Big Picture

CEF is equipping believers in Maui to bring the Gospel to fire-ravaged community

Booklet focused on children ‘points them and their families toward Jesus during this traumatic time,’ says CEF Executive Vice President Moises Esteves

For Immediate Release

September 5 , 2023

ST. LOUIS Child Evangelism Fellowship is reaching out to the Hawaiian community of Lahaina, Maui, which was devastated on August 8 by the fifth worst fire in U.S. history and the worst U.S. fire in more than 100 years. More than 115 people have been pronounced dead, and many more are still missing.

“We are delivering hundreds of our booklets on tragedy, ‘Do You Wonder Why?’ to enable believers on the ground in Maui to comfort children. It points them and their families toward Jesus during this traumatic time,” says CEF Executive Vice President Moises Esteves.

Maui has discouraged too many organizations and volunteers from coming and overwhelming the island. So, instead, CEF is equipping local Maui believers to be the hands and feet of Christ with the booklets, which are designed to help children cope with disasters.

“It’s specifically to help children who are going through natural disasters or traumatic events that have those questions about, ‘Where is God in this? Why did God allow my house to be destroyed or loved ones to lose their life?’” says Matt Walton, CEF’s Hawaii state director. “It deals with very, very difficult topics from a biblical perspective, but it gives clear answers and hope for kids who are dealing with this stuff.”

“‘Do You Wonder Why?’ takes on the toughest questions children (and adults) have, such as ‘Why do so many bad things happen in the world’? and ‘Why does God allow this to happen?’” Esteves says. “The booklet was created shortly after the attacks on 9/11 in response to the grief children were wrestling with. The booklets explain the role of sin, the fact that we can’t always know why bad things happen, our need for salvation and the good news that, no matter what, Jesus will never leave us when we accept Him as our Savior.”

In each booklet, which is also available in video form and in print online in several languages at, the Gospel is clearly explained. Children are given the opportunity to write their names and the date on which they became “part of God’s family.”

These booklets are an invaluable resource for children all around the world. To help the children of war-torn Ukraine, CEF has printed five million copies of “Do You Wonder Why?” One million of the booklets are printed in Ukrainian, one million in Russian, and three million in other languages. Individuals, churches and camp centers hosting Ukrainian refugees can order them for use in Estonia, Romania, Moldova, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and other countries.

In Maui, Walton has reached out to churches that CEF already partners with for 5-Day Clubs and is working with them to have the materials shipped directly to them.

He asks for prayer “that God opens doors for hope conversations about the Gospel for those that don’t know about Jesus. For those in those communities that God put there long before this ever happened, give them opportunity to share the light and the hope that comes from only having a faith in Jesus Christ.”

“Please pray for the children of Maui — and all Hawaiians — to fix their eyes on Jesus for comfort and hope,” Esteves says.

Child Evangelism Fellowship, which was founded 86 years ago, has been establishing Good News Clubs® in countries around the world for decades. Clubs are thriving worldwide, in countries including Australia, Cambodia, Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Uganda.

Last year, through CEF’s combined ministries, more than 19.5 million children worldwide heard the Good News. In 2022, more than 439,000 teachers were trained around the world.

For more CEF news, see the ministry’s latest edition of the online magazine Impact.

Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) is an international, nonprofit, Christian ministry that has been dedicated to seeing every child reached with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, discipled and established in a local church since 1937. CEF is located in all 50 American states and in most countries around the world, with over 3,500 paid staff and tens of thousands of volunteers around the world.


To interview a representative from Child Evangelism Fellowship, contact [email protected], Beth Harrison, 610.584.1096, ext. 105, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.