We are writing to inform you of a growing burden that the working saints in the Lord’s recovery would more fully participate in the propagation of the truth. This burden, which has been a commission of the Lord’s recovery for decades, has recently become available to all the saints through Bibles for America.
Bibles for America (BfA) began in the year 2000 as a result of Brother Witness Lee’s burden for the release of the ministry. During the 1960’s and 70’s, Brother Lee emphasized the matters of life and the Spirit in his ministry to the saints. However, partly due to the outward opposition and internal turmoil that the recovery faced during the 1980’s, Brother Lee began to release his burden related to the propagation of the interpreted Word. It was in those circumstances that the first edition of the New Testament Recovery Version was printed in 1985. Brother Lee continued to be strongly burdened for the release of the ministry, and he considered such propagation of the truth to be a commission of the Lord’s recovery. In Elders’ Training, Book 8: The Life-Pulse of the Lord’s Present Move, Chapter 8 he said:
Actually, though, I do not care that much for the increase. I care for the spreading of the truths so that they can get into the needy hearts. If we spread these truths, we will become the faithful servants to serve food to the Lord’s people at the appointed time (Matt. 24:45). Then we will fulfill the commission of the Lord’s recovery. This is where my heart is. I will die to this. I told the brothers in the Far East I will not stop until my entire being is exhausted by this ministry. I hope you all will say the same thing.
A group of saints received this burden and were led by the Lord to carry it out by propagating the ministry in the form of the “rainbow booklets.” Nevertheless, a wider release of the high truths was not fully realized because of persistent opposition at that time.
During the year 2000, BfA was established through much prayer and fellowship; seizing the opportunity afforded by general openness of the United States after the events of September 11, 2001, BfA began to give away Bibles through motor-home tours, book fairs, and other direct distributions across this country. Then, in 2008, BfA began a transition into using technology such as blogs, videos, mobile apps, and websites to release the Word. Today, after distributing more than one million Recovery Versions and acquiring fourteen years of experience, the brothers serving with BfA hope to double the rate of distribution by giving away another million Bibles within the next seven years.
At a recent Summer Training in Anaheim, Brother Minoru Chen conveyed this burden to a group of working saints. Speaking to our generation, he said,
I beg you brothers, because the recovery is going to be in your hands. I want you to carry on this burden of Bibles for America. If the saints who meet with us do not carry out this burden, no other Christian group will do it because those outside the recovery do not have this truth. All of you are burdened and bearing the Lord’s testimony, the church life in your respective places, on your shoulders. Besides this many of you are serving on the campus or with the young people for the propagation of the gospel. There is a third leg, and this leg is the propagation of the truth. This truth is contained in the Recovery Version and in the ministry books.
Many among us may have considered BfA as an independent entity, composed of faithful serving saints in southern California and funded by a few burdened saints with significant financial means, to carry out the commission of distributing the ministry. We may see it as an entity that we stand with and pray for, but one that we are not directly connected to. Through our fellowship with Brother Minoru, however, it became clear that BfA belongs to us, all the working saints in the churches who desire to participate in the spread of the ministry. BfA needs our active participation and upholding, and as the next generation in the Lord’s recovery, we all should aspire to be “stakeholders” and “owners” of Bibles for America in the ways of prayer, giving, and distributing.
Above all, we must realize that the commission to distribute the riches of the ministry is entrusted to us, and that it is our responsibility to continue its propagation. A practical way to directly participate in this great need for the distribution of the ministry is through financial support. Whereas we have a blessed tradition among the saints in the churches of being discreet when discussing finances, such reticence can lead to a lack of insight into the needs within the Lord’s work. Today, we may not realize that a significant amount of funds are crucial for the purchase of Bibles and ministry books, innovation and development in methods of distribution, maintenance of BfA offices and warehouses, and support of the full-time serving ones. We believe that there is a manageable way to meet those needs. For instance, if 750 saints gave 25 dollars monthly, and the number of saints with that practice increased by 750 saints each year, within five years, the giving would amount to more than a million dollars annually. In addition to participating by financial giving, there is a desperate need for participation by prayer and by distribution. There are basic steps to help us begin carrying out the burden of propagating the ministry:1) visit the BfA website, 2) bring this burden to the Lord in prayer, and 3) speak regarding this burden to those around us, particularly our peers, companions, those in our locality, and even one or two outside the church life.
Based on the number of Bibles that BfA has distributed, there are considerably more people outside the local churches who read the Recovery Version than those who meet with us. Such people have written countless testimonies and thankful letters to BfA; they are praying for and giving to BfA. If so many dear believers outside the local churches have seen the preciousness of this ministry and are giving to support it, how much more should we be constrained to do the same! May we rise up as a generation and take ownership of this commission, blessing, and responsibility to propagate the truth that we have inherited.
At the 2015 Winter Training in Anaheim, CA, a special meeting was held to convey this burden to a large group of working saints (link to audio). Please listen to the audio and prayerfully consider before the Lord how those in our age group can begin to practically pick up this burden and carry it forward.