Twice a week I can be found at the post office that has long ago outgrown its property tucked away in a residential area of town. Parking is always fun since the only options are, well, the street, street, or (you guessed it!) street:o). Once you get inside, the other fun challenge is the line. So this small town post office has cramped quarters and poses quite the little challenge. But, as I said, I go twice a week to pick up the Bible Studies that are sent in from (quite literally!) all around the world. I thank the Lord for the opportunity He has given me to work with these studies and it has turned out to be a ministry by which our whole church has been blessed.
Usually the mail is good for a laugh or two that I share with the main church secretary, Amy, and my pastor's wife, Bev. I don't know how it started, but a looooong time ago, ERBSI's name worked it's way over to the African continent, and since that time, I've received so many requests from there, specifically Ghana and Nigeria. One time I had a person write and ask me to hand-deliver a bike, a computer, CDs, a Bible, DVDs, a CD player and anything else I could get for this person to spread God's Word to his neighbors. Since hand-delivering it was out of the question, I opted out of sending him all that stuff and just mailed him a Bible Study:o).
Another time someone wrote from Ghana and asked me to please be their personal pen pal so that they could get to know me better, and oh! by the way, can you please send a laptop, a camera, and other electronic equipment. Again, I didn't become his personal pen pal or send him the laptop. He too received a Bible Study:o).
So yesterday, I checked the mail and came back with a huge stack of Bible Studies. Not realizing that I had signed for a certified lettter (I was a little out of it!), I opened up the envelope after laughing at the return address: ___________ Law Offices. I shared that with Amy and one of the High School girls who was helping me in the office: "Listen to this! This law office in __________ sent ERBSI a letter. Isn't that funny?!?!?!" After both of them started laughing, I opened the letter and began to read. Confusion crossed my face I'm sure, for Amy asked me what the letter said.
"I don't quite get it; something about this lady died and this law office wants to let us know that we'll be receiving something in 6-9 months. It almost looks like a copy of a will.... but, nah! This is a big joke!!!" I replied.
Amy urged me to look for ERBSI's name in the stack of papers that came in the envelope, and sure enough! Letter "I" (out of "Q") was where it said that ERBSI was left $_, _ _ _.00!!!! Wow! And I thought it was all a joke:o). Eliza (the high school girl) didn't quite get it and was still laughing because I was laughing... but sure enough! This lady (whom we believe was saved) had included ERBSI, as well as a whole slew of other correspondence ministries, in her will. She passed away back in March and the will was written back in 2005! After looking her name up in the database, we realized that she did all the studies we offer in less than a year, from 2004-2005.
That one letter encouraged us so much, not just because of the money she left us (although that will come in handy since we are a ministry; think of all the postage!!). But we wonder, did she get saved as a result of the studies??? Did those four Bible courses encourage her to keep on keeping on in the Master's work??? I marvel at the souls the Bible Studies can reach where I personally cannot; with thousands of students who have gone through our courses, perhaps, just perhaps, some have benefited from them.
Often I get a letter from a country in Africa asking me for material possessions to be sent. While ERBSI cannot fulfill the material needs, we are thankful we can send the Gospel and maybe fulfill a spiritual need... perhaps by practicing Jude 22 ~ "And of some have compassion, making a difference."
It will be worth it all if we can just make a difference!