In New Zealand, it’s easy to get a Bible. But there are millions of Christians in countries where Bibles are in desperately short supply or not available at all.
Join Bible a Month Club and you’ll join Bible Society and nearly 10,000 other Kiwis committed to regular prayer and giving to help get Bibles into people’s hands and hearts all over the world.
Your gift to Bible a Month Club this month will help to support this project. Thank you and God bless you!
“I want to thank you for your kindness shown by providing a copy of The Seriously Surprising Story to me. I will send this copy to my sons, aged seven and four.” A New Zealand prisoner.
“Dear Encouragers and Partners, We would like to take the opportunity to thank you for your wonderful support of Waikato DHB Chaplaincy through your Bible grants to provide Bibles for those patients of the Waikato Hospital who request them; your work is both an encouragement and a supportive partnership, thank you.
“It is a special gift to be able to offer our Maori patients Bibles in Te Reo Maori. Many Maori have a deep awareness of the spiritual and draw on this to give themselves and their whanau hope and strength through their healthcare journey. The word of God in Te Reo Maori is a precious gift for many. Thank you for making this possible.” Julian Perkins, Lead Chaplain, Waikato DHB Chaplaincy.
These are just some of the ways that with your support Bible Society is reaching out to New Zealanders by providing Bibles and Scriptures to people in prisons, hospitals and mental health units.
This year, after a long journey of 23 years the Tokelau Bible is now ready for typesetting and printing. Once published, the Bible will be a great blessing to the Tokelauan community both here in New Zealand and in Tokelau.
New Year 2020 kicks off with a very special event! The official launch of Bible 2020, a global Scripture reading campaign, takes place on 1st January 2020 in Gisborne, the first place in New Zealand to see the sunrise. The event will be attended by the Scottish Bible Society’s Director of National Ministries, Fiona MacDonald, BSNZ Programme Director, Stephen Opie, and local church members.
The brainchild of the Scottish Bible Society, Bible 2020 aims to get more people involved in reading Scripture on a daily basis using a Bible app. To date, Bible Societies in more than 65 countries have signed up to participate. You, your family, friends and church can be a part of Bible 2020. Simply download the app, Bible 2020, to begin your Scripture reading journey!
Your gift to Bible a Month Club this month will help to support New Zealand work. Thank you and God bless you!
“I was born into a Christian family. My parents are not literate, so I could only hear the Word of God when I go to church on Sundays. I have yearned for years to own my personal Bible. I usually have to borrow a Bible from my friend’s sister to read and study for my Religious and Moral Education (RME) course in schools.
“I am now very happy I have got a Bible for myself. Now I can read the stories I hear in church when I get home and share with my siblings and friends.”
These are the words of 12-year-old Angie, a Ghanaian girl who received a Bible through the Bible Society of Ghana’s Scriptures for School Pupils – Building a Strong Biblical Legacy project.
The project aims to reach out with Bibles to 150,000 school children across Ghana, to address issues such as Bible illiteracy and child delinquency rates.
Fifteen-year-old Beatrice was one who received a Bible. “I was tired of my life of sadness, sorrow, neglect and sometimes suicidal thoughts because I am an orphan. When I started to study the Scriptures with my whole heart, my eyes started to open as if scales fell from them. I have discovered the love of God for myself and now I walk with peace of mind and heart,” said Beatrice.
Sixteen-year-old Kwesi, although raised in a Christian home, became rebellious as a teenager. “I refused to listen to instructions. I became disinterested in school. I began using drugs. I became unconscious on one occasion due to a heavy dosage and was admitted to hospital. The Lord spared my life.
“I have now changed my school friends and started going to church. My life has changed so much through the Bible I received! I can feel God tugging at my heart and speaking
to me,” says Kwesi.
“I was surprised when I received my new Bible. I love to read the stories in it. I have found new hope,” says twelve-year-old Lucy.
Across Ghana you can help children and young people like Angie, Beatrice, Kwesi and Lucy find hope through the Bible.
Life in Pusat prison was very tough. As in many prisons, its inmates suffered from overcrowding, poor conditions and a lack of food. Early on, Sinat began experiencing fainting spells both through hunger and through fear of the prison guards.
The only bright spot in Sinat’s week was the weekly visits from members of the Bible Society in Cambodia’s team. They gave Sinat a Bible. She began to read it. Gradually, she began to understand that through Jesus Christ her sins had been forgiven. She committed her life to Him.
One day, Sinat was unexpectedly taken to court and handed a release paper. She had been set free! Since that time she has committed her life to sharing God’s Word with prisoners. And she is hard at work helping her local church plant churches in its area.
After losing her husband in the 1994 genocide, Ngwena was unable to cope with life. In the dark days that followed, she turned to prostitution both to earn money and to mask the emotional pain she was feeling.
But everything changed when she was given a Bible by the Bible Society of Rwanda and invited to attend a Bible reading group.
One day a worker from the Bible Society of Rwanda noticed that Ngwena was holding her new Bible tightly to her. When asked why, Ngwena replied, “This is my new husband.”
She began to experience healing from the tragic loss that had changed the course of her life more than 20 years ago. Ngwena had discovered a new relationship with the Lord that filled her future with hope.
Egypt is one of the oldest civilizations on earth. It has one of the largest populations in Africa with most of its 99 million people living along or close to the Nile. Of its population around 10 percent are Christian.
The Bible Society of Egypt, with its nationwide network of 17 bookstores and ministry centres, is reaching out to Egyptians with Bibles, Scriptures and outreach programmes.
These include Bible distribution, a Bible World experience, literacy programmes, empowering women and training small group leaders.
“We just want to say a huge thank you for your faithful prayers and generous gifts for Bible work in Egypt,” says Bible Society of Egypt Head, Ramez Atallah.
Over the summer, many children and their families took part in a Bible engagement programme and competition based on the book of Matthew.
“My Mum and I became very close friends while we were reading the Matthew booklet and answering the questions,” says Amira, a young girl who lives in Upper Egypt with her family. “We both learned together, praying and struggling to understand Scripture. When I was her age, I never had a beautiful Bible like the one Amira won,” added Amira’s mother.
Miriam, aged 13, was also excited about the programme. “I got full marks in the quiz. My favourite lesson is “70 x 7” in Matthew 18, about forgiving others. In my village they seek revenge and it makes me very scared, and I worry. But I will join the Sunday school ministry so that I can teach about forgiveness. Thank you so much for the good time that my family and I had answering the Matthew booklet.”
Another way in which Bible Society is reaching out to children is by distributing backpacks full of Scripture books, games and puzzles. It recently did a distribution in Minya, a desert area, where in 2013 many churches were burnt down by religious extremists. All the children were encouraged to share their new books with their siblings and their families.
“Your visit, sharing these beautiful resources, has renewed my hope. Your visit is like drops of rain in the dry desert,” said Fr. Philemon, of the Coptic Church.
Thank you and God bless you.
“Thank you for visiting us with all these nice Bible resources. We are encouraged to know that we are part of the bigger family of God.” These are the words of Pastor Gabriel, who oversees a group of Telugu-speaking migrant workers who meet weekly for worship in a farmhouse in Abdali, near the Iraqi border. The men are all labourers on farms in this desert area.
Recently, Bible Society in the Gulf’s representative Babu Ganta visited Pastor Gabriel and his congregation. Babu presented Pastor Gabriel with 2,000 copies of a Christmas booklet, which is available in 18 languages, along with other resources like Bible Story books and audio players for the 16 congregations he takes care of in this area.
In Wafra, near the Saudi Border, Pastor Elia oversees 13 congregations. Every week mini buses collect 250 – 300 workers from up to 75 kms away to attend a church service which takes place in a converted former chicken farm. Pastor Elia also received 500 copies of the Christmas booklet from Bible Society.
It’s just one of the many ways in which Bible Society is reaching out to migrant workers in the Gulf States, who come from more than 100 different countries.
Another important aspect of Bible Society’s work is training church leaders through Bible workshops. This year several of the workshops have focused on women in the Bible, such as Ruth, Esther, the Canaanite woman and the poor widow. “I benefitted a lot, especially learning more about Esther’s life and how God has a plan for every believer’s life, said Hekmat, who attended a seminar.
“Thanks, BSG for your unique ministry. Every time members of our church attend any of your seminars, we learn so many new things,” said Mona from the Alliance Church.
Satyam, a migrant worker from India, has lived in two labour camps: Salam City - a huge camp of over 80,000 men - and Sonapur. He is now leading a group of 25 men in Bible study, worship and prayer. Satyam attended Bible Story training sessions and he received a Mega Voice Player (audio Bible) from Bible Society.
Thank you and God bless you.
Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the Euphrates River to the Mediterranean Sea. – Deuteronomy 11:24
Known as the ancient land of Phoenicia and found in the Old Testament, Lebanon was a part of the territory given to the Israelites when the they crossed into the Promised Land.
In the New Testament, Jesus visited Lebanon. His first miracle took place in Cana in south Lebanon where he changed water into wine, and he visited the region of Tyre and Sidon where he healed the Canaanite woman’s daughter.
Today, many Christian Lebanese identify as descendants of the ancient Canaanites preferring to be called Phoenicians, rather than Arabs.
In more modern times, Lebanon was a part of the former Ottoman Empire. It became a French-mandated territory after WWI, before gaining its independence in 1943.
Over the decades Lebanon has suffered greatly through regional conflict and civil war. Between 1948 – 1976, Lebanon received an influx of 300,000 Palestinian refugees upsetting the status quo and precipitating the 1975 – 1990 civil war. Since the Syrian conflict began in 2011, 1.5 million Syrian refugees have entered the country.
Today, decades of fighting have left the population traumatised. Many people have emigrated. The number of Christians has fallen from 62 percent in 1970 to 36 percent today.
As well, many people in the region view the Bible as a ‘corrupted’ and ‘irrelevant’ tool of the West. Many Middle Eastern Christians are too embarrassed to read or interact with the Old Testament because of its ‘violent and political’ aspirations.
That’s why the Bible Society of Lebanon is running its Peace and Justice Bible Advocacy Campaign. It’s distributing a special-edition Arabic Bible that addresses regional concerns and issues. The Bible includes articles written by scholars on topics such as human rights, injustice, interfaith dialogue, minorities, neighbours and ecology.
The project also advocates for the Bible by holding Bible seminars, running Bible contests for youth, holding exhibitions, running a Bible week and holding conferences in churches.
Thank you and God bless you.
Compared with other Latin American countries Uruguay rates highly for development indicators, such as having a free education system and high literacy rates. However, although 81 percent of the population identify as Christian, secularism is on the rise bringing in its wake some of the highest rates of depression, suicide and divorce in Latin America.
It’s issues like these that the Bible Society of Uruguay is seeking to address through its New Horizons project. With its travelling bookshop kitted out in a van it travels the entire country reaching out to people with the Word of God. It supports many different ministries, including those working with marginalised people, prisoners, youth offenders and drug addicts.
One of those whose life has been impacted is Elba, who is being held in the women’s prison in Montevideo. Although Elba is deprived of her liberty, she feels that God has set her free. A smoker for 21 years, Elba has not touched a cigarette for six months. “I met God reading the Bible. He makes me a better person. I thank Bible Society for giving me a Bible. It changed my life completely. It is the food that sustains me every day,” said Elba.
Pastor David Ramos of the Assemblies of God Church, in Rosario, agrees about the need for the Bible. “In our city of Rosario there are very poor people. New Horizons give us access to the Scriptures, which are good for us to study and understand.
“In our church there are young people, who are just beginning to read the Bible, and newly married people. It’s necessary for them to have it to help them in their spiritual growth,” he said.
In January, Bible Society provided Scriptures for young people at a youth camp, who are either struggling with drug addiction or are experiencing homelessness. In February, it distributed 800 Bibles to children at the Institute of Primary Education in Montevideo, significant because reading the Bible in schools isn’t common in Uruguay.
In March, it donated 52 Bibles to a poor church in Bethlehem Village, a small town of 2,000 inhabitants in a rural area in Salto, in the north of the country. The New Horizons van is on the move in Uruguay!
Thank you and God bless you.
“Today, I am knowing the Word of God that the shepherds have preached here for us prisoners. I admit that I was wrong. My comfort is to hear the Word of God. I’d like to have my own Bible.”
These are the words of a prisoner in an Angolan prison who has attended Bible classes run by a prison chaplain.This work is supported by the Bible Society of Angola’s Scriptures for Prisoners project, which is equipping 250 church pastors who work as prison chaplains with Scripture materials. As well, Bible Society intends to distribute 5,000 Bibles and 3,000 New Testaments to male and female prisoners this year.
And the need is great! Angola is a country which is still recovering from a civil war which lasted from 1975 to 2002, which saw 1.5 million lives lost and four million people internally displaced. Today, there is widespread poverty with two-thirds of the population living on less than $2.00 a day. In rural areas 94% of households are categorised as poor
Yet, amidst war and poverty has come a remarkable growth in Christianity with 79% of the population now professing Christianity.
But there are also many challenges. Widespread corruption hinders economic development, and more than 80,000 people have been injured by landmines. Many rural people have moved to the cities and large squatter camps have sprung up around the outskirts of major cities such as Luanda.
There is a lack of infrastructure to provide clean water and sanitation, and high illiteracy rates with many children having no access to education. Consequently, there is high unemployment, especially among the young-adult population, and increased crime rates with people being sent to already overcrowded prisons.
Hence, the Bible Society of Angola has established its Scriptures for Prisoners project to help bring Bibles to people in prison.
“I am an orphan. I was sentenced to eight years in prison. Please, I really need a Bible for me because when I feel abandoned and lonely, I have nowhere else to turn,” says George, another prisoner.
Thank you and God bless you!