Photo Essay: Every Tongue Confess

In West Africa, the literacy rate hovers around 40 percent. But, Scripture says that every tongue will confess the name of Jesus as Lord. The photographs in this essay seek to reveal that despite myriad challenges, the truth of this passage is being revealed — God's presence is evident and his name is being praised.

Overcoming Obstacles
Daniel is no-nonsense. A pastor's son, he is passionate about the Word of God and eager about the mission of the Bible Society of Togo. But he knows that there are many challenges that face the spread of the Gospel in West Africa — low literacy rates and extreme poverty in the region are obstacles that must be addressed so that his people can engage God's Word.

A Worthy Wait
More than 55 million West African adults are illiterate — our partner Bible Society in Togo works day in and day out to change this statistic by facilitating literacy classes in the local communities of Lomé, using the Word of God. Here, children wait for their mothers outside a literacy class.

Proclaiming Peace
“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!'” Francoise is quiet, kind and graceful — and she is driven. As director of marketing for the Bible Society of Benin, Françoise works tirelessly to get the Bible to children in literacy classes, to the blind and to all those who need the hope of the Scripture.

Dancing Hearts
They don't dance for fun; they don't dance for themselves. They dance because the arrival of new Bibles, brought to Ganvie by the Bible Society of Benin, means God is at work. These girls received Scripture in one of the many local languages of Benin.

Investing in the Future
There isn't much time. The children of West Africa are growing up without the chance to read God's Word in the language they speak at home. So, the Bible Society of Togo is entering the second phase of a literacy training program that began in 2006. The Bible Society's goal is that people from the six language groups where translation is ongoing will be able to read God's Word for themselves by the time translation into their heart language is finished.

A Great Need
Many challenges face West Africa. Translation projects take years, and many of the local translations are still in process. The need for support and resources is great; the hunger for the Word, even greater. Your prayers and generous support are critical to help keep these projects growing.

We invite you to learn more about Bible Society literacy initiatives in Africa at

Thanks to the support of our faithful financial partners, American Bible Society has been engaging people with the life-changing message of God’s Word for more than 200 years.

Help us share God's Word where needed most.

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