Matthew Mouse is Growing!
Matthew Mouse Bible stories began as an idea halfway through 2020 when the Lockdowns were in full swing. Cindy noticed that although her church had zoom church on Sundays to replace ‘actual’ Sunday services, the children were joining in less and less, and were definitely not as involved.
Cindy’s husband, who taught at Sunday school, also noticed that the children didn't really know their basic Bible stories very well, which prompted the decision to start the Matthew Mouse project.
Initially, the idea was to offer stories on a subscription basis, where children could sign up to receive a letter from Matthew Mouse once a month, telling them of an exciting adventure he’d had, whilst hopping through the pages of the Bible. Cindy wrote the stories and illustrated the letters, which attracted a few regular subscribers.
Building on this promising start led Cindy to decide to expand her service and send Matthew Mouse letters out to more children - in particular those who would not have easy access to children’s bibles. Cindy kept Matthew’s language easy to understand and deliberately steered clear of ‘church language’ to aid understanding for children, parents and carers who did not attend a church. Instead, the stories were told simply from a witness's point of view.
Being originally from South Africa, Cindy felt prompted to try sending the letters out to South African children first, but this proved to be extremely problematic due to postal difficulties. In light of this difficulty, she approached her Minister at the Countess Free Church, Ely, who suggested sending the letters out to children at The Connexion's Bethesda Orphanage, in Sierra Leone, where postal deliveries are more reliable.
‘This turned out to be the best thing I did,’ says Cindy, ‘I even received photos of letters they had written back to Matthew Mouse. It was just amazing!’
And following on from this success, Cindy began sending Matthew’s letters out by email to a children's orphanage in South Africa, together with a colouring page or a fun sheet, which could be printed off and shared with the children.
Up until this point, Matthew had been hopping around in the Bible, telling stories from both the New and Old Testaments. However, some useful feedback revealed that this was confusing for some of the little ones, because one moment Jesus was featured in a story and the next minute he wasn't there! In response, Cindy decided to produce a series that concentrates only on Jesus' life. So far, this includes a set of 13 stories, to which four more will be added. The next step has been to have the stories narrated, which has been blessed by help from Cindy’s church. One lady edits the stories for Cindy and another narrates them beautifully.
Matthew’s first Christmas letter included the Christmas story in the form of a poem, which based on the well-known classic, ‘The Night Before Christmas’. Cindy then decided to turn this into a colouring-in book, containing a link to the narrated poem and a video. This initiative has been hugely successful, and this Christmas, Matthew Mouse sold 400 copies in the UK and 100 in South Africa. In fact, the narrations are proving to be even more popular than the letters, as the children seem to love receiving the stories in this interactive format.
Looking forward to the coming year, Cindy has begun working on a new Easter book, and is planning to send the Christmas book out to churches, playgroups, ministries and as many organisations as possible, in readiness for Christmas 2023. She also has someone who is working alongside her in South Africa, to help to spread the colouring books to children there as well.
Selling more books means that more can be given away to charities that can reach children in the UK, Africa and hopefully across the world.
'One book at a time!' says Cindy.
To visit the Matthew Mouse website click on the link https://matthewmousebiblestories.com/