Lutheran Blind Mission (LBM) is suspending production of some of its Braille, large-type, and audiocassette magazines, including The Lutheran Witness, said Rev. David Andrus, LBM executive director.
“As you are well aware,” Andrus wrote in a letter to Witness Managing Editor Jim Heine, “the downturn in the economy has affected most businesses and organizations. Individuals as well are looking at their spending habits. Lutheran Blind Mission is no exception. While overall donations are somewhat lower, especially those from congregations, we want to make sure that we are good stewards of the gifts we are receiving.”
Other magazines affected include the Braille editions of Higher Things, Lutheran Digest, and My Devotions; the large-type edition of Lutheran Digest; and the audiocassette formats for Lutheran Digest and Higher Things.
Andrus added that LBM will re-evaluate its action in seven months and said he believes that curtailing its efforts will be a short-term situation. Meanwhile, he says the organization, which applied for and is awaiting Recognized Service Organization status with the Synod, will look into other ways of serving people who are blind, including making available computerized Braille digital copies that are read on electronic Braille or digital audio readers.
“We are not a sinking ship,” Andrus said. “LBM will continue even as it did during other tough times. LBM has been serving the needs of blind and visually-impaired people for over 86 years. The real question is how much can we do? Our mission and ministry is reaching out to blind and visually-impaired people with the good news of the Gospel. The bottom line is simple: This is God’s mission and God’s people will provide.”
Lutheran Blind Mission is the largest Christian lending library of alternative materials in the world, mailing out more than 4,000 Braille, large-type, and audiocassette books free of charge. LBM also has 51 outreach centers throughout the country where blind people gather to hear about Jesus’ love for them, and receive training to prepare for employment and to become effective Christian leaders. For a listing of the centers and to search its library, visit its Web site at www.blindmission.org