“In those days, the word of the Lord was rare” 1 Samuel 3: 1

 

Dear Friends

 

It was sad indeed when in the time of the judges in Israel, a lack of spiritual interest across the land resulted in a scarcity of the word of God. But equally sad is the situation where there IS a thirst for the word of God but this is not matched by sufficient availability of Bibles.

 

Last month we had a visit from a dear Zambian friend who told of us of village churches where they have maybe just one Bible for all the members and even that one copy may have missing pages through constant use. So if the person with the Bible is unable to attend on a particular Sunday, there is no scripture reading that day! Contrast that with recent surveys here in the West which suggests there are many professing Christians who hardly open their Bible from one Sunday to the next! 

 

 

BIBLE DISTRIBUTION

So as we look back over the past year we again thank our God for the privilege of doing a little to meet the tremendous needs that exist in many areas of the Majority World. We were thrilled to recently hear from our colleagues in Chingola Zambia that they are selling up to 300 Bibles a week. This has largely been possible because last autumn we were able to purchase another container load of Bemba and Lozi Bibles plus Good News Bibles for the schools for £70,000 from China. 

 

We are privileged to partner with Echoes International in the administration of a revolving Bible and Literature Fund. We are also grateful for our ongoing relationship with Crossway Publishing in the States who make substantial quantities of English Standard text and study Bibles on very advantageous terms. Also we are awaiting our allocation of a reprint of the Congolese Swahili Bibles.

 

I did once ask one favour from you if it's possible to send me a Thompson's Chain Reference Bible, and you did. I was then so grateful for such a wonderful gift. But, a few days ago, one of my co-workers in the Lord whom I trained in the ministry asked me to give him that only copy I had. And because his need far exceeds mine I gave him the Thompson's.  So if, again, there's still a possibility to request another Thompson's from your ministry, I will treasure it with my life.               INDIA

 

OTHER DISTRIBUTION

Our Leader’s Packs containing a study Bible and other helpful study aids continue to be in demand and we are also creating low cost Discipleship and Christian Living Packs. We are grateful for those who donate a steady stream of used Bibles and books and most recent pallets have gone to South Africa, India, Botswana and Zambia. We regularly get messages from Bible Colleges, churches and national workers who are delighted to have received valuable helpful books which would otherwise have been way beyond their ability to afford.

 

You have done exceedingly beyond what we could have ever prayed or expected. So far we have received outstanding quality resources which will bring years of joy and blessings to our ministries.                                                        MAURITIUS

PUBLISHING

Our key title “Knowing and Doing” by John McQuoid continues to generate great interest and is now available in 40 languages (see our website). Other translations currently underway include Lingala, Congolese Swahili, Creole, Farsi, German, Ukrainian, Russian and Japanese. 

 

This will benefit untold thousands of Christians in Haiti who are striving to grow spiritually.  This book in the hands of leaders who are discipling new believers as well as Christians who would like to move into leadership but need solid theological principles to undergird them will make a great difference.                    HAITI

 

Jonathan Newell’s lovely African version of Pilgrim’s Progress is currently being translated into Kinyarwanda (for Rwanda) and Portuguese. He is currently working on a further 6 titles in the popular “Blessings Minibus” for children and the sequel to “Foes on Every Side”.  We have also recently published our trustee Dr Ian Burness’s book “From Glasgow to Garenganze” – a detailed biography of the life and ministry in Africa of Fred Stanley Arnot and we can supply copies at £11.95 plus postage

 

 

TELit@OPAL

Robert and Anne Smith report that over 670,000 evangelistic leaflets were printed in 2017, two thirds of which were overprinted for a specific location or church use. They will shortly be launching their updated website which will allow browsers to see the complete text of their 150 leaflets.

 

Thank you for sending me the Easter Holidays and Chocolate folders. They are as usual very well produced and eye-catching with good Biblical matter. We do trust and pray that they will be greatly used and a blessing to many who receive them.

                                                                                                                           UK

 

OPAL MINISTRIES INC, USA

John Lewis and Geoff Ruston will be attending the annual board meeting of OPAL US in Georgia at the beginning of June. They will also spend time with Neville and Dee Goodhew to plan the further development of the Greer warehouse and visit Paul and Angela Lewis in Newnan who continue to give valuable input to our publications.

 

    

OUT AND ABOUT

Trustees John Lewis and Roger Key had an encouraging time at the Pan African Brethren Conference on Mission in October in Addis Ababa Ethiopia. This was attended by around 200 delegates from 23 different countries and gave them an excellent opportunity of renewing fellowship with existing partners and identifying fresh opportunities to give help. At the end of May John Lewis and Geoff Ruston will attend the 4th International Training Consultation at Emmaus, Dubuque Iowa where representatives from Bible Colleges and Training Schools around the world will be meeting. A visit by trustees to Zambia later this year is under consideration.

 

COMINGS AND GOINGS

 

One of our founding directors David Young has stepped down due to other work pressures – we thank him for his past help and wish him well for the future. So we are delighted to report that Richard Harknett who served the Lord in Peru with GLO for a number of years has agreed to join the board. Nelson Logan who has faithfully represented OPAL in Ulster on our Council of Reference has also now retired but we welcome Stephen Shaw in this capacity.  

 

 

LOOKING AHEAD

We have been grateful for your prayers on behalf of Geoff Ruston during his recent serious illness but notwithstanding a good measure of recovery, we recognise that advancing years and recent health issues on the part of key personnel have emphasised the pressing need to recruit others younger and fitter to ‘run with the baton’ if OPAL is to continue to expand. So how do we see the work progressing and developing in the immediate future?

 

The trustees have been conducting a strategic review of present UK operations and it now seems time to scale down operations from our current warehouse at Lochmaben which has served us well over past years. We see this being achieved in three ways. Firstly through steadily moving some distribution of new Bibles and books over to our US warehouse. Secondly by outsourcing the warehousing and distribution of the resultant reduced stock to others and we are currently exploring possibilities in this regard. Thirdly by moving the sorting and distribution of used Bibles and books to a shared facility with or adjacent to the TELit operation in the Glasgow area resulting in economies of scale and where voluntary help could be more readily available. 

 

There still remains the need to identify someone to give overall leadership to the ministry, a person with a concern for global evangelism, a burden for the poorer countries of the Majority World, a passion for literature and some understanding of Christian publishing.

 

So in closing may we ask you to pray with us that the Lord will overrule in the proposed logistical changes and supply the needed personnel and material resources as we move into a new chapter of OPAL’s ministry. Thank you for your partnership in the Gospel as together we share the Living Word with a lost world.

 

Yours warmly in Royal service

 

THE OPAL TEAM

 

“Your word is lamp to my feet and a light for my path”  Psalm 119:105

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