A Changed Child

As the last born of eight children, 11-year-old Joseph shares that it wasn't the norm to attend church. "My parents weren't Christians and didn't go to church," says this Zambian youngster. "Consequently, my four sisters and three brothers never attended church growing up." It's only his older sister who began going to church after being influenced by her husband. Joseph's family doesn't have a lot of money. This is one reason his parents thought going to church was a waste of time. His mom would say, "Who is going to take care of the business if we aren't there? And if we don't sell anything, where are we going to get food?" Joseph explains, "My father didn't earn much for his casual work, leaving my mother to take care of our needs by selling cigarettes and alcohol."

But Joseph's friend from school shared with him about Sunday school and how he learned a lot from it. Joseph says, "I wasn't open because I knew my mother would not allow me to attend church as I had to help customers at home. But his friend was persistent, and one day I was convinced to attend the Project Philip Bible study for children with him."

The program had a profound influence on Joseph, and he was elated to be with other children. He beams, "I began going to the Bible study group, and it was very interesting. The Project Philip Bible study for children booklet got my attention. I was touched when I read Psalm 51:5, which showed that we were sinners from birth."

Growing in Christ gave Joseph assurance in the Lord and showed him the importance of spiritual growth. Joseph notes, "After completing the Bible study booklet, I was blessed with a Bible, and my life is not the same. I'm a changed child, and I now tell my mother not to send me to serve her customers when it's time for church." There's even more great news. "My siblings have started going to church," says Joseph, "and I'm also reaching fellow children in the community as well as my friends in school."

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