'Bare Your Bookshelf' campaign calls on believers to share Bibles with poor Christians overseas
Contact: Tracy Nordyke, 503-641-1637
FOWLERVILLE, Mich., May 9 /Christian Newswire/ -- American Christians buy millions of books which are never read, according to Christian Resources International Executive Director Fred Palmerton. "We've found research that indicates 58% of American adults never read another book after high school – yet more than 60% of us have bought a book in the last three months!"
Christian Resources International, a ministry which sends Bibles and other Christian books to ordinary believers, converts, pastors, teachers and missionaries overseas, says that American Christians acquire Bibles and other books intending to read them, but that the books in fact sit unread on the shelf. "Research by Bible experts like Zondervan Publishers2 tell us that the average Christian owns nine Bibles, and is looking to purchase another one," reports Palmerton.
Palmerton continues, "For more than fifty years, CRI has prevented Christian materials from going to waste, by sending Bibles and other Christian books to our brothers and sisters in the developing world. These days, though, the waste isn't from books being discarded – it's from books wasting away on dusty shelves!"
As bad as the waste of Bibles and books is, the problem isn't limited to waste. "What makes this so painful," CRI's Palmerton continues, "is that throughout the developing world, there are new Christians hungry for Bibles. Evangelical researchers report that there are more than 122,000 people declaring for Christ every day3 in Africa, South America, and Asia4, and nearly all of those people are desperately poor. They can't afford to go out and buy a new Bible; they can barely afford food. They write to us asking for help, and we do what we can, but we just don't have nearly enough material on hand."
Christian Resources International has put two and two together. On the one hand, there are millions of American Christians whose shelves are literally groaning from the weight of the unread books on them; on the other hand, millions of new converts without Bibles who desperately need the Word. "It just makes sense to get these two groups together, and to let these problems solve themselves!" says Palmerton.
To bring those who have too many Bibles together with those who have none, CRI created Operation Bare Your Bookshelf (www.bareyourbookshelf.com), a project to make it easy for American Christians to send their Bibles and other Christian books oversees.
"When someone goes to the website, they just enter their name, address, and denomination," says Palmerton, "and then we'll send them--free--all the mailing materials they need to send their Bibles and Christian books to an ordinary Christian overseas, someone who has asked CRI for help. We'll even send them the actual request letter, so they can get to know and pray for the recipient by name."
Because the mailing materials bear CRI's return address, volunteers need not worry that they'll be personally contacted by anyone overseas. But Palmerton says CRI will personally pass on to volunteers the thank you letters generated by the packages they send. Volunteers and recipients are matched by denomination to ensure that the material sent by the volunteer will be appropriate and useful for the Christian convert overseas. In fact, CRI's own research indicates that recipients share the material they receive from Americans with an average of ten other people.
The Bare Your Bookshelf web site (www.bareyourbookshelf.com) gives comprehensive suggestions on which books are most needed – books that most average Christians already have on their shelves, or which can be easily found inexpensively in each participant's local area. Each participant in the program can then fill the mailing bag sent by CRI and take it to the Post Office. Sending an M-Bag to most countries will cost approximately than $35. Donors are also invited to contribute to CRI to support this project.
Christians desiring to donate their Bibles and Christian books are urged to visit www.bareyourbookshelf.com to register or receive more information.
Christian Resources International is a 50-year old volunteer-driven ministry that enables ordinary Christians to send their used Christian books and Bibles to English-speaking recipients in the more than 180 countries from which CRI receives handwritten and e-mailed requests every month.