I was not there when it all began. A young couple made a choice that would affect my life forever. In the midst of World War II in England they decided not to cower in fear, but to advance forward in faith. With very limited resources, they trusted God for his unlimited supply and gave their lives away for a lifetime of adventure. This young couple were my grandparents, Ken and Bessie Adams and they founded CLC in 1941 “not knowing wither”. How could they know all that God had planned for them and all that would be accomplished in His name through these “reasonably obedient” servants.
This week, I had the great joy of celebrating CLC’s 75th birthday with my friends and colleagues from all over the world. It is hard to believe that I have been a part of this illustrious organization for the last twenty years myself. We gathered in England at a conference center just north of London to celebrate on all that God has done while keeping our eyes fixed on the horizon to see what He will do in the years ahead. So much has changed over these decades and yet the core purpose and values of the ministry remain the same – seeing lives transformed by the power of the Gospel through the printed page.
One of the changes that took place this week was a changing of the guard. It was not quite as spectacular an affair as the one that takes place each day at Buckingham Palace, but quite important for our organization. Neil Wardrope, who has been our International Director for the last twelve years was stepping down and Gerardo Scalante was elected to replace him. This momentous decision puts a Latino in the helm for the first time in our history and mirrors the move of the center of gravity of the worldwide evangelical movement as it has moved to the global south. Gerardo has served in CLC in various capacities since his late teenage years and is clearly the right person for this important job.
My own role in CLC is changing as well as I was confirmed as the Regional Director for North America and the Caribbean. I will take on this new role in addition to my current responsibilities as National Director for CLC USA and will be committing about 25% of my time to working with my colleagues in Canada and four Caribbean islands. As I look to the future, I am excited about what God has in store for our part of the world. So many signs point to challenging days ahead for Christian retailing and publishing, but I am choosing not to pay attention to “the giants in the land”. Instead I am to looking to my heavenly father who is bigger than any giants we will ever face.
One of the great joys of this week was a full day of celebration that was dedicated to honoring the past and what God has done over 75 years in our ministry. My parents, who have served in CLC for almost 50 years, were here for the occasion as well as many of my relatives that live in the UK. It was remarkable to hear from so many “senior saints” as they recalled the impact of Christian literature in their lives and the part they played in the global expansion of CLC. One thread connected all of their stories. They all served a faithful God who provided in miraculous ways. Very often, when they could not see a way forward God showed up to provide an answer they had not even considered possible.
I am forever grateful for the choice my grandparents made to surrender their lives fully to God. I am forever grateful that my parents followed in their footsteps. I am forever grateful to be a part of an organization that is fulfilling the great commission in over fifty countries of the world. I am forever grateful to be able to worship God with my brothers and sisters in so many languages. I am forever grateful for the saints that have gone on before me to pave a way for the gospel to advance – changing the world one book at a time.