Please login to continue
Having Trouble Logging In?
Reset your password
Don't have an account?
Sign Up Now!
Register for a Free Account
Choose Password
Confirm Password

Your account has been created!

Stories & Blog

A French Warehouse and an African Library

MALI, AFRICA — Winding their way through the cramped aisles, the team of volunteers surveyed the pallets of books they would soon be packing. Study Bibles, commentaries, systematic theologies, Bible dictionaries — all translated into French and shipped for distribution to countries throughout Africa.

Locals, Europeans on vacation and even the occasional American gathered in a warehouse in southern France to help sort and pack more than 600,000 books that were part of the African Pastors’ Book Set Project, spearheaded by SIM.

Harry Walker, a Crossworld worker in France who organized this book-packing camp, had joined the project after visiting Mali and seeing the pastors’ desperate need for resources. Though the body of Christ is growing and believers are committed to prayer, false theology often infiltrates the African church because pastors simply have no way to obtain quality resources. The few French books available in Africa are far too expensive for them to afford. While some pastors own a study Bible or an English book left by a missionary, they rarely have anything else. The church leaders not only need but desperate want biblical resources.

Realizing this need, Walker joined the African Pastors’ Book Set Project, which will provide a set of 34 books each to thousands of pastors in 14 countries. The books are given to the pastors at the end of a conference where they hear solid, biblical teaching and learn how to use their new resources.

For months the project team had worked with authors, editors and publishers to select the list of books, many of which were donated or offered at a reduced rate. They were then shipped to France, where more than 60 people volunteered in four week-long, book-packing camps to help process and load boxes. Women formed an assembly line to pack the books, while men maneuvered pallets from the warehouse to a truck for the first leg of the journey from France to Africa.

After the books arrive in Africa, Walker helps organize the conferences. Each pastor pays $80 to attend the conference, which covers half the cost of the books. (Donations to the project cover the other half.)

More than 300 pastors attended the first conference, held in Mali in October 2011. The men traveled from across the country, some even on the road for 24 hours, to join their fellow leaders.

“The beauty of the conference was that the pastors weren’t there to discuss and vote on things, so there was nothing to divide them,” Walker said. “Most of them were just very relaxed and very happy.”

The pastors spent three days singing and praying together, participating in sessions led by Malians, and learning to use the Bible software included in the book set.

On the last day of the conference each pastor received his box of books, worth more than $1,000. “I can’t believe this is happening,” many of the pastors said as they looked through their new collection. They no longer have to make do with worn-out books in an unfamiliar language handed down from someone else — they have 34 new books in a language they understand, picked out and packaged just for them.

Walker will host nine more conferences in 2012, supplying books to nearly 3,600 pastors in Chad, Cameroon and the Central African Republic.

Support a Worker's Ministry
Give Where Most Needed
Your gift to the Global Advance Fund sends, equips, and cares for disciple-makers among the least-reached. Learn more.
Give to a Project
Featured Projects