This child’s face is sober, much too serious for his age. But he knows the booklet he holds so protectively carries his best and, possibly, only hope for the future. The colorful, high-quality Story of Jesus compellingly tells the life of Jesus Christ and, even more important, describes the way to salvation.
Even if they’re healthy, these children are handicapped in so many ways. They live in deep poverty in the poorest parts of Pakistan, Through the Story of Jesus, this boy will hear the Good News that God knows he exists, considers him important, and even loves and wants to connect with him.
The Story of Jesus first became available one year ago and is now in distribution throughout the world. Because circulation numbers are growing so fast, figures keep climbing. Since launch, the total is escalating past 22 million booklets. Worldwide, the specific circumstances of each group of people is different, but the Story of Jesus is bringing the message of salvation and hope to millions trapped in hard conditions.
The lives of the children pictured here are hellish even by the lowest standards. Their families and whole communities work making bricks by hand in a system called bonded servitude. Most will probably never leave the system, which, for all practical purposes, is slavery. Here’s how it works. A family, without money for food, clothing or shelter, borrows money from the brick kiln owner and agrees to pay back the loan by making bricks. The catch is that workers never earn enough to pay off the debts, and can remain in the system for generations.
Eighteen years ago Pakistan declared such a system illegal, but local politics and lax law enforcement allow the brick kilns and their miserable work forces to continue. According to UNICEF statistics, more than a quarter million Pakistani children are bonded laborers, some as young as 5 years old. They receive poor food, clothing and shelter, but virtually no education or other care. Without intervention, they usually remain illiterate slaves their entire lives.
Jesus told us in Matthew 25 that he takes it personally when we care for the “least of these.” It takes so little for these poor children and their families to discover that they are more than the bottom class in a poor country. They are actually the beloved of God.
Because of the volume producing the booklets and printing in low-cost countries, it costs ten cents or less per copy, yet each copy can become someone’s prized possession. Please give so that even more children and adults can discover the Good News.
People often ask us whether the Story of Jesus is available in North America. As of May 2012 it will be, in packets of 25 in English or Spanish, which you can buy in your local Christian bookstore or online.
The Gospel changes lives. The Story of Jesus powerfully communicates the Gospel. Be a part of spreading this life-giving message.