The following is excerpted from an interview with Ignacio Hernandez, director of the Bible Society of Nicaragua. --The Editors
Could you describe the work of the Bible Society, how many Bibles you are handing out, and how the work is going now compared to the time before the triumph of the revolution?
I am a Nazarene minister and the director of the Bible Society in Nicaragua. I came to work with the Bible Society in 1961. We had a rhythm of distribution of 9,000 Bibles per year from 1971 to 1979, and from 10,000 to 15,000 New Testaments per year during the same period.
At the triumph of the revolution, our distribution went up considerably. In 1980 our distribution of Bibles grew to 30,000, and New Testaments to 100,000. In the year 1981, it was 40,000 Bibles and 200,000 New Testaments. And in 1982, we gave out 46,000 Bibles and 136,000 New Testaments.
We believe there's a rebirth, an opening of a need to read the Bible and know about God. Even people that don't believe anything want to have a Bible.
It was possible to make this distribution following the literacy campaign. At the end of the campaign we gave to the new lectors half a million copies of a book called the Life of Jesus. It is a life of Jesus in stories.
You gave these to new readers?
Yes. With big letters that make them easy to read. And, since then we have given a New Testament to each new person who has learned, to read. We put the New Testaments in the hands of the church leaders, who give them to the young people involved in the literacy campaign, and these young people give the New Testaments to the people in the mountains whom they have taught to read. We are distributing 200,000 right now, and we'll be needing 400,000 more. These are given to the people free.