This update is related to the One Million Bibles: A Crossway Global Initiative campaign.
One Bible, Times Six, Seven, or Eight . . .
If you were to poke your head into the home of a rural Ugandan village, you would likely be greeted by six, seven, or eight people. Some are likely young and others may appear to be at least two generations older. If you take a step into the home, you will likely find that it feels a bit snug. As you look around while your eyes adjust to the dim lighting, you may find that your living room is comparable to the size of this entire home. This is the kind of home that Elizabeth1 visited on her route to deliver Bibles to one rural Ugandan village.
As she approached the homes in one of these villages, she recalls being greeted by numerous members of the family. She knew she could give only one Bible to each household. But, in this case, that’s even better. David Graves, Rafiki’s Uganda Country Director, reflects that, “probably six or seven people in each of the little houses in this village . . . are getting the chance to have access to a Bible in their homes. It’s making an impact on more than just one life, but numerous lives.”
The Bibles that Elizabeth is delivering have come from generous supporters of the One Million Bibles Initiative. Or, perhaps, by God’s grace we might think of it as the “Many Millions of Lives Changed Initiative.” Because Elizabeth’s experience in distributing these donated Bibles isn’t uncommon.
Crossway is providing Bibles to one million believers in need around the world. Join us in our effort to raise support by December 31, 2023 for the distribution of 150,000 Bibles. Would you partner with us to support the global church? Learn More.
Fulfilling Lifelong Longings and Recognizing Others Yet to Be Fulfilled
Derrick serves as the Rafiki Foundation’s Headmaster Assistant in Rafiki’s Uganda village. Though he now lives and serves on the property of this village, he occasionally returns home for Sunday worship with his family: “It’s a traditional Anglican church, and they value traditional hymns, so they do a lot of singing. But when it comes to reading the Bible, the challenge they face is that a majority of the congregation does not have a Bible.” He knows from personal relationships with much of the congregation that they long to have a Bible, but for many, it’s just not possible. He explains that this poses significant challenges for spiritual growth:
When you look at the pews in our church, one pew can accommodate over 20 people. And I realized that in a pew there are often only two people with a Bible. . . . And this is not good, because there is a huge threat for people who are being taught false doctrines. One of the opportunities the false teachers use is to take advantage when their congregations lack a Bible to read because they know you can’t go back home and read for yourself and therefore you’re misguided.
Though this threat of false teaching wasn’t actively something his family’s church was faced with, he didn’t want it to be something that cropped up over time. So when he heard that 23,000 Bibles were being donated to Rafiki for their discretionary distribution, he knew he needed to take some back home to his church.
This specific donation of 23,000 Bibles—part of the first distribution of a total of 127,000 Bibles from the One Million Bibles Initiative—arrived at Rafiki’s village on the last Thursday of July. David Graves recounted that “I thought it was going to take us two or three months to complete the distribution of all these Bibles, . . . but every Bible was spoken for [in less than three weeks], and they were all distributed within a week after that.”
When Derrick received the Bibles he was given for his family’s church, he was thrilled. He waited to give away these Bibles until they convened for worship one Sunday, working with the church’s pastor in the meantime to identify those who were most in need. When the time came, everyone in the congregation rejoiced in the blessing of having Bibles in the hands of more of their church members. But Derrick was faced with one major dilemma through the distribution:
It was really a challenge to see so many people who wished to carry a Bible home but they weren’t able to because the number that I had brought with me didn’t match the number of people in need. There is a desire to own a Bible, but not many of them can afford it, unfortunately. . . . But I thank God for the opportunity to give away these Bibles because I know how precious the Word is. And I hurt on my inside when I learn of someone who is really wishing and longing to have a Bible, but they aren’t able to own one. When they have one and they go to church and the reverend is preaching a portion of Scripture, you know when they go back home that they can dig deeper on their own.
A Drop in the Bucket of Need
Though a few more drops have been added to the bucket as the demand for Bibles is being addressed, the need is still great. However, donors to Crossway are in a position to be able to help meet that need. Lives are being transformed and more people are coming to know the Lord, but the work is not yet finished. Would you consider joining Crossway in our effort to distribute one million Bibles to believers like those in Derrick’s congregation, many who still do not have access to a Bible of their own? Every $40 you give delivers ten copies of God’s Word into the hands of Christians in need. Our objective is to raise $600,000 by December 31, 2023 to support the printing and distribution of an additional 150,000 Bibles. Achieving this goal would help us to surpass the halfway mark of the overall goal to distribute one million Bibles.
David shared that a ministry connection came to pick up her allocation of Bibles, and when she looked at the 40-foot shipping container filled with boxes of Bibles she said, “You could get rid of ten of those containers in Uganda without thinking about it.” We rejoice in lives being changed, but as David explains, “This is a drop in the bucket. Just this morning I had somebody who said to me, ‘We need more.’” Would you prayerfully consider joining us?
- Name changed to preserve anonymity.