Once upon a time…

In 1979, BIBLE STUDIES BY MAIL (BSBM) was started in Las Cruces, New Mexico. George and Mary Baker returned from South America where they served as missionaries with South America Mission in Peru (17 years) and Columbia (4 years). BSBM began with a burden for the spiritually needy in Las Cruces and a desire to share the Gospel with those who might not otherwise receive a witness.

In Colombia, Mary had used the Spanish study materials (Fuente de Luz) prepared by Source of Light Ministries International (SLM) in Madison, Georgia. She had found them to be a fruitful tool in reaching people with the Gospel. In February 1979, the Lord brought this to her remembrance and she sent for some lessons in both English and Spanish.

After securing a bulk-mailing permit from the Post Office, the Bakers decided to send out a letter to some 7,000 in and around Las Cruces. It wasn’t long before they began to receive reply cards back with names, addresses, ages and language preference, requesting the free Bible studies. Many applicants shared this with their relatives and friends, so the work began to grow. Mary Baker founded the work of BSBM in 1979 and George Baker was the first director.

One day, Mary asked a friend if anything was being done in the local jail. She was given the name of a businessman who did visitation and through him tracts with a study coupon attached were given to inmates. Soon letters began to arrive from prisoners asking to be enrolled as students. Then over a period of time as enrolled prisoners were moved to other facilities, the names of new students began rolling in. Currently, 75% of the active students are inmates in jails and prisons throughout the USA.

When the Bakers built their home, the small room called Mary’s “sewing room” became the office for BSBM and was renamed the “Sowing Room”. The work continued to grow until they had to finish off an open patio in the back of their house to accommodate the volunteers who came to help with correcting lessons, writing letters, filing and many other tasks.

On January 1, 1988, the BSBM office moved to its own quarters at 280 E. Foster Road, Las Cruces. In the early 90’s, Mary Baker had a stroke. She and her husband George then moved to Michigan. Mary Baker went to be with the Lord on May 17, 2000. George Baker moved to Oregon and lives with a married daughter. Mary and George founded and directed the ministry for 13 years.

David Beam was the second director of BSBM. He & Rosita Beam were missionaries in Puebla, Mexico under Source of Light Ministries International (SLM). They arrived in August 1992 and began giving leadership to the ministry. BSBM’s office moved to its present location in January 1995, at 800 Spruce Avenue in Las Cruces, New Mexico. In November 1996, David became the chaplain at the Doña Ana County Detention Center serving under Good News Jail & Prison Ministry. Rosita continues serving with SLM as she teaches Spanish Bible classes to inmates and grades their study courses from BSBM.

The third director was Eugene (Gene) Bunt. Gene and his first wife served the Lord for 20 years in Brazil. She passed away while they served there. Then on June 1, 1997, Gene and his second wife Grace accepted the leadership challenge at BSBM. On November 20, 2004, Grace A. Bunt passed away. Gene directed the ministry for 8 years. He now lives in South Carolina where he moved in the fall of 2005 and married Hortense (Davis). They serve under SLM International as supervisors for SLM’s South and Central American Branches. They also lead mission trips to Brazil to do projects with their church.

The fourth and current director is Darryl Evans. He and his wife Joan are missionaries with Serving In Mission (SIM) and they are on-loan to SLM. The Evans returned to North America after serving in Bolivia and Chile for 19 years. They moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico on March 3, 2005 and began to set up their home. Then on April 1st, they began to learn the ropes at BSBM and on July 1, 2005, Darryl became the director and Joan the office administrator.

The work of BIBLE STUDIES BY MAIL has steadily grown through word of mouth, a Christian radio station announcement and BSBM’s website. In 2006, 38,036 Bible studies were sent – a 32% increase over 2005. While approximately 90% of the lessons are mailed to a US address, the rest are sent to places overseas where SLM International doesn’t have a Branch office. These students live in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Zambia, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Cuba, Belize and other countries.

BIBLE STUDIES BY MAIL abounds in His grace because the study materials are based on the Bible, God’s powerful and productive written word. God’s written word reveals His love for the world through Jesus’ life, sacrificial death and resurrection. The Bible is God’s love letter to you, and BSBM is dedicated to share His love through free Bible correspondence studies in English and Spanish for ages 3 to 100+.