By Kenny Norman
Southsider Nancy Snyder has found a new use for old Christian Literature: Collecting it in donation boxes and sending it to countries where Bibles, CDs, Sunday school material and other religious items are hard to access.
Bibles, class handouts, hymnals, devotionals and other pieces of literature have been collected in boxes at Southport Presbyterian Church to be shipped overseas.
“My husband (Carl) and I have started this mission for Love Packages on our own initiative,” said Snyder. “Now we are a mission under the Southport Presbyterian Church Global Impact Team, sponsoring a number of ministries and missions throughout the world.”
A few weeks ago, the Snyders delivered 477 pounds of literature from various sources to a warehouse in Butler, Ill. that is run by Eagles Nest Ministries, the company that oversees Love Packages. The material the Snyders collected was sent to 15 different countries, including Ghana, Guatemala, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Philippines, Tanzania, Ukraine, Zambia and Liberia.
“When they get the Sunday school material that we send, they use the same material over and over for years in all of these places,” said Snyder.
Steven Schmidt, founder of Eagles Nest Ministries, started the organization in 1975 in Litchfield, Ill., to collect Christian literature. Material received is usually in English, but sometimes in Spanish, French or several other languages. Schmidt said the organization ships 20 tons of literature every week to 119 different nations.
“We collect a number of different things, but we get more Sunday school material than anything since we collect from eight different Sunday school publishers, as well as other ministries,” said Schmidt. “We in America have so much and people around the world have little or no Christian literature.
Paul Gearhart, director of youth ministries at Southport Presbyterian Church, knew Nancy, who got started by bringing a box to gather used Christian literature.
“I’m pretty impressed at how constantly the box is filled up,” said Gearhart. “She gave me some information about Love Packages headquarters and it was pretty clear they could use volunteers all the time. We had a plan for our Spring Break mission outreach that fell through, so I thought to check this out.”
Gearhart plans to go with the church’s high school youth group to the warehouse at the beginning of April.
Their church is the only one currently involved in Indianapolis, but Snyder said she would like to expand to other churches when there’s enough interest.
Roy Kane, who serves on the Global Impact Team, said the Snyders have been collecting material for a while to send to seminaries and Bible training institutes overseas.
“I think her initiative is a worthy cause and can certainly be helpful,” said Kane. “All of our books are in English so the people to whom they’re sent have to be able to read English. Nancy has a real heart for missions and has personally introduced our church to Albanian nationals, who are missionaries in their own country.”
The Snyders sort the material by type and then by month before getting it ready for shipment. They send all the collected material to the warehouse once a year and they once drove it to the warehouse themselves to see how the material is handled.
“It’s just a very special way of using material that we throw away so that it’s not wasted,” said Snyder. “It really is exciting to me as I read the testimonials from people in all of these countries who are so thankful to get the material that we would otherwise throw away.”
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