Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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The “One Book A Day” Challenge in New Zealand Sparks Enthusiasm Worldwide
By Bhava Sandhi Devi Dasi   |  Apr 06, 2024

There is a new sankirtan sensation in New Zealand that is creating a fire of enthusiasm and camaraderie in the community. It is called the “One Book A Day” challenge (OBAD) and was initiated by Bhakta Jordan from The Loft Outreach Centre in Auckland. 

Bhakta Jordan himself first came in contact with Krishna Consciousness through book distribution. His sister came home after meeting a sankirtan devotee in a car park and brought him back a Chant and Be Happy. After reading a few chapters, he started watching Srila Prabhupada’s lectures online and chanting the maha mantra. All this before even associating with devotees and getting his first japa kit. Fast forward six years and Bhakta Jordan has now been following the principles of bhakti yoga and steadily chanting 16 rounds for two years while living in a contemporary working men’s ashram. He often distributes books on the way to his painting job in the early mornings (petrol stations are his favourite spot). Frequently, he distributes books before 7:00 am! He calls it “Books Before Breakfast.”

The idea for the OBAD challenge came to him after Devamrita Swami gave a presentation at the end-of-year sankirtan celebration in New Zealand, stating, “Don’t just leave books to our big distributors; we can ALL do something.” Inspired by this, he decided to create a challenge that was originally aimed at working devotees like himself and those in the grihastha ashram. 

The guidelines for the challenge are:

1. Keep at least 1-3 books with you each day.

2. Try to distribute a book wherever you think best throughout your day.

3. Post a photo/message on the Whatsapp group chat to show what book was distributed.

The Whatsapp group is a vital part of the challenge as it keeps everyone connected and inspired. Many opportunities have been found to share Srila Prabhupada’s books, including to colleagues and customers, as part of gift packages, while on early morning runs, lunch breaks, and even in elevators. 

Through many original and humorous ways, these books are finding their way into the hearts and lives of others. And, adding to the fun and camaraderie, prizes (specifically printed OBAD T-shirts) are given to the top three distributors.

The first challenge ran from February 1st – 14th, with 16 participants from NZ distributing 220 books! The fire of enthusiasm caught on, with 28 devotees signing up for the second challenge (1st – 14th March). Three participants joined from overseas. The book score almost doubled the second time around, with 418 books distributed. 

However, as Bhakta Jordan clarified, “It’s more about busy devotees doing one book a day, wherever they may be throughout their day. Personal scores won’t be so high, but with working/grihastha devotees making up the majority of the community, the OBAD efforts could increase yearly book scores by quite a lot.”  

Now, with Atlanta, USA, and Melbourne, Australia, both heading up the OBAD challenge in their own communities, running from April 1st to 14th, it could be an exciting time for the sankirtan mission. We hope other cities will be encouraged to take up the OBAD challenge as well. 

One devotee who joined the challenge said, “I consider myself a book distributor at heart, but days and weeks can go by without distributing books as I get swept away in work and family. Joining the “One Book a Day” challenge has reminded me to carry books with me and look for opportunities for distribution. Seeing the photos on my phone of others distributing books awakens in me a desire to give that mercy and get a taste of book distribution again. It has brought a sense of adventure back to my day.”

To follow this inspiring service or learn more, please visit their Facebook page, Instagram, or you can contact Bhakta Jordan via email or WhatsApp at 0064 274500477.

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