In Habakkuk chapter 2 verse 2, the Lord instructs the prophet, ‘Write the vision, and make it plain on tablets, that he who reads it may run’. In 1964, the Lord burdened the heart of Dr. R. E. Harlow, co-founder of Emmaus Bible College and Emmaus Correspondence Schools, and his wife Gertrud about a great need that existed among the peoples of Africa, and other third-world nations. These were people, some of limited educational background, who spoke and read English as a second, third, or even a fourth language. Christian literature, particularly books about the Bible and Christian doctrine, written by British or North American authors, had been written at a level able to be understood by the educated Westerner, but beyond the abilities of the non-native English speaker. The need was for the message of the word of God, to be made plain, with that audience in mind, so that the readers could more easily understand and apply it, and to be equipped to run the race that was before them.
The Harlows had both been missionaries in the Belgian Congo, now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo. With Dr. Harlow’s skill as an educator, and Gertrud’s skill as a linguist, they were well suited to the task of producing Bible study materials that were both doctrinally sound yet easy to read. Dr. Harlow adapted a method of writing called ‘Everyday English’. His first book written in ‘Everyday English’ was a small commentary on the book of Genesis, called Start of the Race. At once, Gertrud translated it into the Congo Swahili language. From that single title the work grew to include a complete set of commentaries on the entire Bible, most as separate volumes, in ‘Everyday English’ as well as more than 250 titles in standard English, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Swahili.
‘Everyday English’ is easy to understand because it has a smaller vocabulary and seeks to express thoughts in short, concise sentences that quickly and clearly define and explain the message of the author. Another unique advantage of it is that its ‘common language’ method of construction makes it easier for missionaries to translate into other languages.
The result of the Harlow’s exercise was the founding of Everyday Publications (EPI). Now located in the small town of Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada on the northern shore of Lake Erie, EPI is just two hours drive from Toronto, and just forty-five minutes away from the world-famous Niagara Falls.
This year, 2014, we are joyfully celebrating our fifty year jubilee of the Lord’s faithfulness, with the theme ‘Ebenezer’ and ‘Jehovah Jireh’. This theme was inspired by the life and testimony of the late James Hudson Taylor, founder of the China Inland Mission, now known as Overseas Missionary Fellowship. Hudson Taylor had two small texts in Chinese characters hanging on his wall, ‘Ebenezer’ and ‘Jehovah Jireh’ as a constant reminder that, as concerning the past, thus far the Lord has helped us, and, concerning the future, the Lord will provide.
The Lord has shown Himself to be our Ebenezer in many ways, including, but definitely not limited to:
- The development of the Bible Study Series – The simple commentaries written by the Harlows and other Everyday English qualified authors are available with optional ‘test booklets’ enabling them to be used also as correspondence courses, in prison ministries or to supplement and/or complement existing correspondence school curricula. Millions of these books have gone out to every corner of the globe in the past fifty years. Books on doctrine, the church, daily Bible reading, and other topics are also available.
- The provision of a state of the art print shop – The Lord has graciously provided two, modern digital presses which allow us to Print-On-Demand (POD) with incredible efficiency. This exciting printing technology allows EPI to format and typeset books in an electronic format, store that format as computer files, and then send a file to one of our digital printers with instructions to print only the quantity that is needed at the moment. Books printed on conventional printing equipment require print runs of many thousands to be economically viable whereas POD allows us to print just a few cost-efficiently without tying up large sums of money in inventory.
- Providing the right people at the right time – As one who has been intimately involved with the ministry of Everyday Publications from the beginning, Gertrud Harlow testifies to the Lord’s provision of the necessary human resources, ‘Another thing that has amazed me again and again throughout the years is how the Lord Himself called others to share in this ministry. Almost no one was formally invited. They just came, called by the Lord and commended by their assemblies. Even after Ed’s graduation, when it looked as if this ministry would fold, the Lord sent more, and younger and very well-equipped, workers to join the team. And so the blessing continues to spread and increase in other language areas as well, with the most valuable help being the volunteers who assist in the print shop, and the faithful prayers and support of God’s people. Amazing! Only our wonderful Lord can do it’.
- Enabling the supply of free books – since its inception, Everyday Publications has been committed to producing the highest quality books it can at the lowest possible price to its readers. Books cannot be read unless they are first made available to those who need them. And they cannot be made available unless those who wish to distribute them can afford to obtain them. EPI books are made available to believers, assemblies, and commended workers in North America and Europe, including prison ministries, at the deepest possible discount. Assembly-commended missionaries, and national commended workers ministering in third-world countries, are encouraged to request as many books as they believe the Lord will enable them to use. Since 1991, it has been our privilege and practice to supply these requests at no charge, including shipping. Untold thousands of books have gone out under this policy, with not a single request being denied for lack of funds.
Projects – Thus far in 2014 the Lord has enabled EPI to send the following large orders:
- Chile – 7,570 books and test booklets
- Emmaus Kenya – 5,150 books and test booklets
- Emmaus Haiti – 10,100 books and test booklets
- Emmaus Zimbabwe – 6,950 books and test booklets
- Zambia – 993 books and test booklets
- Angola (via Medical Missionary News) – 22,000 books and test booklets
With joyous confidence we look to the future as we anticipate that Jehovah Jireh will:
- Enable us to continue to send free books – those who receive free books from Everyday Publications are asked to do two things. First, to join us in thanking the Lord for His financial provision to print and ship the books, and, second, to join with us in prayer to the Lord for the necessary finance to continue to print and ship.
- Enable us to complete the special projects we have on the go including:
- Over the past eight years, the Lord has enabled us to send a total of seven 20-foot shipping containers and numerous skids filled with Bibles, hymnbooks, commentaries, and EPI books in Congo Swahili and French to the assemblies in the Democratic Republic of Congo. As the assemblies in Congo are growing at a fantastic rate, we have been asked to print and ship 118,700 EPI books in Congo Swahili and French, as well as 46,500 Congo Swahili Emmaus Correspondence Courses (revised and updated by Gertrud Harlow)!
- Gertrud Harlow’s current, ‘retire-ment’ project has been the translation of William MacDonald’s Believers Bible Commentary – New Testament into Congo Swahili. Volume 1 (Matthew – Acts) was completed in 2013 and three skids (3,000 commentaries) were safely shipped to Congo. Now 89 years old, she has almost completed Volume 2 (Romans – Colossians).
- Enable our books to be purchased by an ever-widening circle of constituents who the Lord leads into contact with us.
- Enable us to take full advantage of the opportunities in electronic publishing (e-books) and distribution that will fulfil His purpose and plans for Everyday Publications.
Our prayer for the future is that we would be continually found in the centre of God’s will, that He would bring us into contact with every assembly missionary and national worker who He would desire to use our books, and that He would be glorified to the maximum in all of His desired will for the ministry and the people of Everyday Publications. To state it more simply, I would quote an old Puritan prayer, ‘I am well pleased with Thy will, whatever it is, or should be in all respects. And if thou bidst me decide for myself in any affair I would choose to refer all to Thee, for thou art infinitely wise and cannot do amiss, as I am in danger of doing. I rejoice to think that all things are at thy disposal, and it delights me to leave them there. Then prayer turns wholly to praise, and all I can do is to adore and bless Thee’.
To learn more about the ministry of Everyday Publications, please visit our website (www.everydaypublications.org), or type the words ‘Everyday Publications’ into Facebook to go to our page, or on You Tube to subscribe to our You Tube channel. Be sure to watch our newest video, Feed My Sheep: EPI’s Story.