Bibles Brighten Lives for Survivors of Hurricane Katrina; Three Quarters of a Million Scriptures for DistributionBy Roy Lloyd
The American Bible Society (ABS) already has three quarters of a million Bibles
and scripture portions for distribution to those who survived the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, with more to come in the days ahead. All of the scriptures are in English and Spanish and include outreach Bibles and a special booklet created for this tragedy called . A million copies of the pocket-sized portion have been printed in both languages.
Other booklets also are being distributed including; ; ; and . Each of the portions contains Bible passages that relate to the themes and do not contain any theological or doctrinal language. The ABS believes that the Bible speaks for itself.
Notable celebrities are helping the ABS to get out the word about the desperate need for Bibles. Pat Boone has videotaped an appeal for the financial support needed by the Bible Society to give Scripture to survivors of the hurricane. That video can be viewed at http://www.katrinabibles.org/.
Grammy Award-winning singer Yolanda Adams has received 20,000 copies of thebooklet to give to her audience on October 2 at a special "Day of Healing" concert for evacuees relocated to Louisiana’s capital city, Baton Rouge. Some 7,000 ABS Bibles and 3,000 copies of the Bible Society youth publication also will be distributed.
Appearing with Adams in the concert will be Kirk Franklin; Joe Ligon & Mighty Clouds of Joy; and Israel & New Breed. Adams says:
"Now that food, clothing and housing have been facilitated to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, it is vitally important that the spiritual needs of the evacuees are taken care of. Faith and hope must be built from the inside, to assure the victims that God has not forsaken them. The Bibles and scripture portions will help build the faith and hope of the victims, so that they realize that God’s people truly care and love them."
In Houston volunteers from local churches are putting God’s word into the hands of those who are anxious to receive the Scripture. William Taylor, who heads the volunteers with Operation Compassion, thanked the Bible Society for providing what was needed to reach out to those affected.
As thousands of evacuees lined up at St. Agnes Baptist Church in Houston, ABS Bibles and scripture portions were made available to them. Those in the long line had been there since 6 p.m. the night before to retain their spot in the FEMA line. When the opportunity to get a Bible was presented, many asked someone to save their place so they could come to get their own Bible.
At that site, Dorris Ellis, editor of the Houston Sun and an ABS volunteer, said, "Most of these people lost their Bibles and they will treasure this new Bible as a sign of a fresh start. They will read it while in line and be comforted and encouraged."
In Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center, the Reliant Arena and the Astrodome, thebooklet is popular with those being housed in those sites and with the many church volunteers who also need the strengthening provided by the Bible.
In the Astrodome parking lot, volunteers from California requested Bibles from ABS staff to put into the backpacks they had purchased to give to evacuees, along with the essentials of toiletries and clean socks.
At the Reliant Center health station, being staffed by medical personnel affiliated with CeeJay Crusades, Bibles are available for those who wish to have them. All the Bibles are supplied by the ABS.
Pastor Pedro Cantu of Amor y Restauracion (Love and Restoration) Church is helping resettle the Spanish-speaking people who fled the flooding in New Orleans. He says thebooklet is a map for those seeking to renew their lives and a key that opens up the power of the Bible. One of the evacuees he helped, Carlos Garay, has himself become a volunteer and says that now and in the future those who have suffered so much will realize that their lives must be built on the rock of the Bible.
The ABS has established the Hope Fund to enable a response to the spiritual need that exists. The Hope Fund is set up to respond to profound needs, like the hurricane disaster, in this country and around the world. For more information, go to http://www.americanbible.org/.