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SOWER BICENTENARY YEAR AUTUMN 2018

Flickr / Rod Waddington

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Lighting a path through dangers, toils and snares Ken Clezy

“In old age I have more time to study the word,” says Ken Clezy, AM OBE, an 88-year-old retired surgeon living in South Australia. “And I am more convinced than ever of its value as God’s revelation to mankind.” Growing up in Naracoorte, South Australia, Mr Clezy’s earliest memories are of his mother and father reading the Bible to him. “Our parents’ walk matched their talk, and all four of their children accepted very early that the Bible was God’s word and our guide for life.” Mr Clezy married Gwen Burrow, who had worked in the British and Foreign Bible Society office in Adelaide. He says, “Gwen brought into our marriage a conviction that never left us – spiritual health is all but impossible without daily Bible reading.” Mr Clezy’s work as a surgeon

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took them into the Third World, and into many dangerous scenarios. Yet it also led them into unique contexts to witness the power of God’s word in the lives of the people around them, and the importance of the Bible’s availability to these people. While in Papua New Guinea, Mr Clezy and his wife witnessed the launch of the Pidgin New Testament in 1969. “I remember the excitement when thousands gathered at the Madang market ... the New Testament was the first version of God’s word available to many tribes. It was a great blessing to those who could read, and was used effectively by pastors and evangelists as a basis for preaching in their own languages.” Mr Clezy and his wife lived and worked in PNG for 28 years. After working for a decade

in Tasmania, Mr Clezy took a placement in Yemen, where he faced significant danger, narrowly avoiding a shooting at the hospital that left three of his colleagues martyred. Yet, he says, “Working in the Middle East, I saw the risks local Christians were prepared to run to own an Arabic Bible. We saw transformed lives, and boldness that has never been required of us.” Mr Clezy has written his memoirs, Now in Remission: A Surgical Life, two novels and a half-finished manuscript. He continues to study God’s word, and reflecting on it as “the written word that foretells and describes the living Word, Jesus Christ.” After all he has experienced, and continues to learn from the Bible, he concludes, “It is therefore a joy to be a supporter of the Bible Society.”


Dear friends,

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e are small, we are weak, we are needy, we are unworthy. We are conquerors, we are strong and courageous, we are beloved, we are friends with the Almighty God. These contrasting descriptions of the Christian’s identity are all true at the same time. God has not only rescued us from sin and death but empowered us to be his light and salt in the world, witnesses to his goodness and glory. It can be hard to live with this complex understanding of ourselves. Depending on your personality, you may tend to wallow in our failings, or struggle with pride and independence. The sweet spot of Christian living seems to be a kind of pessimistic optimism, where we remain aware of our tendency to sin and our human frailties, while boldly and confidently resting in our new identity in Christ such that we are bearing fruit for him and his gospel through our lives. It’s quite a balancing act! Being involved in Bible mission has helped me with this balance. In my weakness, there is no way that the word of God would

be reaching the far-flung nations of the world. But in God’s strength it is. In this Sower alone, we look at work in Malawi, Nicaragua, China and central Australia). In my weakness, the basic task of Bible translation and provision would not transform individuals, families, communities and nations – but in God’s strength it does. And in my weakness, I worry about increasing secularism, the loss of Christian influence on society, and the masking of the beautiful news of the gospel in the mud and fog of church scandals. But there are still opportunities for groups such as CPX to speak into the public discussion with the grace and peace of Christ. God is faithful even when we are faithless, and his word is eternal and cannot be silenced. As we conclude our Bicentenary celebrations on 7 March, may I thank you for playing your part – whether by prayer or giving or volunteering – with courage, even in your weakness. Your labours are not in vain.

Dr Greg Clarke, CEO Bible Society Australia

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AFRICA

Building women of faith in Africa Eni Amadu with her family

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ni Amadu used to make her thumb-mark on the paper. It was the mark of her illiteracy. And it was a label that made her feel ashamed. Eni, a Yao woman from Malawi, had been ashamed of her illiteracy her whole life. The life of the illiterate person is bleak. It is like living in a foreign country. “Once I took the wrong bus and I didn’t reach my destination. Being illiterate, I couldn’t read the road signs. I was lost for almost a month,” Eni says. “All I had to eat was banana

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skins, as none of my relatives were in that place.” Eni’s parents were poor and couldn’t afford to send her to school, so when Eni heard about the literacy class in her village, she registered immediately. “I was ashamed, because other women of my age could read and write,” she says. “Today I am no longer the Yao woman that I was before.” As we celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March, it’s worth praying for women like Eni Amadu, a single parent who

has seven children to care for. Every day she cooks turnips and cornmeal mush for her family. Life is a struggle to make ends meet. In addition to working in the fields, she looks after the children, cooks and collects water and firewood. “I don’t have much free time, but I always do my homework,” she says. “Most of the day I am working in someone’s field to earn money to feed the family.” Eni reads to her children a story about a python from the literacy


class storybook. She says that learning is not easy for her as she is not young any more. But one day she will read fluently. While education is free in Malawi, the cost of the school uniform has forced Eni’s daughter to drop out of school. She hopes to go back to school one day. Eni also wants her other children to go to school. “I am happy that my mother is going to school,” her daughter says. “I am also trying to learn from the books she is using.” Eni’s greatest dream is to get a job now that she can read and write. “I want to find a job. Today only literate people can get jobs. In job interviews the emphasis is on literacy,” she says. Eni is grateful that she no longer has to carry the stigma of being illiterate. “I can write my own name. I now feel like a whole human being,” she says. “Before, I was in darkness; it was like I couldn’t see. That is how I felt when I was illiterate. But now I can see!” Eni is one of the first women to benefit from a pilot programme in literacy that started last year in Malawi. It was spearheaded by the Finnish Bible Society to ensure a

new translation of the Bible into Yao could be read. “It became apparent that there was a great problem with literacy,” says Richard Brewis of Finnish Bible Society. The programme was aimed at women of child-bearing age and girls because studies show this approach has the most benefit for families. When women become literate, they take an interest in their children’s education and they are unlikely to be left behind. By contrast, when a woman remains non-literate, her children’s success in school is much weaker. “One challenge has been restricting the class sizes because there’s such a great need,” says Richard Brewis. After being tested successfully on about 300 students, the programme is now extended to 16 minority communities in four countries – Malawi, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. The goal is to equip 20,000 women with functional literacy by the end of 2020 and also aims to build the capacity of the four Bible Societies to effectively run these projects in the future. The Bible Societies say that for $40 they can help teach a person to read and give them access to God’s word in their own language. Wilfred Ngalawa of Bible

Eni Amadu

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Women’s literacy class in Kenya.

Society Malawi says there was overwhelming support for the pilot programme in the Yao community. “We started with 10 classes and we anticipated to have 20 learners in each class, but then the number has gone up – they are even reaching up to 35 – so this is an overwhelming response which we didn’t expect, bearing in mind that this is a Yao community and the majority of them are from another religion.” Wilfred says even some of the literacy teachers were nonChristians, but they were happy

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to teach the Bible-based material because it also addressed community issues they faced every day. He says when they were holding teacher training in a particular area, the chief came to the graduation. “He said, ‘now that Bible society has started this thing, we do not expect you to stop. Assure us that this project is going to continue and that you’re going to expand so that many villages are reached.’ The need is massive: 400,000 Bible-based New Readers and other books will be needed for classes when they start. Will you

help the Bible Societies in these countries to meet this need?

$40

will help to build a woman of faith and influence through Biblebased literacy.

GIVE NOW Please call 1300 BIBLES (1300 242 537), use the donation form on the back page or visit biblesociety.org.au/ sowafrica


Devotion

the error – “the word of our God “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our stands for ever.” God stands for ever.” (Isaiah 40:8) We can easily reconstruct what

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mong the Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered by Bedouin shepherds in 1946, is the “Great Isaiah Scroll,” the work of an ancient scribe, copying an older Isaiah scroll onto eight metres of parchment, a century before Jesus was born. The faithful scribe was only human, sometimes missing a letter but sometimes whole words. At what we now call chapter 40 verse 8, the words “stands for ever” are missing. Much later, another writer with different handwriting corrected

may have happened. Verses 6 to 8 repeat “grass” and “flower” several times. Perhaps the scribe glanced away to dip his reed pen in the ink. Without verse numbers, when the scribe looked back, it was easy to lose his place. He missed some important words, but years later another faithful scribe fixed the omission. And as that scroll wore out, another scribe would have copied it again. God has always taken the risk of entrusting his word to human hands. God knows our weaknesses. Intentionally or

Flickr_Agustin Rafael Reyes

THE INDESTRUCTIBLE WORD unintentionally, humans will always make mistakes. We Bible translators know this only too well. Our work always bears the marks of our humanity. In Isaiah, the falling of the flower and the withering of the grass actually symbolise the temporary nature of human achievement. Bible Society, like the ancient scribe, is called to preserve and spread the word of God. In our 200 years in Australia, we may have made mistakes. But the mistakes are not for ever. God will always call other people to take up the task so that God’s word “stands for ever.” John Harris

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INDIGENOUS SCRIPTURE

Good news travelling fast

Kaley Payne

Nipuru, Pukatja stations of the cross, March 2016, Pitjantjatjara


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n a humid church hall in Darwin, a group of devoted Kriol speakers gathered every weekday for three weeks with translation consultants Margaret Mickan and Mally McClean to discuss the revision of the Kriol Bible, the first full Indigenous Bible, published 10 years ago. The New Revised Edition of the Kriol Bible, to be published this year, is one of more than 20 Indigenous Scripture projects that really need your support. The local Kriol speakers were excited to discuss theological matters and changes in the language over the previous 10 years to ensure the new edition would be understood by more than 30,000 Kriol speakers from across the Top End of Australia. The almost three-quarters of Indigenous people who identify as Christians are eager to have the Scriptures in their own languages to help them fully understand the stories of the Bible. The next dedication of a new Indigenous Bible will be the Kunwinjku Shorter Bible (New Testament) in the middle of this year. CMS missionary Matt Pearson will be living in Gunbalanya in Arnhem Land from April to help the Christian leaders in the community use the new Bible to know Christ better and

keep trusting in him. Matt says: “Our family have the privilege of helping Aboriginal people there in that community use this precious resource and hear God speak in their own language. “This will help keep the gospel message safe in this language and these people, and we’re hoping and praying that this will ensure that the gospel gets passed on to the next generation.” In another first this year, Pitjantjatjara people now have access to the Pitjantjatjara Bible on their smartphone or tablet. A dedicated app called Tjukurpa Palya (Good News) has spread across the lands. “Now I can have the Bible with me wherever I am,” commented one woman; another said, “I can just pick up my phone during a break from my work [as an artist] and read God’s word – how good is that?” If you’d like to check out the app yourself, it is freely available on the Google Play

Store and the Apple App Store – just type in Tjukurpa Palya. The most recent dedication of a new Indigenous Bible was the Eastern/Central Arrernte Shorter Bible. Carl Gross, who worked as a translation consultant on the Bible attended the dedication service at the Catholic Church in Alice Springs in July. Speaking at the Mass, he noted that Bible Society had been supporting translation into Arrernte for almost 100 years. Thank you for your support of these translations of Indigenous Bibles, which ensure that our Aboriginal brothers and sisters can pass the good news of Jesus to the next generation.

Translator Katrina enjoying Tukurpa Palya on her phone.

WILL YOU HELP? Please call 1300 Bibles (1300 242 537) or visit biblesociety.org.au/sowrims 9


Club together to help sick kids in Nicaragua

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roups are powerful in prayer. And groups are powerful when they are working together to help others. That’s what Bible Society’s Get The Word Out is all about. We’re asking church, school and community groups to team up and fundraise to support Bible Society’s mission of telling the world the good news found in the Bible. Every year we pick a different country to support and engage with the word of God, and we ask your help in fundraising for that country throughout the year. Last year, we brought our mission home, supporting Bible work in Australian

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public schools, Indigenous communities and chaplaincy work in hospitals and prisons. Volunteers bring joy to sick children. In 2018, we’re getting the word out to Nicaragua. We’re on the pavement outside La taking God’s word into Mascota hospital, he decided to Nicaragua’s only hospital for support a church-run shelter to children with cancer, La Mascota, give accommodation to families and offering peace and hope to of sick children being treated thousands of sick kids and their at the hospital. From there, the families. Why Nicaragua? It’s project called “Hope and Smile for one of Latin America’s poorest Children with Cancer” was born. and least-developed countries. La Mascota, in the country’s Three-quarters of its six million population lives on less than $2.50 capital, Managua, cares for 4000 children with cancer each month, per day, and accessing basic but many of them come from the services is a daily struggle. When Bible Society Nicaragua’s other side of the country, where some of Nicaragua’s poorest general secretary, Freddy families live. They have to travel Fonseca, saw parents sleeping


up to 400km to get treatment for their children. The hospital’s head of oncology, Luis Fulgencio-Baez, has called Bible Society’s work at the hospital “essential,” sometimes making the difference between life and death. “Before the Bible Society helped with transport costs and overnight stays, 30 per cent of children didn’t continue with their treatment. Those children would have died,” he says. “The children not only receive healing from medicine but also from God’s word. It’s important because they can pray and be positive.” When Sharon was first diagnosed, she stayed at La Mascota hospital for a whole year receiving treatment. In those first months of intensive treatment, Sharon’s mother Mayerin felt as if she was losing hope. “When the doctors told me about my daughter’s diagnosis, I felt as if I’d lost her,” said Mayerin. “She felt weak during the initial treatment cycle, she lost her hair, eyebrows, and her body’s defence system was weakened. She fell so ill, she was admitted to the intensive care unit.” It was during those first months that Mayerin met some of Bible Society’s volunteers. As well as

spiritual support through the provision of God’s word, Bible Society offers practical assistance to families in need, helping them with transport, accommodation and nutrition which they can barely afford. Mayerin’s family received financial assistance to help her live close to the hospital during Sharon’s treatment. Thousands of Bibles have been given to people in times of darkness at La Mascota, bringing a message of hope, peace and love. Can you encourage your friends or church groups to raise funds as a team for GTWO 2018? In 2017, Church of Christ’s “Kidsmin” kids’ ministry team at Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, constructed an “offering pole” which the kids put money in each week. Aberfeldie Baptist Church in Victoria hosted a “Dinner in the Dark” fundraising event which was attended by seven local churches. The Ulverstone Branch in Tasmania brought local churches together for the annual Festival of Word & Song. What can your group do to bring God’s word to the children at La Mascota?

Sharon during her hospital treatment

Why not make a plan with others in your church or community group? Download resources at biblesociety.org.au/ gtwo18 or call 1300 242 537.

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AUSTRALIA

A golden opportunity to share the good news

Flickr / Marc

Men’s Triathlon – Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games

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ore than 6600 athletes and team officials from 70 nations and territories will converge on the Gold Coast for the XXI Commonwealth Games being held from 4 to 15 April. Taking advantage of this brilliant opportunity to get the good news into the people’s hands, Bible Society has produced 20,000 copies of a special edition of the Gospel

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of Luke, called Priceless, and has teamed up with a group called Beyond Gold, who will distribute them to participants, spectators and volunteers. With a theme of “Share the Dream,” the 11 days of the Games will feature contests in 18 sports and seven para-sports broadcast to a global audience of 1.5 billion. Here are two extracts from a series of testimonies from people involved in the surf lifesaving community that are printed at the

front of Priceless. Angela Pond, club captain at Scarboro SLSC, Scarborough, Western Australia, had become confused in her spiritual journey after investigating Reiki and clairvoyant work and reading many new age books. “I had come to a belief that God did exist and I really wanted to know where Jesus fit,” she writes. “So, I decided to ask God that, if Jesus was still alive, could he show me who he was? Within a week,


I had a vision of Jesus standing in front of me: his presence and holiness were overwhelming. I felt so unworthy to be near him, yet he held out his hand and asked me to come with him. “The following week I found myself in a church service being totally overwhelmed that God loved me unconditionally, and was asking me to follow him. I responded by surrendering my life to Jesus. On that day, I learnt God’s forgiveness. Brian (Bandy) Edwards, a Bravery Award Recipient and Competition Official for 40 years, recalls how in 2006 his life was a roller-coaster ride because his family had disowned him. “During the next 18 months, I had planned to take my life on three occasions, but God had different ideas. I recommitted my life to God, and over the next half-a-dozen years my relationship with Jesus deepened. “In November 2013, I came home from work not feeling well, despite being very fit and having regular heart check-ups. The problem was my high cholesterol. I was sent to hospital for a double valve bypass operation ... “When I woke up in ICU, I gave thanks to God, and continued in prayer knowing that Jesus

was with me. I considered the recovery period an opportunity for spending time with Jesus, and during the time in hospital and at home, the power of prayer was unbelievable. My recovery amazed the specialist.” Later, when his heart was found to have an infection, he had to have another operation. “During this operation, I remember seeing a great white light and also a large white angel. The following day in ICU, the specialist spoke about the operation saying, ‘Everything stopped when your heart was out and we had to start the heart again. You are one of the lucky people!’ I replied, ‘I had two good doctors: you and Jesus.’ Throughout all the operations, infections and time in hospital (a total of 46 weeks) Jesus was always with me and I never gave up. I believe in miracles and the power of prayer. “These things I do know: relationships with my family have been restored. My relationship

with God through Jesus has deepened. God answers prayer. “By God’s grace I am still here; not because of the things I didn’t do, or the good works I did, but purely because of what Jesus has done – not only for me but for everyone who follows him. “‘For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no-one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.’” Ephesians 2:8-10

GIVE NOW

Please call 1300 BIBLES (1300 242 537), use the donation form on the back page or visit biblesociety.org.au/sowgames 13


Hobart: Bicentenary service in St David’s Cathedral

‘Wrapping up’ our

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fter a year-long celebration of Bible Society Australia’s 200th birthday, we have much to be thankful for. Just as a child at her birthday celebration may look over the wrapping paper strewn across the floor and gleefully eye each new gift, Bible Society can reflect back on the past year with great satisfaction and joy. “I am a longtime supporter of Bible Society, because I believe your work transforms.” This sentiment was the overwhelming response from our supporters who attended more than 35 Thank You events run around Australia to celebrate our Bicentenary. In as many ways as possible, Bible Society took pains to thank donors and supporters. The celebrations began with a National Celebration of the Bible service,

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Jon Love

Sydney: celebrating 200 years at Hillsong

Manly: Greg Clarke hosts UBS Roundtable

200th birthday celebrations hosted by Hillsong at 28 campuses and 12 other churches around the country, and streamed to more than 100,000 people Australia wide. It was a wonderful celebration of God’s word, led by Hillsong’s Brian Houston and Sydney Anglican Archbishop Glenn Davies. Another highlight of the year took place in July, when the world’s Bible Societies joined in the celebrations as Sydney hosted the annual United Bible Societies Roundtable Exchange. Many other events were held at government houses, youth conferences, churches and more – including hymnfests, local Get the Word Out functions and fundraisers, often with amazing birthday cakes! Thanks to your generosity, we were able to share God’s word with more Australians in our Bicentenary year. Together with you, we gave away more than 1600 copies of God’s word to all who applied in our Good Book giveaway campaign.

Later in the year, we gave away more than 250,000 copies of The Really Good News of Christmas book. Also, 1000 babies born in our Bicentenary year are being given a Bible story book through our Bibles for Bubs project. The little ones will receive a birthday card from Bible Society each year and on their fifth birthday, a CEV Big Rescue Bible. Our Bicentenary also saw the launch of two highly successful books: the Indigenous art book Our Mob God’s Story, which won the 2017 Christian book of the year award, and Mr Eternity: The Story of Arthur Stace, of which the first print run sold out quickly. Bible Society Australia CEO Greg Clarke comments: “We still have a massive task in front of us, made even more challenging by a cultural atmosphere in which the Bible is not known, but nevertheless held under suspicion. The quest to persuade people of the goodness of the Good Book continues!”


Events to build, encourage Mastering the faith

Selwood Media & Design

“It was a great experience that gave us the opportunity to explore other people’s beliefs and become equipped in sharing our faith with others,” a Year 10 student at The Scots College in Sydney wrote after attending a Bible Society Masterclass at Sae Soon Presbyterian Church in North Rocks last August. Masterclass is a series of oneday events for Christian students

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in Years 9 to 12 of high school that aims to inspire, stretch and encourage the next generation of believers. “We were able to discuss some key issues with other schools such as free speech and the place of debate regarding ethical issues, and the place of Christian teaching in this,” the Scots College student wrote in the Christian Union newsletter. “There were some very welleducated and interesting speakers such as Dr John Dickson, Dr Natasha Moore and Pastor Dan Paterson, who gave us great insight into our mission as followers of Christ. Bible Society Masterclass 2017 was a unique experience and I look forward to seeing how this day develops in the future.” In 2018, students will again hear three highly engaging speakers present a variety of topics, with a threefold goal of building their confidence in the Bible on evidence for the truths of the Christian faith; encouraging them to live out their faith in all spheres of their lives; and exploring contemporary issues of faith and culture from a biblical prospective.

The Good Book talks

Unknown, unloved and unbelieved: the book that shaped the Western world is on the back shelves in today’s Australia. In a new series of TED-style talks, Nick Spencer (see right), Bible Society CEO Greg Clarke and CPX senior research fellow Justine Toh (pictured above) will argue for the enduring value of the Bible in truth telling, ethics and culture. 8 and 13 March – see P21.


and help believers explore Probing our origins

For better, for worse

Nick Spencer, Research Director at Theos Think Tank in London, is on a quest to rediscover our origin stories. In a series of lectures for Australia’s Centre for Public Christianity, he will offer a provocative assessment of which elements of our culture did – and didn’t – come from Christianity. The Christian scholar and author says societies have had very different levels of

Coming soon: the Centre for Public Christianity’s new documentary. For the Love of God: How the church is better and worse than you ever imagined. CPX takes an in-depth look at the worst things Christians have done across history – Crusades, inquisitions, witch hunts – and also tells forgotten stories about the origins of the things we hold dear as a culture, from human rights and charity to humility and the tradition of non-violence. What impact have the teaching and example of Jesus had on our world? You’ll get your first look at For the Love of God at a nationwide cinema release in May, followed by screening events; the release of the DVD with episodes on “War & Peace”, “Rights & Wrongs”, “Rich & Poor”, and “Power & Humility”; and the launch of a digital platform with featured segments from the documentary. Sign up for updates at fortheloveofgodproject.com.

commitment to values such as respect for life, rule of law, human dignity and equal rights. And it is only in “the West” that they came together in a sustainable way over the past few hundred years. Yet few people understand why. What does make the West the West? Rule of law, humanism, the Scientific Revolution, democracy, human rights – how did these things emerge and then embed themselves so deeply in our collective psyche? Nick Spencer gives the Richard Johnston Lecture on 14 March in Sydney and 15 March in Melbourne. For tickets: publicchristianity. org/richard-johnson-lecture/

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CHINA

Going the extra mile

Pastor Tong helps a member of his congregation cross a stream.


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astor Tong Xinjun is a quiet man who serves his little congregation at Luo Shui Church with kindness and concern. Luo Shui Church in a remote part of China has about 70 members, all farmers who need to work the land, so only about 30 people – mostly women – are regular weekly attenders. Some of them walk for hours through the mountains to meet in the small farmhouse that serves as the

church building. The final hurdle is a stream that has to be crossed via a series of wobbly stepping stones. In the picture at left you can see Pastor Tong helping one of his elderly congregation members cross the stream to begin her journey home. Yang Jinying, below left, slipped and broke her arm while crossing the stream. Bible Societies have provided Bibles for these congregation members, most of whom are very poor. Now, with your help, Bible Society is supporting a project to provide Scripture materials for the needy, including the sick, those hit by natural disasters, the less well off, and the physically disabled, as well as outreach, especially to the young. A national survey in 2006 calculated that there are 82.96 million disabled people in China. They need access to God’s word in a suitable format such as braille, audio or video or text message.

The outreach aspect of the programme involves giving out specially designed Scripture booklets during festive seasons such as Chinese New Year, Easter and Christmas. UBS has worked in various provinces to produce pocketsized Scripture portions, some bilingual, so as to attract young adults and youth who are interested in learning English. According to official Chinese 2015 statistics, there are 470 million young people aged between 15-29 (almost 20 times the entire population of Australia!) Suicide is the top cause of death among Chinese young people, according to China’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. As a result, there is an urgent need to reach out to the young in China. With your help, this project will put Scripture material into the hands of at least 360,000 needy people, strengthening believers and reaching those who still do not know our Lord Jesus, giving them a hope and a future.

GIVE NOW Yang Jinying broke her arm while crossing the stream.

Please call 1300 BIBLES (1300 242 537), use the donation form on the back page or visit biblesociety.org.au/sowoutreach 19


BSA updates

The greatest story ever told Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales, Paradise Lost – these are just a few of the great stories of our Western culture that find their roots in a much older and much more powerful story, the Bible. Writers, scientists, mathematicians and revolutionary leaders through the centuries have gained insight and even “borrowed” from it for their own works. But in our schools today, it’s become invisible. That’s why Bible Society Australia is holding a competition that gives budding filmmakers a chance to win a $32,000 “Land of the Bible” tour for four, exploring Israel and Jordan for 17 days. Spread the word! We are looking for threeminute short films, telling high schoolers the story of this invisible book, the Bible, behind William Shakespeare’s most celebrated plays – the very texts they’re studying in Year 11 and 12. Find out more at: theinvisiblebook.com.au.

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A story worth listening to Two specialist recordists from Faith Comes By Hearing travelled to the centre of Australia last year to begin a multi-voice recording of the entire New Testament in Pitjantjatjara. After completing half of the recordings in Adelaide, they will return this year to record the rest of the New Testament over a 10-week period in Alice Springs. The recordings are in a dramatised format with up to 20 Pitjantjatjara speakers reading a different character from the New Testament. It’s a must for a culture where important information is passed on from generation to generation using oral storytelling. Bible Society’s RIMS production coordinator Paul Eckert commented: “The Pitjantjatjara readers are doing a great job and are loving it. One lady came out of the recording booth after reading a few chapters of Hebrews and said that she had been so touched by the message that she was almost in tears.”


BSA diary STATES

DATES

EVENTS

VENUES

8/03

Good Book Talks with Greg Clarke, John Dickson and Justine Toh

Abbotsleigh, Wahroonga

14/03

Richard Johnston Lecture with Nick Spencer from Theos Think Tank in London

Sydney Conservatorium of Music

QUEENSLAND

3/03

Amore La Musica Fundraising Concert

All Saints Anglican Church, Booval

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

8/05

South African Prayer Breakfast

Adelaide

TASMANIA

18/03

Launceston Hymnfest

St John’s Anglican Church, Launceston

VICTORIA

15/03

Richard Johnston Lecture with Nick Spencer from Theos Think Tank in London

State Library of Victoria

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Bike for Bibles – Round the Bay in 2 Days

Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne

NEW SOUTH WALES

See the full list at bible.com.au/events or call Bible Society on 1300 Bibles (1300 242 537) 21


Prayer points March – June 2018 March 11-17

Australia – Remote & Indigenous Ministry Support: Please pray for the completion of the voice recording of the New Testament into Pitjantjatjara. Pray for safety as readers travel to Alice Springs. North Korea: Please pray that God will help and equip Christian churches to persevere and grow despite horrific persecution. Pray that the truth of God’s word will liberate the nation.

March 18-24

Philippines: Please pray for the construction of the Philippines Bible Society’s building that will support the Bible ministry in the country. Pray also for the May They Be One Plus campaign featuring new programmes to produce more Bibles, starting with young people. Nicaragua: Give thanks that the Bible Society can distribute Bibles to sick children and their families at La Mascota Children’s Hospital. Pray that God fills the lives of these children and their families with his comfort, strength and the hope of Jesus.

March 25-31

Australia – Content & Publishing: Please pray that the 20,000 copies of Luke’s Gospel printed for the Commonwealth Games will be distributed effectively and reach many people. Cambodia: Please pray for a joyous time celebrating Bible Society’s 50th anniversary, and for the establishment of partnerships with churches. Please pray also for the elections for Prime Minister, in July, because there is always violence.

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April 1-7

China: Pray that the four million Bibles that are printed and distributed annually will bring about transformation. Pray also for the development of suitable Bible portions, for improvements in our Bible app, and also for pastors and preachers. Australia – Commonwealth Games: Give thanks for all the people who will converge on the Gold Coast for the Commonwealth Games this month. Please pray for the success of Bible outreach initiatives.

April 8-14

Mongolia: Please pray that Bible Society can reach all families with the Bible. Pray also for the publication of biblical materials for children. Ghana: Please pray for the Bono Bible Translation Project. Pray for preparations for the World Assembly to be hosted by Bible Society of Ghana in 2022.

April 15-21

Lesotho: Thank God for the success of the 50th Anniversary Celebrations in March 2017. Thank God for the new government of Lesotho that took office on June 3, 2017, and pray for peace and stability. Georgia: Give thanks to God for guiding the work in Ghana, especially the Youth Translation Project, which is being developed. Pray that the full New Testament translation will be completed in 2018.

April 22-28

Australia – Centre for Public Christianity: Pray that CPX can cultivate good relationships with editors and producers in mainstream media, receive more opportunities to reach many people who will be receptive to the Christian message. Norway: Please pray for the final stages of the new Bible translation into Northern Sami and translation


projects into Lule Sami and Southern Sami. Pray for the publication and distribution of the word of God.

April 29-May 5

Rwanda: Please pray for the local fundraising strategy based on using telecommunication companies, for the commitment of every church member to contribute financially to the Bible cause, and for more funds for advocacy projects. Egypt: Please pray that Egypt will be able to complete the translation of the Van Dyck Study Bible into Arabic by the end of 2018.

May 6-12

South Africa: Praise God for every Bible distributed in South Africa and for progress made with Bible translation projects. Pray for all programmes, including literacy, Bibles for Grade 7 learners, for prisoners and for the poor. Scotland: Pray for the Bibleworld Books resource to help children in church-based, after-school clubs to improve their literacy while learning more about the Bible in an increasingly secular society.

May 13-19

Thailand: Please pray for the publication of the Study Notes on the Psalms and Song of Songs, and for the translation of the Acts into Thai Sign Language to finish in 2019. Pray that all primary schools will have a Bible for Children. Haiti: Pray for the translation of the Study Bible into Haitian Creole. Pray for safety and development in Haiti. Thank the Lord for allowing the Bible Society to make the Bible available to different audiences.

May 20-26

Australia – Executive Team: Bible Society’s Executive team is working hard to develop a new

five-year strategic plan. Please pray for them as they do this important work. Togo: Please pray for the launch of the Ewe Bible with the deuterocanonical books, and for the start of new translation projects (Nawdm, Ngangam, Adele). Pray for the completion of the Ikposo translation project.

May 27-June 2

Uganda: Please pray for resources for the new Bible House project, and for the Board of Directors that will lead the development of the next five-year strategic plan. Cyprus: Praise God for the New Testaments distributed by the Ministry of Education in schools. Ask that this donation will be a chance for students to learn about God’s word.

June 3-9

Germany: Pray for the 50th anniversary of the Gute Nachricht Bible (“Good News” in German) and the campaign for people to interact with this Bible. Singapore: Pray for Bible engagement and advocacy programmes happening throughout the year, especially “Colours of the Bible,” “Declare” and “D6 Family Conference.” Pray that Christians will grow in love and understanding of the word of God and that non-believers will come to faith.

June 10-16

Cuba: Please pray for the upcoming Roundtable Exchange meeting Cuba. Roundtable is where the United Bible Societies community decides which projects they will support in the coming year. Seychelles: Please pray for the three projects Seychelles Bible Society plans to carry out in 2018, tackling topics including substance abuse among young people and trauma healing.

23


The coming King & his Kingdom By Jessica Smith

Easter: Excerpts from a year with Jesus

Identity in Christ

By Nicola McDermott

By Natasha Moore

By Paul White

Week One

MAR 11 – MAR 17

Week Three

MAR 25 - MAR 31

SUN 11 Isaiah 2:2-4

SUN 25

MON 12 Isaiah 61:8-11

MON 26

TUE 13

Isaiah 42:1-4

WED 14

Isaiah 42:5-9

THUR 15 Isaiah 32:1,15-18

TUE 27

Matt 27:11-14

THUR 29

MON 9 2 Cor 5:17

Matt 27:24-26

John 15:16

WED 11

1 Peter 2:19

Matt 27:32-37

FRI 30 Matt 27:38-44

SAT 17 Isaiah 52:13-3

SAT 31 Matt 27:45-46

Week Two

SUN 18 Isaiah 53:5-9

Week Four

THUR 12 2 Cor 5:20-21 FRI 13 Rom 8:14-15 SAT 14

Week Six

APR 1 – APR 7

APR 15 – APR 21

SUN 1 Matt 27:47-50

SUN 15

1 Cor 12:12-13

Matt 27:51-54

MON 16

Gal 2:20

TUE 3

Matt 27:55–56

TUE 17

Col 3:2-4

Micah 4:1-4,6-7

WED 4

Matt 27:57-61

WED 18

2 Tim 1:7

Isaiah 24:6-10

THUR 5

Matt 27:62-66

TUE 20

Isaiah 51: 1-5

WED 21

THUR 19 Col 3:15

FRI 6 Matt 28:5-7

FRI 20

SAT 24 Ezek 37:24-28

SAT 7 Matt 28:8-10

SAT 21

The season of Lent is a key time in the church calendar, as Christians around the world walk with Jesus to his cross and resurrection. Just as we anticipate Easter, the Old Testament Prophets anticipated the coming Messiah. This series explores the prophetic vision of deliverance for those in need, the humble servant King, and the dawning reign of God.

The Easter story is one which can lose its impact when one’s familiarity with the narrative increases. This Easter, as we read through the account in Matthew’s gospel with Paul White (and Justin Moffatt), be moved again by the character of Jesus, the good plan of God our Father, and the outrageous love and grace lavished on us in the death and resurrection of our Lord.

FRI 23

Col 1:22

MON 2

MON 19 Isaiah 53:10-12

THUR 22

SUN 8 Gen 1:27 TUE 10

FRI 16 Isaiah 9:2-7

MAR 18 – MAR 24

Week Five

APR 8 – APR 14

Matt 27:15-16,22-23

WED 28 Matt 27:27-31

Ezek 37:11-14

What has Christianity ever done for the world?

Week Seven APR 22 – APR 28

SUN 22 John 13:34-35 MON 23 Gen 1:26-27 TUE 24 Matt 5:43-45 WED 25 Romans 12:17-21 THUR 26 Ephesians 6:5-8 FRI 27 Exodus 6:5-6 SAT 28 Gal 3:26-28

Week Eight APR 29 – MAY 5

SUN 29 Matt 25:34-40 MON 30 Matt 23:25-28 TUE 1 Mark 10:42-45 WED 2 Phil 2:3-11 THUR 3 Acts 17:24-27

Gal 5:22-23

FRI 4 Mark 8:34-36

1 John 4:16-17

SAT 5 1 Peter 2:11-12

In Christ, we can be confident that our identity is not established in our reputation or achievements but rather in the trustworthy promises of God spoken through his word. This series explores, from an athlete’s perspective, how a firm understanding of true identity secures victory as a lifestyle.

Crusades, inquisitions, slavery, child abuse: no wonder so many people dismiss Christian faith as destructive. But the influence of the Bible has also changed the world dramatically for the better. This series draws on CPX’s new documentary For the Love of God: How the church is better and worse than you ever imagined.


Mothers in the Bible

The gospel in action, changing lives By Robert McKean

By Justin Whelan

Week Nine

Week Eleven

Week Thirteen

By Karen Mudge

MAY 6 – MAY 12

MAY 20 – MAY 26

Refugees: God’s concern

JUNE 3 – JUNE 9

SUN 6 Gen 3:20

SUN 20 Acts 2:14-16

SUN 3 Psalms 137:1

MON 7 Heb 11:11-12

MON 21 Acts 2:42-45

MON 4 Exodus 23:9

TUE 8 WED 9

Gen 25:21-23 Gen 30:1-2;22-23

THUR 10 Exodus 2:1-3 FRI 11 Ruth 4:14-15 SAT 12 Judges 13:2-5

Week Ten

MAY 13 – MAY 19 SUN 13 1 Sam 1:10-11;27-28 MON 14 TUE 15

2 Sam 12:24 Luke 1:5-7,24-25

TUE 22 Acts 4:32-35 WED 23 Acts 5:17-18 THUR 24 Acts 6:2-4 FRI 25 Acts 7:56-58 SAT 26 Acts 9:31

Week Twelve MAY 27 – JUNE 2

SUN 27 Acts 10:34-36 MON 28 Acts 11:22-24 TUE 29 Acts 16:24-25

WED 16

Luke 1:41-43

WED 30 Acts 18:5-8

THUR 17

Matt 15:22-28

THUR 31 Acts 19:18-20

FRI 18 SAT 19

2 Tim 3:14-17 Prov 31:26-28,30

Mothers are so important in our lives, and this is reflected in the Bible. In this series, we look at mothers in the Bible: their strengths, challenges, weakness and the example they set. Be encouraged and challenged as you consider the influence of your own mother, or the role you may play as a mother, with these Scriptures.

FRI 1 Acts 20:34-35 SAT 2 Acts 27:34-36

Delve into the lives of the first Christians as we explore Acts of the Apostles. Discover the reality of their new faith, their new community, and the persecution they faced. Be encouraged by their boldness to speak about Jesus, their generosity and their faithfulness, as the gospel changed their lives, and those around them.

TUE 5 Hebrews 13:2 WED 6 Psalms 146:9 THUR 7 Gen 21:9-10 FRI 8 Matt 2:13-15a SAT 9 Isaiah 56:3a,6-7

Week Fourteen JUNE 10 – JUNE 16 SUN 10 Luke 10:29 MON 11 Ruth 2:10

Jessica Smith is operations manager at Common Grace Paul White is assistant minister at Church Hill Anglican Nicola McDermott, is an Australian high jumper Natasha Moore is a Research Fellow with the Centre for Public Christianity

TUE 12 Luke 17:18 WED 13 Ezekiel 22:7 THUR 14 Matt 25:35,43 FRI 15 Romans 5:8 SAT 16 2 Cor 5:20

How we treat refugees and vulnerable foreigners is never far from the centre of God’s concern. It’s also a perennial debate in Australia. In this series, we go beyond the classic texts to delve deeper into the heart of God’s desire for how we treat those who come to us seeking safety, and how we define who is “in” and “out” of our society.

Karen Mudge is a writer for Eternity News Robert McKean is minister of St James Presbyterian in Orange, NSW Justin Whelan is education manager at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre 25


Amy Oxley Wilkinson was an Australian missionary in China in the early 20th century and was widely known in China and in the West. After rescuing an abandoned blind boy, she founded an innovative Blind Boys School in Fuzhou that is now a major institution in Fujian Province. Amy’s story highlights the significance of Australia’s contribution to the development of early modern China and is a challenge to anyone committed to making their life count for others.

A new book by

acornpress.net.au or 02 9857 4477


Bible Societies around the world

Learning in Laos There was a delay in the start of the Learning through Literacy project in Laos because the literacy materials were not approved for use until halfway through the year. However, since the approval of materials it’s been full steam ahead with 71 classes having started with 538 students and 176 students have graduated. Five facilitator workshops have been held, with more to come in 2018.

Cambodia hits mark The Learning through Listening project in Cambodia was a great success, exceeding its goals by 21 per cent in 2017. The programme, which you supported, reached a total of 7225 people, despite only being 70 per cent funded. In all, 533 literacy classes were held and 16 provinces were visited for training and follow-up, and four facilitator training workshops were held.

Egypt powers on The goal for adults and children who have been helped to read by the literacy project in Egypt, which you supported last year, was 7000-10,000. The year ended with 8500 students, exceeding the minimum goal. In 2017, there were 600 classes, 700 volunteer facilitators and 1250 graduates. Thousands of Scriptures were distributed and training was held to introduce the programme into new areas.

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27


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Sower - Autumn 2018  

To download the PDF visit bit.ly/AutumnSower2018

Sower - Autumn 2018  

To download the PDF visit bit.ly/AutumnSower2018

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