Thousands of children in Togo are getting to know the Bible for the first time as part of an initiative to address the rising crime and immorality in the country. The books are being produced and distributed by the Bible Society to meet a huge need for children’s Scripture material in Sunday Schools and schools across the country.
“There is no doubt that Christian and moral values in our society are fading,” comments Estelle Akouegnon, General Secretary of the Bible Society of Togo. “More and more young people are getting involved in immoral behaviour and violent crime.
“This is a real challenge for parents and for the churches, both of whom see the urgent need to give children a good grounding in the Bible from a young age. We have a very young population here – 42% are under the age of 14 – so the task is huge!
“Although most churches run Sunday Schools, many of them have simply become places where children are looked after while their parents attend the church service. They are not able to provide good Bible teaching due to a lack of Bible material for children, so we are working with them to address this.”
Among the children’s Scripture resources being provided by the Bible Society are booklets on HIV and AIDS. In a country where hundreds of thousands of people are affected by the virus and where there are thousands of new infections each year, parents and churches are delighted with the new booklets, which provide practical information and help children think about their values and behaviour.
Teach the Bible effectively
The Bible Society is also providing manuals and flipcharts to help teachers in schools and Sunday Schools teach the Bible effectively. It is also working on producing audio and video materials specially designed to get children excited about the Bible and engaged in its stories.
It will soon start broadcasting children’s Christian radio programmes, for instance, in partnership with a radio station. The programmes will include Bible stories, games and quizzes. It is hoped that many thousands of children across the country will get the chance to learn about the Bible through this multimedia initiative over the next two years.
Last year, Christian camps were one of the most effective channels for distributing the new children’s Scriptures and getting children excited about learning about the Bible. At a recent camp, more than 80 children used Bibles and other resources from the Bible Society to explore topics they were interested in: the rights and duties of children, how to live a good life, and health and hygiene.
“Please pray for this work to provide God’s Word for our children, so that they come to know God’s love for them and become the future pillars of our nation,” says Mrs Akouegnon.