The publishing ministry of BLF was established in 1953 by Abe and Mary Kroeker, missionaries to the former Belgian Congo. Seeing the need to respond to the desperate shortage of Christian literature in the region, they began distributing books and tracts throughout central and western Africa. They soon realized that sources for literature were scarce and the demand was too great. This realization eventually led to the establishment of a printing plant near Brussels, where the production of French Christian literature continues to this day. By God’s grace the work steadily expanded. In 1993, the Kroeker family reached out for help to friends and supporters in the U.S. who shared a passion for making God’s Word available to French-speakers.Missionary personnel, Belgian staff and volunteers were added to the publishing operation, followed by the introduction of the Impression Teams program, each becoming an integral part of the whole ministry.
NOTE: As of January 2006, BLF Belgium and AES France have merged to become BLF Europe. The name Biblical Literature Fellowship was also changed to Bibles & Literature in French for English use, and Bibles & Littérature Francophone when translated into French. (ELB and AES are now simply lines of books that BLF Europe publishes.)
AES was founded in 1978 by Bill Kapitaniuk, a Canadian missionary with Slavic Gospel Association. While pastoring a French-Polish church in France, Bill hosted American Christian youth who were smuggling Bibles behind the Iron Curtain during their summer vacations. Realizing he could be printing the Bibles himself instead of buying them, Bill bought his first printing press. Together with his (then) teenage son, Philip, he began printing. The AES France printing ministry had been born!Using donations from supportive Christians, AES purchased a new two-color press in 1986. Three years later, Philip (having finished college) rejoined the shop as Director. When Bill started a Christian print shop in the Ukraine in 1993, the Board of AES France decided to continue the operation printing solely for the French-speaking world. AES has since become known as a reliable source of good printed material for evangelism and discipleship.