Imagine having to walk more than 18 miles just to get to school. At an average rate of 15 minutes per mile, it would take four and a half hours to get there and another four and a half hours to return.
For Patrick Pankolet, from the Central African Republic (CAR), this was his reality. Because of the 30-kilometer distance (over 18 miles) between his village and the nearest school, Patrick was never able to attend, thus he was never able to attain literacy. At 30 years old, this is a problem that many people in his generation have, he said.
But later, another church, one closer to Patrick’s village, presented One Mission Society’s Bridge to Reading (B2R) program. After Patrick heard about the program, he and some of his friends decided to register.
From the beginning, Patrick said that the B2R sessions taught him new literacy skills.
“From the first session, I began to put in writing the words that were coming out in my mouth,” he said.
Gradually, Patrick was able to identify the alphabet and their meanings in a word. Now, he can read what is written in the classrooms, as well as read his new Bible daily. He thanks God for the Bridge to Reading ministry and those who initiated it.
One Mission Society’s international Bridge to Reading literacy ministry provides tutoring in reading, writing, and basic mathematics to teens and adults in several countries in Africa and South America. Through this program, B2R staff also have an opportunity to present the Gospel to people.
One of the powerful aspects of B2R is that it is being used in areas where the need for literacy is strong yet inaccessible, whether by distance or circumstance.
The Bridge to Reading ministry also impacted 62-year-old Veronique Sango, also from CAR. Veronique never had the opportunity to attend school. As the eldest child in her family, she stayed home to help her mother take care of her younger siblings. When she grew up, Veronique had eight children of her own.
“I’ve never been in a school,” she said. “I didn’t write, read, or count, and I didn’t know what to do to get out of this situation.”
When B2R came to Veronique’s church, she started the program and never missed a single course. In less than three months, she learned how to read, write, and count.
Because of these new skills, Veronique said she can now take her own notes, write letters to her parents in the village, count her money and goods, and most importantly read her Bible every day.
“I bless the Lord for this ministry, which has been very beneficial for me,” Veronique said.
God is doing great things in places like CAR, but that isn’t the only place he is working. Next week, we will travel to a prison in Colombia to see how God is transforming lives through his Word and Bridge to Reading.
Please pray for the Central African Republic, especially for peace after the recent war and presidential election.
Also, please pray for Bridge to Reading:
- Please pray for volunteers from many countries who train tutors and teach adults and adolescents to read in Africa and Colombia.
- Pray for the Lord’s provision of time and energy for tutors as they stretch themselves to be literacy volunteers in their local churches.
- Pray for the evidence of fruit of the Spirit in each tutor and trainer’s life to be joyfully patient, kind, and longsuffering.
- Pray for physical safety for people in war-ravaged areas who need God’s protection to travel from their home to the local church for tutoring.