September 15th in Bulgaria marked the first day of the school year. The Sofia Echo reported that Sixty-three thousand young Bulgarians entered school for the first time on this day. School opening ceremonies include the playing of the national anthem, raising of the flag, speeches and of course giving the teacher a bouquet of flowers.
Naturally, the month of August marks a time of preparation, when students are finishing up their summer and will begin buying their supplies for classes. In past years our ministry has assisted several underprivileged children in nearby villages of the Yambol region with providing these much needed supplies, however this year we decided to do something a bit different. Instead of giving notebooks or pencils, 50 days prior to the 15th, we gave out Bibles to these children getting ready to attend school. With the help of our team and regional youth ministers and ministry leaders we were able to reach 50 young students. This may not sound like much when you look at numbers but we have found throughout the years that ministry with a personal touch is much more effective than ministering to the unknown masses.
With the temptations that these children will be faced including alcohol, drugs, sex and the unimaginable, we believe that the Bible is the most needed instruction manual that can serve as a life resource for when these difficult times come. The follow are a few statistics on the influence of peer pressure that we pray will be confronted with the Power of the Word:
* About 50% of teenagers feel pressured with regard to sex in relationships (The Kaiser Foundation).
* Bulgaria has the highest Teen Birth Rate internationally with the United States coming in a close second (National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion).
* 9% (14 years), 18% (15 – 17 Years), 22% (18 – 19 Years) of teens experience a pregnancy every year. (Communities Responding to the Challenge of Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention)
* Right around 30% of teenagers are offered drugs in middle school and high school (Adolescent Substance Abuse Knowledge Base).
* The use of marijuana has risen by a staggering 275% from the years ‘92 – ‘97.
* Nearly 10% of teens have tried some form of cocaine in their lives. (Adolescent Substance Abuse Knowledge Base)
As we are finishing up our 30 days of prayer campaign in the month of September we request special prayer for these students that they will not leave there new Bibles on a shelf for display, but that they will read them and hide the Truth in their hearts.