In the United States, we can sometimes take education for granted. Public schools offer a learning environment for everyone to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic. Traditional schooling has certainly gone through some massive transitions this year – but many have still had some form of access to education.
Sadly, this isn’t the case across the world. In India, our Mission ONE partners have had immense success bringing God’s word to villagers. In some areas, the entire community has come to Christ, worshipping, gathering, and baptizing even through this difficult season.
But perhaps one of the most endearing victories has been the introduction of an Adult Literacy program by our partners. In regions where schools weren’t available, not all children had the ability to be educated. This added to India’s vital problem with their illiterate demographic which continues to grow 20% over their population.
One such case includes a young woman who at 15 years old was married. She had four children and was never given the opportunity to be educated. In her village, there was no school and even if there was, girls in her community weren’t allowed to be educated. Now an adult attending night school offered through the local church, she has gained the ability to read. With this new-found knowledge, she has also gained an interest in God.
As her education grew, God’s word had more opportunity to reach her, unveiling the beautifully intertwined relationship between literacy and loving Jesus. When considering non-English speaking countries, the ability to dive into the Bible in their native tongue can make all the difference. It stops being a foreign story and becomes a personal journey.
You get to know God on your terms.
Being told a story and reading a story are two different experiences. When we’re being told about the gospel, we are coming to know it through someone else’s lens. When we read for ourselves, we’re given the chance to digest God’s word on our own terms. Reading the Bible gives us the chance to let God into our hearts and speak directly to us.
Shaping your own opinions.
We are just as much a part of this journey as He is. Some are able to “get it” fast, others need time to marinate on concepts and ideas. Your journey to God should be yours and yours alone, so when you get to read and learn independently, you get to come to your opinions organically. In this discovery, the individual can come to terms with the fact that they were made in God’s image – not the church, world, or culture’s image. With that powerful transformation, Christians come to a revelation in their identity, realize God’s deep love for them, and interact in society from a place of grace and glory.
Being able to read His word is transformative.
There is a spiritual change that occurs when you move from hearing God’s word to reading God’s word. Just like studying for a test, hearing something once isn’t what makes information stick. Pouring over a topic on your own and spending time in consideration is what provides a lasting impact. We all have the power to grow in our love of God by experiencing the Bible firsthand.
Remember to return and read and always grow in God.
Not only do we need the ability to read God’s word for the first time in a transformative, initial experience, we have to also acknowledge the power of reading it again and again. Repetitive reading reminds us that His teachings are vital for long-term growth.
The more people who have access to His word, the more this world becomes like the Kingdom. Every person is worthy of the opportunity to grow in God through access, and usually, all it takes to provide access is to ensure the ability to read and be transformed by the Bible themselves. We couldn’t be more grateful for this story and the stories like it that show how hundreds of small acts and build a more beautiful world in His image.
While reading the Bible can be an incredible addition to someone’s life, it’s also important to note that education and literacy can be very transformative outside of a religious context. Reading can inspire confidence, give individuals the resourcefulness to obtain better-paying employment, and provide an overall richness to someone’s interior world. Reading feeds our souls and enlightens our path, bringing us ever-closer to Him.
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We created a unique coloring book to share the story of “The Prodigal Son” with your family - designed to help you interact with the children in your life and teach them more about how much they’re loved.