Several years ago, at the Church Librarian’s Conference in Dallas, I came upon the Books for the Border display. I was intrigued. After talking to Lester Meriwether for only a few moments, I was hooked on this program. I was surprised to learn that seven Texas counties are on a short list of the poorest in our country. I was moved by the idea that education, access to books, and teaching families to read together are ways to end the poverty cycle. Lester used words like family libraries, literacy missions, and book fairs. Well, as an avid reader, a school and church librarian, and a Texas history teacher, I felt called to listen and respond.
God used that quick meeting to open my eyes to ways I could use my time and talents to serve Him and His people. Enthusiastically, I came back to Tyler and my home church, First Baptist, with many ideas. We were fortunate to have Rev. Scott Wiley on our staff who has a real passion for Family Ministry. He and I worked together with Lester to plan a Books for the Border family mission trip to Starr county. About 40 FBC members of all ages built book cases, held a Book Fiesta, passed out Bibles and books we had collected, and shared with many families the importance of reading aloud to children. It was fun and fulfilling.
Since then, I have enjoyed working with Lester and other Literacy Connexus members to spread the word about this wonderful program. It is my dream to eliminate poverty in Texas by teaching families about the value of faith, reading, and education. I hope to motivate others to take the following simple steps to help eliminate poverty and illiteracy in our state:
1. Pray and listen to how God is moving you to use your talents and interests to serve others.
2. Contact Literacy Connexus and find out how easy it is to help get books into the hands of people who have none.
3. Take action! Hold a book drive, collect money, build bookshelves, sit and read to a child, volunteer at your local literacy center. DO something!
Sarah Starr, Literacy Connexus Board of Directors