Thursday, March 22, 2007

Gift books

Tuesday, March 13, was a very special day for Wendy’s class in New Testament Greek. Since the beginning of the course in January we struggled with the availability of the Greek New Testament, usually ordered by the Bible Society of Nigeria, which obtains them from the United Bible Society in German at a price which is affordable for our students. Our immediate source in this area of Nigeria is ACTS bookstore, the best source of good books for students in religion. But for a number of years ACTS has not been able to get New Testaments in Greek in this way. A few students had acquired a Greek New Testament in their first year of Greek in the various seminaries, but most have great difficulty in finding the needed copy. We thought of ordering directly from US suppliers, but the cost of $40 plus shipping cost, when translated into Naira, is simply too steep for our students – it comes close to a whole month’s wages for many here.

In response to our plea for help, our friend Ina de Moor at Calvin Seminary in Grand Rapids, MI, spread the word among seminarians, asking them if they had any extra or second-hand copies of the Greek New Testament with which they were willing to part. The result was a box with an assortment of texts, dictionaries and other exegetical aids. And not long after that our colleagues at UNIJOS, Roger and Joan Sikkenga, were able to include this box among their luggage on the return trip to Nigeria!

What a happy occasion! Students eagerly perused the box, and quickly decided which books should be theirs. There are still enough texts and exegetical aids to keep for classroom use. And even some to spare for the next group of students. But we are sincerely hoping that by that time a solution will have been found, and texts will be available in Nigeria once more.

This group of students is profoundly grateful to Ina de Moor, to all those at Calvin Seminary who donated their copies, and to staff at CRWM in Grand Rapids who facilitated the transfer of the books to Jos. The smile says it all!

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