In our holistic child development model, spiritual development carries a high priority. Fostering a child’s relationship with God by teaching biblical ethics and worldview is one of our foremost objectives.
Such programs are important in Bangladesh because this nation is predominantly Muslim; 87 percent of people in Bangladesh practice Islam. Hinduism is the second-largest religion in the country, and Christianity is practiced by less than 1 percent of the population.
Approximately 70 percent of the children attending child development programs in Bangladesh are from non-Christian families, and our centers are the only places where many will hear about Jesus Christ.
Age-appropriate Christian books and study materials are very rare in Bangladesh. Therefore, regular spiritual activities and learning at the development centers are of great support to the churches for reaching the children who live in their communities.
As children in our program become teenagers, the development centers recognize the need for age-appropriate Bible courses. Mail Box Club is a favorite Bible program that is adding fresh flavor and a new dimension to our spiritual development activities.
Child development centers with a large group of teenagers have the option to start a Mail Box Club. We support these groups through its Complementary Interventions fund.
Mail Box Club is a special Bible club in which children age 12 and older participate in Bible learning through materials they receive each month by mail. A Christian ministry — Generation Bangladesh — receives, translates and manages the children’s correspondence for the club.
Children in the club must go through course books and answer specific questions based on the study materials. Then they return the completed course books by mail.
After completion of a certain number of course books, children receive a certificate as recognition of their efforts. The study materials are completely Bible based, and the children then teach others about the importance of Christ in their lives.
Alpona, for example, is from a Hindu family and has been coming to a child development center since her childhood. She is an active member of this Bible group.
“I really like Mail Box Club. It is interesting to learn through correspondence. When I first received the mail, I was a little confused but our teacher helped us to understand what we are supposed to do. Now it is easier for me.”
This course has helped Alpona learn about Christ and Christlike behavior. She says she has shared her learning at home and with other friends at the development center.
“From the course books I have learned that Jesus is in me. He is my Savior and He can forgive all my sins. I tell these things at home and to other friends.”
Moni, Alpona’s classmate, is also from a Hindu family. Moni learned about Christ at the child development center, and the additional Bible course enhanced her learning.
“When our teacher explained to us our Bible lesson, I learned that God is always with us and He will never forsake us. I tell this to all my friends in school who do not know about Christ.”
For Joy, this course is special because it ensures that he has a great friend in Jesus Christ. He lives with his mother now, after his father left them. In his times of struggle he recollects his learning from Mail Box Club.
“I learned that Jesus is my best friend, because He knows me, loves me, and will always be with me. Whenever I have problems or I am struggling, I tell myself that Jesus is my best friend, and that helps.”
Mail Box Club is not just a club to improve children’s writing or reading skills. It helps prepare children to enter adulthood with a biblical worldview and intimate knowledge of their Savior.
Perhaps the best thing about this course is that it makes children think about and realize God’s plan. Well-written study materials and simple, clear lessons are wonderful resources that help their spiritual growth.
Mail Box Club has added a new dimension to our approach to child development in Bangladesh.