KANSAS CITY – A thoughtful gift of a Bible in the Ilnnoggo language to a missionary friend multiplied into thousands of Bibles for the Philippines. Bill Barker, member of Country Meadows Baptist Church, gave that gift to his college friend and her husband, Gwinda and Eric Fors. Now, Barker and other church members are preparing for a Walkathon on May 18 to fund even more Bibles.
“When I gave her that Bible in the Ilnnoggo language, she cried,” Barker said. “She and her husband ministered to those people in the Philippines for eighteen years.”
“I believe in Divine Appointments,” Barker said. “I remembered that reaction after I went home. God put it in my heart to get 300 Ilnnoggo Bibles for the people of the Philippines.”
Barker soon found out the cost of shipping those Bibles, so he decided to deliver them. Barker and two friends decided to visit the Philippines and deliver them.
“God blessed us, and we made many contacts,” Barker said. “Pastor Sanday of the Philippines took us to many churches and even a public school. We were able to see how much the Bibles were appreciated. When the Bible is in their own language, it speaks to the heart.”
According to Barker, when he was in the Philippines, he was impressed with the need.
“The first church we attended,” he said, “had a dirt floor, bamboo walls and a tin roof. The people were sitting on wooden seats. It was humbling to me to be able to hand out 30-40 Bibles at that church.”
The visit to a public school, pointed Barker to the openness of the people to the gospel.
“We were able to share with about 300 students,” he said. “The school had 600 students, but they didn’t have a room large enough to hold them at one time. After we shared the gospel, 130 students accepted Christ. We didn’t have enough Bibles at the point we talked to them, so when we go back, I want to give one to each student.”
Going back is the focus for Barker. He and others from Country Meadows Baptist Church are organizing a Walkathon as well as making it a work day for putting the Bibles together.
Jeff Paul, senior pastor of Country Meadows, said the congregation was looking forward to the Walkathon. “This will be an opportunity to get Bibles to those who need them,” he said. “We saw the fruits of Bill’s trip last year and this will multiply those efforts.”
“Our Walkathon will be the kick-off to help us fund the shipping,” Barker said, “but we will also put together the Bibles. They come in signatures and after we put them together, we check to be sure they are in the correct order before the cover is added.”
According to Paul, the process of putting the Bibles together will provide an opportunity for church members to become missionaries. “This will give them an opportunity for the hands-on process of sorting, gluing and packing the Bibles,” Paul said. “They will pray for the people as they work. They will have the opportunity to socialize with each other sharing the work and the stories, much like a mission trip.”
Country Meadows plans to fill a metal container with 12,000 Ilnnoggo Bibles; 4,000 Tagalog Bibles; 150,000 John and Romans tools to use for sharing the gospel; as well as hymnals and additional Sunday School literature.
Barker and Terry Ogle, Safe Harbor Baptist Church, will follow the Bibles to the Philippines about eight months after the Bibles are shipped to work with about 50 national pastors to distribute the Bibles to churches, high schools, colleges, and the military/police.
Country Meadows is using the Walkathon to involve all ages in this mission. “We are going to have a concert, a bounce house, bake sale, as well as sponsors for the walkers and the event.”