When Michelle Borchardt's grandmother, Norma, passed away 10 years ago, Michelle eagerly responded to her mom's offer and accepted the large print Bible that Norma had read during the last years of her life.
Michelle said: "It was a dear thing to [my grandma]. She didn't take it lightly." Michelle has treasured this Bible, using it so much that the binding has broken causing the pages to fall out.
In January 2020, Michelle's husband asked what she wanted for her upcoming birthday. She shared that she would like to restore her grandmother's Bible. Once they received a cost estimate from the printer's shop though, Michelle began to change her mind.
Michelle shared about the impact of growing up with God's Word and how she ultimately decided to celebrate her birthday and honor her grandma's legacy.
Growing Up With God's Word
"There hasn't ever been a time where I didn't love going to church or being with God's people or ministering [to] people," Michelle shared. Michelle asked Jesus to be her savior when she was 10 years old and remembers being surrounded by people who loved God.
Michelle's parents had a deep love for God and his Word. When Michelle was young, her mom taught her to say the books of the Bible in order. And in Sunday school at her local church, Michelle recited all the books of the Bible to get a prize — her very own Bible to read and bring to church with her.
During her walk to school each morning, Michelle tucked little cards in her mitten that were printed with Bible verses to memorize on her journey. "[The Bible] has always been in my life," Michelle said. "I just cherish that."
Experiencing God's Provision
Michelle's twin daughters, Katie and Tyler, were born before sonograms were common, making the arrival of two babies instead of one a complete surprise. "It was no surprise to [God]," Michelle laughs. But with finances already tight, Michelle wasn't sure exactly how the Lord would provide for the girls.
One day Michelle fed Tyler the last of the formula the family was able to purchase. She knew Katie would be hungry in 20 minutes. Suddenly a knock at the door announced the arrival of a couple from church — holding a big box of formula. "We just felt God wanted us to bring this over to you," they said.
"Time and time again, God provided for us as a family," Michelle said. "He knew what he was doing when he gave us twins."
Sharing God's Love
Michelle's love for God's Word and her experience seeing God provide for her has shaped her desire to teach others about him. As a teacher in fifth grade Sunday school, she would ask her class, "What did God do in your life this week?"
Michelle recalled, "We would pray about [the kids' requests] every week in class and share stories with each other. ... The kids were learning how God works. ... They wanted to trust God for [their needs] too." In her 20 years teaching Sunday school, praying with her students and encouraging them to memorize Scripture were highlights for Michelle.
On her first mission trip to Honduras, Michelle used her teaching experience to help with a children's Bible camp. This experience — as well as visits to Tanzania — further opened her eyes to the need for the message of God's love around the world.
Sending the Bible to the World
Michelle first learned about Bible translation when a friend at church joined Wycliffe to serve as a missionary in Cameroon. When considering whether to restore her grandma's worn copy of Scripture, Michelle thought about the millions of people around the world who don't yet have God's Word in a language that speaks to their hearts.
"I don't have to have [my grandma's Bible] fixed," Michelle said. "My conscience won't let me, knowing how much other people would love ... the full Scriptures for themselves in their language."
To celebrate her birthday, Michelle wrote a check to Wycliffe to help bring God's Word to more people around the world. Her special Bible is still unfixed. "I can still read it this way, right here [on my dining room table]."
"To know the Bible is to know God," Michelle said. She knows that her gift will give others the opportunity to experience what she has throughout her life — the joy of knowing God through Scripture.