One Church Library Making a Difference

A church library testimony

It was a difficult year at my church. I was discouraged. My heart was broken, and I wondered if God would continue working in our church and in our church library. As I pondered on our situation, I was reminded of a statement someone said to me, "A church library is not a room full of books, but a ministry for Jesus Christ." In the past, I have been amazed how God has touched hearts and changed lives through the items in our church library. Shattered marriages have been healed, cancer patients have received hope and comfort, parents have been given advice on raising children that love the Lord, and children have accepted Christ after reading a book from our church library. Would God continue to use our library, or would it become just a room full of books? Our church library team prayed that God would use our library in those difficult days in ways we had not ever imagined.

The very next week, I met Bob Besco, a North American Mission Board missionary at the Baptist Center in Omaha, Nebraska. Bob talked about his work with the Sudanese people that live in the housing projects beside the Baptist Center. He related that the largest Sudanese population outside of Sudan resides in Omaha, Nebraska. Bob and his wife, Rhonda, have a deep love for these people and strive daily to share Jesus with them.

Often the best way to witness to the Sudanese people is to meet one of their physical needs. Bob talked about different needs that exist: poverty, hunger, abuse, neglect, the need for transportation, the need for medical care, and the need to learn to read. When Bob mentioned that learning to read would help these people, I began to get excited! Our church library could help meet the needs of the Sudanese children by providing books to help them learn to read. And, the Besco's could share Jesus with the children while teaching them to read! Our church library could have a part of changing the present and eternal future of many Sudanese children. Several people in our church decided to join the library in the collection of books by providing new or used items.

A month later, God answered our prayer in another way. Ben Fischer checked out a book, The Winter Rescue by Paul Hutchens, from our church library. Ben was a third grade student who often checked out books, audios, or videos on Sunday mornings. Ben read the book that evening.

As he was preparing for bed, Ben got on his knees and prayed to God. His dad, Dave, happened to walk by Ben's room and saw him by his bed. Dave stopped and asked Ben what he was doing. Ben replied, "I am praying for Julianna to be saved. I read in my book, (from the Church Library) that I can pray for people to be saved! So, I am praying for Julianna." Julianna is Ben's younger sister. His parents were touched and delighted that God would inspire Ben to pray for his sister's salvation from a book from the church library. However, the story of Ben praying for Julianna doesn't end there - the next night Julianna accepted Jesus as her personal Savior! God was at work in our church library!

About the same time, we had another answer to our prayer. One of our library team noticed a request in the associational newsletter from a prison chaplain. The chaplain requested books to give to prisoners in the county detention center or in prisons of the surrounding area. He would use new or used books as a witnessing tool. The "Golden Girls," a senior women's ministry group, and the library decided to work together in collecting books for the prisoners. Also, the "Golden Girls" began praying at their monthly meetings for the prisoners and sending cards of encouragement to them.

God continued to answer our prayer. One day as I was sorting through a donation to the our library, I noticed the book, Peace with God by Billy Graham. I prayed that God would use this book to minister to someone's heart and bring them peace. Then I placed the book in a box to donate to the prison ministry. What a blessing I received when a prisoner wrote two months later, "I read the book, Peace with God by Billy Graham, and accepted Christ as my Savior." God was at work! In the ten months we have been sending books to the prison, 200 people have accepted Christ as Savior in the prison ministry! Praise God! Our church library has had the opportunity to join God where He was at work!

Our church has a new pastor, a new music minister, people are being saved, and people are joining our church! Forgiveness and reconciliation have occurred. Good days have arrived at my church. However, our church library team will never forget how God answered our prayers to use our library for His will in the difficult days. His answers were bigger than we imagined!

Is your church library a room full of books or a ministry for Jesus Christ? God desires to use your church library in ways you have never imagined! Just ask Him!

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you (Matthew 7:7).

Fay Hudnall is church library team leader for Blue Valley Baptist Church in Overland Park, KS, and Church Library Ministry Consultant for the Kansas Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists.

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