Twenty thousand children from very poor families in Egypt had a wonderful Christmas surprise when they were each provided with a colourful backpack full of Bible-themed colouring books, games and other fun items.
The backpack resources are designed to help the children engage with the Scriptures and build up their hope in Jesus. The backpacks included a board game, puzzle, a Bible storybook and a children’s tract titled ‘Do not Fear’ among other things.
One nine-year-old boy, Kirolus, said, ‘I never have had a puzzle before, and I am so happy to receive one in my bag. Also I like to build stuff, and I will put the manger together too. We live in the garbage village and I found some parts of toys, and I like to put them together. Now I have two new things to build.’
The children come from families who would not be able to afford such items without help. Many are in a Christian minority and live in villages with no church. The kind giving of Bible Society supporters enables regular distributions of scriptural resources, which uplifts these struggling Christian families and strengthens their faith. Many of the children will now use the backpacks as school bags, giving them the opportunity to witness to others.
Mariam, 11, said of her gifts, ‘I can read, colour, build my manger, solve a puzzle, answer a quiz, memorise Bible verses, and [have] so much fun! Thank you so much!’
Initially, 10,000 backpacks were expected to be distributed thanks to the kind giving of Bible Society supporters. But when a businesswoman who has been a long-term supporter of Bible Society in Egypt heard about the plans, she chipped in with an extra £50,000 to double the distribution to 20,000 backpacks in total – doubling the number of delighted children.
‘Through this provision, our goal is to encourage and support these very poor and often neglected children, and their families and their church leaders. Churches are in need of free or subsidised Scripture material at all times, but especially at various feasts and occasions where the Church provides activities and events for the people,’ said a member of the Bible Society team in Egypt.
The Church in Egypt is the largest in the Middle East with about 10 per cent of the population Christian. Hundreds of local churches have developed successful support and outreach programmes and work with Bible Society to help disadvantaged children all over the country. They value heavily subsidised or free scriptural resources which are made available by the generosity of Bible Society supporters.
Author: Simon Bartz, 18 January 2022
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