by Judy Reed
The churches in the Cedar Springs area are pretty good at making history.
In 2009, eight area churches joined together in Morley Park to worship together, something rare in most communities. Last Saturday, August 23, the churches met together in Morley Park for their seventh UNITED service, and did something no other community ministerial association in the country has done—together they raised $5,000 to send audio Bibles to refugees in Kurdistan, Iraq, through World Mission.
The audio Bible, called the Treasure, is about the size of an MP3 player. World Mission uses the Treasure as a tool to deliver the Word of God to those who have never heard, targeting especially unreached people. It is a solar-powered audio Bible given to oral learners in their own language.
According to Craig Carter, Pastor of North Kent Community Church and part time representative for World Mission, he had previously worked with World Mission on the project, and when he presented the project to the Cedar Springs Ministerial Association pastors, they liked the idea. Area churches presented it to their congregations, then began to collect change in banks through Vacation Bible School offerings and throughout their churches.
“We are absolutely the first ministerial association to do this,” said Carter. He said that World Mission CEO Greg Kelley was excited about it and made a video at the UNITED service. “He thinks it will inspire other communities,” he explained.
Overall, the $5,000 will purchase about 225 units. Fifty went to Kenya on a mission trip with Pastor Kristi Rhodes and Hillcrest Community Church, and the rest will go to Kurdistan. Carter said that they chose Kurdistan because of the problems with ISIS and the persecutions taking place. He estimates that the audio Bibles will reach a minimum of 25,000 people in one year.
“Audio learners—people who cannot read—are very social. They gather with others, and the audio Bibles will be shared in listening groups. We estimate they will be shared at least 10 times in a year,” he explained. He said they will stay in the field for a minimum of three years, so could reach as many as 75,000 people.
“It’s exciting,” said Carter. “If we have the ability to reach that many people (25,000) in one event, we should also be able to reach our own community, which is about that size.”
Another thing they did this year is took the $1,000 they would normally spend on a hot dog lunch after the service, and decided to donate it to feed refugees in Kurdistan. “It should feed about 3,500 people,” he said.
The Treasures are expected to go to Kurdistan in October, when a medical team is going and the food distribution will take place.
To find out more about the Treasure, you can visit www.worldmission.cc, or contact Pastor Craig Carter at 616-550-6398.