A Free Gift, Freely Given
Welcome... Just the day before we held our special event at the City Hall in Belfast on 4 November to promote the Digital Bible Library…a thought occurred to me: ‘It’s for free!’ I wasn’t thinking about how Belfast City Council had granted us use of the Banqueting Hall or that a cup of tea was being provided. It wasn’t even about the Bible now being available for free download to smartphones, John Doherty computers and tablets, although free General Secretary BSNI was the operable word. The Bible Societies’ Digital Bible Library which brings together Bible texts provided by both national Bible Societies and our friends in Wycliffe Bible Translators, now provides: Over 450 languages and over 700 versions from the YouVersion site at no charge; Available to anyone, anywhere in the world, who has a modern communications device – even in countries where distributing a Bible might pose a risk. (How satisfying it is that God has given us technology to transmit His Word through space, across borders and into sensitive places where Christians may fear to tread). It is this potential for the Bible to be so freely available that I find so exciting. While the more mature of us still think of the Bible primarily as a book, the new ‘gadgets’ of today bring Scripture within the reach of all age groups. It is a great encouragement for church leaders and their congregations everywhere that, for the first time, God’s timeless story is available to read and carry around in the box we know as the smart phone. And….not just in one English version (38 the last time I looked) but also in minority languages that are heard here, including three Irish Bible texts and the Ulster Scots Gospel of Luke ‘Gude Whittins frae Doctair Luik’. The statistics associated with this service are staggering: in July 2013, the number of downloads from the YouVersion site passed 100 million. By the end of December, five months on, a further 22 million Bibles had been captured on devices. To encourage this trend here, BSNI printed 10,000 business cards to emphasise its free availability (shown above). If you would like some to pass on to your young people, please get in touch with us at Bible House.
But there is one other sense in which I associate the word free. The Bible tells us of a love that is enduring, unchanging and unconditional, and of a life that was freely given so that we might find our freedom in eternity. Now that is a free offer that can never be beaten. It was Jesus who stood in the synagogue and read aloud the words from Isaiah that we heard read that day in the City Hall: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has chosen me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed and announce that the time has come when the Lord will save his people.” Luke 4. 18 and 19(NIV)
Now…..what better offer can there be?
CONTENTS...........................SPRING 2014 Projects for 2014........................3 Discovering God’s Purpose
Belfast City Hall: Digital Bible Library.......6 Over 700 versions of the Bible for free
100 Bibles, 1000 Days................11 Where are we with Bible Translation?
Trauma in East Africa........................14-15 God’s power to overcome… you can help too.
REGULAR ITEMS Local News Snippets.................4-5 Prayer Pull-out Pages.............7-10 International News...............12-13
Dicovering God’s Purpose in 2014 “The Bible Society in Northern Ireland seeks to reach everyone with God’s Word in a language and medium they can access and afford, so that each person might experience God’s purpose for their life.” That’s our Vision!
Mercedes Florendo holds a MegaVoice audio Scripture unit in the Philippines
This year the Bible Society in Northern Ireland (BSNI) is particularly focusing on God’s purpose. By making Scripture available to many, BSNI hopes that people will use God’s Word to give meaning to their lives and reveal their purpose here on earth. To make this happen, BSNI is supporting 38 projects across the world during 2014. Here is just a glimpse ……
Translation People need to have the Bible in their heart language so they can fully understand the meaning of God’s message. BSNI is helping to fund translation projects this year in Albania, Botswana, Cambodia, Côte d’Ivoire, India, Laos, Mozambique, Poland, Senegal, Slovakia, Swaziland and Vietnam. (See page 11 to find out more)
Production For some, being handed a printed Bible won’t work; whether they are illiterate or visually impaired, the written format is not suitable. BSNI is supporting projects making the Bible available in different formats: • Faith Comes by Hearing programme in Nigeria • Digital Audio Bibles for the Blind in the Philippines
Distribution Soldiers in Armenia receive specially designed New Testaments
Bible Society staff and volunteers are actively placing Scripture into people’s hands, meeting the needs of different audiences and age groups. Distribution projects shine light into dark places and reach people who have been forgotten. This year BSNI is reaching: • Soldiers in Armenia, • Refugees and prisoners in Austria, • Marginalised shepherds in Lesotho and • People in troubled areas of Syria.
Engagement Simply receiving a Bible is not enough. United Bible Societies place a huge importance on helping people to engage with the words in front of them. BSNI is helping do this through: • Teaching kids living in poverty through the ‘Bread of Life’ project in Peru, • Sunday School classes in Gabon, • Working with families in Bolivia and • Trauma healing in South Sudan. (Read more on pages 14, 15)
Children receive Scripture materials in Gabon
As each person receives God’s Word through these projects we pray that their lives would be impacted by the truth of the Gospel, and that God would reveal His purpose for their lives. To see a full list of our 2014 projects and how you can help people discover God’s purpose for their lives visit
News Snippets at Home Bishop Ken Good who spoke at the event
Londonderry Celebrates Monday 11 November 2013 was a significant milestone in the history of Londonderry as the local Bible Society Auxiliary celebrated its 75th anniversary. This committee, drawn from the churches in and around the city, has faithfully continued to encourage local interest in the translation and distribution of Scriptures worldwide, from its founding in February 1938 at a meeting convened in Thompson’s Café in Waterloo Place. The 2013 AGM recounted the energy of the original committee as they organised a Bible Film night, a Thanksgiving Service and an Open Air rally at the Guildhall – all in their first nine months. The present Committee have carried on the tradition of the founders and each year secures a combined contribution of around £10,000 from the local churches which helps to sustain BSNI’s programme of Bible translation and distribution – at home and abroad.
At the AGM, BSNI Chair Reverend Stephen Lowry presented the current Secretary, Mrs Betty McCay and the Treasurer David Canning with a commemorative book to recognise their combined service of more than 50 years to the Auxiliary. Let us trust that the churches in the North West continue to prioritise the task of addressing Bible poverty so that the vision of those pioneers of 1938 continues to flourish undimmed.
Archbishop’s Roadshows During November Archbishop Richard Clarke organised nine Roadshows with his Rural Deans across the diocese of Armagh. The overall purpose was to discuss different aspects of ‘A Living Faith’. During the second week, John Doherty joined the Archbishop to share in presentations about ‘A Biblical Faith’. It was an opportunity for BSNI to encourage large audiences in the parish churches of Brackaville (Markethill), Killyman (Dungannon) and Derryloran (Cookstown) to appreciate our riches of Scripture. A display of different Reverend Canon Norman Porteus (Rector of Derryloran Parish), The Most Reverend Bible translations in print and Richard Clarke (Archbishop of Armagh) with John Doherty (BSNI) digital media was introduced, together with a range of Bible reading resources provided by the Society. There was also keen interest in samples of Bible reading Notes, covering all age groups that are available from Scripture Union. On each occasion, the importance of creating time for Bible reading, of using different texts for comparison, of following a systematic daily reading plan and availing of Notes to illuminate what is being read, were all stressed. All in all, these were enjoyable evenings, with a great spirit of interest and enthusiasm, and keen participation in the small group discussions. We are grateful to Archbishop Richard for his invitation to share in his roadshows and to share with audiences drawn from right across the diocese. 4
A Christmas Tree with a difference Some months ago BSNI received an unusual invitation – to take part in a Christmas Tree Festival which was being organised by First Dunboe Presbyterian Church in Articlave. The BSNI contribution was a five-foot tall ‘tree’ of Bibles which Julie and Leah assembled in Bible House, on a trial basis, from our stock of both English and non-English Scripture, and also using some very old (and very heavy) Bibles from the 19th century. It contained 398 Scripture editions! The result was a thought provoking image that invited visitors to the Festival, who viewed many different styles of Christmas tree, to consider the part that the Bible plays in our lives. Thank you to Reverend Jim McCaughan and the people of First Dunboe for including the Bible Society in this event in such an innovative way.
The Bible Society’s Commitment Our Supporters are probably aware that the Society takes seriously its responsibility to be good stewards of the many donations that we receive each year. In these days when charities are, rightly, being subjected to increased supervision, the Board has asked that the following statement be included in all of our requests for support: ‘All of each gift received will be transmitted to benefit the project being supported’. This is your assurance that the gifts that you so generous give will be applied, in full, to the purpose for which they have been given. In the rare event that the value of gifts would exceed the amount designated by BSNI to an individual project, the balance will be transferred to the same project for the succeeding year or applied to a similar project in a neighbouring country.
Speaking Engagements During 2013, BSNI staff spoke about the Society’s work on 74 different occasions, including sharing at 34 Sunday Services. If your church has not heard of our work for some years (and we know that there are still a few hundred churches to which we have not yet been invited) do please get in touch. That way, during 2014, we can share the good news of what God is accomplishing in His world through the translation and distribution of Scripture.
Carrickfergus Prayer Group A Prayer Group continues to meet most months in Carrickfergus. This group began meeting in March 2013 and it has been a powerful experience to meet together and pray for Bible Societies around the world. Isabel who hosts the group says, “Praying into brothers’ and sisters’ lives across the world is such a privilege. Being in this prayer group has made me feel a real part of the Bible Society.” If you would be interested in joining the Carrickfergus prayer group, or in hosting a group in your area, please do get in touch. Contact Julie at 9032 6577, or email email@example.com. 5
Philip Saunders (Ulster-Scots Translation Consultant), Councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir (Lord Mayor of Belfast), Reverend Stephen Lowry (Chair, BSNI) and Pastor John Duffy (Colin Glen Christian Fellowship, Belfast)
Belfast City Hall stages celebration of Digital Bible Library BSNI organised a very special event in the City Hall on 4 November to celebrate the astounding achievement of the Digital Bible Library. The DBL brings together over 700 versions of the Bible in more than 450 languages – and the number continues to grow. Almost all of these have been contributed by Bible Societies and by Wycliffe Bible Translators. This digital medium is remarkable for enabling Bible Societies to create a platform (called YouVersion) from which each text can be downloaded on to the portable devices that are so widespread today – smart phones, tablets and laptops – for free! Around five million Bibles are now being downloaded each month – enough cause for celebration. However the launching, just 24 hours previously, of three Irish translations and the addition of the Ulster-Scots Gospel of Luke gave the event a boost, and the worldwide Digital Bible Library, a very local flavour. An invited audience listened intently as a varied programme of Scripture readings took place in the City Hall’s Banqueting Hall, which was kindly provided by Belfast City Council and attended by a number of media organisations. Luke 4.14-22 was read in English from his tablet by BSNI Chair,
Reverend Stephen Lowry, in Irish by the Lord Mayor and in Ulster-Scots by Mrs Elizabeth McLeister. Psalm 23 was also read - in Irish by Monsignor Pádraig Ó Fiannachta, the translator of the Irish Bible, An Bίobla Naofa and who, in his 88th year, had travelled from Dingle, County Kerry for the occasion. Other readers, Aneta Dabek and Dan Healy also read the psalm, in Polish and Spanish respectively, to demonstrate that not only are we a complex community today, but also that Scripture is for everyone to enjoy. Reverend Dr Heather Morris, President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, also read Psalm 23, but in the Contemporary English Version from her smart phone. She reflected on its meaning for us and for the young people she had visited in Ghana as part of a BSNI Bible distribution project. Two men who had helped us with the planning of the event also spoke: Philip Saunders the Wycliffe Translation Consultant and overseer of the UlsterScots translation, gave us a translator’s view, and Pastor John Duffy (Colin Glen Christian Fellowship in West Belfast) spoke of the potential impact of Scripture in our lives and in our community. It was an opportunity to bring the Bible into the public square and an occasion that was evidently enjoyed by all those who attended.
January - April
Dedication of the Shilluk Bible, South Sudan
Prayer at Work
Pull-out and keep prayer guide: January 2014
These Prayer at Work pages have been appearing in Word at Work for a year now and we have been encouraged by the positive reaction. It is heartening to know that so many of you pray regularly for the Bible Society ministry worldwide.
If you are not one of our ‘Bible-AMonth’ Prayer Partners, you may be wondering what the country information along the bottom of the page is all about. It is simple, Bible-AMonth Partners donate at least £4 a Please pull out this centrefold and keep it month, to place a Bible-A-Month... a somewhere that will remind you to pray simple idea, but a powerful, life– maybe with your daily readings, in your changing one! Bible, or you might like to bring it along to your mid-week meeting or small If you would like to become a group? Bible-A-Month Partner just give As with last year, the prayers are broken down into weekly topics and each page holds a month’s material. January, May and September will have some weeks off due to the timing of the magazines. However, if you commit to praying each week that has prayer material – you will pray for every Bible Society this year.
us a ring and we will send you a Calendar with some more information. You can set up a Direct Debit, send monthly donations, or as many others do, make quarterly or annual donations.
More copies of the magazine can be provided if you would like to share the prayer material with a group.
Thank You for your prayers – we know that God always hears! *FCBH: Faith Comes By Hearing - A programme providing audio Scripture for listening groups, set up through local churches. > Good Samaritan Project: A Bible-based HIV/AIDS education programme. Workshop based, multi-media training.
Bible-A-Month Project January: Burundi In a country with a history of civil war, where young people are manipulated and used, the Bible Society in Burundi is working to teach this age group how to live according to God’s Word. Through Scripture distribution, sporting activities and youth meetings young people will learn what love and reconciliation are.
January 26 - February 1 Ethiopia: Please pray for good progress with the number of translations under way, may God prepare individuals and communities who will receive His Word. Pray also for ongoing work to prevent HIV/AIDS and for good relations with the Churches. Pray for Yilma Getahun as he leads the team. South Sudan: Ask God to use the small team led by Edward. Pray for the distribution of Shilluk Bibles: lives are being transformed among the Shilluk people. Please pray for people being helped through the trauma healing workshops and remember also ongoing translation projects. Eritrea: Pray that there will be a freedom to undertake Bible mission and that God will provide sufficient funds to translate, publish and distribute Scripture for those waiting. Pray that God’s Word will eventually be available in the languages of all indigenous communities. Sudan: Please pray for Church leaders, who are under a lot of pressure and ask for a true Church revival. Praise God for the successful meeting with the World Council of Churches. Ask for God’s blessing on the Moro translation project, the translation team and staff members.
Please pray that funds will be made available for Bibles and Scripture Comics in languages that will be understood. Ask that as people receive the Scriptures they will be impacted by the words and know what salvation in Christ is. Burundi has experienced years of civil war, with young people joining in many of the atrocities. With elections happening in 2015, this age group is once again being targeted by politicians. Pray that through the Word of God these people would be able to stand strong in faith, knowing the difference between right and wrong. The Bible Society in Burundi is running other projects including fighting against HIV/AIDS, literacy classes, FCBH* programmes, and the translation of the Kirundi Study Bible. Ask for God’s blessing on all these efforts.
£4 could provide a Bible, giving a child in Burundi the opportunity to discover God’s love.
Prayer at Work
Pull-out and keep prayer guide: February 2014
February 9 - 15
February 16 - 22
February 23 - March 1
Liberia: Pray for genuine reconciliation on Liberia’s long road to peace. May God bless the Kisi and Kpelle translations and provide for the three new projects: Gola, Mano and Dan. Pray for continued impact of literacy projects. Ask God to provide for the currently unfunded building project.
Gambia: Praise God for the dedication of the Mandinka Bibles, attended by a government minister. May these be widely read and fill people with joy. Pray for literacy workshops and for unity between Churches. General Secretary Henry Akapo and the team have recently faced difficult times.
El Salvador: Ask God for protection during this violent time and for wisdom for General Secretary, Pablo Gonzalez. Staff and property have been threatened. Pray for new opportunities to make God’s Word known and increase Scripture sales. Pray that young people will be helped to read the Bible.
Guinea: Praise God for the translation projects, ask that they may run smoothly and that the translated Scriptures may be well received. Ask, too, for God’s blessing on efforts to complete a new Bible House. Pray for Thierry Mabiala who leads the small team.
Senegal: Pray for Mr Ngom as he leads this difficult ministry. Pray for the team as they reach out to street children and other young people. Ask for God’s blessing, too, in helping people who cannot read to gain access to God’s Word, through literacy and listening groups.
Cameroon: Praise God for guidance as his Word is brought to orphans, people with HIV, theological students and those who cannot read. Ask for his blessing on the continuing translation projects as well as work to reach children and young people. Pray for General Secretary Luc Gnowa. Gabon: Please ask God to bless the translation teams as there are several projects under way. Pray that the translated Scriptures will truly enter people’s lives. Please pray, too, for the Good Samaritan > ministry among those affected by HIV and for outreach to Sunday Schools. Mexico: Pray for an end to constant violence, asking that God’s Word will be a real source of hope. Pray for God’s blessing on translation projects, FCBH* ministry and fundraising efforts. Ask God to bless and strength the staff team led by Abner Lopez Perez. Costa Rica: Praise God that Bible work continues despite difficult circumstances. Ask for help to continue the project ‘A Bible for every home’. Pray for work with the Bribri indigenous group, who have requested a reprint of the New Testament. Pray too that God’s Word will reach the many migrants.
February 2 - 8
Sierra Leone: Ask God to give courage and commitment to the board and staff led by James Coker. Pray for funds to promote Bible distribution, implement partnerships and undertake Scripture engagement work. Pray that the translation teams will be blessed with progress in their work. Nigeria: May God bring peace, especially in the North, so that His Word can be distributed everywhere. Ask for God’s wisdom for the new General Secretary and pray for blessing on those who serve at regional level. Please pray for peaceful elections in 2015.
Côte d’Ivoire: Pray that the new Board will contribute to the development of the Bible Society and that God will guide clearly in recruiting a new Translation Consultant. Ask God to provide funds for a building project in Abidjan. Pray, too, for lasting peace in the country. Ghana: Ask for God’s blessing on all who work to maintain peace and justice: government, clergy and security agencies. Pray that all Christians will make the Bible their focus and that people’s hearts will be moved to support God’s work. Pray for this large team led by Mr Odonkor.
Bible-A-Month Project February: Costa Rica The Bible Society of Costa Rica (BSC) is reaching out to the more than 250,000 people who are visually impaired with Scripture that they can understand. By providing the Bible in Braille, working with churches to provide counselling, helping children and supporting their parents, BSC is helping these people know that God values them.
Nicaragua: Praise God for his blessings in particular in the work to reach children and indigenous communities. Please pray especially for Bible distribution among the indigenous Miskitu people, most of whom do not own a Bible. Pray for Freddy Fonseca Pérez and the team. Puerto Rico: Pray for the team led by Mr MartinezRivera as they seek to do God’s will and deliver his Word to the people of Puerto Rico. May God bless and protect the staff team, may He work through them to bring many people into his family. Dominican Republic: Pray for work to bring God’s Word into violent communities. Ask that the country will come to know lasting peace and that people everywhere will come to love the Bible. Remember work to supply biblical materials to Sunday Schools. Pray for Carmen, the General Secretary.
Please pray for the National Foundation for the Blind as the Bible Society partners with them to run this project. Ask that this team will be able to reach into all communities with love and joy. For many individuals who are visually impaired there are feelings of exclusion and isolation. Pray that as they come to know God’s message to them they will feel supported by their communities and families. This year BSC is putting an emphasis on supporting children and their families. Ask for God’s wisdom for the staff and volunteers working with the Bible Society, that they would know the most effective way to reach this audience with the truth of the Gospel.
This month £4 couldVolunteers, give a person who has little or no sight the opportunity to read the Bible. Nicaragua.
Prayer at Work
Pull-out and keep prayer guide: March 2014
March 2 - 8
March 9 - 15
Cuba: General Secretary Alain Montano asks for prayer for outreach with God’s Word to many different groups of people. They are reaching the young, prisoners, the elderly and the disabled. Pray, too, for their efforts to distribute Bibles to the Churches.
Micronesia: Ask God to guide the work of bringing his Word at an affordable price to the island people of Micronesia. Please pray in particular for the various translation and revision projects which are a core part of the work.
Panama: Please ask God to guide the team translating the Bible for the Kuna people: may their work truly bless this community and may God’s Word soon be available. Remember, too, the audio Scripture ministry and special outreach to disadvantaged people. Honduras: Pray for this small team lead by Jorge Gómez who work in one of the most violent countries in the world. Ask for blessing on their evangelistic ministry with Churches, their efforts to bring God’s Word to children and their ministry to the indigenous Miskito people. Guatemala: Give thanks for the work reaching young offenders, gang members, children and youth at risk of violence and poverty. God is transforming lives through His Word. Pray too for the translation teams who are working on several indigenous language translations.
New Zealand: Pray for the new Maori translations of Luke’s Gospel and a Children’s Bible, commemorating the 200th anniversary of the first proclamation of the Gospel. Pray also for next year’s campaign to encourage people to engage with the Bible. May God bless the team led by Francis Burdett. Australia: Pray for those raising funds for Bible work locally and internationally. Remember ongoing fundraising for Rwanda, the Philippines and many other places. Pray, too, for the Bike for Bibles and Hike for Bibles initiatives. Pray for CEO Greg Clarke and the large, busy team. East Timor: Last year East Timor celebrated 10 years of independence which followed many years of violence. Since 2008 there has been relative stability. Pray for continued peace and economic growth and for opportunities to promote Biblical values to shape this new nation.
Bible-A-Month Project March: Galilee The Galilee Centre – a base for the ministry of the Arab-Israeli Bible Society – is a comfortable place where the community can meet; events can be held primarily focusing on women and families; local and international relationships can be built and staff and volunteers can serve the churches and local community.
March 16 - 22 Bangladesh: Pray for work among children and young people, for literacy groups, FCBH* programmes and translation work. Pray for God’s provision to make this ministry possible and for General Secretary Timothy Bhakta. Pray for peace following recent elections. Sri Lanka: Pray for Lakshani Fernando as she leads this ministry. Pray that the new booklet and CD will help people who are deaf worship God more meaningfully. Pray for the recently launched tree-planting campaign to generate support from local churches, may it create strong partnerships. Myanmar: Pray for lasting peace and freedom and for the team led by Rev Khoi Lam Thang. May God bless the Scripture engagement project aiming to impact 9,000 young people. Pray for the Kachin people: most are Christians yet two-thirds have no Bible. Philippines: Continue to pray for all those affected by Typhoon Haiyan in November, including the staff of the Bible Society led by Nora Lucero. Pray that the cooperation with churches and partners will continue to bring physical and spiritual comfort to those in need.
March 23 - 29 Indonesia: Please pray for the distribution of Bibles in remote areas of East Borneo. Pray that those who receive the Bible will have a better understanding of God’s Word and his love for them. Pray also for successful Literacy and New Reader programmes. South Pacific: Pray that small, remote communities will be reached with God’s Word through translation projects and other initiatives. Ask God to bless the efforts to train translators and Bible scholars. Remember too, the work with children and with the visually impaired. Papua New Guinea: There are many people in PNG who do not have the Bible in their own language. Ask God to guide Milton McMahon and the team in their efforts to change this. Give thanks for FCBH* audio Scripture ministry and for ongoing outreach to women and young people. Pakistan: Give thanks for God’s guidance during the last 150 years of work in Pakistan. Despite opposition many projects are running, reaching women, families, children and speakers of minority languages. Ask God to continue to bless and guide this work and keep the team safe.
Please pray that this Centre would make the Arab-Israeli Bible Society more visible in the community, allowing the Word of God to be accessible to the people there in a safe and inviting way. The Arab-Israeli Bible Society only began operating in 2008, with the Galilee Centre opened the next year. Pray for Dina and her staff team there as they seek God’s direction in their project programme and listen to His guiding on what they should be doing in their local community. Pray that funding would be received through our Bible-A-Month Calendar to allow this Bible Society to make Scripture resources available to the Arab-Israeli people (just £4 could provide someone with their own Bible).
This month, £4 could help Arab-Israeli people engage with the Bible.
Prayer at Work March 30 - April 5 Azerbaijan: Thank God for His powerful hand in the work developed by the Bible Society. Pray for efforts to serve the Churches in Bible provision. Ask for God’s help on translation into the Udi, Talish and Azeri languages, each at different stages. India: This vast country has many urgent needs. Ask for wisdom in identifying priorities and using resources wisely. Remember in particular the ministries to the poor, those who cannot read, those with disabilities and young people. Nepal: Many groups in society are greatly in need of the comfort of God’s Word. Please pray for ministry to children, the visually impaired and the illiterate. Remember ongoing translation projects and Bible engagement programmes. Afghanistan: Please pray for peace and political stability and for the Bible distribution projects that are able to take place. Pray for safety for Christians and Churches and for opportunities to make the name of Jesus known.
April 6 - 12 Kazakhstan: Remember translation, especially the Bible for younger children. Pray for staff led by Viktor Grishko. Pray for better cooperation with Churches. Remember also Scripture distribution among Russians, Kazakhs and other nationalities.
Iran: Ask for lasting peace and the end of political tensions. May God bless the Iranian people and provide new ways to distribute Scriptures, especially to children. Armenia: Give thanks for progress in the provision of new and revised Scripture. Ask for God’s blessing on ministries to children, the visually impaired and those in remote villages. Pray for the outreach to soldiers and young people. Georgia: Conflict in Georgia has left many families displaced. Ask God to bless the efforts to bring comfort through his Word. Pray for the work to translate the Bible into modern Georgian. Remember Avtandil Guruli as he leads the work.
April 13 - 19 Kyrgyz Rep: Please pray for peace between different religions and nationalities and for spiritual growth, particularly among young people. Pray for cooperation between churches and organisations. Ask God to guide in the resolution of legal issues to allow the Bible Society more freedom. Uzbekistan: Please pray for the government and for God's blessings and protection. Pray for tolerance and understanding between believers and for the complete Bible translation into Uzbek. Give thanks for the small staff team and board that are making God’s Word available.
Bible-A-Month Project April: Vietnam Church leaders from the mountain areas of Northern Vietnam have approached United Bible Societies asking that the Bible be translated into the Muong language. The ethnic group that speaks Muong is the second largest in the country and yet they have never had a word of Scripture in their own language.
Pull-out and keep prayer guide: April 2014
Tajikistan: Give thanks for opportunities for Scripture mission. Please pray for the staff, board, volunteers and church partners. Pray that God will make the continued translation of Scripture into local languages possible and that provision will be available for special audiences. Mozambique: Ask for God’s blessing on the six translation projects. Ask God to guide the Bible Society in all they do. Pray for peace in the country: may the government find fruitful dialogue with the opposition forces.
April 20 -26 Malawi: Please pray for all the projects. Give thanks for a recent successful fundraising dinner in support of the first print run of the Yao Bible. Pray for the board, volunteers and staff led by General Secretary, Clapperton Mayuni. Madagascar: Ask God to bless the new leadership and thank Him for reaching 27,000 kids through the Mustard Seed event. Pray for the Trauma Healing project, the reconstruction of Bible House and production of Luke’s Audio Gospel in local languages. Democratic Republic of Congo: Ask for God’s blessing on Bible Society ministry. Pray for God’s guidance and protection on staff led by Christophe Kongo Kote. Pray for the many projects including translations, FCBH*, Trauma Healing and HIV/AIDS awareness.
Congo (Brazzaville): Thank God for the distribution of the New Testament in Beembe, may this have a huge impact. Give thanks for the Good Samaritan programme, for children’s and the literacy projects. Ask for strength and wisdom for the staff.
April 27 - May 3 Central African Republic: Pray for God’s blessing on Bible translation, Women’s Literacy Programmes and FCBH*. Ask for guidance and protection for the staff. Pray for Sylvain as he leads the team through a time of repairing Bible House following violence and looting. Burkina Faso: Thank God for the 30th Anniversary of this Bible Society. Please pray for the new volunteers and for fundraising for new projects. Ask for God’s help in completing the translation into Moore and Dagara and for the literacy project. Benin: Please ask for God’s blessing on literacy, translation and fundraising projects. Give thanks for good relationships with local churches. Pray for God’s guidance and protection for General Secretary Daniel Hounzandji, the staff and board. Togo: Thank God for Estelle Akouegnon, the new General Secretary. Praise God for the completion of translations into Bassar, Mina and Ewe. Pray for ministries with children, teenagers, military and women as well as the impact of FCBH* in French.
Please pray for the translation team working to put the New Testament into the Muong language for the first time. Pray for wisdom and unity as they work, that they would reach their goal of having the New Testament completed by 2018. Pray for the Muong people who so desperately want to have Scripture in words they can understand. Ask that God would give them an excitement as they patiently wait for the translation work to be done, and ask that God would be with the Church leaders as they teach from Scripture written in other languages. United Bible Societies is currently working to make the Bible available to various people groups in Vietnam. Pray for God’s blessing on translation work and for protection on staff and volunteers as they distribute Scriptures in different areas.
This month, £4 could provide people in Northern Vietnam with their own Bible.
Saraka David Yao Kouakou (left) and the Rev Kan Emile Kouamé Kouadio, working on the Baoulé Bible translation, Côte d'Ivoire
100 TRANSLATIONS IN 1,000 DAYS There are about 7,000 languages in the world. Over 2,500 of these have some part of the Bible translated but only around 500 have the full Bible. Millions of people still don’t have access to a full Bible in their own language, and many people are waiting for new translations or revisions so they don’t have to struggle to understand translations that are decades, even centuries, old.
The Goal United Bible Societies (UBS) have set the goal to complete 100 full Bible translations within 1000 days. (There are a further 350 translation projects also in progress!) The countdown started in January 2013, and so by the end of 2015 we hope to be reaching over 500 million more people with the finished 100 translations.
The Vision UBS brings together 146 national Bible Societies, all with the passion of releasing God’s Word into people’s lives through Bible translation, publishing and distribution, Scripture engagement and Bible advocacy. We believe the Bible is for everyone so we are working towards the day when everyone can access the Bible in the language and medium of their choice.
Woman receives Scriptures in a refugee camp in Mozambique
UBS have decades of translation experience. They support a team of highly experienced translation facilitators to help native speakers to achieve the highest quality translations and revisions. UBS has also pioneered the use of digital technology to improve the accuracy and speed of translation work and facilitate efficient publishing both for traditional books and electronic formats for mobile phones and tablets.
We place high priority on translating the whole Bible We focus on languages with the potential to impact the lives of over 50,000 people We aim to translate the Scriptures as faithfully and accurately as possible, using the Hebrew and Greek source texts We work with translation teams composed of linguists, exegetes and native tongue translators We seek to serve all Christian Churches
In India, Bible translation into Lepcha is being done by hand before being typed into a computer
We usually start a translation when it is requested by local churches, and we maintain an ongoing relationship after completion We share our expertise in partnership with many other translation agencies We monitor the use of donor funds to ensure they are used correctly and meet UK Charity Commissioners’ and Auditors’ requirements
The Progress At the time of going to print 4 of these 100 Bibles had been published, 5 were being printed and 33 were in pre-production. Steady progress is being made, but there is still much work to be done!
BSNI is playing its part as it helps to fund twelve of these translation projects in Côte d’Ivoire, Mozambique and India.
Will you help us?
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International News encouraged by the Government, by NGOs and by the Bible Society itself through their Literacy programme. Literacy classes and ‘Faith Comes by Hearing’ programmes run by the Bible Society have resulted in many more people now being able to read and write in Gun. These people have become used to Scripture reading through their use of the New Testament but they are unable to access the existing Old Testament because it is based on the old alphabet. Gun speakers would like a modern complete Bible, based on the new alphabet. This project, managed by the Bible Society of Benin and supported by BSNI, will result in the publication of such a Bible and the years of work by the translation team is now set to move into the type-setting and preproduction phase.
Bibles for Benin and Ethiopia During 2014, BSNI is funding two particularly significant Bible projects – the printing of Bibles for people in Ethiopia (Tigrignan language) and Benin (Gun language.) These are both eagerly anticipated. Gun is spoken by 320,000 people in Benin and by 259,000 people in neighbouring countries. Many of them are waiting for the Bible in words they can understand as the alphabet has changed since the Bible was first published in their language in 1923. A modern New Testament was published in more recent years, but the people now wait for the Old Testament so that they can have a full Bible that they understand. The plans to print the Bible come at a time when there are many new Gun readers in the country because literacy and language promotion are being strongly
The Tigrignan Bible translation has similarly been supported by BSNI for several years. Gabe Beyene, the translator from Mekele in Tigray Province, visited us in June 2011, proudly bearing a copy of the New Testament that had arrived from the printer the day before his departure. Now the Old Testament work is complete and a first Bible for the Province’s two million Tigrignan speakers is becoming possible. Rejoice with us that, through the generous support of people here, we can share in the excitement and anticipation of this vital new resource for Christians in Tigray.
Relief for survivors in the Philippines Within hours of Typhoon Yolanda striking the Philippines in early November, Nora Lucero the General Secretary of the Bible Society was making plans to bring relief and spiritual support to the hundreds of thousands of people who had been afflicted by one of the biggest storms ever recorded. As well as practical supplies, she planned to print and distribute 300,000 copies of a Calamity Gospel, Children’s comics and Bibles in the Tagalog and Cebuano languages. She called the project: ‘God is our Shelter’. BSNI was able to respond quickly due to offers of support received by telephone and by post. This encouraged Nora and her team to quickly prepare the materials for distribution so that they might bring hope to the survivors, and we will be looking to see if we can possibly provide 12 further help to our colleagues.
Bible Societies distribute record number of Scriptures Figures just released show that increasing numbers of Bibles and other Scripture editions are being distributed worldwide by Bible Societies, including within some of the countries where Christianity is under extreme pressure. In some countries the situation for Christians has become so dangerous that many are fleeing, and there are fears that the birthplace of Christianity will soon be devoid of Christian believers. It is encouraging that in many of these situations of persecution, there was a sharp rise in the number of Scriptures distributed. These included Syria, Iraq, Egypt, India, Laos and Nigeria and other very sensitive countries. More than 163,000 Scriptures were given out in war torn Syria alone. During 2012, the 146 Bible Societies succeeded in placing a total of 405.5 million items of Scripture (an increase of 6%), including 34.1 million full Bibles. The remainder included New Testaments, Gospels, special Scriptures for people who are learning to read, and Scripture selections to meet the spiritual needs of special groups such as schoolchildren, those in hospital and prisoners.
It is good news to know that the ‘Good News’ is more in demand than ever before!
The Good Samaritan Programme
Recent news reports have highlighted how Christians are leading the way in the fight against HIV/AIDS in many African countries. It is such a privilege to be able to
support this effort through the ‘Good Samaritan’ Programme, initiated and run by Bible Societies. This is an awareness programme based on God’s values of love, acceptance, forgiveness and healing. By partnering with churches, people who are suffering or caring for sufferers are offered support and teaching is carried out on prevention. “I was sick in bed when people from the Bible Society’s Good Samaritan Programme came to see me,” says Christina in Malawi. “They prayed for me and encouraged my husband and me to have blood tests. When he found out we both had HIV, my husband took everything we owned and left me and the children. But I am so grateful I got help at the right time everyone else of my age in my village has already died from the virus. The Good Samaritan people have been so good to me. They help me grow vegetables and they visit regularly. The best way to describe what they have done for me is this: ‘I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me a drink; I was a stranger and you received me in your homes, naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me’ (Matthew 25:35-6)
Winter Campaign Trauma in East Africa Survivors of conflict in East Africa struggle to cope with all that they have seen and suffered.
These children are using Scripture to help them deal with the trauma they have experienced
War and invasions from the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) have devastated areas, spreading fear through communities as lives were taken and victims left. Children and young people abducted from schools or churches, forced to join the rebellion; women and girls sexually abused and tortured; watching relatives and loved ones killed after being raped; houses burned down as villagers flee – today, as these atrocities continue, people are left traumatised. Women and young girls who became pregnant are rejected by spouses and family members, HIV/AIDS is rife, and people are left mentally scarred by what they have seen and been forced to do.
The number affected in this area is too high to count, but more important than the statistics are the faces behind the numbers. Here just two women tell of their experiences: Nabusiralo is 45 years old. She knows the terror of hiding in the bush, night after night, avoiding making even the slightest sound. When her brother visited, Nabusiralo thought she’d be safe to sleep in the house with her husband and brother to protect her. She was wrong. Soldiers broke in, killed her husband and raped her. Now she has been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and worries continually about her children losing her to the disease. “How can they survive?” she asks. She places them in God’s hands and believes that Jesus loves her. This seed of faith may be all Nabusiralo needs to face her future.
Sebakara is 17 years old. She holds her baby Neema (Grace), just 3 months old. Soldiers killed her mother, forcing the 17-year-old girl to flee with her father. Running for her life, she broke a leg and her father, fearful for his life, left her to save himself. Seven soldiers came upon Sebakara and the inevitable followed. Strangely, one (innocent) soldier offered kindness after the others had left, helping her to safety. A woman who shelters orphans and rape survivors, took her in and gave her medical care and counselling. Soon after, Sebakara found out she was pregnant.
These aren’t just stories – they are the testimonies of girls who every day relive a nightmare. We have the wonderful life-giving gift of God’s Word. Let us use it and share it as we stand in faith with these sisters in Africa, using the Word as our sword for the fight. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword ……” 14
Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)
One of the many thousands of women being helped through Bible-based trauma healing
Bible-based Trauma Healing Water and bread, a bed and a roof overhead give rest and protection; treatment from doctors repairs physical scars; education allows work and security. But what about the emotional scars that come from trauma – depression, fear, bitterness? How can someone lie down to sleep when memories come alive in the dark, when they are rejected by their community? Healing the minds of victims, spiritually and emotionally, is vital if people want to move on with their lives and leave these memories in the past. Bible Societies are bringing God’s healing power to the communities in East Africa as they arrange counselling and train Church leaders how to help these victims. These Scripture-centred programmes adhere to best mental health practices, and are proven to effectively overcome barriers of pain separating people from God’s love and helping them recover hope for the future. The Bible is a sword these people need to hold, and in these times of trauma it, offers an encounter with God’s healing power provides a desperately needed framework for justice becomes a foundation that sustains hope amid the most horrific circumstances makes possible the reconstruction of meaning essential to recovery from trauma helps communities overcome cultural pressures that blame the victim and motivates people to care for rape victims, widows and orphans Consolatta was brutally raped while fleeing her village in the Democratic Republic of Congo, leaving her wheelchair bound
...and BSNI is helping The Bible Society in Northern Ireland (BSNI) is partnering with the Bible Society in South Sudan (BSS) as they bring God’s healing power to people there who have suffered at the hands of the LRA. Immediately after South Sudan gained independence in 2011, a local Bible Society was established and the need for trauma healing was highlighted. Now, with the bright beginnings of a new nation, the people there need our support to help them wipe away the past and start a new life with Christ. The BSS aims to run the programme in five different sites, equipping churches, healing victims and restoring communities.
Will you help share God’s healing power and stand in faith with our sisters in South Sudan? Please pray for healing among the nation of South Sudan. If you would also like to give a gift, then send it to BSNI marked ‘South Sudan’, or use the reply slip enclosed. A gift of just A volunteer with the American Bible Society works with a group of men in a Trauma healing equipping session
£6.50 will help one woman through the healing programme, providing her with a personal copy of the Bible. Thank you for considering this. 15
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