Complete at last! After seven years, countless days of work, and over $125,000 in expenditures, not counting any printing, that great missionary project is complete!
It is the biggest undertaking we have ever attempted—certainly bigger than we imagined when we started. It began out of our concern to have printed material available to aid missionaries in communicating the Bible message. Our strong belief is that there is nothing as effective in the evangelism of third world people as illustrated gospel messages.
We didn’t want anything second rate, so we sought out and hired full time for two years a retired artist for Marvel Comics, who, after coming to know the Lord, had given up his art. We brought him back to the world of art with an assignment of 312 large-format pages of Bible illustrations. Michael Pearl wrote the script and did the preliminary drawings in crude form, and then Danny Bulanadi did the actual art work and the inking, followed by the shading, done on the computer by our own Clint Cearley. After the artwork was finished, we had to put in all the text frames and textbubbles with the actual text. Wow! What a job! And then came the proofing and tweaking and final editing. At last, a finished product!
It has not yet gone to print, but it is going out in digital format now to missionaries for translation. We are making this tool available free to all missionaries who are faithful to the Word of God. It is in a format from which it can be translated as a whole book or can be divided into smaller portions, or single pages, or to individual pictures which can be singled out and enlarged for use as visual aids. It will be printed entirely in black and white to keep the printing cost down for missionaries. We are also adapting it as a children’s coloring book with no shading and no text that is being released through the Calendar feature on our website.
Missionaries can use single pictures from the Illustrated Bible or coloring book in producing gospel tracts. When we were asked why we didn’t just use some of the available works of art already in print, our answer was quick and concise: Too expensive. Too much restriction. Not enough “good” art. Not available in any language. And, not universally suitable for all people groups and primitive cultures.
Soon Cambodian, Ukrainian, Mongolian, Hmong, Papua New Guinean, Thai, and other people in South East Asia will all have God’s story in their hands. It is our hope that missionaries to the folks we already know in East Timor and several Arabic people groups will soon be able to start translations. This is going to be a powerful tool in the hands of praying missionaries. If you are a missionary or you know one who could use this material, please have the missionary contact us, and we will consider them for use of this material.
It is our goal to also help support the printing of The Illustrated Bible Storybook in some of the foreign languages in which it will be published. We will soon (by Spring) have it in print in English, so be sure to watch the web or read about it in No Greater Joy.