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Week 10:  Customer Testimonies

Monday (2nd) - Germany :

There is a young man who was a famous poker player. He went through difficult times, looking for meaning to life, and then became a Christian through reading the Bible. He visited CLC Hamburg last year to buy a Bible and has returned to the shop since then. He has very little in terms of wisdom and knowledge but he is passionate about his faith and has already started preaching on the streets and through social media. Please pray that he will find encouragement, sound advice and good books to help him grow in spiritual maturity when he visits CLC.

Tuesday (3rd) - Papua New Guinea (PNG):
Praise the Lord for opportunities to share the gospel. Recently, two mothers came into the bookshop in Port Moresby, one after the other, looking for Bibles for their sons. The first lady was separated from her husband and family. She wanted to buy a Bible for the son’s birthday and was obviously upset that she could not be with him for this special occasion, but a member of staff was able to encourage her and share something of God’s love for His children. The second lady was not a Christian but her son had been asking repeatedly for a Bible. Again a staff member briefly shared the gospel message with this lady, and she bought a Bible for her son.
 
Wednesday (4th) - Venezuela:
A member of the shop team in Merida decided to invite some regular customers to his church. These were people who bought books from CLC but did not go to church. Not only have those customers started attending the church but they have invited others along and, at the time of writing, it is estimated that 1520% of the congregation who attend the staff member’s church are there through the encouragement of CLC and, most importantly, the work of the Lord through the CLC ministry.

Thursday (5th) - Venezuela:
In the Maracaibo bookshop, both Christian and non-believing customers have said that entering the CLC bookshop is like entering an ‘oasis of peace and tranquillity’. We praise God for this as it is His presence that makes the difference. A customer has shared with us how the book The Love Dare has made a difference in his failing marriage relationship. He came back to the shop to tell us that his marriage was much more stable. He was thankful to God and to CLC for this change – and had brought a friend with him as he wanted to buy the book for him too.

Friday (6th) - Switzerland:
Carlo, the manager of CLC Lugano, writes: - “One morning I asked God if this bookshop was really serving its purpose. Sales were going down and I didn’t see blessings here as I see in other CLC shops. Then a man, who had not realised we were a Christian bookshop, walked in. As we talked, it became obvious he had been a Christian but was no longer living out his faith or attending church. He himself recognised that the encounter in the shop was no co-incidence and knew that God was prompting him to return to church and, I trust, to a close relationship with Him. That same day, a man with a drug problem came in looking for something to help him overcome his problems and be a stronger person. I pray that the conversation we had, and the book I recommended, will serve to lead this young man to Jesus.”
 
The Weekend (7th/8th) - UK:
A lady came into the Leicester bookshop looking for resources to help her colleague, who was of a different faith, understand Christianity. We guided her to some English and Persian booklets on basic Christianity. Two weeks later she returned to the shop to ask for some books for a new Christian. A customer who overheard the conversation asked if she could pray for this lady’s colleague. There was such an air of joy in the shop that day!      

Week 11:  United Kingdom

Monday (9th) - UK Trustees:
Continue to pray for the UK trustees as they are carrying a great weight of responsibility at the moment.  The warehouse move, the need for new IT systems and changes in the leadership all need a lot of wisdom and prayer. The trustees are Gary Chamberlin (chairman), Bob Clark, William Mackenzie, John Watkins, and Viv Whitton. Eddie Olliffe is standing down as a trustee while he has the short term role of CLC UK General Manager. Please pray also that one or two more wise and godly trustees can be appointed.

Tuesday (10th) - Partnership:
Pray for the arrangement CLC has made with Eden to fulfil our web site orders for at least the next year - giving thanks that it has got off to a good start.  Pray for the team at Eden as they take on this extra work on our behalf and also give thanks that this is taking pressure off our warehouse at a time when the wholesale trade is still growing rapidly.

Wednesday (11th) - Bookstalls:
Pray for the advanced planning and preparations for the large events for which we provide bookstalls. This summer we will probably be doing stalls at HTB Focus, North and the One Event as well as providing stock for others. Pray that the right staff and volunteers will be available to staff these events and that the logistics for moving stock and equipment can be put in place. Pray also for smooth co-operation and fellowship with event organizers.

Thursday (12th) - Warehouse Relocation:
The trustees, having made the decision to move the warehouse to a bigger building in a more central location, are in the process of finding a suitable property. Pray for wisdom for the trustees, UK leadership and our property advisors as options are considered. Pray too that the Lord will provide the finance needed for this project as He has for other needs in the past.

Friday (13th) - Finance Team:
Pray for the finance team based at the Alresford warehouse.  John Auger is the finance director and looks after the support fund, budgets, management accounts, VAT, and payroll payments. Will Cerri deals with phone enquiries, weekly returns from the shops, cash book payments and receipts.  Final team member, Clare Smith, is responsible for supplier enquiries and payments. Give thanks for these people who do such a vital backroom job which enables the rest of CLC to function smoothly.

The Weekend (14th/15th) - Retail Management:
With 20 shops, CLC is one of the largest Christian bookshop chains in the UK. With the decrease in high street bookshops, suppliers increasingly look to us as a means of bringing their publications and products to the attention of the public. Pray for wisdom for the retail management team as they talk to suppliers and decide the best way we can help them and ourselves to fulfil our mission objectives.

Week 12:  Answered Prayer

Monday (16th) - Portugal:
Although it was not planned, Carlos Cunha, the manager of CLC in Coimbra, received an answer to prayer for a part time volunteer when his wife Lídia started helping in the shop. Lidia had been in employment elsewhere, so the move to being a volunteer was, and still is, a financial challenge for the family! Praise the Lord for His provision, through support from other people, at just the times when extra finance was needed.

Tuesday (17th) - Uruguay:
We have been praying for a long time for someone suitable and committed to join us on our CLC team – thinking of the longer term future of the bookshop. Last year a young man, Daniel Bueno, started working with us. He has just the gifts and characteristics we were looking for and we give thanks to God for the way he is rapidly learning his role and integrating into the team.

Wednesday (18th) - France:
We have been praying for justice in our dealings with the landlord of the Paris bookshop. He was planning to double the rent but we could not afford this. The main problem was being tied to a contract we would struggle to keep. At the time of writing, it seems that God has made a way for us – and it came as a surprise! A large French company wants to take over our current shop premises and we hope to be able to move to a cheaper location without further legal and financial obligations to the landlord.

 Thursday (19th) - Cyprus:
Because of the economic situation in Cyprus some shop rents have been reduced, but our landlord was not willing to make a reduction. When we told him that the owner of the vacant shop next door had reduced the rent, he offered us a small reduction or, he said, we could move next door! We prayed and asked the Lord for clear direction. Two days later, just as we had finished praying again about it, our landlord said that after consideration, and as we have been good tenants, he had decided to reduce the rent to the same level as next door. Praise the Lord!

Friday (20th) - Romania:
Despite being very busy, and working with a reduced staff (two members left recently), we praise the Lord for His help and provision in answer to our prayers. At the end of last year, we had some special orders, including some good sales on the website, which encouraged us and increased our sales significantly. We have also been able to translate 7 books which will be printed as and when we have the resources for this.

The Weekend (21st/22nd) - Belarus:
Belarus was the first country from the former Soviet Union where CLC was able to establish a bookshop – in 1994. Since then, the team have been praying for opportunities to collaborate with other Russian speaking countries – including the ones where CLC now works. CLC publishes books and Bibles in Belarus but so far, due to regulations, it is not possible to sell them directly to other countries. A recent visit from Nikita Sapunov, from CLC Moscow, was a huge encouragement to the Belarus team and they have been discussing possibilities of doing joint publication projects in the near future. Praise the Lord for these links.
              

Week 13:  Bulgaria and the Netherlands

Monday (23rd) - Sofia Bookshop, Bulgaria:
Lidia Dimitrova, the current manager of the CLC bookshop in Sofia, joined CLC just three years after the ministry began in Bulgaria (1993). Lidia’s co-worker, Ginka Koeva, was previously helping her husband in the CLC bookshop in Gabrovo until it closed down about 10 years ago. Ginka joined the CLC team in Sofia in 2006. Pray for these two committed ladies as they work in challenging conditions. Praise the Lord for the relocation of the bookshop in 2006 to a building that is now owned by CLC. 

Tuesday (24th) - A Heart for Bulgaria’s Ministry :
We need a third person to help in the bookshop on a part time basis. Someone has helped for the past few years, and another young man replaced him last year, until he was accepted onto a University course, and now we are looking again. The situation is complicated! Voluntary work is not a popular practice in Bulgaria, we can’t afford a full time wage and even the half time salary we could offer is not the normal rate for what we need – someone with good computer skills and command of the English language. We need someone who loves the Lord and has a heart for this ministry as well of course. May God give wisdom and guidance in this matter.

Wednesday (25th) - More Opportunities in Sofia, Bulgaria:
Sales improved last year in comparison with the year before, but this is mainly due to the fact that the prices of all goods, including books, have gone up which raises the turnover. Praise the Lord that we are still selling books from the Sofia shop, but we would like more opportunities to sell them elsewhere. Churches would be a good place for our books, but although churches have regular book tables, they tend to sell mostly Bibles which they get directly from publishers.

Thursday (26th) - Apeldoorn, Netherlands:
The bookshop in Apeldoorn is run by Corine Brijs and Magda Hoogerbrugge. They have both served here for about 10 years now and do their work wholeheartedly. The shop, on a main street, has been in operation since 1983. It is quite large and includes offices and a staff room on the second floor. Praise the Lord for the ministry that goes on in this bookshop and for the many book tables that go out to surrounding churches and events from the shop.  Friday (27th) - Publishing in the

Netherlands:
Last October, a new Bible translation was published. It is the 9th official Dutch Bible translation. King Willem-Alexander (on the left in the photo) was given the first copy and it became the number one best-selling book in the country for over a month. We are very thankful for this interest in the Word of God. * In 2014, CLC Publications in the Netherlands began by publishing two titles by Randy Alcorn. This year we hope to continue publishing books because we believe it strengthens both our mission and ministry.

The Weekend (28th/29th) - Amsterdam, Netherlands:

The bookshop in Amsterdam is run by Els Oosterhuis and Maarten Frankhuizen and has been located at the city centre since 1991. Recently however, we have decided to close this shop at the end of 2015 because of a dramatic decline in sales. We are now investigating possibilities to either relocate the shop or, if it would be better for the time being, to base all our work in Apeldoorn which will include the internet shop and publications.

 

 

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