It all began with an appealing advertisement from a local restaurant. Although it made all of us in the ABH office hungry each time we looked at it, this advertisement quickly became the inspiration for a new project—our first annual ABH Christmas Catalog. We pondered how we could use this catalog to represent the mission God brought to ABH using equally appetizing images.
The Christmas season brewed early in our workroom as we engaged in excited brainstorming. The challenge stood before us. Out came calculators, records of printing costs, and samples of bite-sized books. Our excitement grew as numbers and books came into alignment and we saw the power of God’s work through ABH in a new way.
With our current ability to print Swahili training materials in Tanzania, we realized we could draw a one-to-one correlation of dollars to printed books. One dollar prints one book. Fifty dollars prints fifty books. We saw that every gift received, large to small, contains within it the ability to change a person’s understanding of eternity and their relationship with their Creator.
But how could we portray the importance of this to our friends and donors? More brainstorming, along with some Christmas carols and tea led us closer to an answer. We rehearsed stories we knew from previous book drops in Tanzania, trying to find the perfect narrative to encapsulate the impact of our bite-sized books. We settled on the story of Wilson, a pastor who attended the marriage conference last June. His full story demonstrates our dream of equipping pastors to grow and reach others for the kingdom, stretching our ministry grasp far beyond our trips.
So how could we bring these equations and stories to life? We drooled over the advertisement yet again and began sketching out piles of books from five to 2,500. We paired these sketches with pictures of the wonderful people in Tanzania we know from previous book drops. We carefully crafted a link between a dollar, a book, and a person!
Photo shoots took place and pencils scribbled cover designs on random scraps of paper. Prayer bathed the process as we sought to represent this work of God accurately. Late one Monday, as we packed up another day with no title and a little bit of frustration, we prayed one more brief prayer. Moments later, inspiration hit! Someone grabbed a pencil and drew a bow across the cover. “It’s all about gifts,” a person said. “Reaching Africa with gifts,” said another. “Let’s reach Africa one gift at a time,” flew through the air and the catalog was born.
By this time you may have already feasted on this project that so grabbed our attention. Or perhaps this piece will lead you to our Christmas webpage where the photos also rest. Do you see it? Can you catch the vision? It’s all about gifts.
God gave his Son as the greatest gift ever given. He rushed out of heaven to save us from ourselves and bring us into a right relationship with the Father—at the cost of his life. With your help, it’s this gift we want to share. It’s these truths we want to bring to East Africa and at a much lower cost. One dollar, one book, one potential new member of the kingdom of God.
Will you join us? Let’s reach Africa, one gift at a time!
Written by: Jess Gregory & Dianne Taylor