International (MNN) — The recruitment of child soldiers in high-conflict areas is expected to grow.
Although the use of children as soldiers is universally condemned, over the last ten years thousands of children have been forcefully inducted in high-conflict areas.
These children are frequently killed or injured during combat or while carrying out other tasks. They are forced to engage in hazardous activities and to live under harsh conditions, and they are usually treated brutally.
The problem is most often connected with Africa, but children are also used as soldiers in various Asian countries and in parts of Latin America, Europe and the Middle East.
Book of Hope teams are countering this practice with the Book of Hope and with the movie, Godman. Book of Hope's Bob Hoskins explains, "This month, we're targeting seven nations that we can't even name because they would be considered almost closed to the Gospel. We have faithful workers there who are willing to take the risk and sacrifice, and all they're asking us is to provide the books and prayer."
Hoskins says reaching kids with the Gospel could change the future of a nation. He shares the story of a man who brutally murdered a Book of Hope worker and stole his books. The worker's body was mutilated, and his empty Book of Hope boxes were found near his remains.
Some time after the murder, a man found a pastor connected with the murdered man and asked questions about forgiveness and sin.
He then admitted he had committed the crime and theft. He had read the Book of Hope and wanted to find out more. Hoskins says, "The pastor prayed with him, he accepted Christ, and today he is a worker distributing Books of Hope in that same area. It's the power of God's Word that can reach even a murderer in a conflict area and transform his life."
This year alone, Book of Hope wants to reach 70 million children around the world. The teams are ready to accept the risk in areas known to be hostile to the Gospel because "they understand the only thing that will change their country is the power of God's Word…and all they're asking us to do is to provide the materials."