About a dozen thrift centers located in the Midwest aim to make a large profit this Christmas season, but not to benefit themselves.
The Bibles for Missions Thrift Centers give all their profits to Bible League International, a non-profit evangelical Christian ministry dedicated to making disciples, training Bible study leaders, and church planters around the world. The thrift centers, which are for-profit and operate as separate entities, were formed by Bible League to help financially support the mission.
After each center pays its bills, the remaining fund is donated to Bible League to support ministry in the specific country the center has "adopted." None of the centers' staff members are paid; they are all volunteers.
"During this season as people are purchasing items, they're also supplying God's word to other brothers and sisters, other love ones around the world," said Connie Reitsma, BLI's liaison with the centers, to The Christian Post on Tuesday.
Since 1992, when the first center opened, Bibles for Missions Thrift Centers have provided more than $21 million to support Bible League. The centers' goal this year is to donate $2 million, with the holiday season being the time when most of the money is generated.
Supporters of the Bible ministry help by donating to the centers items that will generate funds as well as by purchasing merchandise there. People who donate and shop at the centers, according to BLI, are often as dedicated as the staff there to fulfilling the mission of Bible League: "To provide Scriptures and training worldwide, so that people prepared by the Holy Spirit will be brought into fellowship with Christ and His Church."
After a person finishes the first part of BLI's Bible study training program, he or she receives a copy of the Scriptures. BLI says it has given out millions of Bibles in more than 80 countries since its founding in 1938. Its vision is to see every person who wants a Bible to have one and every neighborhood having a vibrant Bible study group.
There are a total of 13 Bibles for Missions Thrift Centers in the United States, located in: Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, and Tennessee. These centers raise funds to support mission works in Mexico, Columbia, Ecuador, Haiti, Kenya, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, China, and the Philippines.