USA (MNN) — "Operation: Bare Your Bookshelf" has been going strong since 2006. Christian Resources International's Fred Palmerton says it's a great way for the average Christian in North America to get involved with missions.
The project came about after CRI found research showing the average American Christian owns nine Bibles, is actively in the market for more, but rarely use the ones they have.
The troubling aspect of this research is that CRI gets more than 400 letters a month from pastors and Christian workers in developing countries whose churches own no Bibles or Christian books. "Our goal is to be able to answer all of the requests that we receive from Christians overseas or new Christians," explains Palmerton. "It's such an overwhelming task that I'm not sure that we will ever completely reach that goal."
It didn't take long for an idea to form. The question was how to get the unused Bibles and resources off the North American Christian's bookshelf and into the hands of the church leaders and believers overseas who needed them. Palmerton's idea was to liaison the two and let the problem solve itself.
Shipping rate increases last year threatened the program. However, "the postal service now has a large envelope that can be sent for $11.00. It will hold one Bible and several tracts, or small periodicals. That's what we're using. It's working very well, and people are excited about it."
Because the mailing materials bear CRI's return address, donors won't be personally contacted by anyone overseas. But Palmerton says CRI will personally pass on to volunteers the thank you letters generated by the packages they send.