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Michigan Woman Supports Illinois-based Bible Distribution

A volunteer from Project Bible Runners (left) loads her car with collected Bibles with the help of the building manager for LaGrave CRC.

Reading the April Banner, Connie VanDyke, a member of LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., saw an ad from Project Bible Runners requesting used Bibles in English. VanDyke knew she had several Bibles for the cause and figured fellow congregants would too. After learning that there was no collection point in West Michigan, she hosted a Bible drive and is now offering her home as an ongoing drop-off zone. 

Project Bible Runners’ mission is simple: “Gathering and running Bibles to every nation, tribe and person until every faithful follower of Christ Jesus holds in their hands the word of God.” The service collects English-language Bibles to be sent to Nigeria, Kenya, Liberia, or any other country where English is widely spoken and Bibles are fewer than Christians. The organization’s director told VanDyke that in some countries there are 300 Christians for every available Bible. The organization will make repairs as needed and stores the Bibles at its headquarters in Neoga, Ill., until a large enough shipment is ready for a requesting country. The Bible Runners are currently working in 20 countries where they have trustworthy runners who receive the shipments and bring the Bibles to requesting churches.

VanDyke was inspired by the Bible Runners’ mission and secured permission to host a used Bible drive in her church. In two weeks she’d collected 334 Bibles. A Bible Runners representative from Indiana picked up the LaGrave collection and delivered them to Neoga, where they were to become part of a shipment of 20,000 Bibles going to Kenya.

With a master’s in Linguistics and training as a Bible translator, VanDyke had a habit of buying Bibles in various English translations, comparing them for accuracy. “Do that for 60 years, and you end up with a lot of Bibles!” she said. Finding several to donate from her own home, she then considered the hundreds of Christian churches in the Grand Rapids area and wondered how many out-of-use Bibles might be available.  She and her husband Karl prayed about the need for a Grand Rapids Bible collection site. Soon they decided to make a little-used room in their home a storage spot for dropped-off Bibles. Each time they collect 200 or more Bibles, a Bible Runners representative will transport them to Neoga. 

In the first week of July she’d had one person drop off about 60 Bibles and on another occasion she and Karl returned home to find three boxes and a large bag filled with Bibles on their porch.

“There are still many people yearning for a Bible of their own,” Van Dyke said, explaining her drive to not want to see copies of the Word going unused in Michigan. She is now a local contact to help other churches sponsor Bible collections for Project Bible Runners.


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