Is Missionary Bottle Evangelism Work For You?

written by Kraig Josiah Rice

The burning question is:
Is the ministry of missionary bottle evangelism for everyone? The answer is no. It takes a special person who does not mind waiting for his missionary bottles to land- and this sometimes takes years. So he or she does not see any immediate results from his labors.

This special person must also have a love for the Word of God.

This special person must be so inclined to use literature evangelism as a tool to reach out with God's Word to the masses of people who are lost.

Finally, that person must have an evangelist's heart with a burden to reach the lost. He or she must actually care and have a desire to do something about their lost condition. This special person must have faith in Christ to trust Him to bring fruit from his labors out of time if need be. He must truly believe that God the Holy Spirit will work thru His Word for the purpose of evangelism.

To give you an example here is an article worth reading:

The following information appeared in the Bible Tract Bulletin, the September 1987 issue newsletter of Bible Tracts, Inc. directed my evangelist Paul Levin and his wife, Dorothy.

"Dear Friends: Dr. Wayne Van G., Sr., told me by phone last June that he had just returned from Burma, where he met a native pastor, Goza Chan. Twenty years ago, Brother Chan, then a liberal Baptist pastor, was saved after reading our New Birth tract. Since then, God has used him to establish 100 independent Baptist churches, with a total of 22,000 converts!

Note several things about this report:

1. We didn't know about Mr. Chan's conversion until 20 years after he was saved. So don't ever get discouraged because you may not see results from your tract distribution. Only God knows how that tract will be used- and when- maybe after you've gone on to Heaven! Since God notices a sparrow that falls, you can be sure He also sees every tract as it makes its way over land, sea, and air, even to other continents as The New Birth tract did to reach Mr. Chan.

2. Don't give up hope as you witness and pray for others.

3. Note how God multiplied the sowing of that one tract. God is in the multiplication business! Trust Him to use you and to use the tracts you distribute. Every faithful believer will be rewarded for his or her faithful service. You may not be rewarded for his or her faithful service. You may not be rewarded or honored in this life, and if not, remember that God will not forget your labor of love and you will be rewarded in due time. Gratefully, Paul & Dorothy Levin."

My challenge to you-
If you think you are the right person for God to use in this field of missionary bottle evangelism, then I pray you get busy and start working for Him as soon as possible. The harvest field is ready to harvest, the laborers are few, and time is running out!

How To Make Missionary Bottles-

          Do you want to make and float your own missionary bottles for the Lord? Here is a complete list of directions, where, if followed carefully, you can become a very successful literature evangelist in regards to missionary bottle evangelism work for the Lord. You can also have a tremendous amount of fun in the process.

          Youth groups can work together in harmony having workdays to do the work (as it is best done in stages). Youth have all that energy and strength and they love to do fun and exciting things. And it is really fun and exciting getting letters from people who live in other parts of the world from you. They tell you what they eat and how they make a living and tell you about their unique culture. They do the same things that you do except they do them in different ways. And this is what makes it exciting.

          It is important to have a burden for the lost and be continually in intercessory prayer every step of the way in this kind of ministry. You are engaging in spiritual warfare when you want to take souls away from Satan and influence them towards Jesus Christ. This kind of ministry can be fun but it is not a game. You can expect opposition as all missionaries do but God can defeat Satan through prayer and perseverance. I hope you and I are up to accepting this challenge.

          This work is best done in stages or steps. Let's start here with step one.

Step 1: Get the glass bottles

          Glass bottles are the best to use if you are planning on launching them in the ocean. Glass and cork is the proven and workable method going back hundreds of years ago when pirates would place treasure maps inside of bottles and cast them adrift. Never use any plastic bottle or plastic lids because the manufacturers make them biodegradable (they place certain chemicals in the plastic that will hasten their decomposing in the public waste dumps because they do want them to stay there for one hundred years).

          What kind of glass bottles should you use? Glass soda pop bottles are the best that have had a screw lid or bottle cap on them at one time. Any adult should be able to put his or her forefinger in the neck of any glass bottle and feel that the neck is constricted when the knuckle of the finger makes contact. If the bottle has a neck that is too tight or too loose it should not be used. Some modern ketchup bottles have necks that are too wide- they will not hold a tight enough cork and sea water will seep in as a result and rot the Word of God.

          For youth groups or Christian schoolteacher projects I recommend only soda pop bottles.

          Beer and wine bottles will work but there is a problem here. It is not a problem with floatability but with Christian convictions. Many Christians and many churches do not drink alcoholic beverages and many folks do not want their children handling those kinds of bottles. Those bottles usually have beer left in them. Some have cigarette butts left in them. If a teenager in a youth group has been delivered from strong drink and then is around those kinds of bottles, it may cause him or her to be tempted and to stumble and go back into his or her old lifestyle- and in that case, we have just violated the law of conscience and the law of love. So we have to use wisdom in what we do for Christ. Now, I must admit that in times past I have used beer and wine bottles (besides the soda pop bottles) in my ministry as I was after bottles by the thousands and there just was not enough soda pop bottles available, but I did not have a youth group work on these. My family and close friends did these ourselves and we were strong enough in the faith not to have our conviction waiver. By the way, I do not believe in drinking any alcoholic beverages personally, even though we did use some of these empty kinds of bottles for the Lord's work.

Step 2: Wash, Dry, and Box the glass bottles

          Washing glass bottles is much like washing dishes. They have to be submerged in hot soapy water and then scrubbed. A bottlebrush can be used. One should be able to purchase one of these at nearly any convenient newborn baby store (used for washing out baby milk bottles and juice bottles). Sometimes hardware stores and dime stores also carry them.

          Each bottle must be thoroughly dry before placing any gospel literature inside of it. Any water left in it, even one drop, will help rot the literature. Your goal is to preserve the literature rather than to rot it so this is important because the gospel literature will sleep in this bottle maybe for many, many years. And who wants to sleep in a wet bed? I always liked to turn each bottle upside down and drain it while placing it in the hot sunshine. One can also put each bottle in a microwave oven or conventional oven and heat it until the glass is slightly warm to the touch and any visible water has evaporated.

          Place your bottles inside of soda pop (soft drink) boxes or any other cardboard boxes that you can find. These boxes must be smaller and only limited to about 24 bottles or so to a box because they can get too heavy if more are included than that.

Step 3: Make your Tract-Packs

          A tract Pack is a small bundle of tracts and other leaflets that you intend on placing inside of every bottle. One of the Bread On The Waters tract packs consisted of a variety of several tracts (some in the foreign languages of the people who live in your target area. A Gospel Afloat Leaflet was inserted telling the bottle finder who we are, what our purpose is in doing this, and the campaign number that this bottle was a part of when it was launched. Other items were also included. Sometimes local churches donated used or outdated Sunday school leaflets and multi-page flyers that could be easily inserted. Sometime church magazines could be inserted but this took special work.

          But the most important piece of literature was a portion of God's Word. God the Holy Spirit works through His word, the Holy Bible. Many times I would use the Gospel of John (the Water, purchased from the American Bible Society) or one of the gospel booklets published by World Missionary Press. Sometimes you might have to remove the cover before you roll it up and place it inside of the neck of the bottle to get it inside of the bottle if the bottleneck is too tight. What you use many times will be dependent upon how much you can afford to purchase.

          Put all the tracts together and secure them with a rubber band- one stack and one rubber band for each bottle. This is a tract pack. An equal number of track packs must match the number of bottles you have on hand that you are stuffing.

Step 4: Stuff the Bottles

          Around Thanksgiving time in the U.S.A. cooks go about stuffing a turkey or two before it goes into the oven. The same principle works on missionary bottles. The bottles must be stuffed before they can be floated. My recommendation is to stuff them as full as you can for 3 reasons: 1. You want to reach the harvest field with as much Christian literature as you possibly can for evangelism and discipleship purposes. 2. It is going to cost you some money to float the missionary bottles so you want to get as much literature as you can to those who need it the most- to justify the amount of money you are spending (so you will get the most bang for your buck). 3. The more literature you place inside of a bottle the heavier it will be and the deeper it will float. This is what you want. You want the ocean currents to guide your bottles and not the ocean winds. The more of the glass surface of a bottle that protrudes above the water's surface is like a sail on a boat. The wind rather than the current push it along. Most winds always blow toward the shore. You do not want your bottles to be blown toward shore after launching them 100 miles or more from land but to stay in the ocean currents so they will fulfill their destiny.

          There is a problem here. Barnacles will attach themselves to the missionary bottles and protect the glass from breakage on foreign shores, however, a bottle will sink from the weight of the barnacles on it if it is too deep of a floater to start with. In your experimentation make sure that one third to one half of each bottle's glass surface is above the water line once it is floated. A deep floater is just as bad as a shallow floater.

          What do you stuff inside of the bottles? Your gospel booklet or Bible Portion should be put in first. Next a 16-page magazine rolled in 4 segments or outdated Sunday school flyers and leaflets rolled in several segments or outdated Bible Study literature rolled in several segments. (Note: Most churches are loaded with this kind of outdated literature.) Then one tract-pack with a Gospel Afloat Leaflet (or one of your own) should be put into each bottle. Then, depending on how much room you have left inside of the bottle, and how much literature you have on hand- stuff it as full as you possibly can (in most cases) as it will still float at the proper level in the water.

          Teenagers wanting to place personal love notes advertising for a wife or husband; teachers and their classes floating geography bottles; and other personal messages should be placed in separate bottles, secular bottles, personal bottles, if you please, and floated that way. It is not good to place personal messages of any kind inside of missionary bottles used for the Lord's work. If a bottle finder writes to you, and after converting them to Christ, you find out that they or their friend(s) want to pen pal with you on a personal level then that is the right timing for such activities.

          Paper literature is like a sponge. Paper is porous and it will hold water so if you are manufacturing missionary bottles on a humid day you can expect quite a bit of that humid vapor to be trapped in the paper you just placed inside of that bottle. You cannot see it but it is there and it is dangerous to the long life of the gospel material inside of the bottle. This must be removed before you put in the cork and trap all that water that you cannot see inside of the bottle with the literature that will rot it. How I solved this problem living in California is that I would stuff hundreds of cases of missionary bottles but not cork them and then store them. Then during the summer on a day 90 degrees or higher with low humidity I would place the cases of bottles on my driveway and let them "cook." They would stay there for several hours until the glass on each bottle was warm. Then I would take the entire case and cork all the bottles, one right after the other.

          One day I was "cooking" many cases of beer bottles on my driveway when 2 elderly ladies walked by on the sidewalk. I had been totally delivered from the drinking of any alcoholic beverages by the Lord years earlier. One lady said to the other, "My, he does have a severe drinking problem, doesn't he!"

Step 5: Corks: Cutting, Soaking, and Corking the Bottles

          The right cork has to fit the right bottle. I discourage the use of plastic lids, as the plastic is biodegradable and will get brittle and split apart as does every kind of plastic bottle. Aluminum lids corrode in salt water. So, the old fashioned cork is still the best to be used.

          If you use throwaway glass soda pop bottles (16 oz. and under), or glass bottled-water bottles (16 oz. and under) then you are going to need a new number 9 wine cork to seal it tightly. These can be purchased throughout the U.S.A. from "make your own" wine stores. When ordering get the unparaffeined and unchamferred #9 wine cork that is at least 1� inches long. You will also need to purchase a hand held corker that squeezes and forces the cork into the mouth of the bottle. Once you have the corks and corker on hand then please follow these directions carefully.

          Each new 1� inch long cork must be cut into thirds because a � inch cork is all you need for each bottle. You can do this in one of two ways: l. You can get a sharp butcher knife (that is sharp enough to shave with) and cut each long cork into three equal smaller corks, or 2. You can take a small table vice and clamp the cork securely in its jaws. Take a hack saw that has a blade with fine cutting teeth and then cut the long cork into three equal smaller corks.

          You will have to separate these smaller corks according to quality. The good quality ones place in one pile. The other ones with large holes in the side, a split down the side, or a lot of cork bark therein- place these kind in another pile.

          Any used corks (that you get from a winery tasting room free, at a reduced price or for a tax deduction from your church) are treated the same way. Each cork has to be inspected and cut into thirds. The good ones are placed into one pile. But the bad ones may have to be thrown away. Sometimes cork screws, used in the tasting rooms to remove corks from full bottles of wine, gouge out the insides of a cork making it no good. Sometimes used corks are good but they are compressed to a smaller diameter. These kinds of corks have to be placed into tight-necker bottles that have a narrower bottle mouth, and so, take a smaller diameter cork.

          Once you are ready to cork you must soak the same number of corks for an equal number of bottles. If you are corking 48 bottles then you should soak 48 corks. Place the cut corks into a small pot or bowl and then fill it to the brim with water. The corks will float but this is not what you want. You want them to be submerged so place a lid over the pot or bowl forcing them under the water where they will absorb some of the water. This is necessary to prevent the cork from splitting or cracking when it is compressed in the hand held corker. Only soak the corks for 5 minutes and then remove them from the water. If you soak them too long they will each absorb too much water and then some of that water will enter into the bottle and this is not what you want.

          Place each cork one at a time in the corker and cork one bottle at a time. Be sure to keep the pot or bowl of wet corks in the shade as you cork to prevent them from drying out before you get around to using them. Once the missionary bottles are corked you can start to get excited because every missionary bottle has a tremendous potential to be used by God in a powerful way.

Step 6: Boxing, Storing, and transporting the Missionary Bottles

          Just about any cardboard boxes are good to you. Be sure to check the bottom of the box and if it is torn or has come unglued you might have to glue a cardboard patch there before the weight of all the bottles rests there. One of the most annoying events to happen is to be transferring a lot of cases from one location to another and while so doing have the bottom fall out of one of the boxes and have glass bottles rolling around everywhere. The entire operation has to stop then while these are picked up and somehow re-boxed and then specially handled. Sometimes a roll of masking tape is good to take along to handle such an emergency should it arise.

          The more cases you have the more room you will need to store all the boxes. A garage is always good to use for this, or storage shed. One time I built a van trailer for two purposes: 1. To help store missionary bottles, and 2. To transport them to the boat when the time was right. This saved me moving them out of storage because they were already loaded and ready to go. If storage is really a problem I have used wooden crates in times past and loaded them full of corked missionary bottles in colored glass bottles (blue, green, yellow, etc. so the sun would not affect the gospel portions inside) while storing the clear glass bottles indoors away from the severe sunshine and heat. Be sure you have somebody's back yard that is safe to store them in as flying baseballs and rocks can cause damage to them.

          A good vehicle is needed to transport the missionary bottles to the boat. A good pickup or carryall will work nicely pulling a pickup trailer or van trailer. In times past we have used an empty school bus and 5 ton U-haul truck to transport them.

Step 7: Floating the Missionary Bottles

          A motor boat is not acceptable for this kind of ministry. A motor boat cannot go out far enough safely or carry enough cargo. Since I have tried it and I know- one can only place about one thousand missionary bottles on a motor boat. This is for launching off the east or West Coast of the U.S.A. Other nations having different ocean currents may be different. At least a 40' fishing trawler will be necessary to take your missionary bottles 100 miles out in the ocean for launching. This can be done safely and in one day. Usually, only one day per year is all that is necessary for launching purposes assuming you are launching under 30,000 missionary bottles at one time. If you are launching more, then you may have to make additional trips.

          There were several ways we placed the missionary bottles from the trawler boat into the water:
1. We threw each bottle in one at a time- but this got very tiring when we had 20,000 or so.
2. We dropped each case carefully over the side into the water. This works fine if there are cardboard dividers inside of that box so that each glass bottle is isolated and so that all of the bottles do not hit against each other and possibly break when the impact of the box hits the ocean surface. The cardboard box and dividers turn to mush and eventually sink.
3. We invented a ramp that we put down from the rear of the boat. It went from the hand railing at about a 45-degree slope down to the surface of the water. The trawler was moving, heading directly out to sea, as we dropped the ramp into the water. The forward movement of the boat kept the ramp extended rearwards in the water. We slid each box down the ramp and off it floated into the current. It was a beautiful sight!

          All you have to do then is wait for God and the ocean currents to pilot His missionary bottles to the people He has chosen to receive them. And then stand ready to receive a whole lot of needs from a whole lot of people and be ready to help meet those needs. You will definitely be ministering to people's spiritual, emotional, and physical needs in the name of Jesus! I praise you for wanting to get involved! This way you can be a missionary and never leave home! Remember, on the average, you have to wait at least 2 years before you receive your first reply.

          This 2 year time period pertains to floating the missionary bottles off of the west coast of the U.S.A.


by Kraig Josiah Rice

(Note: My ministry had these paper leaflets printed out by the thousands. Then we placed one of these leaflets inside of every missionary bottle that we launched into the ocean). I recommend that you do the same thing or something similar when you float your bottles.


          Hi! You may be deliciously surprised upon finding this message in a bottle. We have put it here on purpose to tell you about Jesus Christ and the fact that He is God. Jesus Christ is the only way you can be saved and know peace in your heart and have your sins washed away. We have asked God the Holy Spirit to pilot this bottle directly to the location where He wants it to go so you will find it and receive His precious Word. He has chosen you to become His. Please write us (no matter how long this bottle has floated) and we may be able to send you a Bible free and also send you a Bible learning course free in your own language dialect. Please let us know where and when the bottle was found and tell us something about yourself and about your family. Please let us know what dialect or language you speak.

Jesus Loves You!

          About two thousand years ago God left His home in Heaven among the stars and came to earth. He was born as a man but also remained God at the same time. An angel instructed his parents to name him Jesus. He existed here on earth as the personification of pure love and helped people in every way imaginable. But His major accomplishment on this earth was to die as a sacrifice and redeem people from the power of sin through the shedding of His blood. He died and then three days later He resurrected from the grave and is still alive today. He is spirit and must be worshipped in spirit and in truth and He is the only way one can get to God to live in paradise in Heaven after this earthly life is over.

          Beauty, intelligence, and money are the three things most valued by the world by spiritually ignorant people but God loves you for who you are. God loves you if you have no money (Luke 16); God loves you no matter if your face or body is attractive or not; God loves you if you are sick or if you are a leper and have portions of your body missing; God loves you if you are not intelligent or know how to read or not; God loves you if you do not have employment. His love for you is unconditional. You are special to Him and He loves you just for who you are. God places a very high value on you. You should accept and love yourself, and then you should love and help others. God says you as a person have dignity and worth and to prove it to you He died a painful and agonizing death by crucifixion in your place on a cross many years ago.

Jesus Christ Died on the Cross to Forgive You of Your Sins

          But there is one thing inside of you (in your heart) that God does not love. God says that something like a poisonous snake called sin is living in your heart. It makes you do evil things.
(Numbers 21:9, John 12: 32). The Bible says that each of us has sinned, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God"
(Romans 3:23). There is no way you can in your own power get rid of that "snake" living in your heart but you can ask Jesus Christ, who is God, to take it away and He will do it. This act is called repentance. That means to confess your sins and wrongs with sorrow to God and ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins and turn from them to living for God.
(Luke 15: 7). Then Jesus will literally take out of your heart the "poisonous snake" (sin nature from Adam) that lives there and put love in its place by putting Himself there. God is love and He comes to live in your heart when you invite Him to. This experience is known as being saved or being born again
(John 3: 3). After you invite Jesus Christ to come and live in your heart please destroy the idols you have been worshipping (because this is worshipping Satan, the evil enemy of God) and please put away any wickedness from you that God would not approve of. When God lives in your heart you have fellowship with Him and become a son or daughter of God by adoption
(Romans 8: 12-17). You have great worth and should never think less of yourself than God thinks of you.

God Will Change Your Life

          These are some of the benefits God will give you if you invite Him to come and live in your heart Peace in your heart, a conscience clear of guilt, your sins forgiven, a reason for living, and eternal life. Jesus Christ will change your heart and you must help Him change your lifestyle. Unlimited joy will be yours.

The Consequences of Rejecting Christ

          The result of not inviting Jesus Christ to come and live in your heart (rejecting God, His love, and God's plan of salvation) means you will die in your sins and be thrown into a lake of fire called Hell to suffer eternal torment forever and forever (Mark 9: 44). This will happen to you after you die. Remember, not to accept Him is to reject Him.

To Accept Jesus Please Pray This Prayer (In Sincerity)

          Dear Heavenly Father, I have sinned against You and I am sorry for it. I now confess my sins to You and ask You to forgive them. I believe Jesus Christ died on the cross in my place, that He is the divine Son of God and only way to Heaven, that He died for me on the cross and resurrected from the grave and is alive now, and ask You right now to forgive me of my sins and come and live in my heart. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray this. Amen.

          If you have prayed this prayer and just invited Jesus Christ to come and live in your heart due to the influence of this leaflet I want you to sign your name and date on the line below and then let me know by writing to the address below: We will rejoice together.

My name and address _______________________
The date Jesus came to live in my heart _________________________

In His Service

This Missionary bottle is given to you courtesy of (each individual, church youth group, or church should place their name and address here so missionary bottle finders can write to you)

Date this bottle floated___________________
Campaign #____________________________

from (location) _________________________

by (name of church and address)__________

A Message to My Persecutors:
(When my ministry was named Current Evangelism Ministries)

To each of you who are still alive who persecuted me in 1985 I want you to know that I forgive you. Also I have called down an imprecatory prayer on each of you who raised a vote, a voice, a pen, or any action against me that resulted in the permanent shut down of a vital branch of my ministry. Because of the law of sowing and reaping you will reap what you have sowed. What did you sow? You sowed a lifetime frustration in my life. Therefore, you will reap "a lifetime frustration" in your personal and/or business life. When I was praying this prayer a number of years ago the Lord spoke to my mind in a very forceful way saying, "Vengeance is mine I shall repay." But I have been praying for you for a long time as my Lord has told me to do in His word.

  • The Imprecatory Prayer

    Click on the bottle to go to the main missionary bottle ministries index page
    The first 3 paragraphs are important.
    Then click on the treasure chest at the bottom of the page. Make things right with God. I would like to see you in Heaven:-)

  • Are you keeping at your work tract

    Take A Look


    since February 12, 2006