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The Bible at work

The Bible unveiled to Pakistani women

We can’t show you their faces, we can’t tell you their names, but our literacy project is bringing the Bible to them.

WINTER 2014

Sower


Young supporters help ‘Get The Word Out’

Dear friends, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them,” said Jesus, “for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14). These wonderful words of Jesus are a source of sorrow in our culture at present. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has made public the horrific stories of incidents where children have been greatly “hindered”. It is no surprise to me that such deep and troubling sin makes some in our community suspicious of the Christian religion. But I pray that this suspicion can be overcome by genuine care and selfless service, and that the gospel of Jesus Christ will be believed and lived out for all to see its beauty, truth and goodness. A large part of the work of Bible Society is making the Bible available and accessible to young people who might not discover it otherwise. Please pray that our work will always lighten the hearts of all who experience it, however old they are. In this issue, you will see plenty of opportunities to ‘Get the Word Out’ to the children of the world: in schools in Australia, Sunday

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school materials for China, soccer-loving kids in Brazil, and Masterclasses to sharpen the minds of our teenagers. You will also meet some intrepid young fundraisers who are setting the pace for the rest of us! Thank you for assisting us to bring the word of life to every new generation!

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Dr Greg Clarke CEO Bible Society Australia

Last year three young girls (story, right) held a ‘rockathon’ for Rwanda. The verse above was their theme, and they used it on ‘Thank you’ bookmarks given to their sponsors.

Bible Society has been getting some great reports just halfway through our year-long group fundraising project, Get The Word Out (GTWO) China. It’s fantastic to see that a new generation of Bible Society supporters has pitched in too. Three young friends from Canberra held a garage sale, wanting to support GTWO just like they did last year. Sophie, Eleanor and Elizabeth aim to “help people hear about Jesus”, so they took items from their own toys and clothing, asked neighbours to contribute too, and sold the lot. Last year the girls fundraised for GTWO Rwanda by holding a rockathon. “That’s where you get sponsored to sit on a rocking chair and rock for as long as you can,” Eleanor explains. “All you need is a rocking chair and some time to rock. Easy!” They made posters and sponsorship forms, took a rocking chair to church and explained their project, and asked the congregation to sponsor them. Then on Elizabeth’s birthday, all three girls went to her house with their rocking chairs. After some tea for strength, they settled comfortably into their rocking chairs, and started rocking.

To keep them going as they rocked, they watched the latest What’s in the Bible DVD, and also looked through the projects on the Bible Society website. They saw the video on the GTWO Rwanda literacy project and decided to send their funds specially for that project. Elizabeth’s mum made sure that they were rocking all the time and sticking to their objective. “Doing the rockathon was exciting and not as tiring as our parents thought it would be for us.

“We hope that we can keep raising money for people to hear about Jesus in the future.” Now that they’ve worked together twice to fundraise for Get The Word Out, the girls are encouraging others to get involved as “it’s fun fundraising with friends, and it’s for a good purpose.” For some great fundraising ideas and downloadable promotional materials, visit biblesociety.org.au/ gtwochina or call 1300 BIBLES (1300 242 537).

(R-L) Eleanor, Sophie and Elizabeth raising funds for China, with Elizabeth’s sister Monica getting in on the fun.

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A beacon of light reaching Pakistani homes 4

• For 56-year old Samira*, growing up illiterate was “like being blind.” Now that she can read, she says “it’s like I’ve come out from the darkness into light.” • Nadira* used to look longingly at her children’s school books, until she enrolled in a literacy class and started reading books for herself. • Pakeeza* wanted so much to pursue an education, she didn’t mind sitting in a class with children. These women all enrolled in Bible Society Pakistan’s Beacon of Light literacy project. Over fifteen years, it’s helped thousands of Pakistani Christian women learn to read and write, using Bible-based materials. But there are thousands more wanting to learn. Sadly, sixty per cent of women in Pakistan cannot read, and the situation is especially bad in rural areas. Families educate their sons, preferring to have their *Name changed to protect those involved

daughters married by age 16. Pakeeza (below) is unmarried at age 32—which is unusual— but clearly there’s a different pathway unfolding for her. She’d always longed to go to school but had to stay home looking after her siblings. In her twenties, she was quick off the block when her church ran the Beacon of Light project. Finishing that, she persuaded a local school to let her study with the young children. It was difficult, but she persevered. “On my way to school I’d hear discouraging remarks from people, about why I wanted to study at my age. But I never paid heed to them.” After matriculation she went on to college. “Now I teach an adult literacy class and I help other girls and older women learn how to read and write. I encourage them with my personal story, that if I could study and become a teacher, then they can succeed too.” The Beacon of Light project continues to bring the light of literacy and Bible knowledge to thousands of Christian women. What’s more, these women go from only telling their children Bible stories, to actually reading the texts to them. In traditional Pakistani families, the mother is very much the nurturer, so reaching one woman means reaching her children too. Anthony Lamuel, Pakistan Bible Society’s General Secretary, is himself a product of a mother’s spiritual input into his life. “She always insisted that I go to Sunday School,” he recalls, “and she played a very big role in my early Christian life.”

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can be a beacon for one woman to read $34 You and own her own Urdu New Testament. can be a beacon $272 You for eight women.

$680

You can light the way for a full class of twenty women.

$1,360

You can set up classes in two villages.

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While the literacy project is conducted among Christian communities, some non-Christians ask to learn too. They’re offered materials like health books as readers. When Zahira* heard that the church in her area was starting a class, she asked to be included. “I’m from a very poor family, and my brother is the only breadwinner. I’m happy that I’ll be able to read and write soon, and will be able to help my brother. I also plan to read the Bible.” This year, with your support, the Bible Societies of Australia and Pakistan are committed to starting 350 literacy centres. This will empower 7,000 Pakistani women from 4,000 families, and will no doubt have an influence on generations after them. Anthony Lamuel is passionate about helping women be the light in their families. “If a woman becomes literate, she can be instrumental as a beacon to illuminate the family with the word of God.” Will you be a beacon helping more Pakistani women learn to read and get into the Scriptures? Please donate using the Donation Form on the back page, visiting biblesociety.org.au/sowerbeacon or calling 1300 BIBLES (1300 242 537).

Devotion

“I lay my sins on Jesus” I lay my sins on Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God; He bears them all, and frees us from the accursèd load. I bring my guilt to Jesus, to wash my crimson stains white in His blood most precious, till not a stain remains. I lay my wants on Jesus; all fullness dwells in Him. He heals all my diseases, He doth my soul redeem. I lay my griefs on Jesus, my burdens and my cares; He from them all releases, He all my sorrows shares.

“There it was again, creeping along the shadowed walls of my mind— a past sin that hissed, ‘Just who do you think you are? Don’t you remember what you’ve done?’ I closed my eyes for a moment and thought, ‘I am a child of God, forgiven and redeemed, no longer chained to you.’ And as quickly as my past had come, it scurried out of my consciousness at the truth I had brandished in its face. Shame and regret are shackles that Satan uses to immobilise Christians. At other times, we bind ourselves because we allow past failures to prevent us from moving forward in our faith and service. But to doubt the freedom from our past that Jesus’ death on the cross has given is to discredit the character of God. It cheapens the grace he has lavished on us, snubs the fellowship he has offered to us, and rejects the victory over sin he’s provided.

Horatius Bonar was a 19th century Scottish pastor, author, and hymnwriter. In I lay my sins on Jesus (far left) he gave us the prescription for peace with our past. In God’s Way of Peace, Bonar wrote, ‘Satisfaction with yourself, even if you could get it, would do nothing for you. Satisfaction with Christ would do everything: for Christ is all.’ Does your past haunt you? Do you want to be freed from its power? Then bring your sins and failures to Jesus and leave them in his nail-pierced hands. Claim the forgiveness he has given you; rest in the completeness of your redemption. And don’t look back.” This devotion by Denise K. Loock, author of “Open Your Hymnal” and “Open Your Hymnal Again” is used with permission from her website www.digdeeperdevotions.com

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36)

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A greater goal at the 2014 World Cup

The first of an estimated 600,000 foreign visitors are making their way to Brazil as it hosts the 2014 World Cup. They’ll join 3.1 million locals watching the matches in person, or serving as volunteers. That’s a great number of people, and a great opportunity to share the gospel. In the midst of World Cup fever, there are moments for us to use and reach people for God. Joga Limpo Brasil or Fair Play Brazil is a movement coordinated by Bible Society Brazil, working with 1,600 churches and Christian organisations. Together they’ll send out an army of volunteers with 20,000 Gospels of John and four million tracts. Bible Society Australia has helped subsidise the printing of these materials which have sports-themed introductions. They draw parallels between sports and the things of life—fair and foul play, victory and loss. They’re great conversation-starters, and pave the way for finding out more about someone’s needs, or ‘where they’re at’. Handing out Scripture tracts is also a great way to reach visitors from nations closed to the Bible. For those who’ve never heard about Jesus, it could be the start of a discovery with life-changing impact. We can never predict what God will do with the materials handed out. We do know however that sharing the gospel in this manner does work. “At the World Student Games in Sheffield in 1991,” recalls Rev Andrew Wingfield Digby on the Anglican Mainstream website, “an American swimmer took a Bible, and never read it till several years later when life was in a muddle. God spoke to her, she became a Christian, re-entered competitive sport and... shone as a light for Jesus.” When Australia hosted the 2000 Olympics, Bible Society produced one million Scripture portions for distribution, working with churches on a huge outreach at the Games in Sydney. That experience showed us that personal evangelism at major sports events has NTLH550JOJLB

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Photo Credit: Peepo/iStock

On 12 June in Brazil, one kick of a ball will tip a global audience into 32 days of soccer mania. But another passionate movement on the ground will point soccer fans towards a more eternal goal. 8

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amazing potential for reaching the unchurched, and it’s why we’re supporting the outreach in Brazil. Pastor Arnaldo Sena is one of those helping to coordinate the large volunteer groups in Brazil. “At least 500 people in each of the twelve host cities will welcome tourists at airports, bus stations and hotels,” he explains. “The visitors will be offered a Gospel of John in one of nine languages: French, German, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, English, Spanish or Russian. Our English, French and Spanishspeaking volunteers will also serve as language facilitators, a great help for those making (Above) Major sports their way around our events are a great way Portuguese-speaking to reach out, especially nation.” A Gospel of to those from countries John in Portuguese will closed to the Bible. serve local soccer fans. Bible Society Australia (Left) John’s gospel in is working with Bible Russian and Portuguese Society Brazil to make ready for the World Cup. sure that God’s word is heard amidst the noise and excitement of the 2014 World Cup. The tournament is on till 13 July, so please do pray for opportunities for conversation as each tract is handed out, and that God will guide volunteers as they speak. We need your help as we assist Bible Society Brazil with printing and distribution costs for the World Cup Scriptures. Thank you for your loving concern that others share the same victory and destiny you have—a life “hid with Christ in God”. (Col 3:3, KJV) To donate to this project, please complete and mail us the Donation Form on the back page, call 1300 BIBLES (1300 242 537) or visit biblesociety.org.au/sowerbrazil

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BSA Update “I’m a tragic book-lover myself who knows what it feels like to hold a weighty book in my hands,” says CEO Greg Clarke. “So I’m sad about the closure of our Bible Society bookshops in Adelaide and Sydney’s CBD, but the way people buy books is changing. It’s become harder to operate our bookshops, and we need to be good stewards of the resources that God has given us, so we’ll be selling from our new online store, as well as from the bookshop at our Ingleburn distribution centre.” Greg thanked bookshop staff and management, past and present,

BSA Diary – WINTER 2014 DATE

Bookshops move online as retail world changes for creating a space that was as much about serving as about book sales. “We’ll need to come up with new, creative ways of giving people that same bookshop experience—at churches and conferences, and at events.” For now, customers like John Fullagar—who prefers Bible Society Christmas greeting cards

Third printing and still making waves Roy Williams, author of the Bible Society publication, In God They Trust? was interviewed on ABC1’s Compass program, in their 2-part God in the Lodge episode. The book which examines the religious beliefs of Australia’s Prime Ministers from 1901-2013 has been well-reviewed and is into its third printing. “It was an honour to be given the chance to articulate the overall message of the book—that religious beliefs truly matter in national leadership — to a national TV audience,” says Roy. The book is available online at shop.biblesociety.org.au or by calling 1300 139 179.

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because they have Scripture verses— are invited to go online at shop.biblesociety.org.au or to call 1300 139 179. We’ll do all we can to make your purchase of Bibles, books, CDs, DVDs, cards, gifts and more as enjoyable an experience as possible. And if you’re in the Ingleburn (Sydney) area, pop into our bookshop for a browse.

Eternity weekly news Eternity has been bringing you news from a Christian perspective both daily and monthly, and now you can subscribe to a free weekly Eternity email too. It’s delivered to your inbox at the end of each week. Subscribe to the email, or to the monthly newspaper (free to churches or $52 for eleven issues delivered to your address) on biblesociety.org.au/eternity ... and while you’re there, check out the daily news stories as well.

Beat the tax deadline June 30 is at our doorstep, and if you were thinking about donating towards a tax-deductible cause, visit biblesociety.org.au to see our range of tax-deductible projects. There’s literacy work (like our Pakistan project, page 4) as well as Bible distribution work in schools, in the Defence Force, and among Indigenous communities. For more information please call 1300 BIBLES (1300 242 537) or email us: donorsupport@biblesociety.org.au

EVENTS

VENUES

June - Aug Hymnfest

22 June: St Peters, East Maitland NSW 27 July: St Peters, Adelaide SA 3 Aug: St Peter’s Loxton, SA 10 Aug: Central Coast NSW 17 Aug: Lobethal Lutheran, Adelaide Hills

June 18

Presentation on Youth & the Bible

Tabor College, SA

14-24 July

Presentation on The Bible According to Gen Z

Christian Schools Australia Conferences 14-15 (Brisbane) and 21-22 (Perth) 24: State Chaplaincy Conference, SA

24 July

Masterclass

Covenant Christian School, Belrose NSW (See page 17 for other states)

11-12 Aug

University outreach with Dr John Dickson

Darwin, NT

12 Aug

Lord Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast Adelaide Convention Centre, SA with Prof John Lennox

17 Sept

Why You Can Trust the NT, John Dickson presentation

New Life Uniting, Robina, Gold Coast QLD

25 Sept

Life of Jesus Cinema Event

SA (Venue TBC)

Join us in these events we’ve organised or are involved in. For details please call Bible Society on 1300 BIBLES (1300 242 537) or visit biblesociety.org.au/events

Bike For Bibles isn’t just about bikes, says pioneer Bob Forrest “It was both emotional and spiritual,” says pioneer Bob Forrest about his experience on the first leg of the Bike For Bibles (BFB) 30th Anniversary Ride. A team of sixty riders and crew reprised the ride that started the Bible Society’s ‘fundraising on wheels’ all those years ago. Bob says, “It was great catching up with people who’ve been part of it for years.” Kudos to the team for raising $35,000 (figure at the time of printing) and to all BFB riders and crew over the decades. “It’s hard for some to get a handle on how spiritual the whole thing is,” says Bob. “This isn’t just about bikes... this is a ministry.”

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‘Bible Joe’ says kids love the gospel stories Joh Knijnenburg is no stranger to long days, long drives and truck-stop diners. It’s the last week of the Queensland school term and he’s been performing in front of hundreds of students, criss-crossing a state seven times larger than Great Britain. There’s an excitement in his voice as he speaks about the opportunities he’s had to share Bible stories with kids. “I find that they really want to hear this message. Kids love Bible stories,” he says. “They don’t get it anymore at home. There was a time when it was part of the social fabric, but it’s not anymore. I find there are a lot of kids who are listening to these stories for the first time.” Joh, affectionately known as Bible Joe, is part of Bible Society’s Children, Youth and Education (CYE) team. All have been carefully selected for their multimedia skills, their ability to connect with kids through music, acting and storytelling, and their heart for the young. Joh is a performer from way back, having toured around the country with various bands. He runs his own multimedia business and was the first paid

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chaplain to work in a Queensland school. He and his CYE colleagues take the message of Christ and deliver Bibles to the children and youth of Australia at more than 300 school presentations each year. Joh describes himself as a “kid at heart”, which is a gift in his current line of work. A multi-skilled performer, Joh mixes personal anecdotes with Bible stories, YouTube clips, animations, drama and music. He uses his diverse talents to capture the attention of what’s known as the most distracted generation of all time. In some of his high school presentations, Joh gets kids to help him create a song using a loop pedal, where he records a simple melody or rhythm live in front of the students. Other times, he performs magic tricks to get the students thinking about perception, and how they need to look carefully to find out what’s real. At the end of each presentation, Joh invites the students to take a Bible. But he doesn’t just hand Bibles out to everyone, preferring that the children approach him. “If they take one, it’s because they have chosen to come and get it from me. What I’m trying to do is say to kids: don’t just take a Bible because it’s free, take one because you want to read more.” Julie, 10, wrote to Bible Society after receiving a Bible during one of Joh’s school presentations: “Thanks heaps for coming to our school this week. I really enjoyed your stories and talk and the songs you sang. You really challenged me to read my Bible. I’ve been reading the Wild Bible you gave me every day. I especially like the stories about Jesus and when he does miracles. I hope you visit again soon.” Steph, 15, says having Bible Society come to her school helped her connect with her non-Christian classmates. “I think the talk you did was really great. One of my friends said she never knew that RE (Religious Education) could be such fun, and

with music! Another friend is going to go on a Christian camp, and I don’t think she’d be going without you telling her about God.” It’s stories like these which motivate Bible Society to get into more schools, presenting the message of Jesus as told in the Bible. “In this world where only about eight per cent of the church is reading the Bible, making the Bible available for kids and seeing that they’re willing to read it is exciting,” says Joh. “You know it’s making a difference because so many are sharing that their lives are better. I just wish more people could witness it.”

Bible Society is committed to making the Bible available to the young people of Australia, and we don’t leave that responsibility to just anyone. Will you support us as we get the best possible people on board for the task, just like Joh and his teammates? Please visit biblesociety.org.au/sowerschools, call 1300 BIBLES (1300 242 537) or use the Donation Form on the back page to help our team bring the Bible to life for more young people across Australia. By Sophie Timothy

Music is one way Joh presents the Bible to “the most distracted generation of all time”

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Challenging students to be faith leaders

Bible Reading Guide

John Dickson at Masterclass 2013 Masterclass 2014 kicks off in July, and once again top-notch speakers will challenge the 15 and 16 year-olds to rise up as Christian leaders among their peers. Dr John Dickson will present in three states—QLD, NSW and SA. The historian, lecturer and Director of Centre for Public Christianity will show how history supports the reliability of the gospels. “At the first Masterclass three years ago I was struck by the fact that thinking teenagers would be interested in the

Photo: C Kilby

historical background, that they would gobble it in a way I didn’t understand before.” In QLD and NSW, Youthworks College founder Graham Stanton will show how the Bible brings about spiritual transformation. Stanton is currently researching how the imagination affects the way teenagers read the Bible. Sarah Deutscher who directs Uber, an organisation studying faith and culture, will present at the Adelaide Masterclass. She will share how “the gospel is a story

way bigger than any little story our culture tries to sell us.” Eight different presenters, all experts in their fields, are ready to engage with Masterclass audiences in NSW (24 July), QLD (17 Sept) and SA (25 Sept). They’ll provide the young leaders with plenty to think about and use as they engage with their peers. Don’t miss this opportunity to invest in their future. RSVPs close one week before each Masterclass event. The NSW event is nearing, so email gayle.baikie@ biblesociety.org.au soon.

Serving in any language Bible Society’s multicultural division is on hand to help churches from nonEnglish speaking backgrounds. Contact bernard.lee@biblesociety.org.au if you or a congregation you know would like Bible Society to partner in events by providing Scripture materials in other languages. At the recent Heavenly Song 2014 musical outreach to the Chinese community in Sydney, Bible Society provided Chinese Bibles (insert) to the 155 people who gave their life to the Lord. We’d also like to thank the many volunteers like Jennifer Chin (right) who work with Bernard at our Bible Society events, or who help at the NSW office— we really appreciate it!

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July 1-9 Revelation 1:1-8 1:9-20 2:1-7 2:8-11 2:12-17 2:18-29 3:1-6 3:7-13 3:14-22 July 10-15 Leviticus 1:1-17 16:1-19 16:20-34 19:1-18 23:1-14 23:15-25, 33-44 July 16-27 John 9:1-12 9:13-23 9:24-34 9:35-41 10:1-6 10:7-21 10:22-42 11:1-16

11:17-27 11:28-37 11:38-44 11:45-57 July 28-31 Malachi 1:1-5; 2:10-16 2:17-3:5 3:6-18 4:1-6 August 1-9 Revelation 4:1-11 5:1-14 6:1-17 7:1-17 8:1-13 9:1-21 10:1-11 11:1-14 11:15-19 August 10-17 Psalms 110 111 112 113 114

115 116 117; 118 August 18-27 John 12:1-11 12:12-19 12:20-26 12:27-36 12:37-43 12:44-50 13:1-11 13:12-20 13:21-30 13:31-38

August 28-31 Ezra 1:1-11 3:1-4:5 4:24-5:17 6:1-22 September 1-7 Revelation 12:1-17 13:1-18 14:1-13 14:14-20 15:1-8 16:1-21 17:1-18

September 8-15 14:22-31 Psalms 15:1-8 119:1-16 15:9-17 119:97-112 15:18-25 120 15:26-16:4 121 122 September 24-30 123 Revelation 124 18:1-24 125 19:1-10 19:11-21 September 16-23 20:1-15 John 21:1-27 14:1-7 22:1-6 14:8-14 22:7-21 14:15-21

The readings in this guide are taken from Series 3 of the Scripture Union Bible reading notes, “Daily Bread”. The whole Bible is covered in four years.

Did you miss our Daily Bible emails about C.S. Lewis or the Church Fathers? Find them at biblesociety.org.au/dailybible … and sign up there as well so that you receive our current series! Each day you’ll get a Bible verse, a question and suggested further reading to help with your daily communion.


An image of Christ that sticks for life

CEO Greg Clarke has fondly kept the Children’s Living Bible his parents gave him as a child. It planted the seed for a lifetime of loving the word.

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The pictures and stories in a children’s Bible really get the message into a child’s mind. Bible Society CEO Greg Clarke received a Bible from his parents when he was seven years old, and the cover image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd has stuck with him. “Jesus who was caring and kind, but who could fight off beasts in the desert too—that’s the Jesus I got to know. The Children’s Living Bible was a great introduction for me to God’s word, and I think the pictures were just as important as the words.” Like Greg, many of us were privileged to have owned children’s Bibles as kids. But for millions of children in China’s Christian communities, this isn’t so. Many families, especially in rural areas, struggle even to own a family Bible, let alone buy material for the young. In Meng Zhuang (Dream Village) in Sichuan Province, the Zhao family of eight shares two Bibles. “Both were gifts,” says grandmother Guo Miao Qing. “We’d never have been able to afford one.” She says that the children in her family listen to Bible stories on the radio. Grandson Yi Bo, seven, loves the Easter story, and was excited when he heard how Jesus was raised from the dead. How many more life-shaping Bible stories Yi Bo could learn, if he had a

children’s Bible in hand. Like children everywhere, China’s children—an estimated 239 million —face the daily stresses of study and peer pressure, and the changing values of a fast-paced age. Some years ago, the China Daily reported that “two-thirds of the four million criminal cases annually handled by courts involve juvenile suspects.” Churches in China are exploring how they can impart Christian values to the next generation, and know that the Scriptures are an imperative guide for life. In many parts of China, however, religious programmes for those under 18 are closely monitored, and churches need to be innovative. One open pathway is comics. Young Chinese under 25 are avid consumers of comic books and begin reading them in their teens. United Bible Societies China Partnership is partnering with Christian councils in China to produce contemporised Scripture material for the young. 14 Bible comics featuring various Bible heroes reveal God’s word to young people in glorious full colour and in ‘live action’. Your support will help with the distribution of 2,000 free comics and Pictorial Story Bibles. The bilingual Pictorial Bible Stories will

also help the young learn English. Many churches are exploring the setting up of Sunday Schools while being sensitive to the views of local

authorities. The China Partnership needs your support for plans to set up 165 Sunday School classes. It also aims to equip each class with Scripture materials, and to train Sunday School teachers. More than 14,700 children and young people are expected to benefit from these programmes

and Bible materials. Reaching them with God’s word while they are young is a gift with lasting impact. “My childhood Bible,” concludes Greg Clarke, “reminds me also that it’s the work of other people which brings the Bible into a life: in my case, my parents, followed by a string of Sunday school teachers, youth group leaders, preachers and Bible-loving friends. My first Bible came to me as a gift and that seems to me the most appropriate way to receive the Scriptures.” Thank you for making it possible to offer the precious gift of God’s word to so many people. This time we’re making an appeal for China’s young. To donate, call 1300 BIBLES (1300 242 537), visit biblesociety.org.au/ sowerchina or use the Donation Form on the back page.

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UBS prayer points June - August 2014 1-7 June Cambodia: Give thanks for the new Bible warehouse that’s being built. Please pray that construction will finish on-time and on-budget, and that this building will be a great blessing to Bible work in the country. Syria: Please continue to keep the staff and volunteers of Bible Society Syria in your prayers, and pray also for Bible Society Lebanon as it serves Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Pray that God’s word will bring comfort to those troubled in these uncertain times. Ask the Lord to keep the Bible ever present in these ‘Bible lands.’ 8-14 June Vietnam: Praise God for the strong support shown towards the Jarai New Testament translation. Please pray for the translation work to proceed smoothly, and pray also for permission to print more Bibles for the many minority groups in Vietnam. Brazil: The 2014 Soccer World Cup starts this week and is a huge opportunity for outreach. Please pray for every Scripture portion handed out to locals and to foreign visitors at the events. Pray that the seed of God’s word planted in people’s lives will grow and that thousands, if not millions, will come to Christ.

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15-21 June Israel: Pray for our ongoing outreach and distribution activities in Israel and for the production, printing and distribution of Scriptures and outreach materials. Pray for the Dialogue Centre which the Bible Society is creating to encourage Bible discussion between Christians and the general public. Argentina: Praise God for the many Bibles placed in Argentinean homes as a result of the “1M—One Million Bibles for Homes Argentina” programme. Pray that these Bibles will be at the centre of family life. 22-28 June China: Pray for the supply of affordable Bibles to the Chinese poor. Ask also that United Bible Societies and the Chinese church will be able to offer training to church leaders who have limited theological training. New Zealand: Give thanks for the many Christian youth camps in NZ each year. Pray that each young person who’s received a Gospel of Mark will read it, and that their lives will be guided by the truths within. 29 June - 5 July Australia: Pray for the dedication of the Torres Strait Creole New Testament scheduled for distribution later this year. Give thanks for the printing of the NT, and pray that this translation will see many lives impacted. Egypt: Please pray for the translation team working on the OT Study Bible. Pray that work continues on schedule, ready for distribution in December 2016. 6-12 July Slovenia: Please pray for God’s word to be an accepted part of life in this country. Pray for the Bible Society to confidently carry out Bible mission in Slovenia, together with its ministry partners, donors and volunteers. Indonesia: Pray for the literacy and new reader programme on Sumba Island in Indonesia’s east. Please pray that this programme will bring light to participants, and that it will help them to read God’s word and deepen their comprehension of the Bible.

13-19 July Austria: Give thanks for the growing number of school groups visiting the Bible Centre, and that Bible Society is able to give Gospels to students, many of whom do not know anything about the Bible. Pray that their encounter with God’s word will have a lasting impact on their lives. DR Congo: Please pray for female victims of violence in the country. Pray that as the Bible reaches them, they’ll find hope and peace through God’s word. 20-26 July Canada: Please pray as Bible Society Canada works to take God’s word to their First Nations people, new Canadians, the urban poor and the next generation. Pray also for their computer-assisted publishing unit and for its work in Bible translation and publishing. Laos: The Laos Partnership is planning to import more Bibles from Thailand in order to serve the needs of believers in Laos. Please pray for approval of the necessary import permits, and for widespread, effective distribution of the Bible as well. 27 July-2 August Singapore: Please pray that Bible Society Singapore can increase its local capacity to carry out holistic ministries, and be active in Bible engagement and Bible advocacy programmes. Pray also that it can raise more support for Bible work and be able to further assist other Bible Societies in the region. Paraguay: Please pray for wisdom in the distribution and execution of the Hi Kids literacy project. Thousands of children are participating in this project. Pray that as they learn to read and write in their heart language they’ll get to know more about God and his love. 3-9 August Lebanon: Pray for Bible Society Lebanon’s children and youth creative programmes, and as teams visit schools. More than 3,000 children and teenagers have participated in these programmes since the start of the year, and have been encouraged in their Bible reading.

Sri Lanka: Give thanks for the Bible distribution programme for children that took place earlier in the year with a team from the Bible Society of Singapore. Please pray that all the children who received a Bible will read it and develop a closer relationship with God. 10-16 August Myanmar: Give thanks for 125 years of divine protection and provision for Bible ministry in Myanmar, and for 50 years of Bible Society operation there. Pray that they’ll be able to own the Bible Society building and land. Finland: Give thanks for Bible Society Finland’s fundraising for Bible-based literacy work, and the support it receives. Pray that they’ll be able to raise even more awareness of Bible Society work in this area, and provide more funds for literacy work worldwide. 17-23 August Gulf States: Praise God for Scripture distribution work in the Arab nations around the Persian Gulf. 10,000 children’s Bibles and 5,000 CDs have been distributed, in addition to 140,000 Bibles and NTs in sixty languages for migrant workers. Pray for funds to translate and distribute a Hope booklet in more than 10 languages. Iraq: Please pray as preparations get underway to formally register the Bible Society in the country, despite many challenges. Pray that this process will go smoothly, and that this will enable future Bible Society work in the country to grow in impact. 24-31 August Pakistan: Pray for Pakistan Bible Society’s work among young people, and for its programmes to promote Bible reading through memory verse contests, Bible quizzes, and essay and art competitions. India: Praise God for the printing and distribution of four new Bible translations this year: the Amri Karbi NT, Chothe NT, Malayalam Bible and the Maring Naga Bible. Please pray as five more translation works proceed to printing. Pray for the typesetting, for accuracy and for all the steps necessary to complete the work.

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UBS Update

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Rev Daniel Hounzandji (above), General Secretary of Bible Society Benin holds high the Fon Bible which was launched earlier this year. Fon is the most widely-spoken language in the West African nation of Benin, and is the mother tongue of around 1.7 million people. 12,000 Fon Bibles were distributed during the launch, and people were eager to get a copy. Pray that they’ll be greatly blessed as they read the Bible in their language for the very first time.

Christ in the crisis Life is tense in the Ukraine, but Bible Society is showing ‘love in action’. During earlier protests in Kiev (above) it helped churches provide food, water, medical help and prayer, and distributed 8,000 Scriptures. “People responded so warmly that we completely ran out of free Scriptures to distribute,” reports the Bible Society. It’s now aiming to distribute 20,000 NTs in Ukrainian and Russian to bring comfort to those who are anxious.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil... And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Ecc 4:9,12

Here’s how you can get more involved! Visit our website (biblesociety.org.au/signup) to keep in touch

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with all of our activities; sign up to receive our regular emails or letters; volunteer in any way you can to help at Bible Society offices or events; and pray along with us. Thank you... we’re so grateful that you’re sharing in our mission!

Our Winter Catalogue has 12 pages packed full of books and Bibles at bargain prices OUT NOW!

Go online: shop.biblesociety.org.au Call 1300 139 179

Nine year old Juan lives in one of the most dangerous and violent parts of Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic. Bible Society is working among the children there, providing them with colourful, interactive Scripture books through the Grow and Learn Bible programme. This work of love is aimed at helping the children build their lives on Christ, instead of being drawn into the violence and addiction that surrounds them.

New Bible for Benin

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GPO BOX 9874 In Your Capital City P: 1300 BIBLES (1300 242 537) ISSN 1839-7425 W: biblesociety.org.au E: sower@biblesociety.org.au ACN 148 058 306 Bible Society’s mission is to achieve the widest possible, effective and meaningful distribution of the Bible; also, to help people interact with it, and to have their hearts lightened by the Bible’s message of unconditional love in Jesus Christ. Bible Society Australia is a not-for-profit interdenominational organisation. It’s a member of the United 23 Bible Societies, a fellowship of 146 organisations working in more than 200 countries.


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Sower Winter Edition 2014  

The Bible at Work.

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