A good friend of Michael and Ann* refer to them as “people of the book.” This is an apt description as they consider Christian education and the distribution of The Good Book to be an important part of their ministry.
In order to avoid accusations of coercion, they don’t freely distribute the Bible and other Christian literature. Instead, they charge a very small amount, somewhere around 20 cents, and give the literature to only those people that ask. A complete translation of the New Testament into the local language should be done by the end of 2012 and is being printed into one book, which will make it even easier for people to read the Bible. “Getting God’s word into people’s hands is key,” Michael said. “People know they can come to us for Bibles and Christian literature, and they know that we are more than happy to provide it.”
Michael and Ann are also active in the private Christian school in town, which was started by the national Evangelical church. The school serves around 600 children in grades one through nine. The school openly teaches “the Book” of God’s word, even though 80 to 85 percent of the students are Muslim. Michael and Ann support the school in multiple ways. Michael taught English for a year at the school, as did a short-term worker. They have helped build desks for the classrooms. And a church in Georgia that supports Michael and Ann sent money collected during their Vacation Bible School so the school could buy textbooks.
The students who attend the school get the highest grades in the province on the national tests. “The students were doing so well on the tests that some government officials accused the school of cheating!” Ann said. They did a thorough audit of the school and the testing procedures, and no cheating was found, of course. Christian, non-Christian, and Muslim parents are eager to send their children to the school thanks to its high-quality education.
“The church associated with the school really has value in the community now because of the success of the school,” Michael said. This provides new open doors for Michael and Ann and other workers in Africa to spread the good news across the region.
*not their real names
-Written by Lisa H. Renninger
-Photo by Michael and Ann