For years we published the Sunday school materials for the churches here in Colombia. It was a ministry of love, started by my wife, who had noticed that when church budgets were tight, it was always the children who were neglected. Since the churches here could seldom pay the preacherâ€™s salary, none could afford to buy Sunday school literature for the kids. So she considered the needs and began to design, write, and produce an excellent series of lessons which used the very innovative methodology of printing each lesson as in individual folder rather than publishing quarterlies.
That way if there were a turnover in students, the book was not wasted. Each week the child had something to take home, even if they just visited the church for one week. Plus each lesson had activities for several different age groups. That eliminated the need for books for each age group and it actually aided in evangelism because the activities that the kids did not do in church, older or younger siblings found entertaining to complete that afternoon at home. The Sunday school material became an afternoon family activity. The concept was brilliant and the results were spectacular. The lessons were a hit with teachers and children.
There was one church which provided monthly support that totally covered the cost of publishing the material. But then a few years ago, for whatever reason, the church felt they could no longer help the Lordâ€™s work here in Colombia. As a result, they dropped the work in Colombia from their mission budget. Maybe they felt the loss of their support would not affect the work here in Colombia. Perhaps they did not realize that every missionary works on a tight budget and uses support money for important ministries. But Colombia lost the support for Sunday school literature production and the children were the losers.
We attempted to keep the publishing ministry going but as the value of the U.S. dollar plummeted, that soon became impossible. We had no choice but to cut ministries that we could no longer afford to sustain. With deep regret, we canceled the production of Sunday school material for the children. For a while that was not too big of a problem as the churches could use leftovers from previous lessons. Perhaps that meant using two or three different lesson pages for the kids on any given week, but the program went on. But soon church after church ran out of material.
Teachers and children began to approach me begging for materials. When I explained to one child that the church which had paid for the material chose to no longer to so, the child blinked in disbelief and appeared to be on the verge of tears. She looked up at me with her large dark eyes filling with tears and asked â€œDid I do something bad that they donâ€™t want to give me my Sunday school paper anymore? Please tell them I am sorry and maybe they will give me my Sunday school paper again.â€ I did not know how to answer as tears welled up in my own eyes as well. I simply hugged her and said I would see.
The need is urgent. Kids canâ€™t wait as they grow up too fast. But we cannot produce materials unless we can buy paper and toner. We cannot spend money we do not have. Please consider this greatest of needs for providing Sunday school for the kids of Colombia. We cannot provide for this need with occasional gifts. It will take about $200 committed monthly support to begin to publish the 10,000 pieces of literature we use each month. Maybe God wants to use you or your church to answer the pleas and prayers of that little girl and hundreds of children just like her.