I get asked every three months the same question and comments, “What can we do with these old (and sometimes never used) Sunday School books? I can’t stand the idea of it going to dump or even being recycled. I really want it to be used again and again!” Well I’ve got the answer for you. It’s called BOOK-LINK International (BLI).
BLI began in January 1988. It is an outgrowth of Books for the World, started by the late Owen Cooper, president of Mississippi Chemical Corporation and a former President of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC.) BLI is an ongoing, all volunteer mission project that assists the International Mission Board of the SBC. Long shelves of books as well as tables, chairs, dollies, boxes and packing materials fill the BLI warehouse in Eubank, Ky. Volumes of used books and other Christian literature are repaired, processed, packed and wrapped in boxes weighing about 45 pounds each.
Through the efforts of many volunteers, the organization has shipped more than two million books, journals, tracts, Christian music CDs and cassette tapes to 5,000-plus recipients in more than 80 countries at no cost to those who open the boxes. Some of the most popular resources are Bibles, study course books, Sunday School literature and CDs.
Just imagine your old Sunday School literature being used by our IMB missionaries. Listen to the results…
- a teacher in Nigeria said, “If you cannot send me a New Testament, please tear a few pages out of a New Testament and send these pages to me.”
- another recipient of a box of books in Africa responded, “Take out the packing material and send more books instead.”
- a missionary in Uganda said, “Praise be to God for the blessings of books… the people will benefit greatly from the books. We never expected to receive books like these. Now it has happened and it is wonderful.”
- a missions coordinator of Northern European wrote, “ I am sure we will put the books to good use and the books will certainly be of use to the students who will use them for years to come.”
- another letter from Nicaragua, stated, “Thank you so much for sending the books that you had promised and the students at our [missionary kids] school are already using the dictionaries, Bibles and commentaries.”
And finally hear what one missionary from Zambia said, “We just concluded a pastors conference and it was wonderful. We had 104 pastors that had traveled from all over Zambia to attend this conference. This conference was enriched by lessons from the Holy Scriptures. It emphasized the need for pastors to be readers of books. We had an opportunity to distribute more books from BLI. The Lord has been wonderful to us. For many years past many of us longed to have good and sound Bible materials on our desk. In Zambia there is little literature writing and printing. Every day I hear testimonies from pastors and church leaders that have benefited from your materials. Many new Bible studies have been started and many are coming to Christ. It’s so exciting what God is doing. Many pastors have been empowered with the good Bible resources. God is on the move using these materials.”
The mission of BLI is to collect, pack and ship Christian study tools and Bibles to Baptist missionaries, theological students and national pastors in developing countries, to provide churches and individuals with opportunities to help Christians preparing to serve God around the World, and to assist in building up libraries in Baptist Seminaries, schools for pastors and other Christian centers on mission fields who have little or no reading resources. The need of BLI is financial support to provide for operating expenses; which include supplies, postage and shipping. The average cost for one shipment of thirty-five pounds is approximately $100. While BLI assists the International Mission Board, it receives no financial support from them, neither the SBC nor the Cooperative Program. BLI relies on donations from individuals, groups, churches and associations for financial support.
Your old Sunday School (literature for all ages, including teacher’s books) literature is just one of the resources needed on the mission field. Some other items needed include Bibles, New Testaments, Devotionals, Concordances, Commentaries, Bible Handbooks and Manuals, Pastor’s Manuals, Study Course Books, Sermon Preparation Books, Bible Book Study Series including Winter Bible Study, Books concerning Baptist beliefs & doctrines, Vacation Bible School materials, Hymnals and Choir music, Religious Biographies, Packets of Gospel Tracts, Webster’s or compatible English Dictionaries, Bible Atlases, Bible Dictionaries and Bible Encyclopedias, Bible Study or Sermon/Leadership Magazines, Bibles and Bible Studies on Tape, CD or DVD.
There are some guidelines for materials NOT to be sent…
- No items that are significantly damaged
- No fiction or novels (secular or Christian)
- No materials with answers already filled in
- No missions, parenting, or other magazines based on American culture
So what can you, your class and/or your church do?
-PRAY for the BLI ministry.
-DONATE Bibles, hymnals, commentaries.
-COLLECT suggested resources.
-DELIVER collected resources to the local BLI in Southwest Georgia.
-CONTRIBUTE financial support.
-VOLUNTEER your time to help at a shipping point. Volunteers are needed and welcome at the Southwest Georgia distribution site in Bluffton, Georgia. This would be a great idea for a local mission trip!
For more information or to ship resources….
BOOK-LINK INTERNATIONAL, INC
Southwest Georgia Branch
Flinn Gregory, Executive Director
21990 U.S. Highway 27
Bluffton, Georgia 39824-2220
Phone/Fax: (229) 641-3480
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or
BOOK-LINK INTERNATIONAL, INC
Olin Williams, Executive Director
100 Book-Link Way
Eubank KY, 42567