Help buy a kid a Bible – Lutherans in Africa’s “Operation Christmas Child”

BibleReadingRecently a question was posted on the Confessional Lutheran Fellowship page on Facebook asking about alternatives to Operation Christmas Child. While it is nice to receive a present on Christmas morning, this is actually quite unusual in Africa. Most families live day to day. Nevertheless, Christmas is a big deal. It is the time when we remember that our Savior came into the world, took flesh like ours for the specific purpose of dying for our sins so that we may have the gift of eternal life with Him in paradise. Many families in Africa spend many hours celebrating this gift in church on Christmas and then they will splurge on a special meal together.

The greatest gift that many see as the most precious is receiving a Bible. While it is nice to have a toy to play with, what I have noticed in Africa is that many youth want to learn more about Jesus. This was the case last year when I taught a seminar in Tanzania which was intended for pastors and Sunday school teachers but we did have a one day event for teenagers. At the end of the day they were given a story bible and a catechism. To our surprise, they were not satisfied. They didn’t want more things, more stuff. They wanted more teaching. If the adults got to learn all week long, they wanted to learn as well. So we told them that if they came, we would also teach them. Each day about a dozen Tanzanian teenagers came at 8:30am and remained until about 5pm in the evening, reading, hearing, and learning about Jesus.

Now this year I have been invited to lead a youth seminar the week before Christmas. I am told there will be around 500 youth attending! We already have catechisms in Kiswahili for them but most do not have bibles. So I was thinking, instead of giving them stuff, how about if we collected funds and got them Bibles? We can buy Swahili bibles here for $10 a piece. If you are interested, please talk with your congregation and see if they would like to work together for this sort of “Operation Christmas Child.

Funds can be sent to:
        Lutherans in Africa
        7500 State Road
        Parma, OH 44134


Help buy a kid a Bible – Lutherans in Africa’s “Operation Christmas Child” — 11 Comments

  1. One of our members is a pastor with Lutheran Bible Translators in Africa. Do they do anything with your mission?

  2. @Tim Schenks #1 Hi Tim. Just to clarify, we do not translate the Bible. We translate and publish catechisms, hymnals, and other Confessional Lutheran literature. LBT, Wycliffe, SIL, and others translate the Bible. It is a huge undertaking and unfortunately the quality and accuracy seems to be declining over the past 10 years or so. Nevertheless, once those other groups publish via UBS, the Bibles are not free to Africans. People living on $1 a day in the villages can’t afford them but even if they did save up, there arent any bookstores in the bush and they can’t order via Amazon. So instead of collecting goodies, others have asked me for an alternative to OCC. Since I have been invited to teach a youth seminar the week before Christmas, I thought I would suggest that people offer God’s Word rather than perishable goodies.

  3. Pr. May,

    I was asking if the LBT missionaries do anything in cooperation with your organization, not whether Lutheran Bible Translators are Bible translators. Many LBT staff in Africa are not involved with Bible translation.

  4. No, not the missionaries. Sometimes Africans who worked with Bible translators work with us after the Bible has been translated in their language to translate the catechism and other books.

  5. Awesome! I will get my check off immediately. So $200 will be able to buy 20 Bibles??? I will share this with my church and also my family. Please do a follow up on this. Would love to hear about it.

  6. @Joyce #5 That is correct Joyce. Thanks for helping! Make sure you check the pictures on our FB page just after Christmas and you can see them receiving the Word of God, the BEST gift! Thank you!

  7. We have been giving French language Bibles to all the 5th Graders at our Evengelical Lutheran Church of Haiti schools in the North District of Haiti for a number of years. The pastors say they use them for Catechism, Ancient History and even reading (plus, of course, for the study of Scriptures). Very worthwhile, indeed!

  8. What is wrong with Operation Christmas Child? It’s a great project that benefits children all over the world, not just Africa. It provides not only gifts, but also hygiene items and age appropriate religious information in whichever language the child speaks.

  9. @Donna #8……I too have participated in Operation Christmas Child for many years. There is nothing wrong with it as I see it. This project can be coupled with OCC….you can give to both 🙂 The youth are desiring God’s word. God’s word is forever….the hygiene and toys last but a short while unless you plan on sending something every month. He wasn’t putting OCC down from how I read the above article. There definitely is alternatives to “things” being sent to people in need. Give to both !!!!

  10. @Joyce #10 Sorry Joyce, I was in Burundi teaching an Advent preaching seminar. Checks can be made to “Lutherans in Africa” and sent to 7500 State Road, Parma, OH 44134. God bless you!

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