A Global Bestseller Turns 40 - Aid to the Church in Need’s Children’s Bible Celebrates Anniversary

This year, the pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its children’s Bible, God Speaks to His Children. Since its release, more than 51 million copies have been distributed across the globe in 189 languages. “It is beyond human understanding just how many children as well as adults have opened themselves to God through the children’s Bible,” the executive president of the foundation, Dr Thomas Heine-Geldern, explained when asked about the anniversary. He pointed out that for many families living in the world’s poorest regions, the children’s Bible is the only book that they will ever own.

ACN 20150326 22024 Easy ResizeImage: Children in Papua-New Guinea receive the Children's Bible.

The Bishops of Venezuela have released an exhortation regarding the political and economic crisis in their country. The statement has been issued after the illegitimate inauguration of Nicolás Maduro on 10 January 2019 as president for a second term of office.

Since Mr. Maduro first took office, violence and hunger have become emblematic, inflation has skyrocketed, and the migration of Venezuelans out of the country has reached unprecedented levels. Venezuela was once one of Latin America’s wealthiest nations.

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On 23rd December, 40 million Congolese citizens will go to the polls to elect a new president, 500 members of the national assembly and 715 members of provincial parliaments. The country’s people are anxiously awaiting the poll, which has already been postponed several times. 

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 On 13th December, 8,000 electronic voting machines, intended for polling stations in the Congolese capital Kinshasa, were destroyed following a fire in the depot where they were being kept. It has yet to be determined whether the fire was deliberate or accidental – but it provides an additional obstacle to the smooth running of the elections. At the end of November, the episcopal conference expressed its concerns over the delays in the polls – which were originally scheduled for November 2016.

Christians in northern Nigeria, in addition to suffering attacks by the terrorist Boko Haram group, are also facing a terrible situation as a result of the bloody attacks by Fulani herders against Christian villages in Nigeria’s so-called Middle Belt. 

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“This is a time bomb that threatens to ignite the whole region”, says Bishop William Amove Avenya of the diocese of Gboko. He was speaking to representatives of the international Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN International). He described how in his diocese, located in Nigeria’s majority Christian Benue State, “Fulani tribesman, armed to the teeth, are murdering pregnant women and children and destroying our smallholdings”. Ever since 2010 the Christian villages have been the target of violent attacks by the nomadic, Muslim Fulani herdsman from the Sahel region, who have been armed with a wealth of modern weaponry. The result has been thousands killed and numerous communities forced to flee. “The Fulani have claimed far more victims during 2018 than Boko Haram, but no one is doing anything about it”, the bishop explained.

Image: Bishop William Amove Avenya of the diocese of Gboko pleading with the authorities to do something to stop the violence against the (mostly Christian) farmers. Copyright Aid to the Church in Need. 

How ACN is helping the local Church in Homs to distribute aid for fuel and heating

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Remond Ziade was 72 years old during the first year of the war in Homs, one of the cities most heavily involved in the fighting since the beginning of the conflict in Syria in 2011. Widespread street protests were met with harsh repression and Homs became the seedbed of some of the first groups of rebel fighters, earning it the nickname the “capital of the revolution”. The main areas of fighting were in the City of Old Homs and the Al-Hamidiya district, an area with a significant Christian presence. By around 2012 life had become unbearable and almost all the inhabitants fled the area, leaving only a few elderly people behind.

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