As we enter the fall season, we often reflect on how the year has gone. In the Bible, the Israelites wandered through the wilderness forty years before entering the promised land of milk and honey. It seems as though CSM and other ministries have been wandering through the Covid desert. This changed world has caused us to adapt in ways we never would have imagined. We could not have done so without the blessing of CSM’s diligently praying supporters and dedicated volunteers. Despite literal and figurative roadblocks, we have still been blessed with the financial provision to continue operating. Most importantly though, God has continued his provision of Bibles and books. Where we might have faltered and questioned whether our mission is relevant, we have been confidently assured, one box or 100 boxes at a time, that the rest of the world still wants to hold books.
We are often asked whether we can continue to make use of printed materials in a digital environment. The reality is that as Canadian pastors retire and church libraries convert over to digital books, and we have received an increased flow of materials to send, we have had a waiting list of ministries requesting books. Printed materials are much easier to share in the parts of the world we send to – places with intermitted or non-existent electricity and cell service.
The books we are given travel into the bush and to remove villages where charging an electronic device would be impossible. We hear about small and large libraries started, street preachers passing out tracts, and church congregations receiving their first Bibles, all with books and materials sent through CSM.
Our ministry rests on the backs of our volunteers who collect the books, sort and classify the materials, and load the containers to be shipped to far away places. We have had a number of volunteers retire this past year, but have also had new helpers come on board. Many hands make light work, and we can always put hands to work. Earlier in this year, we had an extra 15 hands to put to work when an 8th grade class from a local Christian school came in for the afternoon. They arrived with school bus full of books and kids, and a great deal of energy. The students unloaded their bus and (with much supervision) sorted and packed books. These are our younger brothers and sisters in Christ and it was such an encouraging encounter! We are hopeful this year’s class can come for another visit to learn about the hands-on Kingdom work that goes on.
As we continue receiving requests from countries all over the world, we will work to keep fulfilling the Great Commission just as Jesus commanded to the apostles. With your continued prayer, support, and volunteer time, we will continue supporting these global ministries. The printed Word of God is still very much vital and wanted.
Dennis Cheredar, CSM Board Chairman
What's New at CSM?
A few years, CSM could count on two slow seasons: late winter and mid-summer. Very few people were interested in bringing in books in the weather extremes, go figure! Once we were allowed to fully reopen after pandemic restrictions eased, we’ve found there are no slow seasons anymore, so we have been busy, busy, busy! Between retiring pastors and downsizing church libraries, CSM has seen many large donations this year. Its difficult to even approximate the volume of books that come in, but we can total up the boxes we’ve packed up for the year so far. Since January, our volunteers in Hamilton have packed 2,397 banana boxes, just under 123,000 pounds of Bibles and books. To put that into perspective, we have between 3-10 packers/sorters in each week, and likely somewhere around 80 volunteers collecting books in the field. We’d estimate half of the books that come in are from Western provinces, and the other half are from Ontario. It is simply amazing the work that God can accomplish through so few people! We pray the work of our our diligent hands is bringing the riches of God’s Word to as many as He ordains.
2023 Boxes Packed
An evangelist passes out tracts to young women in Ghana. CSM has sent a total of 44 containers to Ghana – a little less than 1,430,000 lbs of Bibles and books.
CSM has had a great year so far and has just sent a container to the Philippines! January – GHANA – 29,588 lbs of Bibles and Christian books were loaded up on a very chilly day. The books have arrived and have already been distributed! The cost for this shipment was $7,085. March – GHANA – on a slightly warmer day, we loaded 29,262 lbs of books onto a container headed to Akatsi, Ghana. All of the books have been distributed, and the ministry has asked for more! This shipment cost $7,172. April – TANZANIA – we were very excited to send our first ever shipment of books to Tanzania! CSM loaded 30,820 lbs of Bibles and books at a cost of $6,481. The container has cleared customs and the books are being distributed. June – GHANA – long-time friends of CSM, Ministry Partners Network International, received 29,663 lbs of book. The materials are being distributed to churches, seminaries, and schools. This container shipment cost $6,784. August – a week after we came back from our summer shutdown, we packed up 30,687 lbs of Bibles and books that are currently on their way to Fiji. This is the second ever shipment CSM has sent to Fiji, and it cost $9,159.
Retirements and Memorials
Our friendly and very helpful sorter/packer, Gerrit, has officially retired after many years. Long-time supporter and drywall hanger in our Hamilton warehouse, John Todd, has passed into the presence of our Lord in late August.
2023 Banquet: Old Friends & New Faces
Finally, after three long years, CSM was delighted to host our Annual Banquet.
The evening kicked off in prayer and a tribute to long-time volunteer and supporter, Doug Hysert. We were entertained by (and sang along with!) The Vicounts again this year.
After a dinner of beef-on-a-bun, and having thoroughly enjoyed a selection of pies, we were treated to a presentation by Jeremy Thommy about his work in Zimbabwe. In 2021 and again 2022, CSM was able to provide 36 boxes of Bibles and Christian books for Jeremy to distribute in rural Zimbabwe. Of special note was the story of a young man who had been praying for quite some time that he would somehow receive an ESV Study Bible. If you’ve ever purchased a study Bible, you’re well aware of how dear the cost. This young man found his prayers answered when he was given an ESV Study Bible through the team Jeremy serves with.
We appreciate everyone who came out and celebrated the Lord’s goodness with us and look forward to seeing everyone again next year! It is so encouraging to get together and encourage one another to good works!