St. John's Episcopal Church, Butte, Montana
Additional information and pictures at: facebook.com/TzBibles
In 2015, because of the generosity of so many people, 1,508 age-appropriate Swahili Bibles were given to schoolchildren in rural villages in Tanzania. Since this project began in 2012, some 5,275 Bibles have been given to schoolchildren.
In 2008, Craig Smith, who grew up in this church, began teaching and doing missionary work about 1.5 hours on a bumpy, dusty bus south of Dodoma, the capital, in about the center of Tanzania. Dodoma was an 8-hour bumpy bus ride from the former capital, Dar es Salaam, which is on the coast, and where nearly all of the commercial airline service is located. He was there because of something that Bishop Eludi had said during one his presentations at St. John’s when Craig was in 5th grade. When Craig was living in Tanzania, one of Craig’s observations was that almost no one owned a Bible, and if they did, it was in English. Bibles there are very expensive; it would be like an American spending $100 to buy a poor quality, inexpensive Bible here. When Craig returned to Tanzania in 2009, he took Swahili Bibles as gifts to his choir, who had been so welcoming and accepting of him, even though he couldn’t sing and had 2 left feet. In 2010, he brought Swahili Bibles to all of the choirs in the area.
Craig feels called by God to distribute Swahili Bibles in the rural areas of Tanzania. By the time he went back to Makang'wa in 2012, he had developed his Bibles for Africa project in its current form. Mostly through his Facebook /TzBibles page and through personal appeals and presentations, he raises money to purchase age-appropriate Swahili Bibles for schoolchildren. St. John’s has agreed to receive the donations and do the bookkeeping, and transfer the payment to the publisher when enough has been raised for a distribution. Since 2012, Bibles for Africa has delivered Swahili Bibles to 8 schools, in 4 different villages. As a child enters 1st grade, he or she receives a Children’s Bible which also has pictures that can be colored. When the child reaches fifth grade, he or she receives a New Testament, also translated into Swahili. At the end of 7th grade, students receive a complete Swahili Bible.
Donations in any amount are gratefully received at any time. Donations can be mailed to St. John’s, or put in the offering plate with Bibles for Africa in the memo section of the check. Much more information is available on facebook.com/TzBibles which people can access even if they do not have a Facebook account.
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