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The book I have given away the most and why: The Rev’d Charlie Lacey

Faith book reflections

“It is more than a ‘good book’, it is dynamite, and we should take every opportunity to get this powerful text into the hands of as many people as possible,” says The Rev’d Charlie Lacey, as he shares a hair-raising story about crossing a checkpoint in West Africa

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Our 4×4 arrived at the military checkpoint at night, one of many we had passed through on our journey from Freetown (Sierra Leone) to Monrovia (Liberia).

I was immediately separated from my companions, all of whom were African. My passport was confiscated, and I was ushered into a bare room, with whitewashed walls and a single naked lightbulb hanging from a wire in the middle of the ceiling. The only furniture was an empty wooden desk, with a chair positioned either side of it. A muscular man in military fatigues, with a broad face and a paunch motioned me to take a seat. There was another slimmer man leaning against the wall, off to one side. The first man leaned over the desk and asked, “Where’s your paperwork?”

I didn’t have any “paperwork”.

Being a westerner, I had been delayed at every checkpoint and the reason was always the same — someone was hoping for a bribe. My standard response was, “I only have Bibles to give you,” which was not well received on this occasion.

As the conversation went round in circles, my interlocutor became increasingly angry and aggressive. When he finally realised that I was not going to buckle, the questioning stopped. There was no further mention of my “paperwork”; I handed over two Bibles, he handed over my passport, and I was allowed to continue on my way.

We refused to pay any bribes on our journey from Freetown to Monrovia, but we gave away at least 50 Bibles.

The Bible is the inspired word of God, containing “all things necessary to salvation”. It is arguably the founding document of Western civilisation and it (empowered by the Holy Spirit), has radically changed the world we live in.

I am often surprised at how many adults have not so much as read one of the Gospels from beginning to end. It is more than a “good book”, it is dynamite, and we should take every opportunity to get this powerful text into the hands of as many people as possible.  

“So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10.17)

Editor’s note: If you would like to share with other readers what faith-related book, including those with theological, spiritual, ministry, Church history or justice themes, you have given away (or referred) the most and why, please email the anglican focus team, and we will let you know what is needed. 

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