Churches send 20,000 Bibles to Zimbabwe
It’s a goal that several American churches are working to make a reality — with help from a publisher and a Christian bookstore.
The vision began in 2007, after the son of Zimbabwe church members Francis and Muchaneta Mandivengerei died suddenly just before Christmas in 2006.
John Fewkes, minister for the Kingswood church in Damascus, Ore., met the Mandivengereis during a trip to Zimbabwe to teach at a Christian school there.
Wanting to honor the Mandivengereis’ son, Fewkes’ congregation sent 1,000 Bibles to Zimbabwe with a memorial sticker for Bethel Mandivengerei inside.
But the need was much greater.
Fewkes said Zimbabwe has about 45,000 Christians, but only a small percentage — maybe one in six — has a Bible.
In the United States, Bibles are a common commodity.
“I probably have 20 of them myself,” Fewkes said.
When Moyers’ Family Bookstore in Portland, Ore., began offering a King James paperback Bible for $1, the Kingswood church committed to sent another 2,600 Bibles to Zimbabwe.
Other churches heard of the effort, and now more than 20,000 Bibles are on their way to Zimbabwe. Nelson Publishers offered an additional discount and contributed to the freight for the shipping, making the final cost of the Bibles about 85 cents each, Fewkes said.
“When I think about it, I start to cry,” Fewkes said. “How often does God give us an opportunity to change the spiritual life in an entire country?”
The Bibles were scheduled to leave the U.S. from Abilene Christian University in Texas in February. They should arrive in Zimbabwe by July, Fewkes said.
Along with Bibles, church members also are sending supplies, clothes, Bible class materials and sermon outlines to help the local Christians, Fewkes said.