Four letters from two apostles to first century churches: what do they have to do with our friends in Nyungwe churches in Mozambique today?
Apparently, quite a lot! Our translation team was really touched by the letter James wrote to churches he felt responsible to teach and guide new Jesus followers. They felt that their own churches should have this book as soon as possible. A recent gift of $100 made that possible. We would get James out there as soon as possible!
But as long as we were printing, why not do a 36-page booklet? You see, average staplers struggle to grasp more than 10 sheets of paper. 9 sheets of paper are needed for 36 pages of half-A4 booklets (like folding a stack of letter-sized paper in half). We add a cover, and get a booklet that we can produce locally.
The team decided that Galatians was worth adding… then thought about what would fit and make sense to complete our 9 sheets of paper. First and second Thessalonians filled things out nicely. So we have three letters from Paul and one from James. All written to believers struggling to follow the unusual walk of grace that Jesus teaches. They talk about how tradition isn’t the basis for our walk. They talk about how we must love and humbly serve our brothers and neighbors and even out enemies. This is good stuff we all need.
Last week I carried a flash drive (pen drive) to the local photocopy shops and found one that could print a master with the right page order. They couldn’t handle our photocopies for the booklets, so I went off to my favorite shop – they had nearly doubled their price per copy in the past few months. Shop 3 would do it… and collate it, but they charged double for the cover! Back at shop 2 they would print the cover. By Friday afternoon I had covers and insides all at Shop 2 where they would fold and staple my books. With all that research under my belt, I feel totally prepared to turn over printing runs to someone else!
Today, the translation team is busy stapling booklets (Shop 2 couldn’t manage that last bit in good time). They will visit many of the provincial and city government offices and offer a free copy to local leaders. The rest will be sold at cost through their churches and proceeds will go to printing more copies as needed. So a gift of $100 makes it possible to get the Word out to those who will use it. Pray with us that God speaks clearly through the these letters to His Church in Mozambique!