Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bookfair Cairo: Arabs want to read the Bible

The Bible Society in Egypt reports about the annual Bookfair of Cairo, where each year in February they have a large booth:
One lady came into the booth and asked 3 Questions concerning the Bible: "Am I allowed to hold this?" "Am I allowed to read this?" "Will I understand this?" The salesman answered affirmative to the first 2 questions. In answer to the third, he said, "Let's try!" Opening to Bible to Matthew chapter 5, he invited her to read the first few verses. "Did you understand?" he asked her. The lady answered "Yes!" and proceeded to purchase herself a Bible.

There were many others like her, taking the rare opportunity to touch and flip through a Bible, who commented on their surprise and astonishment in finding the Bible to be understandable and comprehensible!

One woman from a neighboring country stated, "I want to know about Jesus the Christ." "What do you want to know?" the salesman asked her. She replied, "I love all that I've heard about Him, but I want to know more." She spent about an hour in the booth, reading Matthew 5-7, stopping in amazement at almost each verse. "Where did Jesus get such things?" she exclaimed in wonder! In the end, the lady left with her wish fulfilled, for she had purchased a Bible.

The Bookfair is not just an opportunity for people unfamiliar with God's Word to obtain a Bible. One young lady studying tourism, finely dressed and well-off, came to the booth asking for two things. She and her friends have a Sunday-School ministry in the far outskirts of Cairo in a very poor district. She purchased boxes and boxes of materials to be used with the 600 children she was caring for. Her second request was that the Bible Society would pray for her.

Another young man who serves with the Orthodox Church, also ministering in the poor areas, purchased several boxes of materials, particularly pocket-Gospels, for both the children and adults. "I get all of my materials from the Bible Society," he said, thankful for the variety and creative resources made available and affordable.

An older man came to buy resources for his ministry as well. It was obvious that he was quite needy himself. But as the bill was paid, and he was to recieve14 pounds ($2.50) back in change, he insisted that the Bible Society keep this as a donation, an amount that could've provided him food for the whole day.

Another poor man came to the booth with an offering, carrying 2 bags. One bag was full of cheese sandwiches, and the other bag was full of tomatoes. As he distributed the small lunch to each worker, he encouraged and blessed each one, thanking them for their ministry and presence at the Bookfair.

We are humbled by the dedication and love we see. We are honored are grateful for the opportunity to present God's Word to seeking souls. I look forward to sharing a few more encouraging glimpses from the Bookfair when I can send the final numbers and reports. While the economic downturn has indeed affected sales, we choose to focus on the significant and everlasting profits. We thank you for praying with us during this strategic time.

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