Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Just over a week ago we held the final set of classes for the pastor training school for 2009. In November, the students and their families will gather for a graduation ceremony, and then the school will be closed for a few months. During the months of December, January, and February coffee beans are harvested, and many of the agricultural workers in our area make their entire yearly income working for the coffee farmers during the harvest. Since many of our pastors are also agricultural workers, they can't afford to take time away from work during the harvest, so this is when we take our annual break.
In addition to holding the training sessions to help these pastors (and future pastors) learn more about the Bible, another of our goals is to help these pastors acquire a small library of Bible reference and study materials - Bible dictionary, Bible atlas, concordance, etc. Here is how we pursue this goal.
First, we maintain a Bible bookstore in our home. We can't advertise this store widely. We sell all of the materials for less than what we pay for them. Occasionally we have had to deny a purchaser, who wanted to buy Bibles from us and resell them at a higher price to others. Although we'd like to encourage this entrepreneurial spirit, our ministry can't financially support other businesses like this!
So, our private little bookstore sells a variety of inexpensive paperback New Testaments and Bibles, plus levels of better quality Bibles, large print Bibles (very popular amongst those who read by candle or lantern light), and study Bibles, as well as the reference materials mentioned above. Many of these Bibles end up in the hands of the pastors' congregations or are used in evangelism - to date, we've distributed approximately 7500 Bibles.
Second, the pastors and church leaders who attend the training school receive credits toward purchases at the bookstore, for each school session they attend. After each set of three sessions, we haul all of the books and Bibles out to the school, and set up the bookstore there, so the pastors can use their credits (and their lempiras) to make purchases. Here are some pictures of the recent Bible sales: