"This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine..."1 It's a song we start hearing as infants and sing as children in hopes that it will translate into a creed of conduct during our adult years. For Mimi Weithers-Bruce, it has. Her light shines every time she pulls out her Bible, a Bible so well-used that a rubber band is holding the pages together. The mere sight of her well-worn Bible is sometimes just the conversation starter she needs to begin sharing her faith.
When Mimi was a student at Andrews University in the early 90s, one day she bought a Bible as a gift for a friend. Her friend didn't really want the Bible so Mimi gladly took it back and put it on her bookshelf. She used it for a couple of religion courses and eventually for her daily Bible reading.
After graduating from Andrews University, Mimi entered the workforce in a corporate America setting. A stark contrast to the college, faith-based community she was accustomed to, Mimi was surrounded by believers from other Christian traditions, Eastern religions and some with no faith at all.
"People would start asking questions about why I was so 'weird.' I went to church on Saturday, I didn't drink—all these things that were very foreign to them," says Mimi. "When they asked me why, all of a sudden I needed to really ask myself, 'Why do I do that?' or 'Why don't I do that?'"
Mimi carried her Bible with her every day, so she would just pull it out and start sifting through the pages to find the answers she needed. "It came in pretty handy for a lot of discussions," says Mimi.
The questions from coworkers helped further spur her interest in learning more, to really discover the amazing things the pages of her Bible held. A bit of a history buff at heart, Mimi stumbled upon various tidbits or guides to the Bible from time to time. Not wanting to forget these helpful bits of information, she tucked little notes or printouts into the appropriate book of the Bible for future reference. During a sermon, when she hears something that suddenly makes another part of the Bible come alive with understanding, she'll jot down a note on a piece of paper and carefully tuck it in between the pages.
"Over the years, I've carried it with me to work, church and used it at home," says Mimi. "The pages are falling apart and I have to use a rubber band to hold it together." Some have offered to buy her a new Bible, and Mimi has other, more intact Bibles at home, but she says when it comes to her study time, "It's my Bible—my own kind of study Bible. I don't want a new one."
"All around the neighborhood, I'm gonna let it shine..."2
Keri Suarez is a media relations specialist in the Office of Integrated Marketing & Communication at Andrews University. Mimi Weithers-Bruce is the executive assistant to the provost at Andrews University.
1. Words and music by Harry Dixon. Public domain.