Nigeria is frequently in the news these days for terrible things. Religious persecution, corruption, terrorism, mass kidnapping, poverty, and near total economic collapse. But, not all the news from Nigeria is bad news and BTJ gets to be a part of the exciting things that God is doing there.
Three years ago, Eugene did a podcast about a beautiful grassroots library started by a group of Nigerian youth intent on prayerfully #ChangingTheNarrative of their community. Back to Jerusalem has been able to support this effort called the Jenta Reads Community Initiative. As of today, Jenta Reads has inspired seven new libraries in communities around Nigeria, and they have had a tangible impact on their community for the Kingdom of God.
You can listen to the podcast by clicking here: Episode 384: Visiting a Nigerian He Met on the Internet – Library in Africa
The Jenta Reads relationship began with a simple question on Facebook, a typical question from a Back to Jerusalem Ambassador, “Have you ever read a book called The Heavenly Man?” Now, several years later, Brother Yun’s story along with dozens of BTJ books and especially children’s books, are in Nigerian community libraries.
However, the Jenta Reads vision is not merely books. As Jenta Reads cofounder Lengdung Tungchamma said, “We are sons of prayer. By this, I do not mean we pray a lot. Rather, I mean we were prayed for, very often.” These prayers, first from their own aunts and uncles in the faith, and now from BTJ supporters around the world, continue to open up opportunities for the Jenta Reads team to bring the Gospel to those around them. In a few weeks, they get to demonstrate the Love of Jesus and to preach the Gospel to an unreached people group in Nigeria.
Since 2019, Jenta Reads has partnered with the Deaf Technology Foundation (Deaf Tech), which teaches STEM subjects to deaf kids. In Africa the general perception of the hearing impaired is that they are simply being stubborn and disobedient, or that they are demon possessed. If only they would stop being so stubborn, or if only they would pray hard enough, their hearing problems would be solved. Perhaps it’s because they otherwise appear normal, that people are in denial about the handicap. Deaf Tech was founded because the Nigerian educational policy is to deny deaf kids access to science and technology education. “Why would you waste the resources?” Ouch.
Sadly, because of this prevailing cultural perception, deaf people are also excluded from the church. While there are a handful of Nigerian churches that translate their services for the deaf, for the most part they are left out. Sadly, even many of their own families do not bother to learn sign language! These kids are truly marginalized. According to our friends at Deaf Tech, they are almost entirely ignorant about the Good News of the Kingdom of God. They see a pervasive veneer of cultural Christianity all around them, everywhere they look, but have little or no understanding of what it is. Why would they? Not only is this cultural Christianity mostly a veneer, but it does not seek to engage the deaf. In missionary language, the deaf are essentially an “unreached people group.”
Since 2017, the volunteers behind Deaf Tech have invested themselves into these kids because of the love of God, tangibly expressed through these wonderful volunteers. The deaf kids want to know more about this God who so obviously loves them! The Deaf Tech team, along with the Jenta Reads team, are putting together a three day Bible camp next month – December 16, 17, and 18. It will be non-denominational and will attempt to explain, from the Scriptures, the Good News of the Kingdom of God that Jesus entrusted to us. The teachers will represent a broad spectrum of Jesus followers, from young people (age peers of the deaf kids), to “clergy,” to computer geeks like Back to Jerusalem Ambassador, Thaine Norris. There will be lessons, activities, Christmas gifts, and lots of good food! The Deaf Tech team will handle translation for us.
Would you please pray with us up to and during the time of the camp? Please pray for God’s provision for everything, and for His Spirit to direct the teaching. Please pray for the hearts of the kids to experience God’s love and to receive the glorious Good News!
If you would like to know more about the compelling Jenta Reads story, you can read about it on the website walkingtogether.life which is a collection of testimonies about real people walking with God. Be sure to check out the Scripture Testimony Index which is a huge index of more than 700 stories (so far) from the past two centuries correlated to the Scriptures. Ever wondered how anyone could possibly live out Matthew 5:44 and love their enemy and pray for him? Well, the Scripture Testimony Index has 31 stories (so far) that powerfully testify that “with God, all things are possible.”