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Gift of the Bible

Date: January 26, 2011

The Andrews University Board of Trustees is promoting spiritual growth on campus like never before. Thanks to generous donations given by board members, E. Edward and Ann Zinke of the Foundation for Adventist Education, Andrews faculty and staff, along with a host of other donors, all current University students were able to receive an Andrews Study Bible free-of-charge. Distributions took place in January just in time to get the Word of God into the hands of every student prior to Weeks of Spiritual Emphasis.

Before the beginning of fall semester, Andrews faculty and staff donated funds to the Bibles for Freshmen project. It provided an Andrews Study Bible for each incoming freshman. That project took on a new life at the October Board of Trustees meeting. Engineering student Sandra Prieto opened the board meeting with a word of prayer. Sandra, who had previously donated toward the Bibles for Freshmen project by sponsoring a Bible for an incoming Andrews freshman, then shared the impact the Andrews Study Bible gift had on her. That launched the Board of Trustees into a conversation of how they could also support the project. In a matter of minutes, the board collectively pledged $18,000 of their personal funds to expand on the Bibles for Freshmen project to provide Bibles for all current students. In the end, those gifts, combined with funds from the Foundation for Adventist Education and other donations, totaled nearly $64,000.

Graduate students received their Andrews Study Bible at the first distribution event on Thursday, Jan. 13, in the Howard Performing Arts Center. Students were asked to sit with classmates from their respective schools/college while deans, department chairs and faculty distributed the books.

During the graduate convocation service, President Niels-Erik Andreasen engaged in conversation with Edwin Hernandez, an Andrews alum and a trustee who supported the Andrews Study Bible distribution project. Hernandez recalled the October board meeting and said the decision to sponsor Bibles for all Andrews students was “Spirit-led.” “We wanted to ensure all students had access to this extraordinary resource,” Hernandez said. “These study Bibles will not only help students grow spiritually but also scholastically,” said graduate student Elkyn Beltre. “I think that it was very generous and thoughtful of the board members to give this gift to us.” Elkyn is just one of many students who plan to use this gift for both personal devotions and academic study.

Happy undergraduate students show off their new Andrews
Study Bibles shortly after receiving the gift on Thursday,
Jan. 20. (Photo by IMC photographer Austin Ho)

The distribution event for undergraduates came just one week later, on Thursday, Jan. 20. Following chapel at Pioneer Memorial Church, Ron Whitehead, assistant to the president for spiritual life, shared with the students the story behind this gift.

“Most Christian universities give Bibles to students when they reach graduation,” he explained, “...but 20–30% of students who start as freshmen won’t make it to graduation! So we thought, ‘Why not give one to them at the beginning?’”

A host of Office of Campus Ministries leaders and faculty/staff from across campus helped pass out the Bibles. Bookmarks highlighting a list of Sabbath School and small group opportunities to utilize the study Bible were also given out.

“It tells a lot about a person where they put their money. It’s really nice to know the University cares that much about us to give out of their own pockets,” said Kali Jardine, biology major. “I feel like the study Bible will be a tool I can use to refresh my devotional life and give me a new perspective on what I read. I’m excited for this opportunity and the blessings it will bring.”

-Written by Ashleigh Jardine, student news writer, with additional reporting by Keri Suarez, media relations specialist, Office of Integrated Marketing & Communication

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Berrien Springs, Michigan 49104