eaders of Adventist Review have responded overwhelmingly to the appeal for funds in the publication’s January 15 issue* to provide Bibles for women in India learning to read. The goal of $20,000 has not only been reached but more than doubled, with a total to date of $47,225.52!
Adventist Review is partnering with the Southern Asia Division’s (SUD) Women’s Ministries Department and North American Division’s Hope for Humanity to provide literacy classes for women in India ages 15 to 85. The fund-raising initiative is to cover the cost of giving a Bible and its carrying case to every woman who graduates from the church-run literacy program in 2009. Hepzibah Kore, director of SUD Women’s Ministries, estimates that 4,000 women will graduate this year from the more than 200 literacy centers organized in that division. The cost of one Bible and its case is $5, so $20,000 will supply all the Bibles needed this year. More than 750 Adventist Review and Adventist World readers, however, have given so liberally that enough funds are now available to provide all the Bibles and carrying cases for two years.
“I am at a loss for words to express my gratitude for the sacrificial giving by readers of the Adventist Review to provide a Bible and a carrying case for those who complete the adult literacy course,” Kore says. “A few years ago when I visited the project at the initial stage, the learners said, ‘We joined the class so that we can read the Bible. Please provide us one because we cannot afford to buy one.’ Everywhere I went the cry was: ‘Please give us a Bible.’ That touched my heart.ï¿½I asked my heavenly Father to show me a way to provide His Word to His children. He answered my petition through this literacy program fund-raiser.”
Adventist Review/Adventist World editor and executive publisher Bill Knott, who has urged the journals’ involvement in literacy ministry, says he feels grateful for the response to this project.
“The generosity of our readers in giving to the Bibles for a New Life campaign has helped build the essential platform for thousands of women in India to discover the life-changing truths of the Word of God,” Knott says. “For many, the first book they will ever own will be a Bibleï¿½in a beautiful carrying caseï¿½supplied by reader donations. I’m very grateful to those who care enough to pass along the gift of reading, and thus open the door to a lifetime of growing in grace.”
Hope for Humanity’s Javier Gonzalez, who is responsible for processing the donations, says the many contributions for a single HFH project is unprecedented. “It’s by far the most we’ve ever received,” he says.
Letters tucked inside many of the donation envelopes reveal that a spirit of sacrificial commitment to mission is obviously still very much alive in the hearts of Adventists--and age doesn’t appear to be a factor. Youth from children’s Sabbath school classes to church members 90-plus years old jotted notes indicating their desire to make a difference in the lives of India’s women.
“This donation is from the junior class of [an Adventist church in California],” wrote a class leader. “Each quarter they pick a new way to share God’s love.”
Another donor penned, “My husband and I are both unemployed, and together we have less than $50 left. . . . [But] I would like to help provide a Bible with carrying case for a woman in India who has learned how to read. Enclosed is my check for $5.”
“I can still bake bread and sell it and make quilts,” wrote a 94-year-old widow. “I pray for God’s blessing on the women who get the Bibles.”
A donor from Ontario, Canada, wrote: “I have a burden on my heart for these women in India. I pray for them all the time now.”
And most recently the adult Sabbath school members of a church in Oregon sent a check along with a letter, saying: “Our church board, upon request of our Sabbath school classes, voted to make Bibles for a New Life a mission project of our church for this past quarter. Please accept our donation.”
“The dramatic difference that learning how to read makes in the lives of India’s women can’t be overstated,” Hope for Humanity director Maitland DiPinto says. “Their level of confidence and self-esteem rises immeasurably. They are more highly respected not only by their family members but also by others in the community. Their new skills open up various income-generating opportunities, as well; there-fore their quality of life also improves.”
He adds: “I want those who donated to this project to realize that their sacrificial giving to Bibles for a New Life will reap rewards for thousands of women in this life and for eternity.”
Knowing that even $5 could dramatically change the life of a woman in India on a practical as well as a spiritual level obviously spurred people to pull out their checkbooks and make a contributionï¿½ranging from $2 to more than $3,000 in a single donation. The Review staff trusts that God will bless every dollar given, and we sincerely thank each person who contributed to this very worthy project.
Sandra Blackmer is an assistant editor of Adventist Review.