As with most ministries, Everyday Publications began not with a business plan or marketing strategy but with a deep burden to reach believers who had a desire to grow in their faith. Gertrud Koppel, a young missionary from the Congo, had worked with a translation team to develop a new Congo Swahili Bible that was eventually published in 1960. But she also recognized that new believers in African villages would have difficulty understanding much of the Bible without help. She searched for Bible commentaries that could be translated into Swahili, but most were too advanced or too expensive to meet their needs. In 1963, she asked Dr. Ed Harlow for advice. He asked, if he were to write a simple commentary on Genesis, would she translate it into Swahili? She eagerly agreed! This first title, The Start of the Race, was published in 1964. This was the beginning of Everyday Publications.
Dr. Harlow was an educator with a master’s degree in Hebrew and a doctorate in Educational Testing. After the submission of his thesis, he had prayed, “Lord, only allow me to get this degree if I can use it for Your work.” Indeed, the Lord did use Dr. Harlow’s training for His work. But more important than his training was his vision and love for the people of Africa. He began writing additional commentaries. As he did, he continued to research the language style he felt would best help the translators in producing material that was clear, concise, easy to read, and understand. As a result, he developed a style of English that he would call Everyday English. He said of it, “I want people who speak English as a second language to know—as soon as they see the label Everyday English—that they can understand that book. It will have a vocabulary of eighteen hundred words, and straight-forward sentences with a subject-verb-object style.” Most Everyday Publications books are still produced in Everyday English, although books in Standard English are also available for more advanced readers.
The first burden of the Harlows was to make available material in languages that people could easily understand, preferably their native language. But they were also burdened to provide books to missionaries and foreign national workers free of charge, including shipping. They never wanted the cost of the materials to be an obstacle to making them available to needy people. Early on, the Harlows made the decision that they would never solicit funds, preferring to commit everything to the Lord, trusting His provision. We give testimony to the Lord’s continued provision through His people, and we thank Him for it.
For nearly 60 years, Everyday Publications has continued to keep these two burdens a priority. Each year we ship more than 90% of all materials free of charge, including shipping, to missionaries and foreign workers, as the Lord provides. Our burden is especially for countries where poverty puts owning a book out of the reach of most people. The joy on the face of a believer when they receive a Bible, hymnbook, or Bible commentary is priceless. We hear many stories like this one from the Congo: After the Second Civil War ended in the Congo in July 2003, the UN arrived with food on the same day as a shipment of books arrived from Everyday Publications. People quickly lined up for books first, stating that “books were more important than food.” We have many similar stories from countries where missionaries were forced out, but books were left behind for the people. The Lord multiplied the blessing of those books as they were shared repeatedly through entire villages.
This year we already have shipments ready for Zimbabwe, Kenya, Nigeria, and Liberia, totaling nearly 100,000 books. Additional Spanish materials have been shipped to Cuba and the Dominican Republic, and Portuguese books are on their way to Brazil. We praise the Lord for this and pray that many will be spiritually encouraged by these resources. Our largest project this year is the reprinting of the Congo Swahili Bible, which was translated largely by Gertrud Harlow. We plan to ship at least 50,000 Bibles, 50,000 hymnbooks, 50,000 New Testaments, and 85,000 Gospels of John, all translated into Congo Swahili and/or French. We will also be sending, Lord willing, nearly 10,000 Believers’ Bible Commentaries by William MacDonald and an additional 105,000 Everyday Publications’ books. Some of these titles are printed by commercial printers due to the specialized nature of the printing and binding. But the vast majority of these titles will be printed in-house at our Port Colborne facility.
Our colleagues in the Congo are making progress on a number of important translation projects. Gertrude Harlow had completed the translation of the Believers’ Bible New Testament Commentary as far as the book of Hebrews. The translators have redoubled their efforts to complete the New Testament and are now beginning work on the book of First Peter. They are also reading through the current Congo Swahili Bible to make corrections and updates to the language, which will be incorporated in coming years. These translation projects in Swahili will be proofread by two of our board members, Bob Watt and Rex Trogdon, who both served the Lord in the Congo for many years. A number of other Everyday Publications’ books have been translated into Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Mandarin, to which we will soon add a new title in Korean.
Remarkably, Everyday Publications does all this with a relatively small team. We are grateful to have four families, all commended workers, who are in the office every day, as well as our off-site language coordinator, also a commended worker. Each brings skills and experience to the ministry in languages, editing, typesetting, printing, shipping, bookkeeping, and managing our computer networks, as do a network of volunteers around the world.
Our ministry primarily serves the assemblies. In the past year, we have completed a number of new titles for the assemblies in North America. These include a new devotional by Jabe Nicholson titled Christ All and In All, an excellent resource from Peter Kerr called Election and Predestination, a new resource for local churches, camps, and youth groups by Nate Bramsen called Dive In! A Hands on Guide to Studying the Bible for Yourself. We also completed the first year of a youth curriculum, God’s Rescue Mission, in collaboration with School Ministries. This resource is ideal for camps, Sunday School, Bible study, and home study. All proceeds from the sale of books in North America go toward providing books free of charge to needy countries.
We appreciate the constant prayer support of believers around the world who Pray Every Day with us! We ask for your prayer for the Lord’s wisdom and continued provision for our needs. Pray that our translators would be accurate and doctrinally sound. Pray that the Lord’s Word would be powerfully used for eternity in these mission fields around the world. Terry Wilson