Bible Way, 50 Years Old!

Give honor to whom honor is due (Romans 13:7).

I’m not very creative and I have very few original thoughts, but, contrary to what some believe, I am smart. I know how to take what someone has created, study it, understand it, adapt it to my situation, then apply and use it. This is exactly what we have done with the Bible Way materials in Uganda and beyond. We did not dream up and design these simple books. We did not spend hours and hours writing them. Other people did all that hard work, 50 years ago! Here is how it begin.

In 1963, Southern Baptist had only five couples for the entire nation of Zambia, a country approximately the size of Texas and North Carolina combined, These missionaries experienced a growing burden for the multiple thousands we could never hope to reach because of the vastness of the country and our limited numbers.

One day, five men (Dutton Bonnell, Doug Kendall, Zeb Moss, Ted Savage and Tom Small) met to pray and seek an answer to the question, “How can we reach more people for Christ?” As we talked, someone asked, “What about having a Bible correspondence

Tom & Mary Small

Tom & Mary Small

school?” The suggestion struck a responsive chord, and we went into an extended session of prayer during which we all sensed God’s leadership. Plans were made to begin the Bible Way Correspondence School. I was asked to be the first director and to prepare the initial course, Who Is Jesus?

When the manuscript was completed, I laid it on the bed beside my desk and knelt in prayer. I asked God to use it for the glory of Christ and the salvation of the lost. In my heart I was thinking, if two are three thousand take this course and if some of them come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior, the time and effort will have been worthwhile. Neither Mary nor I ever dreamed of what God had in mind.

-Excerpt taken from the retirement service for Tom and Mary Small, October 7, 1991.

Did God honor Tom’s prayer? Beyond his wildest dream. By 1988 when the Smalls left Zambia, the Bible Way books had been translated into 13 different languages and was being used in 22 African countries. 414,494 students were enrolled and 57,905 professions of faith had been recorded! 18,440 of those students were in Uganda with 3,485 professions of faith. We must never underestimate God’s ability to go beyond any limit our minds can put upon Him!

I want to thank Dr. John Faulkner for putting me in touch with Mary Small. Tom passed away in 2001 but Mary is doing well and it has been a real joy speaking with her and reading the information she has sent me on the history of the Bible Way books that have come to be such an intricate part of our work. We truly stand on their shoulders. All our success stories are their success stories. Thanks Mary!!

When I spoke to Mary, she was so excited to hear what God continues to do through these simple little books. Their time on the mission field together is over, but their life work continues and as long as we can print the Bible Way books their legacy will continue. This year, 2014, we will print and give out over 60,000 Bible Way books! Almost 30,000 people will receive, read, study and PASS the exam to the first book, Who Is Jesus? In the years 2013 and 2014, the number is over 53,000 new people enrolled in Bible Way. And, this number it is going up rapidly!

James holds the first Karamojong Bible Way book

James holds the first Karamojong Bible Way book

The number of lives changed by these simple little books over the past 50 years is absolutely amazing. The man who leads the Bible Way work for IMFC, James, was saved through reading the book Who Is Jesus? Francis and Clovis, who grade books and work in the prisons for IMFC were both lead to Christ through the book Who Is Jesus? Here is what I have discovered, I do not have to write another book. Nor do I need to try to improve on the books we have. I just need to get them into as many hands as possible! Pray with me that we can do this. This year we have printed 5,000 books a month with some special printing when volunteer teams were in country. Next year, this needs to double to 10,000 per month. We are not keeping up with the demand. Two weeks ago we printed the first Bible Way book in the Karamojong language. Soon we will add Lingala for the DR Congo. We need to add Arabic now for the Sudanese refugees. My goal is to see over 100,000 people entering the program yearly! Please pray with me for this. May God exceed our dreams!

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