International Ministries

Bible Reading League to field volunteer literacy teachers

January 12, 2012 Journal
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"The Bible Reading League is all about reading the Bible," Brother Lula was telling a small group gathered in the district pastor's living room at Mbanza Dibundu. "But what happens in our Bible study meetings? All too often one or two people read the study passages and the rest just listen. They may not even have a Bible with them. Why? Because they can't read well enough to keep up. We want to change that."

It was a national holiday and the League chapters from all over Luniungu county gathered for Bible study and planning. Miriam joined them because Brother Lula, the League president for the five counties surrounding Vanga, thought that the League could be doing much more to help non-reading members to learn to read for themselves.

The meeting started late and attendance was down because of the funeral of a well-known school teacher in the area. After Brother Lula finished the devotion he asked Miriam to share. "The Bible talks a lot about light and letting light into our lives. The light is equated with God's rule and all the goodness that comes with it. A blind person is surrounded by light but he is unable to see it and take advantage of it. God has all kinds of blessings he wants to share with us. But if we don't know about the blessings we can't experience them."

She went on. "A person who can't read is like a blind person. He is cut off from a vast pool of blessings that God wants to share, because he doesn't realize that it exists. God's written word shares the message of eternal life, how to live with God now and to eternity. Written words also share the rich experience of thousands of lives that God can use to enrich our lives."

"If I can help someone to read, I help that person to unlock the treasure house that God prepared for them. I can open up the windows of a dark room and let God's light shine in and chase away the darkness. You could do that for members of your local groups or for your neighbors. You can help the blind to see the blessings that God has already prepared for them."

For 45 more minutes, Miriam and the gathered League members discussed how the CBCO Women's Literacy initiative could train League members to teach adults how to read or to improve their reading skills. They settled on Easter vacation as the best time for a training. (Many League members are school teachers and can't get away for a week-long workshop except during vacations.) Local chapters will provide food for the participants. The CBCO parish at Mbanza Dibundu will figure out a way to house everybody. And the Literacy initiative will provide the trainers and training materials.

Thousands of people in the Vanga area get along without reading and it would be ridiculous to say that reading is essential to life. But illiteracy is like living in one small room of a large mansion. Reading is the key that opens the doors to all the other rooms. Imagine the blessing you would experience helping someone explore the mansion -- and pray for these League members who will attend the literacy workshop in late March or early April.