C. African Republic (MNN) — The Central African Republic (CAR) is one of the poorest nations in the world. But that's not the worst of its problems.
OneHope President Rob Hoskins just returned from that nation. He says some characterize CAR as the garbage can of Africa. He says there's a reason for this. He says it seems CAR is a magnet for terrorist castaways from other nations. "When they get kicked out of Uganda, they go to CAR. The rebels from Chad are in CAR. The rebels from Northern Congo are in CAR. The Hutus from Rwanda: they're in CAR. So you have military bases all across the country. [It's] one of the highest percentages of child soldiers in the world."
Even the kids lack hope because there's no educational system in place.
Hoskins met with government leaders to talk about how OneHope could help. "The prime minister is a wonderful Christian man and wants to see his nation transformed. But they have no text books. Right now they're sharing one text book for every eight children. So they've invited OneHope to come in and do a special edition of our Book of Hope to help teach the children of all ages."
There are 18-year-olds who don't know how to read. Hoskins says this is a great opportunity "to create a book that can teach the children but uses God's Word in all the subject matter."
While teaching them scholastically is important, Hoskins says they're also meeting "felt" needs. "It addresses the needs the ministry of education and the church has identified as what needs to be healed in the lives of these kids. So, it's a very specific product that we're using to transform their lives."
OneHope is developing a new product which will include 75 stories of the Bible to teach basic life lessons. Hoskins says, "I don't know if any of us have seen an opportunity like this where we really can shape and form the worldview of an entire nation through the school system through God's Word. It's something the church has to take advantage of."
This isn't something OneHope was planning on at the beginning of their fiscal year, so they need your help. "When something just springs up like this, it's not in your budget. It's not in your spreadsheets. But how can you say no? Right now we need 200,000 books to begin the program immediately."
For $10 you can get 30 books into the hands of children in CAR. "50 percent of the population is under the age of 18. So what we're looking at is a five-year program to reach two million children."
Hoskins says what's amazing is that these kids are open to God's Word. "In the midst of their poverty [and] in the midst of the wars, they're looking for hope. And that's why we need to come in with God's Word right away. They're open to anything, which is an incredible opportunity, but it's also scary as you see Islam moving south and seeking to make inroads into the country as well."