I took my little nieces to the Tucson Festival of Books in 2019 and as I wandered down the UofA mall looking at the booths with books and authors, I wondered why no one was giving away the best-seller of all time? I saw the Jehovah Witnesses doing their thing, but not anything related to an evangelical presence nor the Bible being distributed that I could tell. I decided that needed to change. So, this past March, Catalina Baptist Association had a corner booth presence and with the help of the Arizona Mission Network of Southern Baptists, we gave away over 675 Bibles!
The Lord heard my anxious heart a few days before the event as I was concerned the location of our booth that was given to us was not going to be very good. Boy, was I wrong! The Lord gave us a great spot near a speaking venue and across from an Islam and secular religious groups. We’re hoping we can get the same spot next year and also have a larger space for more children’s activities.
Here are a few stories to help give you a picture of what happened:
· A little girl came up to the table with her parents and she was given her first Bible that was ALL hers. When she received it, she gave us the biggest toothless smile that just grabbed my heart.
· A young adult guy with a group of friends came straight up to the table, grabbed a Bible, and said, “I need this!” and then proceeded to give his friends Bibles and telling them they need one too.
· Another young adult guy came up to the table, grabbed a Bible and said, “My girlfriend needs one of these in her apartment!”
· An older gentleman came up showing little interest as his wife was receiving a Bible. After talking about men’s Wildcat Basketball, they walked on. Ten minutes later, the gentleman came back to the table, grabbed a New Testament that says, “Here’s Hope”, and asked if this would help his young friend who is recovering from a fentanyl overdose. I gave a big yes to him and encouraged him to give it to his friend.
· A little boy who was about 7 years old was excitedly waving the Bible he received as he kept repeating “I got a Bible!”
· A young man approached the table with questions regarding different practices and beliefs. We were able to answer his questions and the young man was very grateful and left very encouraged. He also took a Bible.
· Another young boy that was with a group of teenagers approached the table. The teens continued walking past the table but he took a Bible not only for himself but also for his friends.
Of course, we had a few snide remarks from people who walked by but most everyone was very polite if they didn’t want one. Again, I praise God for the opportunity to be out in the community, and giving out the only book that is “living and active.”