Update from Dr. Margaret Peterson, LLP staff and member of Texas District Board of Mission Administration:

Lutheran Literacy Project (LLP) started a donation effort more than two years ago to the STEM Academy charter school at UTPB in Odessa. This story begins with LLP finding out that the St. Paul Lutheran Elementary school in Austin closed its doors and was trying to find a home for its whole library. Liz Zoch had asked if LLP would be interested in the several thousands of books. Initially, it seemed beyond the scope of LLP, but then we found out that the STEM Academy was trying to start a library for their younger students.

Talk about God putting things together! It took a while but LLP was able to broker the transfer of the whole library from Austin to Odessa.

Fast forward to now. LLP found out that the STEM Academy wanted to expand its library to provide for its upper-level students. Last summer LLP was completely shut down because of COVID as far as giving away books was concerned. The donations just kept pouring in though, causing inventory to quickly become out of control. We were to the point of panic, wondering what we were going to do with all the books.

It turned out that two of the larger donations were exactly the level the STEM Academy was looking for. One of the donations was from the Sonora ISD. They were culling their Middle School and High School libraries. The other donation was from a park ranger at the Guadalupe Mountains National Park who was moving to South Texas. He decided that faced with a major relocation, the time was right to clean out his adult kids’ childhood book collections. They had really good books too! In any case, problem solved. God at work again!

The story is not over though. Also, last summer LLP got a giant donation of nature and science books for lower-level readers from the library in Fort Davis. While we were delivering the High School and Middle School books last week, the Elementary School contact asked if we might have more books for them too. Once again perfect books and perfect timing! We will deliver them as soon as we get them out of storage.

Honestly, these past months have been rather discouraging. In July, when COVID cases seemed to be going down and the schools were all excited and expecting to go back to pre-COVID normal, I started communication with several of my favorite schools and a couple of new ones to bring books to the students again. Not three weeks later or so, cases precipitously increased again and things seemed to be thrown back to a repeat of last year. I was so thankful to have started working with the schools on their libraries. I am also working with Dallas Lutheran School. They don’t want a lot of books but are looking for specific topics and titles. Sometimes LLP even has what they are looking for!

I don’t know if any of the holiday things we have typically done at this time of the year are going to happen this year or not. We will just have to wait and see. I’d like to try again anyway with a couple of ideas I had for LLP activities involving congregations. Maybe these will be even better than what our usual holiday routine has been.

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