Do you remember the first book you read or your favorite book from elementary school? Are there illustrations or phrases that put you right back in your childhood bedroom, poring over a story by yourself for the first time?
But what if you’d never learned how to read? What if you’d never learned to write your name?
This is the reality for kids in many parts of the world. For many children and teens, education is out of reach. It’s too expensive for families living in extreme poverty. In some places and cultures, young girls must stay at home to care for siblings. Many of those girls rarely, if ever, have the opportunity to attend school. Other families simply don’t live near a school.
Sarce, a Christian woman in Sorong, Papua, is determined to bring change. This English tutor is reaching children in her area through the Salt and Light Community, an education-based evangelism ministry organization she started.
Sorong is one of the friendliest areas in Papua, a province in far eastern Indonesia. The diverse community is home to people of different backgrounds, faiths, and cultures who all live in harmony. Though many people claim to be Christian, their faith is nominal at best. Most put their faith in the spirits of their ancestors or in the universe for help in times of trouble or sickness.
“Most of the children have never heard the Good News–the news of Christ’s redemption for all mankind, including them,” says Daniel, a Bible League ministry coordinator in Indonesia.
Sarce saw a great need in her community. She saw the need for the Gospel. She also saw the need for education, something that few children, especially those in rural areas, ever receive. Often, parents are not concerned with this lack of learning.
“In this region, education is still often perceived as expensive or hard to access,” says Daniel. “In many parts of Papua, especially the rural ones, parents do not send their children to school. They are content when they can equip their children with the basic skills they need to survive as manual laborers.”
In 2018, Sarce and two others from her youth choir group started the Salt and Light Community in Sorong. She is one of only three volunteer teachers managing all nine reading houses in the area. Salt and Light is currently reaching more than 800 children.
“Most of the children have never heard the Good News – the news of Christ’s redemption for all mankind, including them.”
While local churches and other Christian organizations donate clothing, food, and school supplies, you are caring for the children’s spiritual welfare. With your gifts to Bible League, you’re providing the critical Bible-based Literacy materials the kids need.
“As a non-governmental organization created by three young people with no stable funding, Salt and Light was looking for affordable yet appropriate program materials. Hearing about Bible League’s Bible-based English Literacy was like finding a spring in the desert,” Daniel says. “They got what they were looking for without having to spend a dime.”
What excites them even more is seeing how God answered their prayers. Bible League’s literacy program aligns with the vision of their mission! “Salt and Light and Bible League are introducing Christ and His love through holistic ministry—including education—to those in need.”
The change in the kids is evident. Sarce and the other volunteers have been teaching the children about the importance of prayer. Today, some of the children are bold enough to pray out loud.
“Sometimes, they self-consciously ask for opportunities to lead prayers. Some children even pray for their teachers and friends who were unable to attend the class,” Daniel says. “We see that this program not only hones their literacy skills, but also shapes children’s character with Christian values.”
Though they would love to reach more people, Salt and Light does not have enough volunteers to manage more Reading Houses or classes. At times, they even turn kids away.
Lack of volunteers isn’t the only obstacle. Often, parents who are not Christians will forbid their children from attending. At times, the threat of severe weather makes it impossible for classes to meet.
“We see that this program not only hones their literacy skills, but also shapes children’s character with Christian values.”
But through it all, Sarce is grateful. She’s grateful for the opportunity to serve the Lord and these children. She’s grateful for people like you who provide the Bible-based Literacy materials. And she’s grateful for the children themselves.
“The children have such enthusiasm and excitement to learn,” she says. Learning is a part of life that they have to go through for a better future. Praise God for the opportunity to serve them!