Play. Pause. Translate. Play. Pause. Translate.

It’s the early 1980s in China. A small group is listening to a cassette tape recording of a Bible study. They play it for a few seconds, push the pause button, someone translates into Chinese, and then they repeat the process.

The tape is a recording from a teenage boy named Ty Gibson. He was a new Christian who was passionate about sharing the gospel with anyone who might be interested. So he offered to do Bible studies, on weekends and in the evenings, at people’s homes in the Spokane, Washington, area. Soon people began inviting their friends. Each time a house would become full, Ty would split the group into two homes, then three, then four, until there were small groups meeting every night of the week to delve into the Bible. Soon people began recording the studies and sharing them with friends, who shared them with friends, who shared them with friends. After a while, stories started coming back: the recordings made their way to Italy, someone in France heard them, then Germany. One day it was the group in China.

It was at one of these Bible study groups that Ty met another young new follower of Jesus by the name of James Rafferty, who approached Ty to challenge him on some theological issue he thought Ty was “off” on. So Ty invited James to his home for breakfast, since they were both becoming “health reformers” and Ty’s wife, Sue, was learning how to make vegetarian food. They became friends and James began doing the in-home Bible studies with Ty.

…the recordings made their way to Italy, someone in France heard them, then Germany. One day it was the group in China.

Giving Bible studies was exciting, but at some point, Ty and James felt a desire to reach farther with the beautiful truths they were learning. They’d been reading what Ellen White, one of the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, wrote about “the power of the printed page.” They were convinced that publishing was the best way to share the gospel on a global scale. You could preach a message to hundreds in an hour, but with publishing, you could make the message available to millions. So they decided to start their own publishing ministry.

The idea didn’t make a lot of sense, though, looking at Ty and James’ backgrounds. Neither had any experience with the publishing industry nor money to make it happen. Both already had full-time jobs that didn’t leave much margin for side hustles. But God has a way of using people who say yes before they have all the risks worked out. So, in 1985, with the modest financial backing of a few people, Ty and James decided it was time to take the leap. They quit their jobs and purchased a $8,000 AB Dick printing press. Someone else offered the use of a 33-acre piece of property, located in the remote mountain town of Malo, Washington, and on it was an old garlic drying shed.

After a little remodeling, the publishing work of Light Bearers was launched in that garlic shed.

Well, “launched” might not be the best word.

Once the new press was set up, they had to figure out how it worked. It would be an understatement to say they didn’t know what they were doing. Working through the night, by the crack of dawn, they managed to stick ink to paper, but it wasn’t pretty. So they quickly hired a press operator and stuck to the preaching and writing part of the ministry. From there, things took off. They soon began sending literature overseas in large canvas bags. Eventually they realized they could distribute mountains of literature in shipping containers. Semi trucks hauled Coke and televisions, so why not gospel tracts?

After a little remodeling, the publishing work of Light Bearers was launched in that garlic shed.

With all the production, they outgrew the garlic shed, so they added a wing onto it. Eventually they realized they needed a new and faster printing press, which was $56,000 they didn’t have. They prayed that God would provide, but told nobody about the need. Then, out of nowhere, a man mailed them a check for $56,000. He enclosed a note saying the Lord had impressed him that they needed this money.

So they bought the new press.

Overseas requests for literature continued to grow, as did the need for better equipment. A new Sanden Quantum 1250 web press was purchased. And this machine was fast. It could print 2,400 tracts per minute. As the ministry grew, a better location and facility was needed. So, in 2007, Light Bearers moved their headquarters from Malo, Washington to the little town of Jasper, Oregon, where a generous supporter donated a beautiful property and built them a publishing house. Container after container of gospel literature, in numerous different languages, was going out, faster than ever.

For the past 16 years, Light Bearers has sent between 10-18 containers of literature a year around the world from Jasper, Oregon. Along with Bibles and other gospel materials, each container carries one to two million pieces of literature printed in local languages for as little as $0.05 per tract.

Like you, we at Light Bearers are serious about doing all we can to take the gospel to the world. Flooding developing countries with truth-filled literature is one of the most cost-effective ways to fulfill that mission. Being true to this commitment means adapting to changing technologies. A previously cutting-edge $56,000 printing press had to give way to web press in order to stay true to our purpose.

When it comes to sharing the gospel, though, God doesn’t ask people if they’re trained. He asks if they’re game.

This year, as the world has continued changing, we’ve seen the need to make two significant changes in order to keep pursuing our vision: the first being that we’ve now shifted to outsourcing our printing work to a reputable company that can print our materials at a higher quality for less money, because they have printing facilities located at prime geographic locations closer to where our containers need to go.

The second change has been relocating our headquarters to Collegedale, Tennessee. This is a strategic location for the kind of video production ministry we do and will allow us to continue growing the reach of Light Bearers. We’ve recently purchased a beautiful piece of property as well and begun the process of drawing up plans for our new media center and offices. We’re excited about this new chapter and what it will bring.

Between no background in publishing and setting up shop in a garlic shed, you’d think we’d be the worst publishers in the industry. When it comes to sharing the gospel, though, God doesn’t ask people if they’re trained. He asks if they’re game.

It’s because of generous donors like you who share our vision—because you said you were game—that this has all been made possible. You’ve helped some of the worst publishers on earth distribute over 750 million pieces of gospel literature worldwide. Just imagine what God can do with us as we move into the future.

Light Bearers

Light Bearers' mission is to vindicate the beauty of God’s character. As the immensely blessed recipients of God’s grace, we possess an abundance of life-transforming truth and we deeply desire to share it with every person on earth.