Mary Jones and her Bible
Once upon a time, long ago, a little girl named Mary lived in a far away country, called Wales, with her mom and dad. They did not have a lot of money. There was no school close to where Mary lived, so she had not learnt to read and write.
Every Sunday, Mary went to church with her parents. There, she would listen to the minister reading from the big Bible. Mary tried really hard to remember all the stories the minister read in church, but it was too difficult.
One day, Mary’s dad came home with wonderful news. A school was opening in their village!
“I can finally learn to read and write!” thought Mary. “Now I can read the Bible stories myself!”
In those days, however, books were very expensive. Mrs Evans, who lived close by, was lucky enough to have a Bible of her own. She knew how much Mary loved Bible stories. One day, she invited Mary to her house to come and read from her Bible.
“I wish I had a Bible of my own!” Mary said.
Then and there, she decided to do whatever it took to get a Bible of her own.
Mary worked very hard to save money. She gathered wood and eggs, and sold them at the market. She also mended clothes and did babysitting.
Finally, after six years, she had enough money to buy a Bible. But, there were no Bibles in her town that she could buy. Mary would have to travel far away to a town called Bala, to buy a Bible. In those days, there were no cars or busses, Mary would have to walk.
She walked barefoot all day over rocky mountain paths, saving her only pair of shoes for when she arrived. Tired and hungry, Mary arrived in Bala as the sun was disappearing behind the hills.
The next morning, Mary raced off to see Rev Charles who would sell her a Bible. “I am here to buy a Bible, so I can read the Bible whenever I want to.”
“I am so sorry my dear, but I have no more Bibles to sell,” Rev Charles answered.
Mary was heartbroken! She cried and cried. “But I’ve come all this way. I’ve been saving money for six years.”
Rev Charles could see how important the Bible was to Mary and decided to help her. “Here you go, Mary, you can have one of my very own Bibles.”
“Oh thank you Mister Charles, thank you, thank you, thank you!”
A very happy Mary took her Bible home to her parents. Now, she did not have to wait for Sunday in church, she could read the Bible whenever she wanted.
After Mary’s visit, Rev Charles went to a meeting where ministers from all over the country were gathered. There, he told Mary’s story. All the ministers decided to get more Bibles at low prices for the people of Wales.
One of the ministers said, “If for Wales, why not for the whole world?”
That is how the first Bible Society started. Today, there are more than 140 Bible Societies all over the world who help people like Mary.
Illustrations © Bible Society of South Africa