@ W W! Word at Work THE MAGAZINE OF THE BIBLE SOCIETY IN NORTHERN IRELAND
CHILDREN IN RURAL CAMBODIA JUST COULDNâ€™T WAIT TO START READING THEIR NEW BIBLE BOOKS. SEE PAGES 12-13
Contents Autumn 2017 3
A Land of Opportunity
Meetings in the Middle East
Egypt’s inspiring approach to ministry.
Rev Richard Kerr’s first-hand impressions.
A World of Difference
Cambodia to Austrialia. Contrast is the word.
Get behind a great idea.
Regular Items 4-5
News Snippets at Home
Bible Sunday, ‘Time Out’ and more.
Prayer at Work
Bibles for the Persecuted
Pull out weekly prayer topics and Bible-a-month prayers.
Welcome Catherine Little General Secretary, Bible Society NI
Life is full of opportunity! This edition of Word at Work is full of stories of people grasping and taking advantage of the opportunities presented to them in their situations. Winston Churchill said “a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty” – what wise words! I have shared some of my experiences from my visits to Egypt, Cambodia and Australia in this edition of Word at Work. Rev Richard Kerr has shared some thoughts following his visit to the Middle East and to Bible Societies there. These countries are so different in many ways yet the Bible Societies there have a common Bible mission to reach everyone with God’s Word. The staff and volunteers in those Bible Societies are grasping at every opportunity to share the Good News and provide scripture to those who need it. Opportunities to help people engage with the Bible are not only to be found in other countries. Read about a recent collaboration between Bible Society NI and many Christian youth agencies in Northern
Ireland to create a version of John’s Gospel that will open the words of this Gospel up in a whole new way. I am so excited that in the last few months, thousands of young people will have read the words of Jesus from John 10:10, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”. I am continually inspired by the work of my colleagues from around the world. Some stories can be shared easily, we can tell you in detail about the power of the Bible changing lives, however many stories can’t be shared. Just like the one mentioned on pages 14 and 15 where Bible Society staff risk their lives to share the Bible with the people in their country, where there is active persecution of Christians and yet God provides opportunities for His story to be shared and for His Church to grow. Life is full of opportunity – do you see challenges or opportunities ahead? Read on to be inspired. Every blessing, Catherine
The powerful impact of your gifts.
Cover Image: Young Cambodian girl at a Scripture distribution event. Read about Catherine’s experience on pages 12-13. Catherine with a group of children and Bible Society Staff at a Literacy group during her time in Cambodia in June. Read more on pages 12-13.
A Land of Opportunity Perhaps ‘land of opportunity’ isn’t what springs to mind when you think about the home of the Pharaohs? What does come to mind when you think of Egypt? After my visit I now think of the brave, vibrant and full of faith Christians that I met. Some have experienced significant loss and heartache at the hands of terrorists yet their faith remains strong. Terror attacks make it into our news headlines. We visited the parents of two girls who were killed in the attack on a church in Cairo in December 2016. We also visited the church where the atrocity happened and saw the physical scars left on the building; the emotional scars are harder to see but still very evident. The Bible Society of Egypt staff see opportunities where we might see challenges and difficulty. Egypt has a population of around 92 million people with about 12 million Christians. The Bible Society of Egypt has worked hard over the years to build trust and respect across the Christian denominations. General Secretary Ramez Attallah leads an incredibly efficient team working across the country running bookshops, producing resources and increasing Bible engagement. I visited Bible lands old and new during my time there. I climbed inside a Pyramid that would have been standing when Moses was in Egypt! I witnessed powerful children’s ministry at the Kingo
Festival and Scripture distribution to young people. Kingo is a Bible story telling Lion. Huge numbers of children come to these events and learn Christian values such as obedience, honesty, telling the truth, courage, patience, respect and thanksgiving. Similar to children’s work here, messages are delivered through songs, dramas, Bible stories, group work and sharing of real life stories. Each child is given Scripture to take home, often Bible stories to colour in. The team in Egypt work hard to encourage children to take pride in these activities, to respect the Scripture message and to improve their literacy skills.
Catherine outside the Pyramids with Bible Society representatives from across the world.
Children participating at the Kingo Festival.
One of the team, Mumtaz, commented that 50% of Egyptian children can’t read and the other 50% don’t like reading - Bible activity books are really helping kids engage with the Bible in a way they understand. Kingo Festivals take place all over Egypt and are impacting a generation with God’s word. It is wonderful to be able to support this work from here. If you would like to hear more about Bible Society ministry in Egypt, why not invite Catherine along to speak to your church or group? Contact us on 028 9032 6577 or email email@example.com
Bible Society NI have partnered with the Church of Ireland Diocese of Armagh for their Sunday School project this autumn. Children will be learning about the work we support in Egypt, especially the Kingo Festivals. Do pray for the impact that this will have on children, teachers and families in Armagh Diocese as they learn about the bravery displayed by Egyptian Christians who make the most of the opportunities God gives them.
Catherine attending a Scripture distribution event.
Evidence of the devastation left by the attack on a church in December 2016.
News Snippets at Home
We Need You to say ‘Yes’
Bible Sunday Is your church joining us for Bible Sunday this year? If you don’t normally join in, perhaps this could be the year that you do? The free resources are on our website with a sermon outline, kid’s talk, inspirational project material and eye-opening facts about Bible access around the world. You could easily adapt the material for a home group or other ministry setting. Don’t miss out! Get your FREE DOWNLOADS HERE: www.bsni.co.uk/articles/385-bible-sunday-2017 Bible Society NI produces this resource each year. Our aim is to help churches connect with the vast ministry around the world. But there is another important element – reminding us of the tremendous gift we have in the Bible and of the responsibility we have to pass it on. This year’s material is based on Colossians 3:12-17 with the title ACTIVE.
Ministry Report You may have already had a look at the 2016 Ministry Report on our website. If not, follow the link below to catch up on what God has been doing through supporters here. 2016 was a year of significant change for the Bible Society NI and God’s guidance was so evident. We look back with thankfulness for all that He has been doing through us and for us as a Bible Society. We are also incredibly thankful for what YOU have enabled in 2016. People from different cultures, all over the world are responding to God’s Word and the love of His people. You play a vital role in this. www.bsni.co.uk/articles/381ministry-report-2016
Most of us know of the term ‘Data Protection’. We may not really understand what it means, but we have heard it. Simply put, all organisations (charities included) must correctly collect, store and handle the personal information of individuals. So if you received this magazine in the post, we have your name and address on our database. There are laws about how we safely store and use your personal details and it is right that there are. We take this responsibility very seriously as we know you trust us to protect your privacy. There are new regulations coming into action in May 2018. These bring changes for us along with all agencies that hold personal information of any kind. The new regulations state that we cannot store and use your information without your direct consent. This means that we need you to consent to receiving anything we send you, whether that is this magazine, our project letters, Biblea-month calendar, email prayer material etc. So, as you can imagine we have lots of work ahead. WE WILL NEED YOUR HELP. We will be contacting you with a consent form to fill in and return to us. IT IS ESSENTIAL that you do this if you want to continue hearing about all that God is doing through your involvement in Bible Society NI. We will be in touch with more details and we hope you will say ‘YES’ to staying informed. Thank you.
TIME OUT Magazine Have you seen a young person carrying around a copy of ‘Time Out’ Magazine? ‘Time Out’ came about after a conversation between Catherine and John Kee from Summer Madness. This became a really significant collaboration between Bible Society NI and 14 youth agencies across Northern Ireland including denominational youth departments, BB, GB, Scripture Union NI, Exodus, Youth for Christ NI, Urban Saints, Crown Jesus Ministries and others. ‘Time Out’ is the gospel of John in a format that teenagers can engage with. Articles from Christian writers and leaders are included alongside the Bible text. What was created was a very contemporary feeling magazine which will have helped thousands of young people across Northern Ireland engage with the Bible in a new way. As we write this, ‘Time Out’ is still being distributed and the full impact has not been measured but early feedback is all very positive and we are delighted to bring news about Bible Society NI work to a younger audience.
Bible Blog NI Are you trying to get more people to engage with the Bible? Maybe your church is encouraging its members to dig a bit deeper into Scripture. Or maybe you’re really keen that your children or grandchildren get excited about Bible stories. We’d all love to get more people engaging with the Bible but sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. Take a look at the blog on our website. You might find some ideas there. We’re asking people to share their ideas and inspiration with us. Recently Play it by Ear, a Christian drama company based in Northern Ireland, told us how they try to bring the Bible alive through drama.
Visit www.bsni.co.uk/articles/359-bible-blog-ni to read their article. Follow us on Facebook to find out when the next blog is uploaded.
Meetings in the Middle East Rev Richard Kerr (Bible Society NI Vice-Chair) was recently in the Middle East on sabbatical where he had an opportunity to see some of the work of the Bible Societies in the region first hand. He writes: Seeing something of the work of those I met at the United Bible Societies General Assembly in 2016 was a wonderful privilege. I’ve come away feeling deeply inspired by the good work being done by the Bible Societies in the Biblical lands on both sides of the Jordan.
Arab Israeli Bible Society
Dina Katanacho and her husband Yohanne.
I’m humbled to be associated with their faithfulness in making God’s word available - in often difficult circumstances.
In Nazareth I met Dina Katanacho who radiates enthusiasm about the projects and possibilities for the Arab Israeli Bible Society. Despite significant challenges in a patriarchal, minority Arab community, she and her staff are involved in a range of innovative projects. They are making Scripture available to women and families, established churches and in partnership with organisations such as CEF (Child Evangelism Fellowship). They are reaching out to the small Christian community and across the religious divide.
Palestine and Jordan
Projects that particularly caught my attention included an Arabic Bible in the shape of a woman’s handbag, a Peace Bible (which has been well received by Muslims as well as Christians) and involvement in developing an interactive Bible app for children.
Although I was unable to meet with Nashat Filmon of the Palestinian Bible Society, my wife Brenda and I did have the opportunity to visit one of their shops in the Old City of Jerusalem and get a picture of the strategic nature of their work.
Bible Society in Israel
Similarly, although unable to meet in person with Munther Namat of the Jordanian Bible Society, it was wonderful to talk to some of their volunteers running a stand at a popular market in Amman. In a predominantly Muslim country, God’s word was openly displayed.
Victor Kalisher, General Secretary of the Bible Society of Israel, whom I visited in his Jerusalem office, shared about one of the exciting good news stories of the region: “Unprecedented numbers of Jews are seeking and open for a dialogue about Jesus as the Messiah, and there is significant and blessed fruit to this openness in Israel today.” There are now over 40 Messianic Jewish congregations in Jerusalem alone.
often diverse groups. There is a real hunger for God’s word in Israel. The Bible Society in Israel are also involved in some significant work in partnership with the Palestinian and Arab Israeli Bible Societies, particularly in producing Scripture and other materials to support reconciliation between the deeply divided communities of the region.
Richard with Victor Kalisher, Bible Society of Israel.
Brenda Kerr (right) with Shireen Qassis at the Palestinian Bible Society Bookshop in the old city of Jerusalem.
We are part of the wonderful United Bible Societies family. I’ve come away with a feeling of deep gratitude to God for my brothers and sisters of the Bible Societies in the Middle East.
The challenge for the Bible Society in Israel is to resource these fledging and
Jordanian Bible Society volunteers at a market in Amman.
Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Luke 18:27 (ESV)
Every Chance Jesus said these words when he was teaching about how hard it was for some people to follow him. When those who were listening questioned him on this, he reassured them that if we trust Him, God can do all things. Look how the Message translation puts the verse above, “No chance at all,” Jesus said, “if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.” We can be quick to say that something ‘will never work’ or that we ‘don’t stand a chance’. But let’s be honest, that’s usually when we are trusting in ourselves. The key is making sure we put our trust in God. As prayers rise around the world, God is using His people to achieve ‘the impossible’ for the Kingdom.
P W! @ Prayer at Work PULL OUT AND KEEP PRAYER GUIDE AUTUMN 2017
SEPT 17-23 Niger Praise God for the achievements made in spreading the Word of God. Pray for the FCBH, Good Samaritan and Trauma Healing ministries. Pray for the board members and Executive Secretary Abou Chiabou as they serve God. Pray for good partnerships with churches and other agencies. Nigeria Please pray for peace and that government policies would favour Christian ministry. Ask God to attract donors willing to support the work. Pray that the new Bible Translation Centre for people with hearing disabilities will be a real blessing. Pray for GS Dare Ajiboye and the team. Algeria Please ask God to bless Bible work in this country, that His Word would spread. Pray that the work carried out by the Bible Society would reach every individual with the Bible in formats and translations
that can meet their needs. Pray for protection on the team and God’s clear guidance.
SEPT 24-30 Venezuela Ask for God’s blessing on the team led by Javier Chacon, especially among young people and children. Thank God for the ongoing Bible translation, the sign language project, literacy and distribution work. Pray for ongoing ministry to challenge the widely accepted domestic and gang violence. Pray for political stability. Colombia Bible translation continues for indigenous languages as well as a special translation for people who are deaf. Pray too for innovative ways to reach children and young people and for many other areas of work in Colombia. Pray for the board and staff team led by Diana Leal.
Suriname, Guyana and French Guiana Praise God for the new Bible in Sranang Tongo and pray for the ongoing Bible translation into Surinamese Javanese. Pray for Guyana’s FCBH and give thanks for the work against domestic violence. Pray for GS Paul Doth leading teams in different regions.
Thank God for answering prayer and changing lives.
Terms and Abbreviations 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, multimedia training. Trauma Healing: Bible-Based counselling for survivors of traumas such as disaster, epidemics or war. GS: General Secretary. OT/NT: Old/New Testament.
Bible-a-month Project September: China The demand for Bibles in China is huge. Many of the Christians in mainland China live in rural areas and most of them cannot afford to purchase a Bible, earning less than £1 per day. Since 1987, millions of Bibles have been printed and distributed in China. United Bible Societies China Partnership reaches out to Christians with heavily subsidised (or quite often free) Bibles.
God that the Church is growing • Thank in China and that Bible Societies have
amazing opportunities to distribute Bibles there. Pray for continued permission to do this. Please pray for each Christian who receives a Bible, that they would grow in understanding and that they will be nurtured and transformed. Pray for anyone who receives a Bible that doesn’t yet know Jesus as their saviour. This month £5 will help distribute God’s Pray that their hearts would be opened to Word to millions of people in China. the Word of God. Donate by text: send BAMC17£5 to 70070
North Korea The continuing political isolation and economic difficulties have forced people into poverty and disease as well as stopping any religious freedom. Please pray that doors will open so that people can hear the good news of Jesus and receive His Word.
Puerto Rico Please ask God to bless the work in this country so that his Word would be available to the entire population. Pray that relationships with the different denominations would be strengthened in this Christian majority country. Pray for GS Heriberto Martinez-Rivera.
South Sudan Pray for Scripture distribution in war zones and for peace in this country. Pray for Edward Kajivora who leads the ministry to weary, displaced and terrified people. Pray for translation, literacy work, Trauma Healing ministry and the equipping of staff. May God sustain and bless them.
South Korea Give thanks for the ongoing ministry here led by Executive Director Ho Yong Kim. Pray for the immense printing works that produces large quantities of Scripture for use all over the world. Ask God to strengthen their church relations and increase their local impact.
Haiti Pray for the Trauma Healing programme for the victims of hurricane Matthew, which left a trail of destruction and disease a year ago. Pray for GS Magda Victor and team who work to equip the churches and continue translating the Haitian Creole Study Bible.
Sudan Pray for the team led by Ismail Abdulrahman Kanani and the many projects they are engaged in. Pray for vital translation and distribution of Scripture as well as the Good Samaritan programmes and the special work to eradicate the use of Child Soldiers.
Mozambique Ask for God’s blessing on health, fundraising and guidance for numerous translation teams. Pray for distribution into different regions and plans to see ‘hubs’ in areas where there is currently no work. Pray for Trauma Healing programmes also. Valente Tseco leads the team.
Singapore Pray that the programme of daily Bible readings and devotionals would be well received. Pray also for the workshops on publishing, engagement and advocacy, to build capacity for Asian Bible Societies. Pray for GS Ezekiel Tan and the team who are also responsible for ministry to Brunei.
Dominican Republic Thank the Lord for the lives changed through the various projects including A Bible in Every Backpack, No to Violence and Bibles for Weapons. Pray for the board, staff and supporters led by GS Carmen Checo de Acosta. May God’s Word impact those who need his touch.
Chad Praise God for the three translation projects, may God bless the work and provide for their needs. Pray too for Trauma Healing and FCBH programmes. Ask for God’s guidance in implementing ministry with children, young people and vulnerable women. Pray for GS Roland Djekounlar.
Mauritius Made up of four islands to the east of Madagascar. The main language, Morisyen, has a NT. Pray for the ongoing work on the OT. Pray too for the translation of the Gospels into Reunion Creole. GS Marc Etive leads the work here, where many suffer extreme poverty.
Cuba Praise God for the ongoing openness to importing and distributing Scripture. Pray for GS Alain Montano and all who partner with him to reach the target of ‘One Million Bibles’ by the end of next year. Pray that the vision of opening a printing press would be realised.
Mali Pray for Executive Secretary Jacques Dembélé and team as they run projects such as translating the Word of God, FCBH programmes, and literacy classes to help people read the Bible and become independent. Ask God for a gracious outpouring of provision.
Seychelles Please pray for the new project against substance abuse - Getting to Them Before They Start. Pray that God will provide necessary funding for ongoing ministry and that many will be impacted. Ask God to clearly guide GS Margaret Maillet and the board as they seek to develop the work here.
Malaysia Pray for all Christians in this Muslim country where there are strict laws around sharing faith. Pray for the staff led by GS Mathew Punnoose, for God’s help in ongoing translation and for guidance in providing a Translation Consultant to oversee projects in East and West Malaysia.
OCT 22-28 Madagascar Please pray for the GS Hubert Rakotoarivony and team as they have had to implement a three-year recovery process, including reducing the size of the staff team. Pray that God will be glorified and that the ministry will be strengthened in the long-term.
Bible-a-month Project October: Laos Illiteracy is a problem in Laos, especially in minority ethnic groups in rural areas. Approximately 20% of the population over the age of 15 can’t read or write. The Church wants to reach out to these people and help them to gain understanding. Resources and training are being provided so that they will be equipped to run literacy classes, contributing to the growth and development of individuals and communities.
There can be strict restrictions on church activity in some areas of Laos. Pray that local authorities will allow classes to take place. Pray for those in Laos who are working to share the Bible with people. Ask that God would strengthen, protect and equip them to boldly speak out the Word of God. Pray that more people would be given Bible-based literacy resources, and that each child or adult who attends the classes would benefit from the teaching they receive.
Donate by text: send BAMC17£5 to 70070
This month £5 will help the Church in Laos run literacy classes and provide people with scripture.
OCT 29-NOV 4 Nicaragua Praise God for partnerships with churches and organisations, making it possible to work in hospitals with children suffering from cancer and with their families. Thank God for healing and life change. Pray too for the work against domestic violence. May God bless GS Freddy Fonseca and team. Panama Give thanks for the ways GS Marco Gómez and the team impact lives. Pray for the literacy work and ministry to reach children who are living in high risk areas, often on the streets. Pray too for plans to bring Scripture to schools and the Police force. Costa Rica Thank God for the ways the Bible Society is able to present the Bible’s message in a secular society. Please pray for the project to reach people with disabilities and for the distribution of Braille. Pray for the translation project into the Ngöbe language. Pray for GS Mayra Uganlde and team.
NOV 5-11 Denmark Ask God to bless the Bible work in this mostly nominally Christian country, particularly the work to reach young people. Pray for GS Birgitte Larsen and team as they partner with churches and supporters and raise funds for work around the world.
Norway The new translation into Northern Sami is almost complete while work continues on Lule Sami and Southern Sami languages. Pray for the many who encountered the Bible during the Society’s 200th anniversary in 2016. Pray for the team led by GS Ingeborg Mongstad-Kvammen. Sweden Pray for the easy-toread Bible being developed for immigrants and other audiences. Pray that 50,000 school children will be reached in the next three years. Pray also for the Daily Bible Reading challenge. Work is led by GS Anders Blåberg.
NOV 12-18 Finland Give thanks for GS Markku Kotila and team who work hard to contribute to the global Bible Society fellowship in many ways. Pray for all their fundraising efforts as well as work in areas of literacy and translation. Pray that their partnerships with churches and other organisations will be strengthened. Faroe Islands Ask God to help the Society spread the Bible’s message in this country, especially among young people and children. Pray for strengthened church partnerships and new opportunities for Bible promotion and fundraising. Pray for the Board and GS Gunnar Nattestad.
Iceland Pray for the Board as they try to help the Society become a self-sustainable organisation. Pray that they can both develop ministry within Iceland and support projects in other countries. Pray that the Bible’s message is known and followed in Iceland.
NOV 19-25 Lesotho Give thanks for the mobile pop-up book store that reaches all parts of the country. Pray for ongoing free distribution of Bible portions and for the work to train new volunteers. May God’s Word reach many through the team led by Inahaneng Tsekana. South Africa Thank God for the success of new Bible translation projects and pray for ongoing work. Pray for the new literacy project and efforts to provide Bibles to students from the 7th Grade. Pray also for donors, partners, board, staff team and CEO Dirk Gevers. Swaziland Give thanks for GS Ngcebo Mbuli and the team. Pray for their efforts to reach young people with God’s Word, including orphaned and vulnerable children. Pray for ongoing work on a Swsti Study Bible, a Bible in sign language and their Trauma Healing programme.
Thank you for praying
NOV 26-DEC 2 The Gulf Pray for everyone who bought a Bible at the Bible Society stall at the International Book Fair in Bahrain. Hrayr Jebejian leads the team across Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Give thanks for literacy classes, workshops and ministry to migrants. Iran (In Diaspora) The Society supplied more than 1.5 million Persian Scriptures to Iranian Christians around the world in 2016, double that of 2015. Pray for GS Nahid Sepehrifard and team. They use satellite TV, radio, internet and micro SD memory cards to distribute the Bible. Iraq Following the formal establishment of the Bible Society in Kurdistan, some land was offered to build a Bible House in Erbil. Please pray for resources to complete it. Pray also for the Trauma Healing programme, for God’s protection over the staff, and for the Church in Iraq.
For more prayer options or to sign up to our email ‘Prayer Circle’ Visit www.bsni.co.uk/ pages/prayer
Bible-a-month Project November: Slovakia The Slovak Bible Society is the only organisation in Slovakia that provides printed Scripture suitable for people with visual disabilities. Until recently no resources have been available and so people with visual disabilities and elderly people with failing eyesight haven’t been able to engage with God’s Word. The Slovak Bible Society began by putting Mark’s Gospel into giant print. This was met with such enthusiasm that they are now working to make the whole New Testament available in giant print.
pray for this work. The Slovak • Please Bible Society’s pioneering ministry is so
important for those who have problems with their eyesight. Thank God for his provision and guidance in this process. These books have been sent to churches, libraries and day care support units. Pray for those who have received the Gospel. Ask that they would be encouraged and uplifted by the words they can see. Pray that soon the whole New Testament will be completed.
This month £5 will help someone who finds it hard to read the words of God they love.
Donate by text: send BAMC17£5 to 70070
Morocco Praise God for the progress with Bible translation and pray that this will eventually be made available as a recording. Pray for all those who are involved in Bible Society work in Morocco, operating under difficult circumstances. Pray for the development of their website and Social Media platforms.
Kyrgyzstan Ask God to bless the work, that the Word of God can reach the hearts of the entire population. Pray for the Board and Executive Secretary Mr Roman Fedyanin. Pray that they will create new partnerships and work with churches to impact their communities.
Philippines Please pray for the completion of the headquarters building. Pray also for the new Scripture engagement programme for women to be launched this year and for the planned distribution of 500,000 Bibles to poor families. Pray for GS Dr Nora Lucero as she leads the ministry.
Russia Give thanks for the five Bible translations that are ongoing. Pray for the team led by Mr Anatoly Rudenko and for the difficult ministry of distributing God’s Word in Siberia. May God’s Word reach people living in extreme isolation due to severe climates.
Tunisia Pray for Christians and the strengthening of the Church. Pray for peace and political stability. Please pray for the work that is going on with regards to establishing a Bible Society in Tunisia. May it soon be possible to begin organised work here. Gambia Pray that God would provide the needs of this Bible Society so that they can continue ministering. They run Bible programmes for youth and children, literacy classes, and an OT translation into Jola. Pray for all who work in this difficult environment. Senegal Pray that the Pulaar Bible translation will soon be complete. Pray for sufficient funds to make a Bible available to each Catholic household. Pray too for wisdom and creativity to reach out to people from different backgrounds. Pray for Executive Secretary Mr Ousseynou Ngom and team.
Uzbekistan Pray for Executive Director Mr Khalmat Ashirov and the board in their efforts to bring the Bible to those who want it. They are making Scripture available in large print and in children’s editions. Pray for FCBH groups and for the development of their website. Italy Thank God for the ability to continue to operate a Bible Society in Italy. Please pray for the board, GS Dr Valdo Bertalot and staff as they seek to have an impact on the lives around them. Pray for new relationships and supporters. Portugal Pray for the relaunch of the Portuguese Paraphrase Translation during the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Pray for the creative projects to reach children and young people. Pray too for the modern audio recording of the OT. Ask God to guide the team led by Mr Miguel Jerónimo.
Myanmar GS Rev Khoi Lam Thang and team work in an environment of persecution. Pray for the opportunities being found to distribute the Bible to the poor and to believers in various language groups. Pray too for the Literacy Through Listening programmes that are reaching people in a practical way. Thailand Pray for the completion of the Book of Mark in Sign Language this year, that people with hearing disabilities would find it clear and welcome. Pray for the efforts to reach children with the Bible’s message. Pray for the team led by GS Rev Dr Seree Lorgunpai. Sri Lanka Give thanks for the team led by GS Lakshani Pemkusum Fernando. Pray for the ongoing ministry through disaster relief work and Trauma Healing programmes. Praise God for the support they offer churches, especially through Sunday School and children’s resources.
Mongolia Praise God for the work led by Rev Bayarmagnai Bayardalai in this Buddhist country. Pray that God would provide an additional office and a jeep or van to distribute Scripture into remote areas. Ask for blessing on the ongoing Mongolian Standard Version Translation. Kazakhstan Pray for God’s blessing on the work of spreading His Word in this country, especially efforts to help children engage with God’s Word. Pray for protection over Christians due to the expansion and development of Islam. Pray also for provision to enable the Bible Society to develop. Pakistan Praise God for practical ministry including literacy classes for women who are poor and medical care in slums and remote areas. Please pray also for efforts to reach children and for ongoing translation. Pray for GS Anthony Lamuel and team who pray for the end of terrorism.
Bible-a-month Project December: Peru The Bread of Life programme has been providing children in Peru with breakfasts and Bibles for over fifteen years. Children who live in poverty, suffer from malnutrition, experience domestic abuse and receive little or no education are benefitting from this programme. It gives them the chance to receive a nutritious meal and learn about the God who loves them dearly.
God for the Peruvian Bible Society • Thank and the churches and partner organisations
that make this project possible. Praise God that Christians working together are having a great impact on the lives of many kids. Pray for all the volunteers who help serve the kids food and teach them from the Bible. Pray that more and more children would come to know Jesus. This programme needs to continue. Please pray that funding would be provided to This month £5 will help feed a hungry allow more groups to be established. child in Peru and provide Scripture.
Donate by text: send BAMC17£5 to 70070
Screenshot of the new website that will host the New Testament in Lithuanian Sign Language.
Bibles are being given to refugees in Austria with a message of hope.
A Welcome in Austria Bible Society NI has been supporting work to welcome refugees in Austria for a couple of years. For a long time Austria has been a country that tourists have travelled to, but in recent years, there has been an increase in the number of refugees fleeing there for safety. These refugees haven’t always received a warm welcome. The Austrian Bible Society is determined that these people know that they are welcomed and loved. They are partnering with churches to help reach out to refugees with the Word of God, helping many to discover the hope and guidance that is found in the words of Jesus. This year Leah McKibben, Bible Society NI Projects Manager, attended a conference in Vienna and while she was there she got to see some of this work in action. She met a man from Iran whose journey to Austria had brought him to a church drop in centre. He found the support he needed there and now he helps other refugees engage with the Bible. Find out more about his story and how the Austrian Bible Society is helping refugees on our website www.bsni.co.uk/articles/359bible-blog-ni
Lithuanian Sign Language New Testament
International Bible ‘Shopping’
Over the last few years, Bible Society NI has been able to help fund the work of translating the New Testament into Lithuanian Sign Language. This funding was made available by the Methodist Missionary Society (Ireland)* who chose to partner with us. The work has progressed so well that a website is now being trialled. The website currently contains the Gospel of Mark but the whole New Testament will soon be available in sign language for the Lithuanian deaf community to access free of charge. Thanks to everyone who has invested in this project, particularly all those at the Methodist Missionary Society (Ireland)*. You are helping many people access God’s Word!
You may know that we are occasionally able to help people source and deliver Bibles to a country other than our own. Recently, Colin from Holywood contacted us. He had been to a place called Kkalwe in Uganda as part of a team from Holywood Parish Church. On their return they were eager to have Bibles delivered to the people they had met. Rather than ordering Bibles to come here and then have them shipped to Uganda, we were able to get in touch with our Bible Society colleages in Uganda who arranged to have the Bibles delivered to Kkalwe directly. This brings so much joy to Colin and the team who visited Kkalwe, the Bible Societies here and in Uganda, but most of all, the people in Kkalwe who now have Bibles of their own.
*Now Known as World Mission Partnership
Wonderful photo of the Bibles arriving in Kkalwe with some of the people Colin met.
Catherine with a group of children and Bible Society staff at a literacy group during her time in Cambodia in June.
A World of Difference Catherine Little recently had the opportunity to visit Bible Society projects in Cambodia before flying on to a series of United Bible Societies Round Table meetings in Australia. She shares her thoughts here.
Cambodia â€“ A Country of Contrasts When you think of Cambodia what comes to mind? The Killing Fields of the Khmer Rouge from the 1970â€™s or the modern challenges of human trafficking and exploitation? We have been supporting the Bible Society in Cambodia with Scripture distribution for poor and marginalised people this year and I visited this land of contrasts in June to find out more. Between 1975 and 1979, the genocide under the Khmer Rouge regime saw almost a quarter of the population killed by fellow Cambodians. Many others were displaced, forced to leave their homes and lives. Individuals were imprisoned and killed if they had connections with former government officials, if they wore glasses, had soft hands, spoke another
language, were professionals or intellectuals. The impact of the removal of this generation of leaders is still felt in the country today. There is widespread poverty and corruption with low levels of education and literacy. 95% of Cambodians are Buddhist, although the numbers of Christians and Muslims are growing. Despite the horrific history and the many challenges Cambodia still faces, this is a vibrant, colourful and challenging country. I am left with many stories to share about this place and its people. Cambodia is a large country and the Bible Society staff travel thousands of miles every year to meet the growing need for Bibles and Scripture resources. I travelled with three of the team to the provinces of Cambodia to promote Bible-based literacy and see the Scripture Distribution project we have supported this year. As
A pastor receives Bibles for his church from Cambodia.
Catherine with Alain Montano, General Secretary of the Cuba Bible Commission (Bible Society in Cuba).
Catherine with Pablo Gutierrez, Executive Director from the Bible Society in Peru.
60% of Cambodia’s population are under 25, much of the Scripture distribution focuses around young people. The Bible Society in Cambodia’s volunteers run literacy classes across the country for all ages. I visited literacy groups which met in churches and in people’s homes. The classes are taught using a resource stored on a Memory Card and played through a solar powered speaker. Every student receives a workbook to support their learning. The people in each class clearly placed much value on the opportunity to learn. The Bible Society in Cambodia is also working with schools to help provide resources for religious education classes and to support Christian teachers. If your church would like to hear more about ministry in Cambodia, why not invite Catherine to speak? Phone us on 028 9032 6577 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Round Table Exchange – Sydney, Australia My visit to Cambodia was prompted by travel to Australia for the United Bible Societies Round Table Exchange conference which gathered colleagues from over 100 Bible Societies to discuss the strategic direction of the Fellowship. Last year at the World Assembly in Philadelphia, the Fellowship produced the ‘Philadelphia Promise’ – eight promises which we made as Bible Societies around the world for the next 6 years. The Round Table Exchange focussed further on these areas, hearing success stories and challenges faced by Bible Societies all over the world. Together we discussed Translation and Literacy, Key Audiences, Church Under Pressure, Church Relations and Digital Access. We heard personal testimonies and stories of collaboration from all parts of the world and then discussed this with colleagues at our table groups. The United Bible Societies Fellowship
has global impact with Bible Society activity in almost every country in the world. Finding common goals for us all to agree on will always be difficult, however we have a heart to make the Bible available to everyone in a language and format that they can understand. This gathering provided an opportunity to meet with friends and colleagues and hear updates on projects we are supporting. Meal times became meetings and the networking opportunities are invaluable in helping me understand the important role that we in Northern Ireland play. With your support, we provide funds and prayers to exciting and innovative Bible mission projects around the world as well as friendship and encouragement to our colleagues. We are a small Bible Society in many ways but we have a big impact – that is down to you and our team. I am so aware that as General Secretary I represent a long legacy of dedication, hard work and commitment - what a privilege to be representing you in this role. 13
Autumn Appeal Bibles for the Persecuted We have a challenge for you. Go and stand outside your house and shout out the words “I believe in Jesus Christ”. Or maybe next time you see your son or your brother say to them quietly “I believe in Jesus Christ”. What would happen? Would you get a strange look? Possibly a nod of agreement? Someone might laugh at you. Whatever happens you’ll probably be able to return home and carry on as normal. How easily we forget the freedom we have. There are places in the world today where it is dangerous to utter those words “I believe in Jesus Christ”. It would receive far more than a strange look.
Let us tell you about a country in Asia… In this country it’s not easy to be a Christian. Freedom of religion is restricted. The government strictly controls religious activity. But opposition comes from family members and friends too. If someone declares that they believe in Jesus Christ they can be considered an extremist, a traitor to the Muslim religion. Christians are being persecuted. They can be arrested and tortured, expelled from school or dismissed from their job. Property is seized and massive fines given. Bibles and Christian literature are being burnt. Churches must be registered with the State. Police officers make surprise visits to churches and close them down if legal papers are not produced. And yet the
Church is growing. The number of believers is increasing. The Word of God continues to spread. There are good news stories coming from this country. We’re sorry that we can’t tell you about them. But the Christians in this country need your support. They are desperate to engage with the Bible. They want to read or listen to it in their own homes; they want to be able to share it with their families who do not know Jesus. We need to support these people who are living in fear.
How can we help these persecuted Christians? It’s incredible that in this restricted country – where evangelism is forbidden – the Bible Society exists. It is a legal organisation. Scriptures cannot be legally sold anywhere in the country apart from through the Bible Society. God’s protection and provision in the face of persecution is incredible! There are people working in Bible Societies who are risking their lives to share the Good News. There are leaders and volunteers in churches who are working with the organisation to make sure their communities know Jesus. Your support could help this network continue their ministry. By giving and praying for this work you will help Bible Societies, in countries like this one in Asia, to keep on supplying Scripture to Christians. It’s hard to imagine what it must be like to live through such persecution, and to realise just how much owning a Bible would help. Here are some words from a 25 year old man living in a place where Christians are in the minority: “Someone from the [Bible Society] came to our village… The audio Scriptures have helped me so much. In our village Christians are the minority. So we suffer persecution... I used to react violently to those who mocked me because of my Christian faith… I was frustrated and felt very bad at the insults against me and against our Christian community. But listening to the Word of God has helped me to face and endure persecution.
Helping Christians get the Bibles that they long for.
The book of Acts, chapter 9, has helped me so much. Saul, the persecutor of the Church met Jesus on his way to Damascus. Jesus forgave him all he had done against him and against his Church. I understood that I have to forgive those who persecute me.
This has comforted me and helped me to react with love toward those who persecute me. Now I preach the Word of God to those who persecute me. If I did not have the opportunity to listen to the Scriptures, I would have behaved in a way that contradicts the Gospel...”
You have the chance to help persecuted Christians by supporting Bible Societies working in very difficult situations.
Please pray for the teams of people who are risking their lives to make sure that the Church is equipped with the Word of God.
Your support can provide Bibles for Christians who are persecuted.
YOU CAN HELP A gift of just £12 could provide a Bible to someone who is bravely saying “I believe in Jesus Christ”. Please fill out the form that came with your magazine or visit www.charitychoice.co.uk/ bible-society-ni to make a donation online.
Praising God in all circumstances.
If you would like to make a donation by text, send WATW17£10 to 70070 There is no charge for this service, so your full donation by text will go to the project. Thank you for trusting us to pass your gift to this undisclosed destination. Please know you are bringing great encouragement.
Many are engaging with the Bible when they receive it in a format they can understand.
Bible Twinning You have probably never thought about giving your Bible a twin. Maybe itâ€™s time you did! Join a growing number of individuals and churches who are taking up the challenge of providing Bibles to people who need them, simply by twinning their own. Maybe you have a trusty old favourite Bible and would like to help someone else have a Bible to love. Why not twin it? Perhaps your church is blessed with Pew Bibles and wants to share that joy with a church who have no Bibles at all. Twin your Pew Bibles! You donâ€™t have to be buying new Bibles to twin them, although of course you can. You can take whatever approach you prefer but if you have a Bible, (old or new) you can twin it. We have attractive leaflets available on request. These help explain Bible Twinning and help you get involved. Request a copy for yourself or a number of copies for your church, contact us on 028 9032 6577 or email email@example.com Find out a bit more on our website here: www.bsni.co.uk/articles/384-bible-twinning
Word at Work
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THE MAGAZINE OF THE BIBLE SOCIETY IN NORTHERN IRELAND AUTUMN 2017
Published in January, May and September. Circulation 11,000 12,000
The magazine of the Bible Society in Northern Ireland