2015 Summer Newsletter

Dear Friends of the Braille Circulating Library,
When I was a child, one of my favorite cartoon characters was Popeye the Sailor Man. Popeye was not the most articulate man. He was always in conflict with his nemesis, Bluto, trying to save his girlfriend, Olive Oyl from some danger. Popeye would eat his spinach and his arms would turn into hammers, cannons, or some other device that would enable him to save Olive. Popeye would always say, “I am what I am, that’s all that I am. I’m Popeye the Sailor Man.”

There is a verse in I Corinthians 15 that reminds me of Popeye’s saying. It is where Paul is talking about his life, when he was known as Saul, and how his life was changed when he met Jesus on the Road to Damascus. Saul, who was the destroyer of Christians, became Paul, who was used by the Lord to plant churches and write the majority of the New Testament. In verse 10, Paul says, “But by the grace of God, I am what I am.” God’s GRACE!!!!

The dictionary defines grace as “undeserved divine favor”. But, I asked myself what God’s grace means to me. So, I took each letter of the word grace and I define it this way: “G” – It is a GIFT from God, “R” – just RECEIVE it freely from the Lord, “A” – the Lord ASKS nothing in return, “C” – it gives me CONFIDENCE and COMFORT, “E” – knowing the Lord has my back I can ENJOY life and face whatever happens. GRACE! Popeye also said, “I’m strong to the finish, cause I eats my spinach.” To me, grace is like Popeye’s spinach. It is what I need to face the problems and difficulties of life, and it helps me stay strong as I seek to “finish my course”.

I am also thankful for God’s grace in regard to the Braille Circulating Library. It is by God’s grace that the BCL has been able to serve the blind for 90 years. It is by God’s grace that the long needed repairs to the BCL building are being made. It is by God’s grace that new patrons to the BCL continue to be added to our rolls. It is by God’s grace that wonderful relationships have been developed with our neighbors in the Fan District of Richmond. It is by God’s grace that the BCL remains debt free and is able to continue to provide all of its services to the blind free of charge. It is by God’s grace that the ministry of the BCL is able to remain open when many other ministries to the blind have closed. And it is by God’s grace that we have wonderful friends like you who lift up this ministry in prayer and support us financially. I am truly thankful for God’s grace and I am truly thankful for each of you. Thank you.

During the next 10 years, as the BCL approaches its 100 year anniversary, I pray that the Lord will continue to protect and bless this unique ministry. I pray that the BCL will have new opportunities to serve the blind community. And I pray that the BCL will be “strong to the finish” with your continued prayer and financial support and by God’s wonderful GRACE!!!

Thank you again for your support.
Serving Him,
Rev. Brian J. Barton, Sr
Executive Director