I heard a knock on the door and headed down the stairs to answer it. Before I reached the bottom of the stairs, I could see through the window that there was a small crowd of people clamoring at the door. “Here we go!” I thought…it was time for selling Bibles.
On Saturday, we visited the synod meeting of West Kasai, just giving our greetings and also an announcement that we would have Bibles to sell starting Monday afternoon. Unfortunately, the Bible Society only had 2 cartons of Bibles available in the standard size, so we got all they had. We decided with our colleagues to send one of the cartons to Mbuji-Mayi for selling in East Kasai, and we would remain with one. When Monday came, we had several meetings in the morning and it was after 1pm before we got to the office. So, people started coming to the house looking for Bibles. We really try to ensure that Bibles get sold at the office, so I packed up a bag with Bibles and headed out with the crowd of people trailing after.
Once at the office, I explained that there was a limited amount, so we would not sell more than 1 Bible to anyone. The people who had come were from distant villages, and they had stayed in Kananga after the end of their synod meeting on Saturday just to be able to purchase Bibles. There was a bit of a commotion at first in their eagerness to buy Bibles, but they lined up and I began recording names and distributing Bibles. In the process, I learned a little about their churches and their lives. One woman, Mutare, is an elder in the church and active with woman’s ministry, but has never had a Bible. I asked if she is ever asked to teach in Bibles studies or women’s groups. “Oh yes!” she said “And I have to go borrow a Bible from my pastor to prepare a teaching.” Others in the group were pastors, who said that they had a Bible at home, but it was tattered and missing pages. All were very excited about the valuable tool that they now had for studying and learning more about God. Several of them were from one rural presbytery called Bupuekele, and were about to start the three day walk back to their villages.
In just one hour, the carton of 28 Bibles was empty. People continued to come, and are still coming days later, looking for Bibles. We were able to get some of the compact size that we continue to sell, but older people have trouble with the smaller print. There is another shipment of Bibles on the way, so we look forward to being able to sell more in June or July. But, I must admit that we are glad that we don’t have that commotion every day!