One teacher’s mission to get God’s Word into every school library
By Hannah Sailsbury
In 2016, I spent eight weeks in Africa, and it changed my life. After I returned to the United States, I continued my teaching career at an elementary school. But I felt torn…my heart was still in Africa. I struggled with feelings of unsettledness. I would often ask God, “What are you doing with my life?” At one point, I thought that I would be moving back to Africa permanently, but realized God had other plans for me.
Almost two years after returning to the US, I felt God call me to live out His mission at the school in which He had already placed me. I knew that I needed His help to accomplish this mission. So, every morning I began my day by walking outside of my school while I prayed for all my coworkers by name. I also prayed for my students. I prayed that each and every one of my coworkers and students would have an authentic relationship with Jesus. I prayed for my coworkers who were already Christians to be bold in their faith. I prayed blessings over everyone who entered the building. It became a morning routine that I didn’t want to miss. I could see the difference it was making—I could see the students’ smiles again, I was more joyful, and opportunities for me to share Jesus’ love with my coworkers presented themselves.
One particular morning, I prayed specifically that God’s name would be mentioned in the hallways and classrooms of our school. A couple months later, that prayer was answered in bigger ways then I could have imagined.
That spring, as I sat teaching a couple of students in a reading group, I realized that one of my second grade students was reading an old Bible. I asked him where he got it from and he said, “Our library.” He then pointed to some words and said, “I want to learn about God, heaven, and hell.”
That evening, I could not stop thinking about how excited this boy was to read that old Bible. I began to think about how much more excited this student may be if we had an engaging children’s Bible in our library that he could actually read, understand, and then share with his friends. This inspired me to buy a copy of The Action Storybook Bible, an engaging youth Bible full of pictures, resembling a comic book. I went to our librarian and asked if I could donate the Bible. She was excited because she was already hoping to build the graphic novel section, and she felt this Bible was a great start.
After learning how easy it was to donate a Bible to our school library, I made it my mission to get Bibles into the libraries of the 38 elementary schools in my county. First, I asked my friends and family to get involved. It didn’t take long for me to reach out to 25 individuals who had connections within schools. Over the next several months, each of them hand-delivered a Bible to the librarians in those schools. I then sent a letter to the other 13 schools asking permission to donate Bibles to their libraries as well. While a few librarians were hesitant, in approximately two short months, we were able to get Bibles sent to every elementary school in our county!
Then, God gave me an even bigger vision. I created a non-profit organization called Bibles in Schools to help others across the nation donate engaging Bibles to public school libraries. I am amazed by the work that God is doing through this ministry.
The truth is that God used me right where He placed me—first in my school, then spilling over into my county, and now throughout the nation. I didn’t have to move to Africa to impact others for Jesus. Because I humbly went to Him in prayer, God opened my eyes to see the need for Bibles in school libraries. I believe His Word of Truth will impact this generation and many generations to come. I also believe He can use you right where He has placed you—first in your school, then spilling over into your county, and even throughout the nation.
**** To learn more about Bibles in Schools, visit the website at BiblesinSchools.org. God is working in mighty ways through this movement, but we need your help to continue to spread this mission! As you step out and donate Bibles to your schools, I am confident you will see God at work!
Hannah Sailsbury has been a special education teacher for 6 years in an elementary and high school. In her free time, she loves to travel!
“This article first appeared in Teachers of Vision magazine in the Back to School 2019 issue. Teachers of Vision magazine is a publication of CEAI, Westlake, OH. (CEAI.org)”