So-called porch pirates can quickly ruin a family’s Christmas, but as one pastor in North Carolina discovered, they also can hamper a ministry.
Pastor Jeff Williams of West Franklin Baptist Church in Gastonia, N.C., was expecting three boxes of study Bibles delivered to his front door this month but found only two. When FedEx confirmed that the boxes had been delivered, Williams realized he had been the victim of a porch pirate – someone who steals boxes off front porches in hopes of finding high-priced items.
In this case, the porch pirates stole 24 study Bibles worth more than $1,000, WSOC-TV reported.
“We’re kind of curious as to what the folks thought when they opened the Bibles, and I would say this: If it’s something that you’ve taken and you’re not interested in, just bring them back.” Williams said. “Drop them off in the driveway because we need to get them out to folks who want them.”
Williams and his wife lead a ministry, Inspiration for Inmates, for individuals in prison. The ministry has personal meaning for the pastor. His daughter, who was addicted to meth, is serving a five-year sentence.
“To my surprise, Bibles are not readily available to each individual inmate,” the ministry’s GoFundMe page reads. “These ladies have to go to the library in the institution to read when their schedules permit and they may not have but a few moments to read. Having access to their own personal study Bible would allow them to read in a time of need. Some of the ladies in the facility do not have family or resources to obtain a nice Bible.”
Williams’ Go Fund Me page was set up in 2018 but has seen an uptick in donations in recent days due to the theft, with more than $2,000 contributed.
Meanwhile, the publisher of the study Bibles is replacing the stolen Bibles for free.
“The Lord says His WORD will not return void!!” the ministry posted on its Facebook page Thursday.
The ministry is still accepting donations on its Go Fund Me page, which says the goal is for “every inmate that would like a copy of God’s Word to be able to receive and own one free of charge.”
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/C5 Media
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.