On October 27, 2010, a letter mailed in June, arrived (via snail mail) from the ELCIN Offices in Ondangwa, Namibia. The letter not only stated specifically (and very helpfully!) what types of books were needed, but also asked that we please include Nkurenkuru ELCIN High School along with Oshigambo Lutheran High School in our efforts.
The letter was from Pastor Philippus Henok, secretary for education of the ELCIN.
Within two days a modest project to bring books to these two high schools was formed. It began as a simple effort of collecting books and suitcases; thinking that future travelers to Namibia could carry and deliver them there. At the same time, Ethan stopped by Ann’s office and indicated he was all in and wanted to help. More than donating books or suitcases, Ethan wanted to serve in a significant way.
Our first public appeal was Ethan speaking at his home congregation, St. John Lutheran Church in Waseca, Minnesota. The result? Boxes of books and a generous ingathering of funds! We were officially doing this!
It was through a professional friend of Ann’s that we were soon put in touch with Books for Africa in St. Paul, an amazing not-for-profit organization whose primary mission and vision is to end the Africa Book Famine by shipping millions of books (and computers) to Africa. They have been in this business since 1988. Our initial conversation with BFA was incredibly positive. They were very helpful and encouraging and it had been some time since they had sent books to Namibia, so they were keen on our mutual success.
We were now in the business of raising significant dollars to ship a 40-foot sea container to Namibia for the benefit of these worthy schools.