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Books and more books

Wednesday

Just another day in the office on Wednesday. We sorted, banded, packed, stacked, and wrapped. After a while, the mountains of boxes (full of boxes) start to look like part of the structure. They’re easy to overlook, until you step back and really take it all in. It’s a lot.

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Pierce and Sara sorted pictures and posters from Sunday school sets. They pack half a box full, and then Christopher filled the rest of the box with sets of Sunday school books – a couple of teacher guides, and a pile of workbooks. Those pictures seem silly to spend time on with so much other stuff around, but Steve told us about them at lunch. 

One of their distributors told them how their teachers use the pictures with kids. They don’t have books (or even paper), and most of them have never seen a full-color, glossy print. So the teachers tell them the stories – Noah and the arc, Moses and the Red Sea, Jesus with the fish and loaves – and when the children memorize the stories, they get to take that picture home.

At home, the parents proudly display those pictures on the walls of their small huts. It’s fine art in some places. And when friends or family come over, they ask about them. The parents either know the stories themselves by that time, or they call the children to come and tell the story – and the gospel is spread.

Pretty cool.

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He told us another story later in the afternoon about a pastor who took some literature to a stretch of small islands in the Philippines.

The people on the island didn’t want to talk to this pastor, but they didn’t mind him taking the kids off their hands for a few hours every day. So he started kids’ Sunday School programs. That was over a decade ago, and as those kids started to follow Jesus, and grew into teenagers, they started packing some of that material in small boats and visiting neighboring islands, where they started their own Sunday School programs.

One day they realized that some of the material was divided into age groups. They came and showed their pastor and asked if they could divide the kids in their programs into different classes. Of course, he said yes.

Adults got curious, parents got involved, and now the kids that this pastor started teaching about Jesus are teenagers who are pioneering small churches on small, Pacific islands.

I love the fact that in God’s wonderful plan, a group of teenagers from the Midwestern United States are spending a week of their summer vacations packing and shipping literature that would otherwise be thrown out. And that their counterparts on the other side of the world are using it to start churches on small islands that would otherwise be overlooked by most missionary organizations.

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None of which would be possible if it weren’t for this woman (pictured here with two helpers):

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Gloria is such a servant. She gets up early to prepare breakfast, and then spends most of her day in the kitchen working on lunch and dinner for 20+ people. We’d all starve without her.