Collection shares God’s love through books

Bibles, Christian literature being sent to India

Mirror photo by Holly Claycomb Deacon Chuck Norris, with the Grace Bible Church in Hollidaysburg, stacks boxes of books collected for a missions project in India.

Every Wednesday during April, the Grace Bible Church in Hollidaysburg is collecting used Bibles and other Christian books as a mission project to India.

“A lot of people have old Bibles and don’t know what to do with them,” church member and Bedford resident Karen Diehl said.

Diehl said it was a Google search on what to do with used Bibles that led to hundreds — perhaps thousands — of Christian books being sent from residents in Altoona and surrounding areas to people in India to further the mission work being done in that country through Advance Global Literature.

This year’s collection marks the third year the church has taken on the project, Diehl said, noting that items accepted include not only Bibles, but study materials, concordances, coffee table-sized books, hymnals, Christian fiction, Christian romance, classic books and more. The church does not accept VHS tapes, CDs, DVDs or Our Daily Bread — a popular daily devotional – because that ministry sends new copies directly to India.

“It’s amazing how many good Christian books and Bibles we collect,” said Pastor Daren Ritchey. “They can use any kind of Christian material — children’s literature and adults’ literature.”

But why send the material to India, some might ask.

According to Diehl, there’s a reason so many call centers are located in the country.

“Learning English is their ticket” to a better life, Diehl said of the country’s people. “It’s the second-largest English-speaking country.” And, what many people may not realize is that there is also a large Christian population in the country, she added.

According to Advance Global Literature’s website, used Bibles and books are desperately needed in India because many pastors, Christian leaders and lay people there have no libraries, resources or Bible study tools.

Many believers don’t even have a Bible, the website states.

Because many private schools in India are English Medium Schools, Advance Global Literature states there is a significant need for Bibles, Christian books, English dictionaries and other study tools written in English.

Basically, if any of those items are dusty and taking up space in your home, consider donating them, Diehl said.

As items come into the church, volunteers sort through them to make sure they are usable. When the collection is complete and everything is boxed up, representatives from Advance Global Literature, based out of Spring Grove, makes the trip to the church to pick up the donation.

The first year, Diehl said, the church collected about 70 boxes of materials. Last year, there were well over 100 boxes. “The pickup load was stacked to the top of the cab and inside the back, all filled with books,” she said.

“Some of these things you can’t get rid of at yard sales, and people would like them to get reused. This is a great way to recycle and spread the word of God,” Diehl said.

The Grace Bible Church is located at 164 Laurel Lane, Hollidaysburg, along Route 36, next to Garvey Manor. Book donations will be accepted from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each Wednesday. Other times are available by appointment by calling 695-4060. Book donations are accepted free of charge; donations toward shipping costs are appreciated and can be made online directly to Advance Global Liberature.

More information about Advance Global Literature and Bibles for India can be found at www.gracebible or email