before I got here either [because I was too young]. But I have a picture of the moment I received it. I had a big smile on my face. I can tell I was happy.”
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.
Hiding God’s Word in the Hearts of Young Children
Students at Rafiki are much like other students: Epa and Naome enjoy things like fine arts, sports, and reading. While not with their families outside of school, they live on campus in family units with about ten other students and one “house mom.” Upon graduation, Epa plans to study IT and Naome will attend medical school. And yet what unites them all is their shared goal of living their lives for the Lord.
This experience would be remarkably different without God’s Word in the hands of the students. Naome noticed this in a conversation with a friend “who also grew up . . . [going to school at] a Christian organization. [When] I asked him about Bibles and personal reading, he said that usually it was only the adults who had Bibles and they read to the children, but the kids didn’t really have their own Bibles.” If a child doesn’t have a Bible to read on their own, how will they learn the truth for themselves?
Confidence in Whose You Are
Crossway is partnering with organizations like the Rafiki Foundation with the goal of providing children in their schools and partner churches and ministries with a Bible of their own. As part of the One Million Bibles Initiative, your gift of $50 will provide a copy of God’s Word for ten children, impacting the lives of those like Epa and Naome.
As they come to the end of their time at Rafiki, Epa and Naome reflect that they have seen and experienced for themselves the impact that a Bible can have on the lives of children, even when they’re very young. When asked why it was important for a child to receive a Bible when they’re young, Epa explained, “young children [need to] get in the Bible so that they can get used to using the Bible as a reference point. If you go outside this community, you’ll be met with a lot of worldly things, so it’s very important that they’re sure of whose they are.”
Naome reflected that she and Epa have seen this lived out regularly when they go to a local church down the road. At times, they have heard arguments made in sermons they didn’t learn about in their study of the Word. They bring these questions after the service to their house moms or other leaders in the Rafiki village, and have conversations, with the Bible in front of them, to confirm whether the Bible agrees with that point. Naome rejoices that “we received a very good foundation of what the gospel is and what Christ did for us, [so we know] who we are in him.”
We invite you to join us today as we seek to provide God’s Word for those like Naome and Epa, who have been blessed for the past fifteen years with a copy of the Bible to study, memorize, learn from, and come to know and love the Lord more as a result.