One day, Lindokuhle came home from school in Johannesburg, South Africa, firmly fixed on a goal. He was going to memorise a Bible verse every week, so he could be part of a competition organised by World Hope Ministries, who had visited his school that day. They had gifted him with his very own Bible Memory Verse Calendar, complete with activities and illustrations for every month of the year. For 12 years, World Hope Ministries has been reaching children in South African schools with these special children’s calendars, which give them Bible Memory Verses to memorise. Each year, ten schools and 10,000 children are reached with the resource.
“Many of these children come from homes where their parents are alcoholics, using drugs, or simply not interested in the Bible or going to church,” shares Pastor Willy Dengler, the President of World Hope Ministries for Africa, and Pastor of Mayfair Baptist Church in Johannesburg. In addition to this, most of the children are involved in ancestral worship, which is part of their culture. “The teachers are seeking to help and support our children, as they are in desperate need of mentoring, and for Christians to speak into their lives.”
By sharing these Bible Memory Verse Calendars with the students, Bible Society Australia and World Hope Ministries are seeking to impart wisdom for these children to take into their future. “The Lord is true to his word,” says Pastor Willy. “Proverbs 22:6 promises that when you direct your children onto the right path, when they are older, they will not leave it. The right path can only be directed by the word of God, and when the word of God is taught, memorised and applied, our children receive wisdom which will last for a lifetime.”
This change can be seen among the children who have received the calendars and participated
in the memory competition over the years, says Pastor Willy. “It is helping embed God’s words
of life into the hearts and minds of our children, because we see the change in the children’s behaviour.” Teachers see first-hand the impact the word of God has in the behaviour, attitude and lives of the children. “They are growing spiritually in the wisdom and the knowledge of the Lord,” says Willy.
The Bible had a huge impact in Lindokuhle’s life the year he participated in the memory competition. “A love for God’s word and the desire to preach was born in his spirit and heart,” recalls Pastor Willy. Lindokuhle was not from a Christian family; his mother was a practicing sangoma, a healer who practiced traditional African spirituality and medicine. Yet when their son started memorising Bible verses, they saw a change in him. They wanted to have what he had, and as a result they visited Mayfair Baptist Church. The whole family was saved. Lindokuhle’s parents attended Bible School at the church, and Lindokuhle takes every opportunity to share what he learnt from the Bible Memory Verse calendar: “He is currently preaching God’s word in schools and any platform he receives,” says Pastor Willy.
Pastor Willy asks for continued prayer for the schools who receive the Calendars. “Pray they continue to stay in God’s word and set time aside in their busy schedule for the students to continue to hear, read and memorise the word of God.” Many children experience challenging times at home and at school, Pastor Willy explains. “Our children feel really blessed to have their very own Bible, because it brings much hope, comfort and encouragement in their precious young lives.”