What do you do when 40% of your population is not being targeted for Scripture engagement? Forty percent of the people in Cameroon are under the age of 14. Most of the materials that is currently developed in the mother tongue is being used by a different demographic. There are numerous publications that help children and adults learn to read in the mother tongue, but how can we engage the children in the Scriptures that can change their lives for eternity?
There are several great resources, such as the Jesus Film and Faith Comes by Hearing (see previous posts), in addition to many Scripture portions, but in most cases these are being used by adults. In churches there just is not Sunday school curriculum available. In most cases children are just pushed to the side.
So, many years ago Chris and Karen Jackson had a dream to create an open Sunday school curriculum that would be culturally relevant to rural Cameroonian children that goes through the entire book of Luke, normally the first book of the Bible that is translated into the mother tongue. So, as soon as the first book is available the Sunday school curriculum can be adapted. They have made it simple to add the mother tongue Scripture and the Sunday school teacher has the instructions written in one of the national languages. The entire process has been done in LibreOffice, so you can make all the changes with open source software!
They have begun testing to see how this will work and in one village in the Northwest of Cameroon they have found that by putting each lesson in a separate plastic pouch the teachers do not need to worry about them getting wet as they take the lessons to church. There are full page pictures without words, so the teacher can tell the Bible story in the mother tongue and the children can look at the full page picture. The children are then able to share the story back after hearing it, the power of seeing the color pictures and hearing it in a language they understand is very powerful.
There were some skeptical pastors that said how will we pay for the coloring sheets that the children color and then hang up around their house, well the small offerings from the children that they took to Sunday School is making this Sunday school curriculum self sustainable.
There is even one language that has not completed Luke yet but a pastor has already translated the various instructions for the teacher so that as soon as Luke is approved he can have this tool for the children.
The next hurdle to jump is how we print the color story picture books that the teachers show the children for the various languages and make them available for the various churches. The estimate for doing this printing in Cameroon came to $40,000. If you have a passion or desire to get involved I would be happy to share different options, I (David) think this is a huge opportunity for someone to help.
As soon as the curriculum is online, I’ll have another post to share where it’s at and you will be able to see some of the amazing artwork of the local artists that did many of the pictures in the story books.