Many people live in parts of the world that are difficult to get to. And many people do not have money to buy books or literature. Some don’t even have any available for purchase due to their remote location or government controls. So, when they receive a Bible, book, or pamphlet, they treasure it and read it many times.
One type of missionary work that is near and dear to my heart is printing because this is what my dad did as a missionary. Although my dad did not have a seminary degree, he had a servant’s heart. When he heard that there was a ministry that needed someone fluent in Spanish that also knew how to design and layout documents for printing, he knew that he had to help. Eventually, he learned how to run the 2-ton printing press by himself. Printing Biblical tracts and parts of the Bible were not what he had gone to college to do, but he learned how and he spent many years of his life serving in this capacity. He always loved hearing the stories of how people had read the literature he printed and came to believe in Jesus as their Savior.
Some of the steps traditional printing might involve include:
- Translation of a document into another language
- Creating artwork
- Layout of the document
- Making a negative or plate to use in printing
- Running the printing press
- Checking printed papers to make sure they are being printed correctly
- Cutting the large paper into smaller sections
- Folding the document
- Compiling the document with pages in order
- Stapling, gluing or binding the document
Here are some finished tracts and the Gospel of John in Spanish:
There are many ministries that use printers and people that know about laying out documents. The Bible is constantly being translated into more and more languages. And someone needs to print those new Bibles! Maybe you could help with this someday! You might even be able to get an apprenticeship somewhere local to learn more about printing.
Another new exciting development in recent years is P.O.D. (Print-on-demand). This is revolutionizing the ability to get the printed Bible to people as fast as possible. They don’t have to wait months or years after the translation is finished to actually get a paper copy anymore! Programs like Wycliffe Associates are raising money to buy more P.O.D. systems around the world to facilitate this. A full-scale P.O.D. system costs around $15,000 USD, and there are smaller systems available for remote areas that are less expensive.
Want to find out more about printing ministries? Check out these links:
How can you get your family interested in this?
- Watch a video about how a printing press works or this one
- Talk about the first printing press: Gutenberg
- Fold and staple some papers together and have your kids write their own book or tract to tell others about Jesus. Make sure they include some artwork. 🙂
I’ll leave you with this interesting quote I found:
The Printed Page is a Missionary
The gospel in print is a “missionary”. It neither flinches nor shows cowardice. It is never tempted to compromise. It neither tires, nor grows discouraged. It travels cheaply and requires no hired hall. It works while others sleep. It never loses its temple. It continues to minister long after the present generation has passed on. The gospel in print is effective. It gains entrance to both the lowly hut and the lofty palace. It speaks to a man at the right time, only when he is reading it. It sticks to what it says and never answers back. It reaches those who otherwise might never be reached. It carries the only authoritative answers. It points the way to eternal life through Jesus Christ. The gospel in print is far-reaching. Through reading a tract, Russell H. Conwell was led to Christ. A pamphlet . . . fell into the hands of John Bunyan, and by this means he was converted. Pilgrim’s Progress came from his pen, and through that excellent work thousands were saved. This missionary – the gospel in print – should have the prayerful support of every Christian. Those who make it possible become Missionaries of the Printed Page.
– Author Unknown