Madagascar (MNN) — Madagascar is an island nation off the southeast coast of Africa. It has a unique culture all its own. High illiteracy rates have made distributing the Book of Hope, the harmony of the Gospel, difficult. However, according to Book of Hope International's Cal Ratz, that's changing.
Ratz says there are a number of reasons for the slow beginning. However, the high illiteracy rate gave them an idea. "It was in Madagascar that the idea for our movie 'Godman' was born," he says. "We realized that there was such a high percentage of children and youth who could not read, we had to take the message and put it in a format they would comprehend."
The distribution has now taken off with the help of new country directors. "Rija and his wife are some of the most well-known people in the country of Madagascar. They say only the president is better known in the country. And this new couple is just dynamite."
Book of Hope distribution has now multiplied. They've already distributed a little over a million. "It's just in the last year that it's taken off," says Ratz. "In fact, they've gotten rid of all their books, and we couldn't get (new ones to) them fast enough."
According to Ratz, it's having an incredible impact in schools and prisons. In one prison a young man, Harimbola, came to Christ on his last day of incarceration. Once released, he was discipled by a local church. The rest of the story is amazing. Ratz says, "They realized that this young man, Harimbola, was able to write songs, sing and record them, and today he's on television and radio in Madagascar nationally every day, singing Gospel songs."
To help the illiterate, the country that inspired 3D animated film "The Godman" now has the story of Christ. "We did the launch in September for a couple of thousand children present for it. Now, they're (showing) it several times a week when they're doing book distributions. It's having a big impact."
"The Godman" is currently available in six different cultural versions and is dubbed into 30 other languages. Three other cultural versions on other dubs are currently in production.
To date, over 415 million copies of the Book of Hope have been distributed to students in over 125 different countries.