RUSSELL, Ky. (KT) – Katie Hostetter’s guest bedroom looks a lot like a warehouse.
She wouldn’t have it any other way.
For the past five years, Hostetter has run a non-profit called Bibles from Him with a goal to hand out 1 million copies of the Jesus Storybook Bible.
It was a number that came to her mind after she woke up one morning six years ago, and she believes it was a directive from God.
“I talked to Pastor Ken (Gowin) and a few others and prayed about,” Hostetter said. “It seemed like people resonated with it for some reason.”
Hostetter, a member of First Baptist Church in Russell, said she “fell in love with the Jesus Storybook Bible” after somebody recommended it to her.
“I had my son and I did not like any of the kids’ Bibles. We ended up reading it together and it struck me how it shared the gospel in a beautiful way.”
The Jesus Storybook Bible tells stories from the Old Testament and New Testament and points to Jesus as the Savior. Readers clearly see that Jesus is at the center of God’s story of salvation. It was written by Sally Lloyd Jones.
Since starting the organization in 2014, Hostetter has handed out 2,024 copies of the Bible storybook, including 365 on Saturday that went to the Two Hearts Pregnancy Center in Ashland.
“I think she has a real concern for the Word of God and I think she has a real concern of getting that Word out,” Gowin said. “This is how she feels God has laid this on her heart to do that. She is determined and has that drive in the Lord to make that happen.”
Hostetter says people in the community are always donating to help meet financial needs. A fellow church member, Lisa Wilcox, holds an annual open house and vendors donate their proceeds to the organization.
This year those proceeds went to meet a big need at the Two Hearts Pregnancy Center. The Ashland center has been a regular distribution point for Hostetter, but this year they believed their need was too great.
“I asked them how many they needed,” Hostetter said, “They said, ‘It’d be too many for you. We have 365 families we work with.’” The number wasn’t too much for what they could purchase with the funds from the open house. They received a storybook bible for each of the 365 families.
“God connects people,” Hostetter believes.
Bibles from Him has given copies to missionaries around the world in eight countries – Australia, China, Costa Rica, India, Mexico, Romania, Uganda and Haiti – and also the United States.
Hostetter has supplied them to 15 different ministries including the Appalachia Backpack Program, a partnership between the North American Mission Board and the Kentucky WMU, a Hispanic ministry in Lexington, the pregnancy center in Ashland, an elementary school in Ashland, Amy For Africa, group homes and anybody else who asks for them.
Her son, Bradley, helps with getting the Bible storybooks where they need to be and with special messages written inside.
“He always helps me,” she said. “I don’t ever feel pressure to reach a million. Bradley will help me carry on. We have a prayer team that prays for people who get the bibles. I told him, ‘You’ll continue this on. I’m not the one who came up with that number.’’’
Hostetter said she feels like she’s running a warehouse and “feels sorry for the mailman.” Each box contains 20 books.
Amy Compston of Amy For Africa has taken hundreds of the Bibles From Him bibles with her on trips to Uganda.
“It’s one of the most beautiful things in the world. They treasure it so much. It’s the most powerful tool in the world,” Compston said.
Hostetter understands there are many places where the word of God is not welcomed or even allowed.
She also tries to get them in the preferred language of where they are going when possible. Hostetter ran into Rachel Biederman in downtown Russell who happened to work for the publisher of the Jesus Storybook Bible in the language division.
“She’s been able to get them cheaper through the publisher,” she said. “She had moved to downtown Russell and I ran into her. Amazing!”