Prepared by Don Fleming, May 2011
1. The central ministry of Bridgeway Publications is to help national Christians, churches, missions and institutions in needy countries, by publishing and supplying Christian reference materials. Most Christians in developing countries have few, if any, Bible helps, partly because they lack the money to buy and partly because the materials are scarcely available. One way to supply books to these countries is for Christians in the West to pay for them by way of a sponsorship scheme that Bridgeway has set up. Bridgeway's sponsored Christian Workers Kit include a one-volume Commentary on the whole Bible, a Bible Dictionary, books for non-Christians and new Christians, a handbook for Bible teachers, material on topical issues and picture books that are a reference source for biblical times and today. The sponsorship price, including postage, is $80 USD.
2. The books sent out under Bridgeway's sponsorship scheme are all produced in Australia and are in an easy-read style of English suitable for people who use English as a second language. They are currently in more than 130 countries, though only about thirty of those countries are major users. These are mainly countries of Africa, Asia and the Pacific where English is widely used, though some Francophone countries of Africa have also become regular users. Publishers in these countries often ask permission to translate and publish in local languages, and Bridgeway books are now in published form in more than fifty languages. There are currently about one and a half million Bridgeway books around the world.
3. Bridgeway books arose out of the missionary work of Don and Gae Fleming in Bangkok from 1965 to 1980. The books, written initially by Don in Thai, came into being bit by bit to provide biblical reference material in a country where very little existed. Their success in Thailand brought requests to produce the books in English so that other countries could use them. After the books were produced in various Asian countries, international missions began asking for large quantities, especially for the former British colonies of Africa. When the scattered Asian supply bases had difficulty meeting the demand, Bridgeway Publications was set up in Australia to bring all the production and distribution under one umbrella.
Bridgeway is a non-profit foundation registered by, and accountable to, the Australian government as an income tax exempt charity. This means that, although there is no tax benefit for donors, Bridgeway is able to utilise the full amount of all gifts without any tax deduction. Also, Bridgeway's overheads are very small. The entire operation is run by volunteers who work out of their homes, using their own facilities and equipment. Bridgeway neither owns nor rents office premises and is grateful that it can warehouse its stock rent-free. It pays no wages and owns no equipment or vehicles. Apart form the cost of printing and posting the books, the only significant overhead costs are for the insurance of stock and the annual financial audit required by the government.
Malawi: May I make this personal confession that your books are unique, simple and yet effective. Rest assured they have a lasting place in my library and in our College. I only wish I had known of them previously. You will never regret you assisted our Bible college and other ministries with these sound materials.
Ethiopia: Your kind of help in our parts is like a walking stick in an old man's hand, as far as its value is concerned. With the help of materials you send me I'm able to teach and preach the Word of God. We have so limited source of Bible materials in Ethiopia, and if I came across some, their price is untouchable. I don't want to worry you, but I am compelled to ask for any more that you can send me.
Zimbabwe: Thank you for the books sponsored to us, also the children's books and cassettes of your Bible teaching. If you mind to get some more, please try to help us. Other servants of the Lord need them, even used books. We need more libraries where pastors without books can come and use some.
India: I was a Hindu and have only been saved two and a half years, but God has nurtured me, and now I am working among high school students, trying to win other Hindus for Christ. My parents are still Hindu and we face persecution every step. These books are exactly what I need, because God's Word will ultimately win the battle for us. Please, any other books will be a great help to my ministry.
Papua New Guinea: The Bridgeway books are very inspiring. I wonder how many readers have been touched and renewed in their spiritual warfare by or through them. It's moving me from where I had been bogged down for years.
Nigeria: When I was studying at Bible College I met your Bible Dictionary. I soon found that this is one book that every pastor should have. I will appreciate any effort you can make for me to have any books, but especially this one.
Cameroon: Our ministry is called Street/School Evangelistic Ministry. Most especially part of it is the prayer room library, which is a blessing to many hundreds who come and use it. Your books are there, but I am pleading for more Christian books that can encourage evangelism and Christian growth.
Pakistan: The book-van ministry increases by the day. Your books sell quickly and help our income to go to market and give booklets to non-Christians or sell others from our book van. There are many non-Christians become Christians through the books I distribute. So, brother, you pray for Karachi, as religious difference is increasing.
Cook Islands: The books are going to ministers, trainees here at the Bible College, and key Christians in general. Even some liberal ministers have got hold of the books and are benefiting from them. They have to preach something every Sunday and often have trouble getting ideas. They find many commentaries unintelligible, but they like the simple English of these books.
Burundi: When we opened the carton of books, we fell down on our knees in joy. I think it will be good these books to be in French. As for me, it showed me many Bible words with new openness. My wife and I go everywhere in rounds and in markets and churches, in hollow between hills, to preach gospel to everyone.
Nepal: Your books give me a lot of insights about fruitful and effective church planting work. Nepal is in great need. I know that I have the gift of soul-winning. Since I received Christ more than 200 people came to Christ through my personal ministry, and I have discipled many more and planted three churches.
5. The demands for books are greater than our ability to meet them. We have no plans for the expansion of our Australian operation in the sense of constructing buildings or employing staff. But we would like to expand in the sense of getting more volunteer workers and more donors. With our minimal overheads, virtually all donated moneys go directly to helping the needy, and we want to keep it that way.
6. We are living in the time of greatest church growth, yet greatest church suffering, since apostolic times, but most of this is happening in the non-Western world - the economically and socially disadvantaged part of the world. We want to partner with our brothers and sisters in these needy countries to the most useful extent possible. But perhaps the greatest challenge is to awaken the church in the West to see the reality of conditions for most Christians in today's world and rouse themselves to be less self-indulgent and more self-sacrificial for the sake of others.
7. Helping with books for pastors, evangelists, churches, Bible colleges and the like is where Bridgeway started, but is not where it ends. We have expanded into other projects to provide bicycles, sewing machines, photocopiers, generators, computers, printers, buildings, bookshops, electricity connections, water supply, food production, income generation, children's education, vocational courses and the like. Whether books or other things, they all require money, and Bridgeway is one channel through which people can help.
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