The Idle American

Can you spare a Bible? ...

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She’s persuasive without being pushy, soliciting Bibles with resolve like the late Clara Peller. You’ll recall how Clara continually questioned, “Where’s the beef?” in Wendy’s long-ago hamburger commercials.

The comparison to Peller ends with “resolve,” however. Dallas’ Jo Witte--staring 90 in the face--isn’t seeking fame or fortune.

A while back, she read about the SoupMobile Church in South Dallas. She was moved by the pastor’s prayers for 10,000 Bibles--the number needed to provide one for every homeless person in Dallas.

Jo is neither hungry nor homeless, but she took the appeal personally. She committed to collecting 1,000 Bibles, and is well on the way….

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“Most all Christians have extra Bibles,” she commented. “When they learn of specific projects like this, they’re eager to help out.”

She requested help from Bill Hinds, one of my fellow church members Jo knew during their childhood years in Weatherford. He, in turn, alerted his life group (Sunday school class) members about the project. His class endorsed it, and the project is off and running.

The sprightly lady told of other churches she has called on. They, too, are participating in this “Good Book” project for Dallas’ homeless folks. “So many prayers have been answered along the way,” Jo said….

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She gives little thought to time spent and expenses incurred as she drives around the Metroplex, telling her “Bible story.”

Clearly, she’d rather “wear out than rust out.”

One man, hearing about the project, said, “My late brother left a big box of Bibles. Now I know what to do with them.”…

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David Timothy, pastor of the SoupMobile Church, says it is an outgrowth of the SoupMobile food project begun in 2003 to “feed the homeless.” He provided 5,000 meals the first year. There has been dramatic growth each year; in 2017, 250,000 meals were served.

SoupMobile Church began Sunday services three years ago. Located at 2423 South Good Latimer, it overflows regularly. Several dozen worshipers sit in folding chairs outdoors to hear Pastor Timothy’s sermon. They come “as they are.” Some bring their dogs along, fearing they might be stolen if left behind at their tents or under-the-bridge, makeshift accommodations.

No offerings are taken, and volunteers give $2 to each attendee, a financial “jump start” for the new week. It is common for the total figure to reach $500….

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Timothy said that for years, he felt something to be missing. “We were feeding their stomachs without feeding their souls.”

The Good Book tells us that the poor will be with us always, and is replete with lessons that we all are made in God’s image. That “God don’t make no junk” has been expressed for years, and applies across the centuries. It is good to remember that the ground at the foot of the cross is exceedingly level.

There are destitute folks in all communities. Maybe Jo Witte “clones” will rise up--determined to join the quest for Bibles to provide spiritual food….

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That’s also the prayer of the spunky woman, widowed seven years ago. Upon mounting this project, she has a new lease on life. It has become a source of excitement, and she awakens each morning with eager anticipation. Many days hold God-inspired miracles resulting in acquisition of Bibles for the poor.

(Check out soupmobile.org. It’s an “upright” organization in an upside down world.)

During His earthly ministry, Jesus repeatedly admonished: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” His words still ring true….

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