OPAL NEWS                                                                                                      SPRING 2019

Dear Friends


“When you come, be sure to……..also bring my books!”  2 Timothy 4:13


Referring to this verse, C H Spurgeon is on record as saying:  “St Paul – he’s inspired yet he wants books. He’s been preaching 30 years and yet he wants books. He’s seen the Lord yet he wants books. He’s had a wider experience than most people yet he wants books. He’s been caught up to heaven and heard things it is unlawful to utter yet he wants books. He has written the major part of the New Testament yet he wants books” 


Although we are not told specifically what these books were, it is probable that  they included some of his own writings and other books which he valued together with copies of Old Testament scriptures. Clearly, the elderly apostle, notwithstanding his likely imminent martyrdom, still placed great importance on serious reading and study of scripture.


What a privilege is ours in OPAL to be able to help resource others in poorer countries who are desperately needing Bibles and books which will help them in personal development and as they prepare themselves to teach the word of God effectively to others.    



Our colleagues Ian and Marilyn Campbell in Chingola Zambia have been doing a tremendous job despite staff shortages and a poor local economy and report sales of £44,000 over the past year. It was great that we were able to obtain at low cost 5,000 Bemba Bibles and 2,000 Good News School Bibles. A container is on its way from the States with a further 10,000 Swahili Bibles for South Congo and over 6,000 assorted English Standard Version and New King James Version English Bibles.

We endeavour to respond to specific requests for vernacular scriptures and are currently considering enquiries for supplies of Luvale, Luo and Portuguese Bibles. We are grateful to Echoes International for their partnership with our joint revolving Bible and Literature Fund.   


We are indeed completely overwhelmed and in awe by how much outpouring of love, encouragement and prayer support we have received from you and the Opal family during this year’s youth camp! Thanks again a million times for partnering with us and the youth camp and sending the 500 Bibles for this camp! The Bibles were more than enough for all the 371 campers and each camper was blessed to receive a copy




Our Leaders, Discipleship and Christian Living Packs continue to meet a need particularly in areas where there is a dearth of good Bible teaching. Our ‘used’ book ministry forms a very important part of our work and so we are grateful to all who donate Bibles and books which are surplus to their requirements. Whenever we update our used book list on the website, there is an immediate response from those who keep a check on it!! It is a joy to help Bible Schools and seminaries in the Majority World to build up their student libraries and with some African countries now insisting that church leaders must have a college certificate and even in some cases a theology degree, demand for help can only increase!   Recent countries to which we have shipped have included Mauritius, Myanmar, Kenya, Romania, India, Zimbabwe and South Africa.


I am delighted to let you know that we have received the books you sent. The books look great, they are in good shape and the most important is that they are very good in terms of content. The large number of books you have sent is a great addition to our library. They will be of much help to our faculty and students in their studies. We are very grateful to God and to you for the work you do and for the help you offer. Please, keep doing the good mission that you are enrolled in, because it is a great help for us and it brings glory to our Lord Jesus Christ!




John McQuoid’s “Knowing and Doing” is now available in 44 languages, the latest editions being Russian, Ukrainian, Farsi and Albanian and we get regular feedback as to the blessing these are proving around the globe. Full details are available on our website including those that are available from our UK warehouse. We continue at present to make the foreign language versions available at a subsidised £1 per copy. May we encourage those of you having contact with immigrants to consider using these? Translation work continues on the German and Lingala editions.



There is a lady who runs a small theological school in Pemba in the very North of Mozambique, who has just written us that she is so pleased with the Saber e Fazer (Knowing and Doing) books we sent her that she would like to receive another box, not knowing they are now on the way. People do like the straightforwardness and sound presentation Biblical teaching. Thanks to Opal trust and all those who subsidise the publication. May the Lord bless you and your ministry!

Jonathan Newell has finished the text of a further four stories in the Blessings Minibus series and these are currently with the illustrator. He has also finished the text of ‘Hope on Every Side’ - the sequel to ‘Fear on Every Side’.  2000 copies of the Kinyarwandan version of ‘Journey of Life’ have now arrived in Kigali, Rwanda and work on the Portuguese version is well advanced. 

Other potential publications are under consideration and we are currently reviewing our publishing strategy with the intention of widening our range of books – especially those targeted at readers with limited literacy.   



Our colleagues at TELit report sales of almost 400,000 leaflets in 2018 and this past Christmas was their busiest yet. Their interactive website (see below) is now fully operative with all their different leaflets featured. There are lots of helpful hints about using their materials and they have added 3 new titles for this year including a new Easter leaflet. The feedback from those using the literature around the shows, market stalls and other public places has been really encouraging.


When asking people if anybody has ever explained to them how to become a Christian, the answer is so often “No”. “God’s Story” is really helpful for those showing an interest. Often we are the FIRST LINK in the chain. “Eternity Stakes” is particularly relevant to our Gypsy friends - what a joy to be the LAST LINK in the chain when Ken spoke to us at the Gypsy Fair asking if he could pray and ask the Lord Jesus into his life.





The warehouse continues to develop albeit at a slower pace than we had originally envisaged but we are working hard to make the work more widely known. A major challenge when it comes to representation and the collection of used Bibles and books is the size of the country and the huge distances involved. 






Last year John Lewis and Geoff Ruston attended the 4th International Training Consultation at Emmaus, Dubuque Iowa in May where there were representatives from Bible Colleges and Training Schools from 28 different countries following which they visited our US office and warehouse. OPAL was represented at various mission conferences in England, Scotland and N Ireland.


This year they will be attending the US Board meeting in the spring and a visit to Zambia in the summer is anticipated. A number of OPAL personnel will be at the 7th International Brethren Conference on Mission in Rome in June which will be a key event with over 800 international delegates and service agencies already registered to attend.




For some time now, the question of succession has been very much before us and we have asked you to pray specifically with us that the Lord would provide someone with the necessary gifting and experience to lead the work forward into a new phase of OPAL’s ministry. So we are pleased to inform you that after much prayerful seeking and discussion a suitable successor to Geoff Ruston has been identified. He has significant experience in senior Christian leadership roles over many years and is well suited to assume this responsibility. Further information will be forthcoming in future weeks once the process of informing key people in the successor’s current organisation has been completed. 


As intimated in our last newsletter, we are still waiting to conclude an arrangement with another Christian ministry for them to warehouse and distribute our new Books and Bibles following which we plan to move the used books division to the Glasgow area in a shared facility with TELit.


Thank you for your interest and support and we would value your continued prayerful interest at this time of transition.


Yours warmly in Royal service




“For the word of God is alive and powerful” – Hebrews 4:12








Telephone / Fax +44 (0) 1576 203670 - info@opaltrust.org