In our locality we have a group of faithful brothers and sisters who have served the bookroom for many years, making sure our ministry publications are in stock. Last year when we heard about the burden of the need to recover a healthy and vital bookroom service in the churches, we sent three brothers, one elder and two younger working brothers, to the August Bookroom Workshop in Anaheim. We heard many things, but came away deeply impressed how crucial the bookroom is in delivering food from the granary to maintain the church and weapons from the armory to defend the Lord’s testimony.
When we returned, we deliberately did not try to do too much but rather felt to establish a regularly scheduled time, every other Saturday at 10:00 am, to come together and study all the materials that were provided. In total we regularly have 5 brothers and 5 sisters. We began by diving into The Propagation of the Truth in the Lord’s Recovery together, getting into one chapter every week and coming together every other week to fellowship. We did this from September to December 2018 without any breaks.
After the Winter Training on The Crystallization Study of Numbers, corporately we had a sense that our previous four months was a period of encamping with the Lord to be impressed with His burden. With a new year upon us, we felt to follow Brother’s Lee pattern of learning to create a “business plan” so we set aside some time the first week of January to fellowship and seek the Lord. Out of that fellowship came forth what we call a fivefold consideration of what we wanted to focus on for 2019:
- How to get the next generation into the truth.
- How to bring more saints into the up-to-date speaking of the ministry.
- How do we increase participation in both the trainings (either live or video) and conferences.
- Support Bibles for America.
- All the saints should be Bibles for America volunteers ready to distribute the open and interpreted Word of God.
- Distributing the ministry by recovering the practice of going out.
- From 2003-2005 the whole church practiced door-knocking but there was a lack of follow up.
- We need to see that the church’s responsibility is to reach out to each person in its locale (community).
- Every saint should have 1-2 contacts not to bring to the big meetings but to feed them the truth.
- Our service is to supply food to the saints.
- Establish a physical book display and lending library to promote an atmosphere of truth.
- We should give all the saints, including YP, some opportunity to share the spiritual material that they have enjoyed.
After these considerations flowed forth, we knew it was time for us to decamp and journey with the Lord. We began to seek Christ on how to practically carry out the considerations in cooperation and coordination with the Triune God. The first opportunity came in March when we, one among thirteen localities at the regional blending conference, set up a book display at the hotel venue. This was the first time it had been done, and we modeled it after how LSM sets up their display at the conferences. We sold out nearly all our inventory, including all the copies of the books that Brother Ricky Acosta based his conference speaking on. Many saints from smaller localities that do not have a meeting hall were thankful for the opportunity to purchase even the basics including the Recovery Version Old Testament and New Testament with footnotes, hymnals, CDs, etc. (Consideration #5 – To supply food to the saints.)
In April we began to set up a table at the local farmer’s market to distribute the Recovery Version New Testament Bible to our community. Presently the goal is to do so once a month to contact people in our community and propagate the riches of this ministry. In two months (April and May), we have collected 21 names of those who received a Bible and are interested in further contact. Although we are endeavoring to learn how to follow up with people, we feel very joyous that there are 21 more homes in our area that now have a Recovery Version Bible in their homes. (Considerations #3 and #4 – To support Bibles for America and recover the practice of going out.)
In June we welcomed two of the responsible brothers who have been traveling the country sharing about the faithful and diligent spreading of the truth. Brother Samuel Liu and Brother Michio Miyake were with us to conduct a one day workshop on Saturday afternoon and a general session with the saints on the Lord’s Day after the Table meeting. Nearly 70 turned out on Saturday for the 3-hour workshop, which far exceeded the number we had expected. The agenda was as follows:
Session One – Pursuing the Constitution of the Truth
– Introduction and history of the formation of the brothers’ ministry propagation service
– Brother Andrew Yu’s video
– The Pursuit and Spreading of the Truth through the Publications of the Ministry of the Age
Session Two – Introduction to the Book Service
– Brother Andrew Yu’s opening word
– The Vision and Burden of a Health Book Service
– Promoting the Reading of the Ministry Publications among the Saints
After the brothers made a formal introduction to The Collected Works of Witness Lee and Ministry Digest, we made an announcement to all the saints that the church would gift the first copy of Ministry Digest to all the saints who would like a free copy. Furthermore, we created a form that asked the saints to fill out if they were interested in pursuing a Ministry Digest reading group with other saints. More than 41 saints received a free copy – 22 English-speaking, 9 Chinese-speaking, 6 Spanish-speaking, and 4 Korean-speaking – of which 14 out of the 41 expressed a ‘Yes’ in joining a small ministry reading group. We are looking to the Lord on how to bring these 14 into 2’s and 3’s to read and become vital together. (Consideration #1 and #2 – Getting the next generation in to the truth and the up-to-date speaking of the ministry.)
Even in 10 months, the situation among us has been uplifted through the book service. However, we are not content and know there is still much work to be done. By the Lord’s grace, we will continue to come together to learn to serve in the Body under the direction of the Head and His representatives in the Body. We trust the Lord will continue to bless us and that His testimony among us will shine brighter and brighter (Prov. 4:18).