By Mitch Shiffer
HENRIETTA—In Richmond and its surrounding communities, the First Baptist Church of Henrietta takes on a task which is dedicated to multiplying the Word of God literally in pounds.
The Bible Conference, as it is called, is in its fifth year, and was held this year from April 4-7. This year 11,000 pounds of the Word of God were produced in terms of Bibles that were actually made.
Motivation to take on the project began in a Bible study. The idea also came in part from the Kansas City Baptist Temple, which also produces Bibles. The conference takes place in the Richmond City Hall building, and those participating work from noon to midnight.
In the time this has been happening, the Bible Conference has turned out 10,000 complete Bibles and 42,000 New Testaments. Once the Bibles are assembled, they are given to those who may not have them.
Local Attorney Farrell Hockemeier, who has been involved since the beginning, talked about giving the Word to those that don’t have Bibles.
“It is one of our joys to see these Bibles given to the pastors on the front lines.” Hockemeier said.
It is truly a community project. Schoolchildren and the elderly turn out to participate; anywhere from 250-500 people help out.
“It is a unique experience to be able to make Bibles in a city office building, and then be able to take those same Bibles and distribute them individually on the mission field,” said First Henrietta Pastor Mike Hibbard. “This Bible conference creates a spirit of unity among the churches in the community of a common cause to further the kingdom.”
After an April 11 commissioning service, Hibbard and five other missionaries went to Mexico to distribute the 5,200 Spanish Bibles on a mission trip. They went to a colony outside of Nuevo Laredo and worked with Kerigma Baptist Church. Besides distributing Bibles, the missionaries also built classrooms, taught Vacation Bible School, and visited an orphanage. They also gave stuffed animals and a couple of dozen bicycles as gifts.
“We are excited that God has called us to minister to people who are living in such poor conditions in a troubled area,” Hibbard said. “God can use us to bring a smile and a Word from God which is a light in itself to their world.
“Last year’s mission trip we took nine bicycles and the children were so excited to receive these. There were four or five children on each bicycle as they rode away. We are excited to conduct Vacation Bible School and distribute Scripture to the children we developed relationships with last year,” Hibbard said.
Assembling Bibles at Richmond City Hall is not just a local church activity; it is a multi-community project. People of all ages from towns throughout the area participate in putting together Bibles so they can be given to those that need them.