Dear partners in ministry,
When Joseph was imprisoned in Egypt (near where I live) he probably felt that he would never ever get out and that he had no future. Many around the world, confined to their homes, are now wondering if things will ever return to normal.
We at the Bible Society of Egypt (BSOE) have similar feelings. But I want to share with you how we see that God may be using this terrible pandemic to help radically transform our organization for the better.
I have been leading BSOE for more than 30 years. Over the years we expanded our print publishing so that we now have nearly 700 products which we distribute, most having been produced by us. Because of the absence of Christian distribution channels, we have had to create our own with 8 regional branches and 17 bookshops plus warehouses etc. Our expertise and success have been in widely distributing these hard copies of the Scriptures nationwide.
Paradigm shift needed
But the world is rapidly moving to digital media and we haven’t been able to move into that field rapidly enough. Also, our fundraisers still have to visit their donors to physically collect donations in cash.
One of our restraining factors has been the feeling that “since things are going so well why consider a change?” This has delayed the sense of urgency to seriously consider digital alternatives to our ways of operating.
But now that our sales and donations have been decimated to a trickle by the COVID-19, we are all seeking alternative ways to do distribute God's Word.
Equipped for action
Providentially, early in 2019 we established a Digital Media Department which is now in full operation.
The incredible teamwork between this new Digital Media team and our Software Development team has helped us, during this unprecedented crisis, to begin seriously moving into the digital media world.
Please find below a list of products on which you can click to see what we are doing and please circulate them widely among any Arabic speaking people you may know.
The response from Church workers has been extremely encouraging. They are so grateful to have digital Bible products they can share with the people to whom they minister. With children at home and families cooped up for long hours of curfew, these relevant programs, such as our daily online Bible Competition, are needed more than ever and widely spread.
While our bookshops are still operating on a reduced schedule with only one employee at a time (also providing free home delivery), our sales and fundraising staff are now eagerly desiring digital alternatives to the way they were operating (online shopping and digital donations). This new mindset change will, I believe, place us in a much stronger position to serve God’s Word with up-to-date tools and technology.
I don’t think we could have made this paradigm shift in time if the Pandemic had not forced us to do so. Unbeknown to us, God has been preparing our staff for this new challenge and opportunity.
At the end of Genesis, Joseph, looking back at his life, told his brothers “…you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Gen 50:20). My prayer is that as we look back on this frightening worldwide pandemic, we will have the same perspective as Joseph had.
Please pray for us as our staff work through the many challenges facing us in moving into the digital media world quickly, efficiently and effectively.
Your partner in Bible ministry,