When we share in meetings and prayer letters about distributing Bibles to children, it all sounds very simple. Children complete 15 lessons of our Bible course and we give them a Bible. However, as we have been planning for distribution this week, I am reminded of just how long and complicated the process can be. So let me give you a little glimpse into the Journey of a Bible.
1. We are praying that more children will begin our lessons.
2. Latter part of 2015 and into 2016, children begin our lessons.
3. We continue praying that children will be blessed and that funds will be available for the purchase of Bibles.
4. The cut off point is October 2016. That is when our team begin to add up and predict from their records how many children are likely to have finished to Lesson 15 by the end of June 2017. These children would be ready to receive their Bibles in July 2017. July is the chosen month for presenting Bibles.
5. Decisions are being made about where is best to purchase the Bibles. In certain circumstances we have purchased in Kenya and Uganda, but usually, due to cost and availability we purchase from Every Home Crusade here in Northern Ireland.
6. The numbers are in. It's November 2016 and we thank God that we have been able to pay £3000 to Every Home Crusade for the Bibles needed. We previously purchased some which are already in Nairobi. A large number of children have been waiting for some time and we have been running behind so we are glad the funds are finally available. It will be some months before the container will leave.
7. February 2017. We are continually asked when the Bibles will be available for the children....we are glad we can tell them that the container is en route to Africa.
8. May 2017. The container has arrived in Mombasa and been transported to Nairobi. A Pastor organises a lorry to transport the Bibles (and more lessons) from the depot to our office. Cost £116.67.
9. Over the coming months Bibles are distributed in the Nairobi area...but they are delayed to reach western Kenya and Uganda due to the cost. Joyce has also been on maternity leave, so the distribution in Uganda is delayed.
10. October 2017. A gift of £150 has been received specifically to transport the Bibles and some lessons to Joyce. We are thanking God because we can finally make sure the children receive their Bibles. Some children will change Schools so it is important they are distributed before early December.
11. The ladies from our Kenyan office also need to distribute Bibles in Western Kenya; so they work hard pricing buses and taxis to find the best way to make the journey and to accompany the Bibles to Joyce. It is a full days travel and they have many centres to visit. £301.30 is sent to pay for the transportation of the Bibles to Joyce as well as to pay for travel, accommodation and food for Anne and Mary as they go to other centres to distribute Bibles after they have delivered the boxes to Joyce. A taxi has been hired.
12. Much time has been spent communicating with our African team. There is an issue. Once they reach the Kenyan/Ugandan border it will be difficult and expensive for the taxi to cross. Joyce has arranged for some men to come on motorbikes to unload the boxes from the car and transport them across the border. They will charge just under £30 for their services. There are 49 boxes of Bibles and 23 boxes of lessons! The journey begins this week!
13. Mary and Anne need your prayers as they proceed further upcountry to visit Churches and Schools and distribute Bibles. They will stay for 3 nights. This will allow them two days to visit the children and two days travelling.
14. Joyce will begin travelling to distribute the Bibles the day after she receives them. She has many children to see and many Bibles to distribute. She will need another £80 to cover the many miles she has to travel with her baby. She may need to bring her older two children (aged 6 and 4) with her also.
15. Over the course of the next 2 weeks, around 3000 Bibles will be distributed to boys and girls.
16. At last the Bible is placed into the hands of a child!
17. 2045...this number has just arrived today from Nairobi. It is the number of Bibles required for distribution in July 2018. Joyce will shortly confirm how many are needed in Uganda. And so we begin again.....
:For Anne and Mary as they make the long journey from Nairobi to the border and then on upcountry to distribute Bibles to children there who have been waiting for a long time
:For Joyce as she transports the Bibles to the children she has been working with and then as she finalises numbers of Bibles needed for the next order
:For God's provision to purchase the Bibles needed for distribution in 2018 and for the process as it begins again
:Most of all, pray that God will speak to these children through His Word and that many will come to know the Lord as their personal Saviour.
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regular updates and thoughts from Northern Ireland and Africa...