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Back in the last Newsletter (August) I told you all about a new Bible Ministry we began to pursue. We’ve been distributing Bibles into the Wildfire evacuation centers here in Northern California. I mentioned that the concept actually began in 2018 with the CAMP fire that devastated the town of Paradise. We considered it a successful campaign when the pastor that handled it for us distributed 80 Bibles in just a few hours by just setting up one of those patio tents in the largest evacuation site with a sign “FREE BIBLES”.
This year has been quite a bit different, as most of you would know. We’ve been really overwhelmed by fires here in the west. And many of them have been real monsters, devastating hundreds of thousands of acres. Back in August, Bill Rogowski (the Chaplain at Folsom prison) hooked us up with a division of John MacArthur’s ministry in Southern California. He said if we came after them’ he would give us all we could handle. So, I got my old Dodge Dakota tuned up and took off for LA. The Lord was watching out for me and that old rascal helped me bring back nearly 300 paperback study Bibles. He didn’t even hesitate as we brought that heavy load back up over the Grapevine! Praise God!
With my sister Linda, also a Board member of Bibles 4 Change, we began traveling around visiting evacuation sites. Another hurdle we’ve had to deal with, like everyone else, is the Covid 19 pandemic. We were never allowed to actually go into the main areas of these sites. All we could do was leave the site managers 1 or 2 cases (12 in a case) and expect that they will make a display of them in the site so that anyone that need one could just take one. At first, we had some trepidation about doing this since we couldn’t control the actual process, but the Lord has shown us that it isn’t our worry as to whom will get our Bibles – that’s up to Him. All we’re responsible for is getting them into the hands of those in charge.
A beautiful example of this was a delivery Linda made to a site in Magalia, a little town north of Paradise. The church that she took them to said, ‘Praise God, we’re starting a revival in our church tonight so we may just give these great Bibles to some of these evacuees that visit with us over the next few days’….God knows what He’s doing and He’s in charge!
Unfortunately, there was also some push-back about what we were doing from one of the sites. A church in Napa set themselves up as Red Cross evacuation site. When I tried to get them to take a couple of cases’ they said they couldn’t because the Red Cross had strict rules about bringing things into the site that were not directly from an approved vendor - because of Covid. So, even after I explained that these Bible cases were still sealed from Nelson Publishing, they wouldn’t take them. I asked to speak to their Pastor after I told them that their primary mission should be a House of God first and a Red Cross site second, but he was unavailable and tensions were pretty high so I said I’d be praying for them and left with my Bibles. Once again, God’s in charge and He showed me that I had no business making a stressful situation worse – I needed to leave the preaching/chastising to Him!
As of this writing, the fires have mostly come under control so this ministry is coming to a close. We didn’t do as well as we had hoped, only distributing 13 of the 25 cases we brought back from LA. Of course, there could always be more fires but hopefully not in the numbers we experienced in the summer. And, there’s also next year so we’ll be able to hit the ground running next season.
Please, Please keep our ministry in your prayers and in your hearts. One very important point that we’ve recognized from this experience is that many people, during the terrifying process of evacuating from these fires, took off with all the wrong things that they would need. Quite often this included leaving their Bibles behind so we are still convinced that this work is worthwhile.
Thank you all in advance for your continued support.
God bless you all!
I know that it’s been awhile since my last letter, but as all of you can imagine the Covid-19 debacle has really slammed on the brakes for programming inside prisons across the country. By virtue of this, we’ve shifted gears in our ministry to begin cleaning up our media
presence/tools along with refining the Christian Anger Management Project (CAMP) package.
Our Website – If any of you have looked at our website of late you may have found it a little messy. We’re making significant changes on nearly every page and in the course of doing this we published it so that it wouldn’t be missing completely. But now we are about done with the upgrades. Naturally, a website should always be dynamic, a work in progress, so that you all see something new every time you visit. We’re hoping you’ll find it more interesting and informative as time goes by. Please take a look at our site when you can, and as always, we are open to constructive criticism – what you think matters to us!
Our Facebook page – Not only have we changed our image on our Facebook page, we have also begun to link our page to our website. Our goal is to inspire interest in others to get involved in prison ministries. We want to encourage Churches to begin prison ministries if they are not already involved. It’s important that people know that they can get involved in prison ministry without ever having to go inside a prison. We’ve developed a tab on the website giving them ideas as to how they can do this.
We believe all Christians should be taking advantage of all this isolation down time to prepare for getting back to God’s work. This not only includes prison ministry but also to our church work. A simple but great question for you to ask your pastor-
“What can I do, right now, to help the church hit-the-ground-running once we do open back up?”
Awhile back I mentioned in a Newsletter that we sent some Bibles up to a Pastor in Paradise to distribute to his congregants and to anyone else that wanted one. He distributed all 80 Bibles in a little over 2 hours. The Lord has placed on my heart that we do that again for these big fires we experiencing now. So that is what we will be doing. Tomorrow, Aug 22, I’ll be headed down to Vacaville to meet up with a Pastor down there to distribute what we can there and then see where we are called to go from there. Probably either Loyalton or Santa Cruz. Please keep this work in your prayers. Take a look in the ‘Projects’ tab on our website for more information on this work.
We thank you all for hanging in there with us during these crazy times. Your gifts to us are simply helping us to be ready when God calls an end to all of this political absurdity and to the fires! Please keep us in your prayers.
You may recall that in my last newsletter I expressed concern over the fact that our requests for Bibles over the last couple of months had really dropped off.
In fact, the whole first quarter of this year has been near zero. As you might imagine, I’ve been pretty frustrated with all of this.
I also mentioned a reminder as to our submitting our Christian Anger Management course to a group in South Texas for use in the 5 prisons around Houston.
Then, this Coronavirus craziness began so all of our prison work ground to a halt. To be honest, I began to question God in all of this. But in His own, miraculous way He reminded me that He was in charge and that His timing would always prevail, not mine. He’s also helped me to understand that this pandemic is a “Shot across the bow” to America. We’ve systematically taken God out of most everything in America. We take being the most powerful and richest country in the world as something that we accomplished and that He had no part in it. God has shown us with this fiasco that in the blink of an eye He can bring mighty America and all the world to its knees without a fight! GOD IS TRULY IN CHARGE AND ALWAYS WILL BE!! And all of us Christians need to step up and be counted. It’s time to get back to church! We as a nation need to recognize that without Him we will fail! We’re not as big as we think we are.
Enough preaching. I know all of you understand this for what it really is.
Back to Bibles 4 Change – I mentioned earlier my frustration with not hearing anything back on the informational packages I sent to various places regarding our Christian Anger Management Project, what we call CAMP. Last week I got a call from my guy in Houston. He apologized for taking so long for getting back to me on this program but his reasons were pretty powerful. Back in February he submitted our program to the Department of Corrections for the State of Texas in Austin. He was calling me to say that we have just been approved for distribution of the course for every prison in Texas! WOW!
God was working all along for us! He got our course approved in record time because He wants it to grow in other places! He dramatically slowed the demand for Bibles because he wanted us to build our coffers for all of the expenses we would encounter with this new demand for CAMP! Once again, He has humbled impatient Bob about who is in charge and who’s timing is the best.
Please, please, please keep us in your prayers for all of this, folks. This is really a big deal for B4C! We’re going to need your support in every way, more than ever now.
We sincerely thank you for all of your undying support!