While you may not have heard of Rathcoole, you’ve probably heard of the “Troubles” – the guerrilla-style civil war waged in Northern Ireland from 1960 until the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. Located on the edge of Belfast, Rathcoole was a loyalist stronghold during the Troubles. It is the largest social housing estate in Northern Ireland and has suffered from many social issues since the end of the war.
Despite being increasingly secular, Rathcoole is a close-knit community that cares about its children. Which is why parents send them to events hosted by churches.
About 100 kids attended a Holiday Bible Club recently. It was held by a Presbyterian Church located in the heart of Rathcoole. We were delighted to have provided their leader, Campbell Mulvenny, with the resources he needed to give each of these children their very own Bible.
Campbell shares more of the story below.
What ages have you been working with?
“The children we have been working with are mostly primary school age. Many of them are from unchurched families who would have no Bibles in their home and very little understanding of the Gospel.”
Why was it so important for you to give them a Bible?
“In a place where an increasing number of homes are without a Bible, it is a real joy to see the life-changing Word being put into the hands of children. These are boys and girls who have heard something of the Gospel already through the local church. I pray God through His Spirit will use His Word here as He always does – to tell of His Son and the life He freely offers through the forgiveness of sins.”
Is it important to take their reading level into account?
“I believe it is fundamental for children to receive a Bible appropriate for their reading age as it is our desire that they may be able to read God’s Word for themselves and also understand what it says and means. It is our desire as a Church that each child in the Rathcoole estate will be rooted in Christ and saturated in His Word.”
Printed on the first page of the Bibles given away to children in Rathcoole are the following verses:
“I pray that your love will have deep roots. I pray that it will have a strong foundation. May you have power together with all the Lord’s holy people to understand Christ’s love. May you know how wide and long and high and deep it is.” – Ephesians 3:17–18
That’s why resourcing mission and ministry is so important to Biblica. Working with like-minded ministries and organizations, we have delivered millions of Bibles, New Testaments and Bible portions in contemporary translations and formats that are easy to understand and access.
Seeing the joy on the faces of the children as they received the Bibles was so encouraging. It’s a humble reminder that even in rich western countries, there are children who have so little that receiving a gift of a Bible makes them feel special. Our prayer is that this will lead to greater curiosity about the message they have heard and make them want to delve into God’s Word for themselves.
With God, all things are possible.