The OM Ships literature ministry centre in Florence, South Carolina, USA normally ships container-loads of books to Logos Hope throughout the year, as well as to other partners around the world. Just as the coronavirus pandemic caused Logos Hope to close her bookfair to the public for a season, lockdown restrictions in many countries severely limited the impact of other literature ministries.
“Our international customers have really been struggling,” says John Satterly (UK), the Ship Ministry’s literature director.
With thousands of books not being sent to Logos Hope and partners in challenging locations facing financial difficulties, the idea was developed to encourage these enterprises through sponsored containers. This, John says, sparks a “chain of blessing.”
“Firstly, the donor is blessed by giving. OM Ships is blessed to receive the money to make it possible to ship a container which blesses our clients, and the end user [who ultimately purchases the books] is also blessed.”
Gideon Nkandu, owner of Legacy Wide Trade in Zambia, expressed his thanks to the OM Ships team in South Carolina; saying, “God is so good and so powerful. He knows our needs all the time. This gift has come at a time when we were seriously looking for ways and means to make an order of Bibles and books… If [OM Ships] was in Africa, I would have roasted a goat and performed a traditional dance for you in appreciation!”
The goal for 2021 is to send 10 containers to 10 different destinations, ranging from Nigeria to the Philippines. Each 20-foot container costs approximately $10,000 USD. Five have been funded already, and contributions can be made to help fund the others here: www.om.org/ships/donate/books.
The pandemic continues to have an impact when it comes to the logistics of shipping containers. With supply shortages across the USA, the availability of truck drivers has decreased, making it a challenge to get containers to port. Despite these obstacles, the first of this project’s deliveries has already reached India, ready for ministry use. Others are due to dock in Nigeria, two locations in Zambia, and the Philippines.
The Philippines has endured one of the longest coronavirus lockdowns in the world. Unemployment has soared and the pandemic has affected large and small businesses. Publishing and book distribution, which are not considered essential services, were affected. OMF Literature felt the impact with the ministry having to close two bookshops in order to remain sustainable and keep staff employed. The help offered by OM Ships came at just the right time, says Gladys Doronila, from OMF Literature in the Philippines:
“We are grateful and thankful as this will help OMF Literature recover the losses from the last year and the ongoing pandemic. We thank the Lord for the generosity extended to us so we may continue to fulfill our mission here.”
“God is working through us even in this challenging pandemic season. He gave us a creative way to bless partners around the world,” says Pil-Hun Park (South Korea), who oversees the ministry centre in Florence. “It’s a great example of how we can care for each other in this global ministry at such a time.”