13 Oct Booklinks

So there’s this fourteen-year-old boy living in Singapore. His name is Mathias.

And one day, Mathias decides he wants to send some of his old books to the children living at the Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission, the orphanage that has become my second home in India. His mother Ana is a Mission supporter—but the books are Mathias’s idea. When he mentions it to his teacher at school, his classroom comes together and gathers around 100 books for the effort. A few boxes and some packaging tape later…the books are on their way.

I was there when the books arrived at the Mission. They showed up in boxes that were battered and spent after the long journey, but once unpacked…the kids loved them. To show our appreciation, Clifton Shipway (the Mission Deputy Director) and I thought it would be a good idea to put together a quick video, showing the Mission kids reading the books and then thanking Mathias by name. We didn’t envision a complicated production, but we know how important it is to prove results to supporters. Plus Mathias is 14. So I shot it and cut it, then Clifton emailed it over along with our sincere thanks.

According to his mother, when Mathias saw this video and heard the Indian children thanking him directly…the flame of service in his little heart began to blaze brighter and brighter.

He filed for official nonprofit status (which he now has), creating an organization called Booklinks. He lobbied his principal to get schoolwide participation (which he was granted) and gathered hundreds of additional books for his next shipment! Now he’s branching out to other schools to get more books and more people involved, spreading his tiny splash of kindness across an ever-expanding ocean of love. What a rock star!

Here are a few pictures his mom sent me.

mathias2Mathias bringing home his latest book haul.

mathias1Sharing his official non-profit status. 

mathias3The first official Booklinks drop off spot at Mathias’s school. 

To keep the fire burning, I shot a surprise Booklinks promotional video for him before I left the farm, and I hope it helps him spread his message far and wide. “Books uniting people” is his tagline, and I like the sound of that.

I’ve never met Mathias, but it makes me happy to help him. We all need encouragement every day; with our work, with our faith, with our big dreams. The nice thing is: It really doesn’t take much to encourage someone. A few kind words, some unsolicited aid, a couple hours or dollars, a little expertise or skill. It’s all part of the vast web of generosity that helps hold the world together each day.

So what do you think? Know anyone who could use a little encouragement this week? Any Mathias in your life? Anyone seeking to make the world a better place who could use a little recognition or support?

If so…reach out. These days, we certainly need more uniters instead of those who would divide us further apart.

60 Comments
  • Heather Myers
    Posted at 12:54h, 13 October Reply

    This story inspires me in so many ways. I remember as a child cherishing story time. Later in life reading to my own daughter was the highlight at days end. Reading about Mathias story stirs my soul’s imagination. Mathias is such a generous and kind young human. The world is a better place for his sharing and caring heart. I love this story, way to go Mathias and your wonderful mother for encouraging you.

    • Mathias Katsuya
      Posted at 05:44h, 16 October Reply

      Hi Heather,
      I’m glad to hear that like me, you love books. It’s hard to believe that in our present day so many children still do not have access to them. Thank you for your kind words. They inspire me to take my project to even greater heights. If you want to keep in touch, you can contact me at: booklinks.international@gmail.com
      Best,
      Mathias

  • Monisha Vasa
    Posted at 14:35h, 13 October Reply

    Good for you Mathias!!! What a wonderful idea. Keep going. Your efforts are changing lives across the globe. Let me know how we can help here in Southern California.

    • Mathias Katsuya
      Posted at 05:48h, 16 October Reply

      Hi Monisha,
      Greetings from Singapore! I have the dream of expanding my project and opening new chapters around the world. One in Southern California sounds wonderful! Thank you for your comment and please do keep in touch at the Booklinks email address.
      Cheers,
      Mathias

  • Shobina Jay
    Posted at 15:44h, 13 October Reply

    What a wonderful idea Mathias !!! God bless you, this is such an important gift to children and will be of so much help to them. I hope i can help out and i will look out for book links near me !!!

    • Mathias Katsuya
      Posted at 05:51h, 16 October Reply

      Dear Shobina,
      Thank you for your kind comment. I agree, books are a very important gift to all of us. I couldn’t live without them and I want all children to have access to them. One day, I hope that Booklinks will exist somewhere near you! Meanwhile, please keep in touch. My email address is: booklinks.international@gmail.com
      Take care,
      Mathias

  • Dale
    Posted at 16:05h, 13 October Reply

    Great work Mathias! You are changing the world one book at a time. Congratulations! “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full od the overcoming of it.”- Helen Keller

    • Mathias Katsuya
      Posted at 05:54h, 16 October Reply

      Hi Dale,
      That’s a great quote! My favorite is: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi. Thank you for your support and keep your eyes out for a Booklinks near you. If you want to keep in touch, my email address is: booklinks.international@gmail.com
      Kind regards,
      Mathias

  • Sarah Woodard
    Posted at 16:08h, 13 October Reply

    You are an inspiration, Mathias! What you are doing is terrific. I know the Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission deeply appreciates the work you are doing. I’m betting you have a wonderful future ahead of you. Bless your kind heart.

    • Mathias Katsuya
      Posted at 05:57h, 16 October Reply

      Hi Sarah,
      Thank you for your support. Running a charity is challenging and it’s great to know I’m not alone. If you want to keep in touch, please write to: booklinks.international@gmail.com
      Cheers,
      Mathias

  • Wendy Elwell
    Posted at 16:24h, 13 October Reply

    Way to go Mathias! Love how you are living from your heart. I know you will inspire others in your unifying book mission. Keep up the great work! Imagine a world where everyone, like you, followed their passion for good. One action at a time–the collective results are incredible.

    • Mathias Katsuya
      Posted at 06:02h, 16 October Reply

      Hello Wendy,
      Thank you for your nice words. Booklinks started out with a few books from my bookshelf but throughout the months, I have encountered so many generous people. Together we can all make a difference!
      Please keep in touch at: booklinks.international@gmail.com
      Warm regards,
      Mathias

  • Paula Dolin
    Posted at 16:33h, 13 October Reply

    Way to go Mathias! What a great idea. I loved to read as a kid and I still love to read. The world needs more kids like you 😛

    • Mathias Katsuya
      Posted at 06:04h, 16 October Reply

      Hi Paula,
      Thank you very much! I hope to spread the joy of reading to children around the world. If you want to keep in touch, write to me at: booklinks.international@gmail.com
      Take care,
      Mathias

  • Natalie Graham
    Posted at 17:09h, 13 October Reply

    Love what you’re doing, Mathias! My daughter and I are avid readers, and I have seen how encouraging reading in kids (especially when they’re young) can help them move ahead by leaps and bounds in school. I help out in my daughter’s school by volunteering in the library. It is so fun to see kids get excited about books.

    I think you are a book enthusiast just as much as me and my daughter! Isn’t it fun to go on adventures, and learn about the world and the people in it, from the written page? Thank you so much for spreading that love to the kids at the Mission. Keep up the great work. You rock!! With appreciation and admiration from my daughter and myself here in Charleston, South Carolina. 🙂

    • Mathias Katsuya
      Posted at 06:09h, 16 October Reply

      Hi Natalie,
      Greetings from Singapore. Thank you for your support. I do believe that reading is fundamental to all of us. Books help us develop our imagination. Using our imagination, we can be anything we want and this allows us to put ourselves in somebody else’s shoes and understand what life is like for them. Keep an eye out for a Booklinks chapter near you. Maybe you would even consider helping me create one in Charleston, South Carolina. Do keep in touch. You can write to me at: booklinks.international@gmail.com
      All the best to you and your daughter,
      Mathias

  • karen
    Posted at 17:16h, 13 October Reply

    Mathias,
    You are a rock star! Your love and concern for others is so inspiring.
    May God bless you and keep you in His loving arms.
    Karen

    • Mathias Katsuya
      Posted at 06:11h, 16 October Reply

      Hey Karen,
      Thank you for your kind words. Please pray that Booklinks continues to spread the joy of reading to children around the world. If you want to keep in touch, you can contact me at: booklinks.international@gmail.com
      Cheers,
      Mathias

  • Wayne Kerrison
    Posted at 17:45h, 13 October Reply

    Hi there Mathias,
    I had the privilege of volunteering at Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission in September/October 2015. I saw a batch of your books arrive at the Mission and the excitement amongst the children at the prospect of new books to read. As you can see from the pictures that John has posted above of two of the girls reading, the books are enthusiastically received. This picture is repeated throughout the library many times over. And anytime I sat down with one or two children to read them a book, more would come and try to get as close as possible to listen and look.
    You are bringing joy to so many at the orphanage. Well done. You are making a huge difference.

    • Mathias Katsuya
      Posted at 06:14h, 16 October Reply

      Hi Wayne,
      It’s so nice to hear from someone that saw my shipment arrive at the mission. I do hope they weren’t too damaged. We are still trying to sort out the most effective way to package them. The pictures and video I received were amazing, but everybody’s comments and support were even more special! If you want to keep in touch, please contact me at: booklinks.international@gmail.com
      Kind regards,
      Mathias

  • Katherine Davies
    Posted at 17:48h, 13 October Reply

    All power to you Mathias. Love and good wishes from all the team at iguacu in London UK.

    Katherine
    CEO
    weareiguacu.com

    • Mathias Katsuya
      Posted at 06:22h, 16 October Reply

      Hi Katherine,
      It’s so humbling to receive a message from the CEO of Iguaçu. I must confess I had to research what Iguaçu was all about. The name sparked my curiosity. You see, I was born in Brazil and Iguaçu is a beloved waterfall in the south of my country. I’m happy to learn that the name is doing good things around the world. I really appreciate your support and your encouraging words. Booklinks has just started and there is so much I need to learn. If you wish to keep in touch, please contact:booklinks.international@gmail.com
      Kind regards,
      Mathias

  • Susasn Proulx
    Posted at 19:40h, 13 October Reply

    Mathias – The world is better because of you! I am a 15 year book club member and truly believe that books do unite people. I admire your work and keep going….you are a game changer!

    Sue Proulx
    Somerville, NJ – USA

    • Mathias Katsuya
      Posted at 06:25h, 16 October Reply

      Hi Sue,
      Greetings from Singapore! It’s nice to know I have your support. Please keep in touch at: booklinks.international@gmail.com.
      Take care,
      Mathias

  • Allan Goodman
    Posted at 19:45h, 13 October Reply

    What a story……it could be in one of the books you find. Mathias you are an inspiration to us all and we wish you every success. It goes without saying that we will help in any way we can, just name it. I was in the Mission when the books arrived and can attest to the sheer joy the kids showed when they arrived. More power to you. Allan from Newcastle Australia

    • Mathias Katsuya
      Posted at 06:31h, 16 October Reply

      Hello Allan and friends from Newcastle Australia,
      I am happy to hear that you were in the mission when the books arrived. I’m hoping to go there next summer to finally meet the children, Clifton and hopefully John in person. Booklinks started small but it’s growing really fast. Sometimes, it is a bit overwhelming, so your support is very important to me. Thank you for your kind words and if you want to keep in touch, please write to: booklinks.international@gmail.com
      King regards,
      Mathias

  • Ralph Sturdy
    Posted at 21:55h, 13 October Reply

    Matthias I am writing to you from Lincoln Nebraska and the United States. I want you to know how impressed I am for the work that you are doing to send books to the children in India.

    John Marshall is a friend of mine. He is my son’s age. I’m an old man of 78. No matter how old I get I always want to encourage the good work of kids like you.

    Thank you for your amazing work.

    • Mathias Katsuya
      Posted at 06:35h, 16 October Reply

      Dear Ralph,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to write to me and send your encouraging words. I have yet to meet John but I am very grateful for his generosity and support. I will be using his video to spread the word about my project. I’m sure people will be touched and will want to help me make the world a better place. If you want to keep in touch, I would love to hear from you. Please write to: booklinks.international@gmail.com
      Warm regards,
      Mathias

  • Nicole Cloutier
    Posted at 22:51h, 13 October Reply

    Mathias,

    You are an inspiration to other kids and adults as well. Thank you for all that you are doing to support budding readers! As a school teacher and a parent, you embody what I try to teach my students and children each and every day….Treat others as you want to be treated. I will be sharing what you are doing with my own kids and students to show that all of us …kids and adults, can make a difference in the world! You are amazing! Keep up the important work!

    Thank you for being so awesome!
    Nicole C.
    Denver, Colorado

    • Mathias Katsuya
      Posted at 06:41h, 16 October Reply

      Dear Nicole,
      Greetings from Singapore. Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. This has been such a great adventure from which I am receiving much more than I am giving. Hopefully, I can expand the project to other parts of the world. If you want to keep in touch, please write to: booklinks.international@gmail.com
      Kind regards,
      Mathias

  • Terri
    Posted at 23:23h, 13 October Reply

    Mathias, you are such an inspiration. Great job in sharing books and love around the world. You have a big fan in California, keep up the good work and good luck with all your future endeavors!

    • Mathias Katsuya
      Posted at 07:08h, 16 October Reply

      Hi Terri,
      Thank you for your kind words. Booklinks started out small but hopefully, it will soon expand to other parts of the world. Keep an eye out for a chapter in California! If you wish to keep in touch, please write to: booklinks.international@gmail.com
      All the best,
      Mathias

  • Clifton Shipway
    Posted at 23:34h, 13 October Reply

    Mathias! Take a moment to soak in all of the messages that people have been posting here buddy. You are a legend. This is what life is all about my young friend, inspiring others, helping those who are less fortunate than us, being a shining light in the darkness. You are making a difference and it is not only being noticed, it is bringing about change in others! Keep going strong man, I cannon wait to meet you in person next year. Thank you for everything that you have been doing for our kids here. You rock!

    • Mathias Katsuya
      Posted at 07:11h, 16 October Reply

      Dear Clifton,
      All these messages are truly inspiring! Thank you for being there from the beginning and for always sharing with me the happiness of the children at the mission. I look forward to meeting you in June. Please keep in touch through booklinks’ new email address: booklinks.international@gmail.com
      All the best to you and your family and all the children at GSAM.
      Mathias

  • Blanche Bejah
    Posted at 00:07h, 14 October Reply

    You are like a super hero … A great work you are doing for the less fortunate…There should be more of you..Keep up the great and fantastic work. ..God Bless you always

    • Mathias Katsuya
      Posted at 07:12h, 16 October Reply

      Hi Blanche,
      Thank you for your wonderful words. All of us have power to do good in the world. If you want to keep in touch, please write to: booklinks.international@gmail.com
      Cheers,
      Mathias

  • Julia Avi
    Posted at 05:53h, 14 October Reply

    God Bless You Mathias. You are doing great Job. You are inspiration to everyone. May God prosper you in every area of your life.

    • Mathias Katsuya
      Posted at 07:14h, 16 October Reply

      Hi Julia,
      Thank you for writing to me. Your words are truly inspiring. I pray that Booklinks will continue to grow and expand to other parts of the world. If you want to keep in touch, please write to: booklinks.international@gmail.com
      Take care,
      Mathias

  • Bill Rapier
    Posted at 12:24h, 14 October Reply

    Mathias, way to go! Thx for helping the kids in India! When our kids get new books in Zimbabwe, they are also super excited!

    • Mathias Katsuya
      Posted at 07:15h, 16 October Reply

      Hi Bill,
      Nice to hear from you. Can you tell me more about your mission in Zimbabwe and how the books get to you? I would love to hear about it! You can write to me at: booklinks.international@gmail.com
      All the best,
      Mathias

  • Susan L Miller
    Posted at 17:16h, 14 October Reply

    Dear Mathias- I am so happy to learn about you and your wonderful project, Book Links! I am sending in a donation and will share this with many people. Thank your mother for helping you to realize your dreams!
    Warmest wishes, Susan

    • Mathias Katsuya
      Posted at 07:18h, 16 October Reply

      Hi Susan,
      Thank you for supporting Booklinks. I am working hard to organize a new collection and delivery for Christmas time. If you wish to keep in touch, please write to: booklinks.international@gmail.com
      Cheers,
      Mathias

  • Esther Marshall
    Posted at 08:14h, 15 October Reply

    Dear Mathias
    What you are doing with books WILL change many lives..Thank for what you do and also the inspiration you are to other young people. ONE PERSON CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. !!!!
    Love from Florida, USA. Esther

    • Mathias Katsuya
      Posted at 07:20h, 16 October Reply

      Hi Esther,
      Thank you for your kind comment. All these messages propel me to move forward with my project. If you wish to keep in touch, please write to: booklinks.international@gmail.com
      Kind regards,
      Mathias

  • Heidi Oliva
    Posted at 10:22h, 15 October Reply

    Dear Mathias, you are an incredible young man! What an amazing gift you are giving to these children. The gift of reading as well as the gift of knowing that they are thought of and cared for far and wide. You are making a difference! You are making our world a better place to live. Thank you!

    • Mathias Katsuya
      Posted at 07:21h, 16 October Reply

      Dear Heidi,
      You are very kind! The children are giving me many more gifts than I am giving them. Thank you for your support and encouragement. If you wish to keep in touch, please write to: booklinks.international@gmail.com
      All the best,
      Mathias

  • geoff
    Posted at 16:32h, 16 October Reply

    Dear Mathias, your adventures are reaching the entire world. awesome achievement! geoff

    • Mathias Katsuya
      Posted at 03:16h, 31 October Reply

      Hi Geoff,
      Thanks for your support! If you would like to keep in touch please contact: booklinks.international@gmail.com.
      Kind regards,
      Mathias

    • Mathias Katsuya
      Posted at 03:16h, 31 October Reply

      Hi Geoff,
      Thanks for the support! If you would like to keep in touch, contact: booklinks.international@gmail.com.
      Kind regards,
      Mathias

  • Wendy Goodman
    Posted at 17:30h, 16 October Reply

    Mathias, What a wonderful young man you are! Your parents must be so proud. I know the children love the books you send. I was a book worm as a child so I can appreciate how much your gifts means. Well done. Love to you Wendy in Newcastle NSW Australia

    • Mathias Katsuya
      Posted at 03:18h, 31 October Reply

      Dear Wendy,
      I’m a book worm myself! Hard to think of life without books, hey? I’m very grateful for your support! Please keep in touch at: booklinks.international@gmail.com
      Kind regards,
      Mathias

  • Alina and Pedro Calmon
    Posted at 18:19h, 17 October Reply

    Mathias,
    It is nice to learn how much you achieved, and how far you went in the journey of a lifetime being only 14!
    We, in your country,of birth, Brazil, feel very proud of you.
    Please keep up. You make the difference.
    When we are not here any longer, you will still be building the new world.
    God bless you and your work.
    Alina and Pedro, from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

    • Mathias Katsuya
      Posted at 03:21h, 31 October Reply

      Dear Vovó and Tio Pedro,
      It’s nice to hear from you. I really appreciate your support! If you want to keep in touch, please write to: booklinks.international@gmail.com
      All the best,
      Mathias

  • CATHY NESBITT
    Posted at 18:04h, 18 October Reply

    I HOPE WORD OF YOUR WORK REACHES MANY MANY YOUNG PEOPLE SO THAT THEY BECOMED AWARE OF THE ABSOLUTE JOY THAT READING A BOOK BRINGS TO YOUR DAY AND THAT IF YOU START READING BOOKS FROM CHILDHOOD YOUR WORLD WILL BE ENRICHED BEYOND MEASURE. MATHIAS YOU WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO MANY LIVES AND I TRULY HOPE YOU GET TO MEET THE CHILDREN YOU ARE HELPING VERY SOON.

    • Mathias Katsuya
      Posted at 03:23h, 31 October Reply

      Dear Cathy,
      I have plans to go visit the children next summer. I can’t wait! Thank you very much for taking the time to write to me. If you would like to keep in touch, please contact: booklinks.international@gmail.com
      Yours truly,
      Mathias

    • Mathias Katsuya
      Posted at 03:24h, 31 October Reply

      Dear Cathy,
      I have plans to go visit the children next summer. I can’t wait! Thank you very much for taking the time to write to me. If you would like to keep in touch please contact: booklinks.international@gmail.com
      Yours truly,
      Mathias

  • Maria Thereza Moriondo Alves
    Posted at 14:34h, 20 October Reply

    Dear Mathias,
    Me and your oncle are very proude of you. I supose not only us but your entire family. For concidence I was out buying books for a child as a birthday gift. Do you think if a boy of your age copy your idea and send books to children in so many missions we have in the Amazonia ?
    Love from Thereza e Ronaldo

    PS Please say to your mother that I changed my e-mail: thereza.alves37@gmail.com.

    • Mathias Katsuya
      Posted at 03:27h, 31 October Reply

      Dear Tia Thereza,
      Books are always a wonderful gift! Booklinks is stretching its arms and hopefully will be able to reach other parts of the world. Amazonia, who knows? All of us have the power to change the world! Thank you for your support! If you want to keep in touch please write to: booklinks.international@gmail.com.
      All the best,
      Mathias

  • John Marshall
    Posted at 16:43h, 20 October Reply

    Just want to add my own comment to this ever-growing thread. Seeing so many people, from all over the world, encourage this kid that they’ve never met, is what the world needs more of. Thank you to everyone who took the time. And to Mathias…who wrote a personal reply to everyone who reached out…that is how it’s done. Prove results, go the extra mile with supporters and Booklinks will be in good hands. Let me know if you ever need my help and I look forward to seeing where your enthusiasm takes you. Rock on!

    • Mathias Katsuya
      Posted at 03:31h, 31 October Reply

      Dear John,
      I want people to know that their words are reaching me and that they make a difference. Thank you for your continued support and for the beautiful video that I’ve been using in my latest presentations. I have just launched a Christmas collection at my new school in Singapore! It seems the library will support me. I’m very excited!
      See you in June,
      Mathias

Post A Comment