During the coronavirus pandemic stay-at-home orders, Resonate Global Mission missionaries James and Barbarita Lee and their children in Mexico wanted to provide books for their neighbors to read, so they set up a “Little Free Library” in front of their house. People told them it was a bad idea, but God put it on the Lees’ hearts.
Turns out, God had a whole other plan for the small library.
Little Free Library
If you’re not familiar with Little Free Libraries, they look like big mailboxes that sit in household yards that serve as miniature libraries—passersby are free to borrow or leave books. While Little Free Libraries are common in Canada and the United States, they are rare in Mexico. There are only eight registered in Mexico, including the Lees’.
“People told us that we were taking a risk, that people would take all the books and that even the structure could be vandalized,” said James and Barbarita. “We decided to focus on the good of people.”
The family filled the library with books, including Spanish translations of the Bible. But since then, the Lees have been filling the library with something else, too.
“Since then, the COVID-19 crisis has taken away many people’s livelihoods, and many neighbors have uncertain futures,” said the Lees. “Many lived day-to-day prior to the crisis.”
Wanting to help provide for those who needed it, the Lees took food from their own cupboards and filled the library with beans, rice, noodles, and cans of tuna. The food quickly disappeared, and thank you notes from neighbors filled the library guest book.
The Lees knew they needed to provide more food, so they took a trip to the grocery store and brought home five bulging bags. The food lasted only a few days.
The Lees prayed and bought 110 pounds of beans and rice. That same day, people started asking to help. Members from the Lee’s church, families from their children’s school, and other community members stepped in to help cover the cost of food, or helped to package and prepare it.
The Lee family is also taking precautions to ensure that they are not contributing to the spread of COVID-19. They wipe down books and other supplies before placing them in the library. They have a note in Spanish pasted inside the library to encourage people to wipe off any items and wash their hands before and after using books. The Lees personally clean the library every morning, and those who prepare food wear gloves and masks.
While this still involves some risk, they feel strongly this is one way they can come alongside their neighbors and help meet some immediate needs during this pandemic.
Coming Together During Crisis
What started as a family project turned into a community initiative to provide for neighbors. People continue to borrow books, and all of the Bibles are gone. As the food disappears, notes continue to fill the library guest book.
Thank you for the food, I am diabetic and have no work.
Thank you for doing this, I took some rice for my sick grandmother.
Thank you for the food, I have had no work for two months, and my children need it.
“This ‘library’ project was God’s divine act to show his grace and love to our community,” said James and Barbarita. “God has used this little library to bring together our kids’ school, our local church, and neighborhood community groups to take care of each other through this crisis.”
Thank you for supporting Resonate missionaries like the Lees as they respond to needs in their communities during the coronavirus pandemic!
“We do not know how long this will last,” said the Lees, “but as long as this crisis continues, we know God will continue to provide beans, rice, and Bibles to share with those in need.”