Small Beginnings

I thought that perhaps some of you who have read Edwin and Lillian Harvey’s books might like to know how it all began, or, to be more accurate, how “they” all began. Well, three hundred pounds, a sympathetic printing establishment called “Nelson and Knox” in Northern Ireland, and a few grains of mustard seed faith which, our Lord said, could remove mountains, and you pretty much have the origin of what we now know as “Harvey Christian Publishers.” Well, this is not quite accurate. Without a profusion of material from the extensive files that Lillian had slowly accumulated over the years, Harvey Publishers might never have come into being. The material in these files had already provided inspiration for the periodical The Message of Victory which Edwin and Lillian jointly edited. But although this little magazine had a circulation of thousands within the British Isles, they felt the time had come to produce inspired reading in a more permanent form—a daily reading book with quotations from godly men and women from various denominations and cultures. They would call it The Christian’s Daily Challenge. True, there were other daily devotionals on the market, but this book would be unique. It would unite the voices of saints of all ages and denominations in one grand challenge to godly living!

So, the material was there and the vision, but what about the finance? It was post war Britain. Life was not easy. Rationing was at its height and money was scarce. Edwin and Lillian were leaders of the Metropolitan Mission with British headquarters in Glasgow. They had enough money to live on, but that was all. Well, not quite. They had saved up over the years by going to auctions, buying up canned goods, and reselling them for a small profit to the kitchen staff at the mission’s Bible School.A few pennies here, a few shillings there, and three hundred pounds had been accumulated!

With many of the readers of their periodical in Northern Ireland, Edwin and Lillian had contacted a Christian printer there who was shocked when these novice authors announced they wished to print ten thousand copies of their first book! The printer informed them that they were either utterly crazy or people of tremendous faith! He must have decided on the latter and informed these naïve adventurers that he would allow them to print in installments. So they placed their hard-earned three hundred pounds in the printer’s hands, sold their first batch of books, and then paid for the next batch with money from these sales. A traveling salesman saw the book and decided he wanted to distribute it. And he did. The books spread over the British Isles. Thousands were eventually sold and blessed many readers all over the world. The name of this first book? The Christian’s Daily Challenge!