W RLD An inside look at BCM’s Global Ministries
BCM Turns 70! This past year of 2006, BCM “The angels in heaven are having a party because of me!”
GERMANY: Arriving in Germany for our second visit there (1951), we were delighted to find fifteen Bible Clubs going with several hundred children in attendance. One young theological student conducted seven classes himself. He explained that during his childhood and youth under Hitler, he had no opportunity to study God's Word. Now he wanted to devote his life to giving the Gospel to Germany's children. There were many opportunities to speak to large groups of children, so many with young 'old' faces, indicative of past suffering. --'Uncle' Jim Hutchinson, 1951 (BCM archives)
AFRICA: As soon as our daily teaching ministry was finished at the close of the mission school term, we mimeographed the teachers' manuals. In order to avoid paper waste we had to count every paper by hand, but our mimeograph is an electric one, and so we were able to run off 1000 copies in less than an hour. When we finished two sides, we took them to the print shop to be cut. It took us two weeks and 48 stencils to mimeograph, fold, sort, assemble, and bind the first 1000 books. --BCM missionary, 1956 (archives)
International celebrated its 70th Birthday since it was organized in 1936 as the Bible Club Movement. BCM Canada is celebrating 65 years. BCM India its 30th Birthday. The world's longest running Bible Club turned 50 years old in Scotland. Celebrate these milestones
with us in this 70th Anniversary issue of BCM World. We cannot mention all by name, but we honor the hundreds of missionaries and thousands of volunteers who have given time and love and service over these decades to reach children and raise up God's church worldwide.
Happy Birthday, BCM! *For more, check out our expanded on-line version of BCM World at www.bcmintl.org/ezine.
Because Children MATTER! The Bible Club Movement Turns Seventy by Dan Schmidt
Why leave the comforts of home and career for an uncertain future? To Bessie Traber, founder of BCM International, the answer was plain—because children matter. Joyce Sacher, a long-time BCM missionary, remembers Miss Traber when she came to their home as a dinner guest. "After a few moments of polite
conversation with the adults, Miss Traber focused her attention on our kids. Over the years, her questions deepened as our daughters matured. She really was interested in what they had to say, and what they were going through.” It was an interest that Miss Traber showed for many boys and girls over her lifetime. Leaving a career in teaching to enter missionary service in the Philippines, Miss Traber was forced back to the States by illness after one
term. When the door to return closed, she walked through another, taking the model of Bible Clubs she'd used in the Philippines to inner-city Philadelphia children. As her volunteer force grew, Bible Clubs and other children's ministries spread across North America and in time all five major continents. Howard Taylor, son of wellknown pioneer missionary Hudson Taylor, writing about his father's “spiritual secret,” mentions the latter's continued next page
Check out our expanded on-line version of BCM World at www.bcmintl.org/ezine.
MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT A TIME TO REMEMBER
For Bible Centered Ministries, 2006 was a time to remember. To remember BCM International's seventy years of ministry since its beginning in 1936 as the Bible Club Movement. To remember thirty years of ministry in India. To remember 65 years of Bible Clubs and children's ministry in Canada. To remember that this year is our sixtieth year of ministry in the UK and Europe. It is a time to celebrate. To celebrate seventy years of God's past providence for BCM. He knew where we would be going when we did not know if we would be going. He watched over us through danger and peril, and He walked with us along paths of His choosing. It is a time to celebrate God's present provision for BCM. He provides daily for nearly 750 BCM missionaries working in 46 countries around the globe. He provides for their ministries of evangelism, discipleship, teaching, training, and acts of compassion. The Gospel is being preached, and people are accepting Christ on a regular basis. Everywhere. It is a time to celebrate God's future promise for BCM--- a bright future that is filled with eternal hope and a certainty surrounded by the many souls redeemed along the way from every tongue, tribe, and nation. It is a future of expectancy. While it is a time to remember and to celebrate, it is also a time to watch and pray, to plan and prepare. We are entrusted with a stewardship of BCM missionaries and ministries. We are to watch vigilantly over our missionaries and their ministries and to pray for them continually. We are to plan perceptively for tomorrow's ministry opportunities and prepare properly for a new generation of missionaries. The stewardship for the future of BCM as a missionary agency has been entrusted to us. BCM's foundation lies in the strength of our missionary force and their continuing commitment to the ministries of BCM. They have provided initiative, continuity, and sponsorship for BCM's ministries, often at great personal expense. It lies also in the faithfulness and commitment of churches, donors, prayer supporters, and countless thousands of volunteers who have stood behind this ministry for the past seventy years. Together we are a team that has impacted millions of lives over the last seven decades and continues to carry the Gospel of Jesus Christ to people in need. To build up God's church around the world. To target that vulnerable 4-14 Window of two billion children between the age-span of four to fourteen when more than 80% of Christians make a personal commitment to follow Jesus Christ. We can only do this ministry together as a team. As we look forward to the future of BCM, our methods may reflect changing demographics, times, and opportunities. But our focus remains on the Bible and its truths as central and absolute. Join with us as we celebrate BCM's 70th Birthday and look forward to its continued ministry. Let's run the race together. In the service of our King, Martin Windle, President, BCM International
continued from front cover “simple, practical attitude toward spiritual things” that solved problems and eased burdens. His words might have just as easily described Bessie Traber as she embraced with simplicity, straightforwardness and deep faith the enormous challenge of introducing thousands of children to the Savior. So was born the Bible Club Movement, today known as BCM International (Bible Centered Ministries).
More than facts and figures. BCM's development and expansion across the US, into Canada, and then Europe, Africa and Asia, is more than a matter of facts and figures. Read through a different lens, it is the story of how guiding principles take root and flower. 'How Many Loaves?', written by BCM missionary and author Bernice Jordan, describes how these principles emerged during BCM's first quarter-century. Quoting Amy Carmichael, Miss Jordan highlights three necessary factors in any lasting work of God: Vision. Faith. Hard work. The legacy of BCM revolved around all three, as missionaries and volunteers caught the Lord's vision and shared it, lived by faith in God to provide what was necessary, and poured themselves sacrificially into the work He assigned.
The formative vision seen and expressed by Miss Traber centered on children meeting, then learning to love and serve Jesus. Integral to this vision was expo-
sure to and interaction with the Scriptures. It is no accident, then, that while the mission's name has undergone changes over the years, Bible has not been removed. Miss Traber was adamant that children hear, study and memorize the Scriptures (in 1938, more than 68,000 verses were memorized by Bible Club children—a fact recorded because awards were given out for this prodigious effort). Miss Traber's experience in the Philippines kept her from a parochial vision. In 1946, she sent Miss Jordan to Cuba to explore the possibility of reaching young people there. A camp soon began on that island, and BCM, already active in Canada, has had an international flavor ever since. Over the years, this vision expanded to a vital church-planting commitment, ministry among people with disabilities, and other matters related to BCM's initial interest in children.
Those gripped by this vision soon discovered that the Lord had more to teach them than what was necessary for reaching kids. Here is were faith comes in—those who take up the Lord's cross find that it cuts deep. Health issues. Financial pressures. Family situations. Ministry concerns. All take a toll. Aware of this, Miss
Traber would write that the Lord permits difficulties so as “to conform me into the likeness of Christ.” A collection of her letters edited by Marge Livingston Dickinson features a perspective on the urgency of faith in preparing missionaries to deal with the afflictions and pressures common in ministry. Strong faith was certainly evident. Take this 1949 report from Audrey Magee, a woman who left her job with a British bank to assist with opening the new BCM office in London. Tasked with securing rent money, necessary equipment and printed materials in a country just emerging from a scathing war, she wrote, “We are committing the matter to the Lord and trusting Him to supply the need.” Her records note, “He spoke to the hearts of two dear friends to send a check as a thank offering to the Lord.” Countless others had similar testimonies about the Lord's hand on their personal lives and public work. This commitment to faith explains the dominant role prayer played in the foundation and progress of BCM. “We are looking to the Lord in this coming year to raise up
prayer groups to definitely wait on the Lord for the salvation of boys and girls and young people,” wrote Bessie Traber in a letter at the end of 1945. “What a great ministry this is!” Confident of its role in effective mission efforts, Miss Traber instituted a daily noon-time prayer session in the 'home office', a routine still in evidence. Around the world, BCM missionaries continue to gather regularly to pray for ministry issues.
The life of faith is characterized by hard work, another foundational characteristic of BCM. Teachers and helpers for Clubs saw their groups expand and routinely fielded requests for additional meetings. Curricula for these Clubs was created by teams of skilled artists, trained Bible students and effective communicators. An interest in Christian camping led to renting, then purchasing properties, which required extensive development and maintenance. Dealing with foreign cultures and governments added a new level of complexity, as did the need for staying current with teaching methods. Around the nation and across the globe, people poured their lives into kingdom service, giving themselves fully to the work of the Lord (1 Cor. 15:58).
'We might be inclined after this commemorative year to rest on laurels.'
Seventy years of BCM ministry bears testimony to the Lord's grace. We might be inclined after this commemorative year to rest on laurels. Or to sigh wistfully and think that the best days are behind us. Or we might assume that a significant past
guarantees an equally impressive future. But at this juncture we do well to pause and reflect on how essential vision, faith and hard work are for effective ministry. They continue to offer direction in the face of the important questions and significant challenges before us today.
As we celebrate this seventieth birthday of BCM International, we can look back at people who encourage us by their example. We can look around and give thanks to the One who has inspired and enabled this work for seven decades. Then we can look ahead, and ask: “Lord, what do You have for us yet to do?”
Milestones in the life of BCM: • The tremendous expansion BCM experienced during Oscar Hirt's presidency. • The move into Church Planting and the birth of H*V (Handi*Vangelism) and its ministry to disabled people.
• The refocusing of BCM, placing our ministry to children as a priority once again with the added dimension of partnerships to strengthen local churches while continuing to plant new ones. • Having international representation on the Board of Directors. Bob Evans BCM President 1998-2005
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Still Leaving Footprints by Dave and Lois Haas with Jeanette Windle
sure wish someone would write a series of lessons that would go through the Bible,” Field Representative Bernice Jordan announced, walking into the office of Bessie Traber, founder and director of the Bible Club Movement. Miss Traber looked up from the letter she was writing. “Well, why don't you write it?” Bernice paused to consider. Then a thrill of adventure and the calming peace of sensing God's approval flooded her heart. “With God's enabling, I'll do it!” That life-changing decision in 1945 would not only revolutionize Bernice's own ministry. It would allow BCM to forge ahead in its global operation and contribute significantly to the cause of missions in succeeding years.
The first phase of producing Footsteps of Faith, an 8-volume flannelgraph curriculum covering Genesis to Revelation, took place between 1945 and 1947. The original editions were simple. “Black and white textbooks containing lessons with a memory verse, Scripture to study, introduction, body of the lesson, and conclusion,” shares early missionary Brena Price. From the beginning Miss Jordan put emphasis on consistent review and attractive visual aids to maximize teaching effectiveness. Flannelgraph figures were colored, but had to be backed and cut out. Many a worn-out set of pajamas were put into the Lord's service in the early days. Using India ink with wide pens for printing Bible verses and Sketcho crayons or poster paints for coloring backgrounds were 'cutting edge technology' in the 40s and 50s. People were so thrilled to be teaching children they didn't seem to mind the inconvenience of these ' primitive tools.' A revision of the 50s and early 60s greatly strengthened the materials and improved the printing quality of the textbooks. When in 1962 Miss Jordan finished the revision of Volume 2 of the Old Testament, she announced, “I'm laying down my pen.” God had truly enabled her to finish the task of providing BCM, its missionaries and volunteers, and the church around the world with Christ-centered,
Bible-based, doctrinally sound, chronologically-arranged, widelygrade, undated teaching materials with practical life application for children. Jeanette Windle, wife of BCM president Martin Windle and daughter of TEAM missionaries Bob and Dawn Archer, recalls using Footsteps growing up on the mission field in Colombia and Venezuela and later as a missionary in Bolivia. “We found Footsteps of Faith the most practical curriculum available because a single set could be used to teach the whole Bible over and over, whether in a church classroom or under a grove of trees—which we did!” In the 1960s, the companion curriculum, Tiny Steps of Faith, was developed for preschoolers, as BCM missionary Lois Haas, mother of three preschool sons herself and trained in biblical studies and education, became convinced that preschool children were also capable of learning about God and coming to know Him personally. The three volumes of lessons were a ten-year pilgrimage of faith. Her husband Dave Haas shares, “More than once I was wakened in the
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Still Leaving Footprints - continued
night to see Lois jotting something down on a pad of paper. The next morning I would look at what she had written, and it just looked like a bunch of dots going up and down. Lois explained that the dots were notes of a melody for one of the songs for the course. Other times it would be a few lines of poetry for a song or a finger play.” But when it came to what kind of visuals to use with the Bible lesson, Lois was stumped. Flannelgraph was too fragile for preschoolers. But what else was available? At that time the Haas family participated in a church missions conference in New York. Their youngest son David stayed with their hostess. After the meeting, Lois noticed David happily engaged with putting bright plastic figures called
Color Forms on a board. Lois had her answer: teaching plastics! They were indestructible and colorful. The twenty-first century has seen a new revision, preserving the core curriculum, but with a new, colorful look outside and a teacher-friendly format inside containing Bible lessons with teacher helps and applications that deal with issues facing today's children. An accompanying CD offers supplementary materials and a PowerPoint alternative to flannelgraph to make use of computer technology to teach God's Word. In 2004 BCM's new In Step With the Master Teacher was also released, offering 28 hours of training sessions on a single CD. Why bother with the abundance of Christian curriculum available on today's market? BCM publications were recently showcased at LittWorld in Sao Paulo, Brazil, a global conference of Christian publishers, editors, and writers from five continents. Publishing houses from many countries expressed their excitement over what Footsteps and In Step could offer their culture. • The 8-volume chronological study of Scripture allows churches with limited resources a single invest ment instead of quarterly curriculum purchases.
• Unlike typical highly-colored-and expensive-curriculums, BCM's monochromatic volumes and CD format allow entire bookshelves of material to be reproduced by local publishers for their countries at very low cost. • Activities, games, crafts, and object lessons are designed around what is available at hand rather than purchased materials. “If I'd only had this in my country these last 30 years of teaching children,” expressed one publisher interested in translating for her country. To date, BCM publications have been translated into more than 20 languages with half-a-dozen more currently in process. 60 years after Miss Bernice Jordan accepted Bessie Traber's challenge to “why don't you write it?”, BCM publications are still leaving footprints around the world, changing hearts and laying a foundation for biblical truth.
One Step at a Time! BCM Canada Turns Sixty-Five
by Lauri Barrette “Father, I miss the Bible Clubs that I used to go to back in Erie, Pennsylvania,” pined the little daughter of Dr. Franklin Logsdon, recently moved to London, Ontario, to minister at Central Baptist Church. “I wish we could have Bible Clubs in Canada too.” What father, if their child asks for a loaf of bread, would give them a stone instead? (Matt 7:9) Miss Bernice Jordan had led Bible Clubs in Dr. Logsdon's Erie church and was now a Bible Club Movement (BCM) field representative. He invited Miss Jordan to give a presentation on the Bible Club Movement. Newlywed school teachers, Ed and Vella Matthews, were so excited about what she shared, they began organizing London volunteers for the first Canadian Bible Clubs.
'Where are you going to get that many kids?' By the spring of 1942, nearly two thousand children, parents and volunteers packed a school auditorium for a rally. A police sergeant scoffed when asked to send two men to safeguard the crowd. “Where are you going to get that many kids in London?” But they came, and Bible Clubs continued to spread. Meanwhile in Hamilton, Ontario, a young woman named Ethel Brazier was touched by the spiritual needs of children from the area. Encouraged by a small group of praying people, including child evangelist Jim Hutchinson and his wife Nellie, she became the first Canadian missionary. Bible Clubs were established in Hamilton and Caledonia. A school inspector was sitting at the back of a class while Ethel was teaching. “This is an excellent program,” he commented. “Why are you not teaching in more of the schools?” With the support of such officials, doors opened for Bible teaching in the schools, and the missionary staff in Ontario
increased. One of these was Rev. Allan King, who went on to marry Miss Ethel Brazier. Even before he joined up, afterschool clubs had started in Oshawa. Marie Armstrong held camps under canvas tents. Rev. and Mrs. Cecil Nelson moved to the Oshawa area and the Oshawa Committee was formed in 1953. By March of that same year in the Hamilton area alone, approximately 2,500 in-school students and 335 after-school Bible Club members were being reached on a weekly basis by Rev. King, and new missionaries, Miss Emily Pettit and Miss Lorena Campbell. Rallies with special speakers such as Miss Jordan, Miss Traber and “Uncle” Jim Hutchinson culminated the school year. Vacation Bible Schools and camp ministry were a natural outflow to keep contact with the students and Club members over the summer. In April 1958, Dr. Wilford I. Waite shared about a property for sale near Brantford, Ontario. A dining hall, kitchen and at least ten cabins would have to be ready for that summer's camps to be run there. A church in which “Uncle” Jim Hutchinson had ministered began building and invited others to help. Crystal Springs Camp was opened that summer. Other camp properties were purchased in the following decade. Crusaders Bible Camp (now known as Mill Stream Bible Retreat Centre) in Omemee, Ontario, was opened in 1964, and Mount Traber Bible Camp in Cook's Brook, Nova Scotia was purchased in 1965.
'I don't know if I have the skills, but I'd love to teach!' Even before this, God was preparing the heart of a young woman named Chloe Chamberlain, who would become BCM Canada's National Executive Secretary for almost 40 years. As a child attending church in Niagara Falls, Chloe listened with interest when a visiting speaker, head of Christian Service Centres for military people during WWI, shared how he'd started teaching religious education around London, ON.
Chloe can remember thinking, “I don't know if I have the skills, but I would love to teach religious education in schools.” After graduating from London Bible Institute, Chloe boarded a Niagara Falls-bound train that would first stop in Hamilton. The car was empty except for one woman, Mrs. Vella Matthews. Chloe knew of Mrs. Matthews from London and peppered Vella with questions. When Mrs. Matthews mentioned that BCM taught religious education in the schools, Chloe could not help but think back to the man who had visited her church when she was a child. In God's perfect plan, it was Rev. King who was meeting Vella at the train station in Hamilton. After being introduced, he offered Miss Chloe application papers to BCM. On September 10, 1956, Chloe attended her first Hamilton Bible Club Committee Meeting as a new missionary. Over an eleven-year period, Chloe's ministry expanded to include forty-two Bible classes and afterschool Clubs a week. This open door was afforded by Ontario legislation requiring every child receive one half hour per week of Judeo-Christian teaching. Not only did the children benefit from this teaching, but the classroom teacher as well as he or she was required to remain in the room. In 1967, under BCM president Oscar Hirt, successor to founder Miss Bessie Traber, Miss Chloe Chamberlain was unanimously voted in as National Executive Secretary of BCM Canada. Ten years later, the Bible Club Movement of Canada became federally incorporated, and a National Office was established in Hamilton, ON.
From Ontario to the far corners of the earth. The Lord was opening doors all over Ontario. Miss Emily Pettit answered the call in 1961 to move to the Leamington area. In 1972, missionaries Marilyn White and Kathy Shaw would also take up the torch in that expanding field. In 1973, Isabelle Leaitch became the first missionary to teach in the public schools in the Kingston area. Mary den Boer joined her five years later. Marion Jean Grant (pictured above) came on board in 1974 and began teaching in the Midland Schools. In the 1980's these last three missionaries answered the call to go overseas—Isabelle to Spain, Mary to
Holland, Marion Jean to Pakistan. In 1977, Pam Rowntree and Lois Seibert began their work in Essex-Kent (Leamington) while soon after, Sally Klassen, Ron Benoit and Bill Ricketts began teaching in the schools in Lincoln and Haldimand Counties. By 1982, schools opened up in the Grey-Owen Sound area, and Pam Rowntree began teaching weekly classes to grades 1-8. At this time also, BCM Canada purchased Emmanuel Bookshop from Mr. and Mrs. Pyke. Miss Murlene Wilhelm agreed to come on as a missionary manager of this store that had already been selling BCM curriculum for quite some time. Missionary work in Nova Scotia and Ontario was flourishing. In 1972 opportunities opened up in Western Canada when the Canadian Sunday School Mission, which had been using BCM curriculum, gave their club ministry in Alberta to BCM. In November, Vi Cooper from London moved to Calgary to develop the Bible Club ministry in Western Canada and establish the BCM Western Branch office. For two years, Vi had a weekly children's TV program in Lethbridge involving local Bible Club children. At Prairie Bible Institute she also conducted a weekly credited training course for students. More workers were needed and Miss Carolyn Crawford left the Oshawa area ministries to serve in Calgary as a full-time missionary. Gaetan McDuff, a retiree from the military, also joined up with BCM and started Bible Clubs in a complex designed for people with special needs in the West. The work of BCM in Ontario was greatly impacted in 1990 when the Minister of Education closed public schools to the instruction of religious education during school hours, though after-school Clubs were allowed to continue in some areas. What was meant to impede the Lord's work only served to precipitate a series of new ministries, including Teacher Training, Call A Story, Mailbox Bible Club, street evangelism, ministry to people with disabilities and to seniors in nursing homes, to Haitians in Quebec, to the Filipinos in the Toronto and Calgary areas. A name change then from “Bible Club Movement” to “BCM (Bible Centered Ministries) International (Canada) Inc.” was indeed representational of the mission's new direction.
'Faith does not need to see the end. Rather it is one step at a time.' The story is not over. BCM founder Miss Traber once looked Miss Chamberlain in the eye and asked, “So, what has the Lord been speaking to you about in regards to Canada?” Miss Chamberlain, who has now celebrated over 50 years of ministry, replied, “That one day the work might be found in every province and territory.” Her friend and co-worker, Miss Bernice Jordan, once penned these words. “One never knows where God will lead when we take the first faltering step of obedience. It is only later, looking back, that the sure design of what may
have seemed patternless at the time can be traced. But faith does not need to see the end. Rather, it is one step at a time, or it would not be faith.” We who serve with BCM Canada give praise to the Lord for how He has led us so far. We don't know where He will lead us next but we only ask that we too will have just enough faith for the next step. As did Miss Traber, we too will “Commit our way unto the Lord, trust also in Him and He will bring it to pass.” (Psalm 37:5)
MEMORY BRIEFS For 70 years BCM has had the same goal, “the proclamation and instruction of the Word of God for the glory of God.” This goal has been accomplished through Bible Clubs, camps, Christian Ed. material, teacher training, church planting, etc. The Mission has endured many attacks from the enemy but by God's grace and the faithfulness and prayers of HIS people, the work continues. --Tom Koch, BCM President 1995-98
PENNSYLVANIA: Miss Jordan taught at camp each morning from Footsteps of Faith. We teens working on staff would hustle to get done so we could get to the chapel in time for her sessions where she taught the "new" series. We loved it and her! Miss Jordan would also make a special effort to meet with us teens after supper when we were finished our duties to pray with us around the bell tower at the mill at Sankanac. We developed a relationship with her and it paved the way for many of us going into missions and even BCM later on. --BCM missionary Pam Rowntree
“Bible Club! Bible Club!” I vividly remember when I first heard these words. Why, yes! It was the voices of two full time missionaries who would walk up and down the street making that announcement. Now, for me, the summer begins when I am engaged in the teaching of a Bible Club. --Doyle H. Gray Our family of seven had moved to Haverton, PA, two days previously. There was a knock at our door. We welcomed Miss Bessie Traber into our packing box littered living room. She got right to the point. “I understand you have some children, and I thought you might like to teach a Bible Club.” “Oh, no,” I responded. “I'm a nurse, not a teacher.” “You teach your own children, don't you?” After a few more exchanges, Miss Traber left with the words, “We'll just pray about it.” Next day there was a phone call. “What have you decided?” “We don't have the money to buy the materials,” I told Miss Traber
truthfully. “We'll just pray about it.” When I opened the mail that day, there was $10.00 from someone we had never heard from before or since! I started teaching two Bible Clubs in homes nearby, taking my four ambulatory children with me. Gradually others became interested, and soon we had 16 Clubs taught by my friends. One of the privileges I had during that time was praying with Miss Traber at our monthly BCM prayer meetings at Grace Chapel, her home church as well as ours. --Mrs. Winifred Green, retired BCM missionary I lived with Miss Traber for several months when I first moved to the Upper Darby office to work in BCM Publications. She had a way of saying things that made them 'stick.' For example: “It makes a difference where you put your buts! If you say, 'I know God cares about me, but this situation is a real mess!', the but comes between you and God. However, if you say, 'This situation is a real mess, but I
believe God cares and will help me', the but pushes you closer to God.” A pithy truth I've passed along many times! Miss Traber was a woman of prayer. During those months I was impressed in our family worship time (there were four of us in her home then) by her heartfelt prayers that God would open a door to Bible Club in India. Today we see the answer to her prayers! --Donna Culver
since a child. I asked her how she started on this path of having a deep and rich relationship with the Lord. She told me that when she was a little girl, her cousin used to send her 'Mailbox Bible Studies' (a BCM ministry) in the mail! She had a huge smile on her face when she said that. I was SO excited. You never know where those Bible studies will show up and how God will use them. --Linda Ingham
I am very thankful to Mr. Hirt and his godly influence in my life the entire time I was with BCM. I was serving in the BCM office when Mr. Hirt learned about my very hurtful background and all the abuse I had suffered as a child. At that point he arranged for BCM to provide counseling for me through the ministry of Marge Livingston. I will never forget him telling me that God will use this in my life. Some years later REST Ministries was formed, and now I have the joy and privilege of sharing God's truths with many other hurting people so they can know and experience the healing of Christ in their life. --Judy Edinger
NEW YORK: Back in the 40s, a
I have been meeting with an Old Order Amish woman in her thirties. I have been absolutely astounded at the depth of her relationship with the Lord in the midst of a family and culture that does not openly discuss spiritual matters. Everything she knows and experiences has been based on what she has learned by herself
lady named Mildred Dunbar came to my home on the farm in Central New York talking about how she'd heard Bernice Jordan at Homer Bible Conference challenging them to start Bible Clubs in their homes and schools. The Holy Spirit used that message, and many ladies went home to start a Bible Club. One young mother named Dorothy Camp, who had three little children, went home and told her mother. The mother said, “You go ahead and do that, and I'll care for the children.” Soon my sister and I were coloring those big flannelgraph figures and making backgrounds. --Lillie Hutchinson Whitenack
SWEDEN: A phone call in the fall of 1966 changed my life! BCM President Oscar Hirt was on the line with a totally unexpected request. “Don and Faye McFarland will be opening a new outreach to teens in the north of Sweden and will need someone to do follow-up work. The
Board of Directors has asked you to be that person. Will you pray about it?” I was speechless. But God soon confirmed that this was His plan, and He proved Himself faithful through many challenging and rewarding outreaches never before thought possible at that time in Sweden. Yes, that phone call did indeed change my life. I thank God for giving me the opportunity to be part of His miracle-working. --Donna J. Culver
ITALY: Miss Traber's counsel for guidance from the Lord was to ask Him for a receipt. By that she meant a verse of Scripture which would serve as a directive from the Lord. This was her counsel to us in the spring of 1963 when we needed to know His leading regarding our departure for missionary service in Italy. It was essential for us to leave by the first part of September, 1963, as the University program for Italian language began October 1st. Should we try to make the reservations for departure when we did not have the needed funds in hand? Would God give us a 'receipt'? Isaiah 55:12 was His answer: “For you shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” We made reservations by faith based on that 'receipt'. On September 3rd, as the Haases accompanied us by car to New York from Camp Streamside, we were humbled to witness the trees waving their branches. We didn't hear
any audible music. But we were sure of one thing. God does keep His promises! --Jim Lines, Camp Maranatha, Italy
SCOTLAND: It is hard not to be passionate about BCM when it has been part of your life as long as you can remember. As a child I attended Bible Club at a local school and from the age of 10 never missed camp. The seed sown in my heart came to fruit when at the age of 14 I gave my life to Christ at a teen weekend led by our Glasgow Bible Club missionaries. In my adult years I have been involved in leading and assisting at clubs, camps and short-term missions as well as with kids week in my local church, presenting the good news to a new generation. It is exciting to see how the Word of God continues to take root in the lives of children. I also serve on the local area committee. I am especially thankful that my two sons, Alister, 18, and Christopher, 15, have learned to trust God. They have good friends of their own age in BCM and the support and guidance of older Christians in the BCM family. Seeing the boys make themselves available to serve God at camps, in kitchen and other duties is a privilege. The ministry of BCM around the world continues to grow and expand. I deem it an honour that God has given me a small part to play in BCM. --Fiona Blythe, Scotland
NOVA SCOTIA, CANADA: During morning chapel at Mt.
Traber Camp in Nova Scotia, testimony time lasted for over an hour as one after another came forward, describing how God had profoundly touched them and testifying as to what He had done in their hearts. One such testimony came by way of a young 14year-old camper, who the night before at the chapel service had cried on my shoulder for a solid half-hour. At that time I had no idea what was going on with this young person, other than that he was in deep emotional pain and needed a shoulder to cry on. During testimony time, he told of how he had thought about killing himself many times. Early in his life, he had been abandoned by his natural parents. Moved from foster home to foster home, he felt that he was unlovable and unworthy of love and that it was all his fault. He hated himself and often thought about ending it all as a way of getting rid of the guilt and shame. In his testimony he shared that God had ministered to him the night before. In some amazing way the Holy Spirit was able to take away the pain and fill his heart with peace and joy. He had accepted Christ earlier in his life, but this was the first time he felt truly free. He now knew that God really loved him and that he had eternal value. Like countless others, this young teenager had a lifechanging experience at Mt. Traber.
IRELAND: I first went to camp at Mullartown House when I was about ten. I really enjoyed camp, and at junior teens, decided I wanted to help as a junior counselor. I signed up and went
to training classes, then helped at my first children's week. The most amazing week for me and the one which holds most memories of Mullartown House was my second year as a helper. I was placed in a dorm with two other counsellors and six girls. The start of the week was really hard for us. One of the girls went home after only one or two nights, and some others wanted to follow her! We felt that every day we had to encourage the girls to stay and make sure they were kept entertained. Also, at the start of the week, some of the girls were quite shy, and we found it hard to get them to open up to us. I especially remember two sisters who seemed to be at camp against their own wishes. Although we felt we were struggling, the girls on the whole were well-behaved and listened well during meetings and quiet times. They they started opening up to us, telling us about themselves and asking questions. We discovered that the two sisters weren't having an easy time at home and were finding it hard being away from their mum. The week ended brilliantly. On the last evening, we had a campfire, around which campers shared their testimonies. Afterwards, the younger of the two sisters told us she was a Christian. During the quiet time that night, the older sister prayed out loud, asking forgiveness for her sins and giving her life to God. After the prayer time she couldn't stop smiling, remembering something she'd heard in a quiet time earlier in the week. She said, continued on back cover
BCM turns 70!