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‘Before it was only children who read the Bible’

Author: Simon Bartz, 4 August 2023

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Thanks to your support, Hassia in Niger can now read Bible stories to her children. Photo credit: Paul Kiema/Bible Society

With Niger in turmoil after a military coup, one thing won’t change – the gospel is giving people hope in one of Africa’s poorest countries. Thank you for bringing the Bible into the lives of people in Niger.

Hassia was finding it hard to grow her faith in Jesus in a dusty sub-Saharan village in the Muslim-majority West African country of Niger.

The 40-year-old mother had a Bible in the Hausa language, courtesy of Bible Society, but she was unable to read it. ‘If I wanted to hear a passage I’d have to call out to my children to read it to me,’ she explained.

Bible-based literacy classes

That was before she attended one of the Bible-based literacy classes that are part of a long-term project made possible by the generosity of Bible Society supporters.

‘Before it was only the children who read the Bible to us during our morning prayers, but now I know how to read and it's me in person who reads the Bible, and I tell you, it has transformed my spiritual life and I have come closer to the Lord through his word,’ she said.

More children now are learning to read and write at school, but many adults, especially in rural areas, have received little to no formal education. In rural regions of Niger, such as Hassia’s village, up to 92 per cent of the community are illiterate.

Transformed lives

Hassia says her ability to read the Scriptures has now impacted her family and friends: ‘The interaction with my Bible has transformed the life of people around me. Because now I understand what I read, I am able to guide the children to understand too, and help my husband read and remember the Scriptures as we study them together.’

The classes enable people to read God’s word and tell others about the good news. One of the aims of the project is to help churches grow by educating Christians in the country so that they can play greater roles in society. 

A literacy class in Niger.

Hope through the Scriptures

The Bible is giving people like Hassia hope in one of the poorest nations in Africa. As well as being targeted by Islamist extremists, the country suffered more upheaval last month when a military coup ousted democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum.

Since 2019, 3,135 people have learned how to read and write through the Bible-based literacy classes. With your continued support the Bible Society in Niger hopes to reach 5,500 in total. Thanks to you, Bible Society is also equipping Sunday school teachers in Niger and supporting a family Bible-reading programme. 

‘My faith has really grown through reading and meditating on the word of God every day, which I am now able to do,’ said Hassia. ‘Thank you for helping us.’

Prayers for Niger

  • Pray for a peaceful resolution of the current political crisis. Pray for the safety of Christians, for wisdom and an end to persecution and violence
  • Thank God for the success of the literacy project. Pray that those who can now read and write will be blessings to their communities and guide people to Jesus
  • Tragically, the wife of Hama Yaye, the leader of Bible Society in Niger, died recently after a sudden illness. Please pray for comfort and strength for Hama and their three children

The original version of this story was published in Bible Society’s prayer-focused Bible a Month newsletter. Join Bible a Month for as little as £10 a month and you’ll be supporting Christians in Niger and all around the world.  

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