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A harvest of Bibles

October 17, 2021 at 12:00 a.m.

It was a good week for gathering Bibles and Christian literature for Love Packages. Love Packages sends new and used literature to third world countries with English readers such a Ghana, India and Belize. With only a couple boxes in storage we hardly had enough to justify the one-hour detour before our next family visit.

Then came a fall harvest of books. It began during the fall book sale at Barton Library. I volunteered to help Monday and also looked for Bibles and reference books for Bible teachers with limited resources. First, I found four new, inexpensive paperback Bibles. By the time I left I had a small box of books. I volunteered again on Wednesday and found more.

The harvest began in earnest when I saw pictures of the upcoming rummage sale at the Assembly of God Church. Their Facebook pictures showed three long steps lined with books. Surely the library included Bibles and Christian books for Love Packages. I arrived shortly after it opened at 7 a.m. Friday. So many books to consider.

To make sure I did not miss any Bibles or important reference books, I literally touched every book and read every title. I began with a bushel of Bibles: paperback Bibles, leather covered Bibles, Children's Picture Bibles, small New Testaments, plain covered Bibles, and old, usable Bibles. I hauled armfuls of Bibles and commentaries to the checkout table. It took me at least 45 minutes to select the books that filled three boxes.

A couple hours later, a friend said, "I have some Bibles and books for you. She pulled out a sack of nearly new, quality Bibles to add to our collection: large print and study Bibles.

My quest for any and all Bibles and books has roots in my love of books, eagerness to share books and one story from Love Packages that reflects the need.

Love Packages packs every nook and cranny of shipping containers with new and used literature. The organization also receives overruns from major Christian publishers. With the help of volunteers they sort, pack, label and ship out a couple of containers nearly every week. At the receiving port, a coordinator opens and distributes materials from the shipping containers to area ministries.

In one country, as the men began opening boxes, the representative asked the local helper, "Do you have a Bible?" "Oh yes, I have the book of Matthew. I will show you," the man answered. He left and returned with a notebook of lined pages filled with his handwritten copy of the book of Matthew.

The representative's mouth dropped. "Let me get something."

He walked over to a box and took out a Bible. "Here is a Bible." He handed it to the man.

"How long are you going to be here?" the man asked.

"Three weeks."

"Thank you, I will copy everything I can before you leave," the man held the Bible reverently.

"You don't have to copy anymore. The Bible is yours to keep."

Such joy cannot be imagined.

So I returned for the last hour of the sale and asked, "Would you donate the rest of the literature to Love Packages?" They not only agreed but helped me pack and carry the eight boxes of books to the van.

After this week of gathering, we have more than enough to warrant a side trip to Love Packages next month. I anticipate adding our boxes to their warehouse and catching a glimpse of possibly the 100th container packed this year with Christian literature for folks who want a Bible badly enough to copy every word of it.

Joan Hershberger is a former staff writer for the El Dorado News-Times and author of "Twenty Gallons of Milk and other columns from the El Dorado News-Times."

Print Headline: A harvest of Bibles

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