The Seventh-day Adventist Church owns 56 publishing houses.
But Christian Record Services (CRS) is unique.
CRS operates standard publishing house equipment such as offset
presses, paper cutters, folders, collating equipment, a high-speed insertion
machine, and so forth. In addition, CRS operates three Braille presses, special
collating equipment, and finishing equipment for its Braille publications.
The CRS production department has the look, feel, and inky smell
of a typical high-tech pressroom. It stands alone, though, in producing Christian
reading material designed for blind and visually impaired individuals.
More than 50,000 children, teens, and adults in 75 countries
receive one or more CRS publications each year. To meet the needs of the blind,
CRS employs about 160 people in the United States and Canada.
"Ministry to the blind--not printing--is Christian Record
Services' primary business," asserts Harold Baptiste, a General Conference
vice president and CRS board chair. As the church's official ministry to blind
people, CRS staff have one central purpose--to help the blind see Jesus.
As a result, tens of thousands of blind and visually impaired people have met
Jesus through 106 years of ministry.
"This Discover Bible course [the CRS Braille edition] has
helped me understand and believe in God because it explains how and why Jesus
came to earth," Janet Barnard shared recently in a letter. She went on,
"It explains how the stars were made. . . . The way it is explained makes
me feel loved and wanted, and sometimes I don't feel that way. The lesson makes
me feel like I fit in. It's a nice, wonderful, and God-made feeling. Thanks
for sending me this lesson. I love God and the lessons very much."
Christian Record Services employees and volunteers provide eight
specific ministries for blind people:
Available to blind people worldwide:
1. Subscription magazines in Braille and large print (in English).
2. Study guides published in Braille and large print and available
on the World Wide Web that help blind people find the truth about Jesus as Friend
3. A Web site that provides worldwide access to CRS English
and Spanish publications for blind people (www.christianrecord.org).
Available to blind people in North America:
4. Full-Vision books that combine Braille and large print with
an audio CD, enabling blind parents to read to their sighted children and sighted
parents to help their blind children learn
to read Braille.
5. The CRS lending library, which maintains more than 2,000
books in Braille and on audiocassette.
6. National Camps for Blind Children/Adults (NCBC), which operates
throughout North America providing life-changing experiences for thousands of
7. CRS scholarship assistance, which provides cash assistance
on a limited basis to blind young people enrolled in college.
8. Personal visitation of blind people in the North American
Division by skilled CRS representatives.
Something else, unique at Christian Record Services, is a new
coordinating position for these various outreach ministries. David Klinedinst,
CRS personal ministries director, directs CRS volunteers in their special visitation
ministry to blind people. He supervises NCBC camp pastors and provides local
church disabilities coordinators with information about CRS publications and
services. In addition, Klinedinst helps train CRS representatives in relational
ministry for blind people and supervises the CRS Bible School.
"The purpose of CRS personal ministries is to nurture the
kind of relationships that will connect blind people to the local Seventh-day
Adventist church," explains Pastor Klinedinst.
One of the ministries that sets Christian Record Services apart is its National
Camps for Blind Children/Adults. These two dozen camps span North America and
each year challenge blind campers both physically and spiritually. That is what
Ashley found when she attended NCBC camp at Yorktown Bay in Arkansas. Ashley's
badly blurred and limited vision was complicated by neuropathy, which impeded
her muscle control. So Ashley arrived at camp with her walker and wheelchair.
Following her parents' suggestion, camp staff challenged her
to be active. Ashley accepted the challenge and attempted almost everything.
She rode horses, scaled the climbing wall, enjoyed canoe rides, and played in
"She was definitely an inspiration to the other campers
and to the counselors, too," said CRS representative Norine Westerbeck.
Two special strengths of the NCBC camping program combined to
help Ashley. First, she had the opportunity to try activities she previously
considered impossible. This helped to build her self-confidence. Second, she
was encouraged by CRS staff who live God's love. At each NCBC camp a pastor
presents the love, goodness, and truth of Jesus to the campers. Since the founding
of NCBC camps in 1967, these two characteristics have combined to change the
lives of 46,579 blind and visually impaired people who have attended these camps.
The story of Revvy illustrates how CRS publications and services
combine to influence blind and visually impaired campers to join the Seventh-day
Adventist Church. The love of Jesus has a powerful effect, often causing a chain
After the Holy Spirit convicted Revvy that Jesus' sacrifice
was for him, he requested baptism. Like all who are eager to learn about Jesus,
Revvy spent time in Bible study prior to his baptism during NCBC camp at Broken
Arrow Ranch (Kansas) in 1997. But he chose to be baptized at camp rather than
at his local church because he wanted to influence his friend Rocky.
It worked. Three years later, during the summer of 2000, Rocky
decided to be baptized. He too wanted to witness through his baptism to his
friend Paul. The chain reaction continued during NCBC camps at Broken Arrow
Ranch. Four years later, in 2004, camp pastor Richard New, from Omaha, Nebraska,
Integrating Blind people Into the Church
How can church members help blind people see Jesus? Another special function
of Christian Record Services is to help integrate blind people into their local
"A lot of times blind people feel shut out of churches,"
says Donnie Brown, a Seventh-day Adventist man who is blind. "So the opportunity
to worship in church is not always there. Some church members make us feel like
we are dumb, possibly deaf, and retarded. Because of the stereotypes society
has of blind people, there is not always the opportunity for blind people to
learn about Jesus Christ." Christian Record Services representatives help
change this situation by educating church members on how to be at ease with
Not Just North America
The special ministry of Christian Record Services to blind and visually impaired
people is not limited to North America. Each year thousands of blind people
worldwide read CRS Braille publications.
For example, Jamlick Kirimi Nyamu wrote from Kenya to Christian
Record Services Bible School director Maria Butler. He explained that he loves
CRS large-print publications. First he started studying the Life and Teachings
of Christ Bible course. Recently he sent in his answers to lesson 26 of the
Discover Bible course.
In giant letters Mr. Nyamu wrote, "I have completed the
Discover Bible lessons and I want another more Bible courses in large print.
I'm so most interested to learn more about the Bible from the beginning of Genesis
up to last book of Revelation. I want to know more of the whole truth of the
Bible. I have made the Bible to be my very valuable book and my essential basic
book to instruct me and guide [the] whole of my life."
Cassie Martsching, a CRS editorial assistant, received this
note from Michael Kofi Kumah, from Ghana: "I have received the [large print]
books sent to me and I wish to show my appreciation. I really thank the donors
and those that made it possible for me to have them for free.
"I have read the first four books and found out they are
gems indeed. . . . Thank you, and may God richly bless you and the Christian
Whether the publication is in Braille or large print, in audio
or Web based, the workers for blind and visually impaired people at Christian
Record Services seek to help blind people see Jesus. We expect that when Jesus
comes, His face will be the first these children of God will see. Then the vision
of these dedicated CRS workers will be literally fulfilled--blind people will
see Jesus in all of His power and glory.