November 9, 2021

Peru Adventists Distribute 1 Million Books to Promote Reading, Share Hope

“Peru Does Read” drive sought to beef up literacy skills as it spreads optimism.

By: Jaime Vilcapoma, South American Division, and Adventist Review

“Share a Book, Share Hope" is the motto of the “Peru Does Read” drive organized by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Peru. Volunteers in the initiative recently distributed a million copies of Mark Finley's book Hope for a World in Crisis in the northern part of the country.

The church has organized a similar drive every year, promoting it through all its institutions. In 2021, the drive was launched on October 24 and ended on October 30. On each of those days, Adventist volunteers distributed thousands of books.

Regional church leaders shared that the initiative is based on a desire to promote reading in the country. Volunteers walked through major cities, parks, and public squares, following pandemic-related restrictions and social distancing protocols, to hand out books.

Leaders also said they planned several drive-related activities with the assistance of strategic partners, a delivery plan to local and regional government offices, and prayer drives outside health facilities and shopping centers. The plans included visits to fire stations, police stations, and army bases, leaders reported. Finally, another group distributed books in companies and stores and stopped at strategic corners of major cities. Volunteers also distributed the books door to door.

In addition, Adventist volunteers offered digital copies of Finley’s book to people they met.

The 2021 initiative was launched with a livestreamed ceremony for the Adventist Church in northern Peru on October 21. North Peru Union Mission president Daniel Montalván emphasized the importance of prayer for the drive’s success. “No great movement has ever begun without prayer and commitment to spreading [love for] reading and hope,” he said.

The initiative included special moments of prayer in public places, asking God to guide the nation as it tries to recover from the deep crisis caused by the pandemic.

A Book for the President

Among the residents of Peru who got a free copy of Hope for a World in Crisis was Peru’s president, Pedro Castillo. Castillo congratulated the organizers of the initiative for distributing free books to the population during his official visit to the country’s north on October 25. “I find it an excellent initiative, especially for young people,” Castillo said.

Adventist pastor Elí Monteza was distributing copies of the book when the president arrived in his city. Monteza was eventually allowed to see the president and his son Arnold to give them a copy of the book. 

“I am thrilled that I was able to give a copy of this book to the leader of our nation,” Monteza said. “Castillo’s support can certainly have a strong influence, so more young people take on reading as a regular activity.”

Thais Suarez contributed to this report.

The original version of this story was posted on the South American Division Spanish-language news site.