The room where I (Jim) read and pray most mornings holds a lot more stories than I realized.
Framed photos on the walls remind me of the majesty of God’s creation in places we may only visit once – but whose memories are burned in me as glimpses of what God has in store. The windows behind me look out to our wooded back yard. I hear birds singing and see the beauty of creation accessible right here, right now.
Around the room are antiques, each with a story. There’s my grandfather’s desk from the Killam Hardware & Farm Store of Rippey, Iowa. I’m writing this under the same brass lamps that my other grandparents read and wrote by. My Bible rests on a coffee table made from a northern Wisconsin pine tree at Lauren's grandparents' cottage.
A huge bookcase covers the wall directly across from me. If you use your imagination, it looks a lot like the wardrobe from the Narnia stories. The bookcase was built by Wycliffe missionaries for the Seed Company to store and display hundreds of Bibles they played a role in translating all over the world.
As Seed Company was moving to its new building in 2015, the bookcase was going to be discarded (the new office featured built-in display shelves for the Bibles). Lauren asked the office manager if they might want to sell it. The next day, it was in our house.
We wondered at first why God would hand us, of all people, such a significant piece of history. When we moved back to Rockford, Illinois in late 2017, the bookcase came with us. I remember staring at it, wondering what in the world God was doing. This seemed a lot more than just a souvenir of our three years in Texas.
I think God gave us the bookcase as a long-term reminder that he is nowhere near finished using us in the Bible translation movement. The shelves remind me not only of the Bibles being translated everywhere, but also of the stories I will have a hand in telling – stories that could fill this bookcase a thousand times. Stories of transformed lives and communities because people encountered God through his living Word.
Today the bookcase keeps china, antiques and other breakables safely out of our grandkids’ reach. We’ve left one shelf empty except for two special items: a replica of the Luther Bible from 1534, and a New Testament published just this year for the Surjapuri people of northern India. The remaining empty space on that shelf represents opportunity, and God’s call.
Like the wardrobe C.S. Lewis created, the bookcase also symbolizes a doorway. Behind all of those dishes and antiques lie purpose, promise ... and amazing stories. Sometimes it feels like if I reached in there far enough, I could touch the kingdom of God.
Walt Disney Pictures
"We may be content to remain what we call 'ordinary people': but He is determined to carry out quite a different plan."
— C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Thanks for being on mission with us
Thanks to regular partnerships with more than 40 individuals and churches so far, we’re at 62% of the budget established by Wycliffe for our ministry work. Please pray with us that we can reach 100% by this fall so Jim can start his assignment as managing editor with the Wycliffe Global Alliance.
Remember, this is much more than “support.” You are truly on a historic mission with us, helping reach every living language with God’s Word in the next 6 years.