The Network’s 15th anniversary provides an opportunity to reflect on the organization’s past accomplishments and also to take stock of itself. Is it pursuing a worthy goal (“Why do you exist?”)? Is it having an impact (“What have you accomplished?”)?
The mission of the Network (“Why?”) is no less urgent or critical today than it was at its inception. The church in the Majority World is growing at mind-numbing rates and the availability of theologically-trained leaders struggles to keep pace. Schools need books to prepare students to lead in church and society. The health and depth of the Church are at stake.
The Network’s accumulated impact (“What”?) speaks for itself: well over 2 million books shipped to more than 1,700 schools in 90 countries. This impact, I must add, would never be possible without the tireless efforts of our long-term Majority World partner schools. Our partners describe the goals and aspirations they have, articulate their library needs, and work tirelessly to coordinate logistics.
The less commonly asked question is, “How?” (“How good are you at doing the work?”). We ship, on average, 100,000 books per year. Knowing the needs of the schools, we select a book, itemize it, box it, palletize it, truck it to a port, and ship it via ocean freight around the world. Our staff does this outbound work of shipping a book, on average, every 5 minutes all year long. We also receive and evaluate, conservatively, 120,000 or more books a year. That means every four minutes we receive a box of books, open it, examine a book for quality and appropriateness for our school partners, and shelve that book. We perform these inbound inspection, storage, and outbound handling and shipping tasks at an average of under $10 per book. This demanding work is accomplished so efficiently thanks to the dedication, institutional knowledge, and experience of the Network’s staff and volunteers.
However, none of this critically important work would be done with such impressive efficiency without our Majority World partner schools, or you, our supporters. Thank you.
This anniversary, we celebrate 15-years of generous partnerships among this Network and give glory to God.