As you probably know, one part of our educational ministry to missionaries and their kids is to house a significant library in our home.
Bethie has been gradually going through some of our non-fiction holdings and adding them to our online catalog via LibraryThing.com. The current total count is 7,320 books. This figure may but probably doesn’t include some other types of materials because we also have audio CDs, DVDs, textbooks, and assorted materials that don’t fit any of these categories (like microscopes, chemistry instruments, posters, etc).
The library is a great blessing to our ministry and to many missionary families, including some who live hours from here and cannot regularly visit here to check out books. At any one time we have over 500 books out (the current circulation is nearly 600).
An example of one of these more distant families is Miguel and Becky Aguirre who live in a town near the eastern mountain range on the border of the states of Puebla and Tlaxcala. They minister with Pioneers to an indigenous group called the Totonaco. They homeschool their four children from grades 6 down to kindergarten. They were ministering a few days this past week at an indigenous Bible training institute in the neighboring state of Hidalgo this past week and decided to drive a couple hours further and drop in for an overnight visit with us. This gave them an opportunity to return their stash of books (they check them out by the boxful!) and get a replacement stash! Yesterday afternoon they left with 186 books for all of them to read and listen to.
Sometimes missionaries ask us if it’s OK to take so many books. Of course it is! They don’t do any good sitting around here collecting dust, so we LOVE it when they take as many as they think they can read! The Aguirres will be back here in two weeks for MK Camp. I suspect they’ll swap out some more books then!
They love to read and the library provides them (and many other missionary families) the opportunity to supplement the education and development of their children in a truly “hands-on” way. Sure, we all use digital content these days, but some of our missionaries don’t have good Internet access, and more than that, there is no substitute for a real book that a kid can hold in his or her hands, turn the pages, enjoy the feel of the printed page, and without causing parental concern for an expensive device being dropped or mishandled.
On the behalf of all these missionaries and ourselves, we say “Thank-you!” to all of you who have in the past and present supported our ministry and even given toward the funding and filling of the library ministry. We’ve probably got a paycheck’s worth of materials in there too, and we’re glad to share.
It’s all about the Great Commission and helping missionary families stay equipped and ready to serve in ministry and especially in the lives of their children. Helping their children, helps the parents; helping the parents, helps their ability to minister; helping their ministry, reaches the lost, builds up the church, and keeps the cycle of obedience to the Great Commission going for another generation.
That’s how we want to invest our lives and everything we have. Thanks for joining us in this journey!