Recycling Ministry Sends ‘Love Packages’ to Churches Overseas

by | Jul 31, 2003 | Charisma Archive

The shipments of surplus Christian literature sent by an Illinois-based ministry have helped bring thousands to Christ
It’s an unlikely sounding strategy for world evangelism, but Steven Schmidt credits some simple spring-cleaning with bringing thousands of people to Christ and starting scores of new churches in other parts of the world.


The former Assemblies of God pastor gathers surplus Christian literature and ships it overseas to parts where the otherwise trashbound materials are like gold dust.


Schmidt solicits literature from publishers, Christian bookstores, churches and individual believers, asking them to go through their materials and pass along anything they don’t need anymore.


This year alone his Butler, Ill.-based Love Packages ministry aims to send about 700 tons of discarded and unused books and curriculum. “We have an abundance, a glut of inspiration and information in this country,” he told Charisma, “but for people in other parts of the world it’s gold.”


Schmidt told of visiting a Bible college in the Philippines where only 10 of the 70 students had a Bible of their own, and another in Africa where the school library consisted of just four short shelves of old books.


In 1999 he visited Zambia and met with government and church leaders, later sending two containers of Christian literature. As a result of the distribution, churches recorded almost 160,000 decisions for Christ, he said.


Raised in the Lutheran Church, Schmidt dropped out as a young man, turning to drugs, alcohol and rock ‘n’ roll. Then he became a Christian and entered the ministry. In the summer of 1975, he sensed God telling him in regard to some old Christian magazines he had lying around his home: “You’re wasting that.”


He gathered it up, eventually shipping 60 boxes of literature to missionaries overseas in just 12 months. Other people began passing along their castoffs as word of his efforts got around.


Individuals and churches across the country started mailing him materials, too. The work grew so much that he stepped down from the pastorate to devote himself full time to Love Packages.


The ministry took over an old school in Butler, and the several tons of mail it receives each week not only saved the small community’s post office from closure, but also required the building of an additional room to accommodate all the materials.


Schmidt drives to collect large donations from publishers including the Assemblies of God and the Southern Baptists, who give him excess Sunday school and vacation Bible school materials, as well as devotionals.


Some Christian bookstore owners promote Love Packages to their customers, and even pass along unsold publications that they cannot return for one reason or another. Sometimes they donate Bibles on which a name may have been inaccurately embossed.


“We can never get enough Bibles,” said Schmidt, who has traveled to more than 25 countries to arrange and check on distribution of his supplies. “It’s hard for us in America to understand that there are pastors overseas that don’t have their own Bibles, but that is the case.”


Jim Whitaker of New Life Christian Stores in Lynchburg, Va., supports Love Packages by collecting the donations from his local church–Victory Christian Center–and adding items from his store before mailing the box.


“Maybe books that are not returnable, but are not selling and are just sitting there on the shelf, or leftover Sunday school materials,” he said. “There are folks that will benefit that we will never see, but don’t have the ability to obtain products that we do [in this country]. We want to be able to bless others with the blessings God has given us.”


Individual packages sent fourth-class book rate arrive in the mail and are sorted by teams of volunteers. Cult and secular publications are weeded out, as are magazines with too much advertising or irrelevant material.


Schmidt said he had heard “thrilling stories” of how Love Packages shipments had made an impact. He was told that a tract from some literature he sent to India had been given to a paralyzed Hindu man who was healed and saved, later becoming a traveling evangelist.


“Thousands have come to the Lord and tens of thousands have received a witness through Love Packages literature,” Schmidt’s Indian contacts informed him.


“I have been doing this for a long time, but it still blows my mind, when I see the lack of materials [overseas],” he said.
Andy Butcher

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

How Divine Wrestling Changes Our Identity

How Divine Wrestling Changes Our Identity

All of us at some point will hit a place of getting the wind knocked out of us. We all experience unexpected detours and times when there seems to be no way out. But there is One who lives in us, the Lord Jesus Christ, who gives us the strength to overcome obstacles....

Spirit-Filled Pastor: How Does God Lead Us Today?

Spirit-Filled Pastor: How Does God Lead Us Today?

Whether it is the Spirit leading or forbidding in the book of Acts, or the Spirit leading throughout Christian history, it’s clear that the leading of the Spirit is important. In the Old Testament, it appears that the Spirit of God could be withdrawn completely from...

Joyce Meyer: Keys to Winning Your Race in Life

Joyce Meyer: Keys to Winning Your Race in Life

Everyone has a race to run. That just means we all have a life to live. The apostle Paul says in Hebrews 12:1 (NIV), “Therefore...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for...

Prophetic Word: The Lord Says, ‘I Am the Consuming Fire’

Prophetic Word: The Lord Says, ‘I Am the Consuming Fire’

God says that during this season, He is turning up the heat, finding the gold and bringing His refining fire. Job makes a powerful statement of faith as he says of the Lord, "When he has tried me, I shall come out as gold." God knew Job's heart and Job knew the heart...

What Is ‘The One Thing’ God Wants From You?

What Is ‘The One Thing’ God Wants From You?

In 1971, I was invited to spend one month in Singapore at a new institute that had been started by John Haggai. It was still in the formative stages then—a place where Asian church leaders would be trained and challenged to witness for Christ. Today, more than 40...

37 Prayers for the Suffering Persecuted Church

37 Prayers for the Suffering Persecuted Church

It was a Pentecost bloodbath and most Christians never heard about it. More than 50 Christians were killed in one of the deadliest terror attacks on Nigerians this year. Scores of gunmen rushed in to kill Christians in the midst of worship. All told, over 360 million...

RECENT ARTICLES

Prophecy: A Window of Time Has Opened for Believers to Preach the Truth

I was rejoicing and praising God on Friday, June 24, 2022, for the overturning of Roe v. Wade, knowing that an ungodly decree was overturned and one national curse was broken. I heard by the Holy...
The Man Who Spent 23 Minutes in Hell: The People I Saw in Hell

The Man Who Spent 23 Minutes in Hell: The People I Saw in Hell

In 1998, God gave me a life-changing vision of hell. I receive many questions about my experience from people all over the world, but one question I'm often asked is, "Who did you see in hell?" There are others who say they've had an experience like mine, and they...

The United States: Birthed in Prophetic Symbolism

The United States: Birthed in Prophetic Symbolism

One of the most amazing facts about the Founding Fathers of our nation is this: The one referred to as the "voice" of the revolution (John Adams) and the one referred to as the "pen" of the revolution (Thomas Jefferson) both died on the same day—July 4, 1826—exactly...

Why Did God Give ‘This’ to Me?

Why Did God Give ‘This’ to Me?

It’s a question I frequently hear. It’s one I’ve asked. And maybe it’s one you’ve asked, too. The question is, “God, why did You give this to me?” This can be any number of issues, from emotional or psychological struggles to symptoms or sicknesses, disabilities or...

No Evil Can Stop What God Has Planned

No Evil Can Stop What God Has Planned

I sense it. And I perceive a growing number of people in massive proportions sense the increasing momentum of power and might worldwide. Something is on the horizon—something more eerie and ominous than what the people of the world have ever before experienced. Even...

Pin It on Pinterest