Mission minded about literacy

Mission: Literacy, a highly successful Bible-based curriculum used with children to teach them to read or to raise their reading scores, this year will have the exciting addition of a version for adults. The introduction of this new material only expands the possibilities for a “hidden gem” of a ministry tool, according to Major Carol Wurtz, territorial corps mission and ministry secretary.

At this juncture, oversight of the program for the territory is being transferred to territorial headquarters after years of exceptional care and promotion even in retirement by Major Jan Hendrickson. David Tooley, territorial discipleship resources and leadership development consultant, will now be the program’s point person.

Since first being introduced in the Central Territory in the Northern Division in 2009, corps throughout the Midwest have been incorporating Mission: Literacy with tremendous results.

“Because of Mission: Literacy there are many wonderful examples of children accepting Christ as their Savior and new families coming to the corps,” said Major Carol. “We really want to encourage corps to take a look at the material and see how it can be used in their ministry,” she continued.

Mission: Literacy can be incorporated easily into already established programming like summer day camps or afterschool programs or can expand ministry opportunities and possibilities for partnerships with local churches and schools.

For instance, the Garden City, Kan., Corps, led by Lts. Jeff and Joyce Curran, incorporated  Mission: Literacy in both the afterschool and summer day camp in 2016, reaching more than 106 children. The Currans say they are committed to Mission: Literacy because they’ve seen results.

“All of the children improved in their literacy skills, except one!” said Lt. Jeff. “But what the evaluations don’t measure is not only did each of these kids improve overall in their performance at school but their attitudes have followed suit!”

He gives the example of Dennisse, who had trouble reading before participating in Mission: Literacy. She was struggling on spelling tests and failing most of them. Now, she is acing almost all of the tests, has accepted Jesus as her Savior, become a junior soldier and often participates in reading during holiness services.

At the St. Paul Eastside, Minn., Corps, Envoys Mike and Kris Fuqua, along with youth director Wanda Sue Fleur, led 48 students through Mission: Literacy in their afterschool program. The children who could read all 30 sentences formed a book club that has become a Bible study. After reading other books, the students asked to learn more about the Bible!

“Every child who participated in Mission: Literacy last school year became a better reader. The kids enjoyed learning about the Bible and looked forward to reading time,” said Wanda. “I had one mom who came to me and expressed her gratitude for the program enabling her daughter to gain confidence in her reading. Ultimately, her daughter was able to bring her school grades up and passed every class! She now looks forward to reading and always has a book with her.”

In the last year in the Central Territory, Mission: Literacy touched the lives of 1,001 students who altogether completed 16,682 lessons taught by 87 tutors and 95 volunteers, giving nearly 7,200 hours, to make a difference in the lives of at-risk children. And 199 youth accepted Christ!

Major Jan concluded, “The important thing about statistics is what they represent: each person—a child, tutor or volunteer—whose life has been changed by this ministry.”

For more information about the program, including free materials to download, contact David Tooley by calling (847) 294-2165 or emailing [email protected]

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