| Books on wheels|
Just as “the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation” are beautiful, so is the SIM book van that transports the Word of God through Pakistani villages (Isaiah 52:7).
The book van team obtains Christian books and Bibles from local publishers and bookstores, and then makes long treks, sometimes spanning two to three days, throughout the Sindh and Punjab provinces.
Thirty-seven years ago, the book van began its route, increasing access to scripture. This enduring ministry has extended far beyond its initial service of selling print books and across many miles of country.
The book van now stocks audiobooks, as well, to accommodate those who do not know how to read. On one visit, the team encountered an elderly man interested in the Bible, but he had to rely on others to read it to him.
SIM member Michael* said: “He did not have any hope of being able to learn. We introduced an audio Bible to him and a visualized Bible … He was so pleased to hear that he could access God’s word whenever he wanted and without anyone’s help. The man shouted for joy!
“He was so pleased to hear that he could access God’s word whenever he wanted.”
“We prayed with him so that he would be guided by God’s wisdom so that he would develop a deep relationship and understanding of him. Whenever he doesn’t understand anything while reading the Bible, he will contact us, and we promised to help him.”
Now, as the team migrates to a variety of communities, they offer practical assistance like public health measures. At the invitation of local health authorities, the staff spray for mosquitoes and flies to prevent malaria and dengue fever, which often allows for relationships to develop.
After a request from a family for their house to be sprayed, the book van team was invited to fellowship. Michael said: “We accepted their request with delight … It was a precious chance to share time with them … We told a story related to Noah and his ark. They were so interested in the story and asked us to come regularly with different stories.”
Another medical benefit they provide came after they noticed that mysterious stomach-aches plagued certain villages. A consultation with friends who are healthcare professionals revealed the cause, worms, and the appropriate medicine, relieving many of this illness. With COVID-19 pandemic, their public health role has shifted toward hygiene education and protection against the virus.
However, the primary growth over the book van’s lifespan has been in children’s ministry. With such a supply of Christian resources, the workers have been able to pass on their knowledge to young people and teachers alike, through Sunday school instruction and teacher training.
These lessons have introduced the story of Christ at a formative time, and the transformation has been evident. SIM member Sarah* said: “The children once did not know about Jesus but now they do. The parents are excited about the education they receive and send them.”
The original purpose of establishing wider access to God-breathed scripture has branched off to meet multiple community needs, forming a holistic ministry. But what drives the project is Christ’s call to deliver the wondrous news of the cross and resurrection.
Help the book van ministry continue
The book van team has relied on the Lord to sustain their ministry as they travel, coordinate sales and maintain the vehicle. They’re praying God inspires more supporters to invest in the project, so they can continue sharing Christ’s love in Pakistan. Can you help them persist in enriching these communities for the glory of Jesus?
To contribute to this impactful project, visit www.sim.org.nz/donate/, and use project number 98061.
Pray with us
• Pray the team overcomes barriers in language and literacy as they seek to equip many with the Bible.
• Pray the children’s ministry steers young hearts to Christ. Pray the families of the children involved would also come to faith.
• Pray for financial and prayer supporters to get behind this initiative.
• Pray for the medical ministry to produce deeper bonds between the book van staff and the villagers, which would lead to gospel conversations.
*Names changed for security.