CLC celebrates 70 years of God’s provision and miraculous blessings this year. When my grandfather, Ken Adams, founded the ministry in Colchester, England in 1941, he did so with the burden to plant Christian bookstores in the British Isles. This burden was quickly shared by many other Christians and to his great surprise and joy bookstores began to be birthed with new ones being opened every year. Quickly this same burden grew to be a worldwide vision for Christian bookstores to be established in some of the remotest and neediest places in the world. From the very beginning there was never any grand corporate strategy for developing the work, but simply people grasping the vision and allowing God to use their burden to be the starting point for new Christian bookstores in any given country.
Claudia Middendorf is a modern day burden bearer and bookstore birther in the CLC ministry. She is currently the national leader for AIM (Africa Inland Mission) who has been working in Mozambique for twenty years and for several of those years has dreamed about a bookstore being opened in Beira. She is so passionate about the use of Christian literature to change lives that she has been running a printing department from her first floor apartment. She has been producing everything from song books to Bible study booklets and discipleship materials over the years.
For a while now she has been running a book room at the AIM Bible College in Beira, with the help of Jose Sacramento, who was one of the school’s graduates. Apart from Claudia’s print runs, they were ordering books from CLC Maputo and Claudia was periodically making the one and a half day trip there to collect them, sleeping in her car overnight and then driving one and a half days back again – on very bad roads.
In May of this year, her dream became a reality and her burden helped birth a new bookstore in one of the neediest places in the world. Until this store opened, CLC was operating one of the only Christian bookstores in the country in the capital city of Maputo. Beira is a provincial capital and in fact the second city after Maputo. Together with Tete and Chimoio, it’s one of the largest towns in the central and western region of the country. It’s a busy ocean port and has lots of interesting Portuguese / British history.
The new “CLC” bookshop operates from the same book room, but is now fully registered as ACLC (Association CLC) – “Association” denotes that we are a not-for-profit organization. We had set a goal of opening in time for the Bible College’s anniversary celebrations, and God answered our prayer.
What a blessing it is to see this new outpost for the Gospel become a reality and be able to provide Bibles and evangelical Christian books to many people every day that it is open. No longer will people have to travel a day and a half to the capital of Maputo just to get a Bible in their own language.
The greatest challenge to the fledgling ministry at the moment is getting enough Bibles at a low cost and getting regular shipments of books from the Portuguese Christian publishers in Brazil as these can take months to arrive. While these are real obstacles, it is encouraging to recognize that the same God who made this bookstore possible will provide all that they need to be a light in the darkness and one more beachhead for kingdom advancement.
Here are some more pics from the store opening: