SGM Lifewords â€” Freely sharing the Bibleâ€™s life words since 1888
God Speaks My Language Making life words accessible to all
Issue 2 2017
For Times Like These Bringing hope to refugees through Pavement Project
God Speaks My Language Making life words accessible to all
News The latest news from the SGM Lifewords global family
10 For Times Like These Bringing hope to refugees through Pavement Project
Interact Issue 67 /2- 2017 Editorial team: Jess Bee Danielle Welch Steve Bassett Photographs: SGM Lifewords except: cover, Zeke du Plessis pp. 4–7 as labelled, otherwise Lisa Miriam Rohrich, p. 9 Lou Moreno, pp. 10–11 Kezia M’Clelland/Viva and UNHCRE/Dorfman Design: S2 Design & Advertising Ltd Print: Yeomans Creative Interact is published in the UK by SGM Lifewords Ltd, CN. 05908817 Registered office: 1A The Chandlery 50 Westminster Bridge Road London SE1 7QY Interact is free, available three times a year from your nearest member of the SGM Lifewords global family of organisations (see page 14)
Introducing New Zealand’s new co-ordinator
14 10 Things … … about Life-Changing Words
12 The Next Chapter
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news … who proclaim peace … who proclaim salvation. Isaiah 52:7, NIV
Danielle Welch Executive Director SGM Lifewords
This year is the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation – a movement inextricably linked to the translation and distribution of the Bible into everyday languages. Several centuries later, an estimated 3,223 languages have some Scripture – but speakers of 1,800 languages are still waiting for translation work to begin. In this issue, our main feature looks at the small part SGM Lifewords plays towards this translation task – and in helping people read and experience the Bible in their own language. We have an incredible heritage of creating ways in to the Bible for people. On pages 4-7, read how that continues today through new translations and digital formats; as well as through
As we think about all the good news that has been shared in almost 130 years of ministry, through Scripture Gift Mission/SGM Lifewords, we are inspired about the future! In the next issue of Interact, you’ll see some changes, as we start using the shorter version of our name – Lifewords – with a fresh new look. We want to communicate as clearly as we can, that the Bible is life words for everyone. And we’re here to be bearers, givers, makers, and proclaimers of good news for all people, everywhere. As always, we are grateful for your support and prayer, and we hope that you are inspired as you read, and encouraged about the work of the Bible’s life words in your own life.
our database of 22,000 different resources.
God Speaks My Language Jess Bee discovers how SGM Lifewords’ publishing legacy still brings life to many, through an archive of a thousand-plus translations of the Bible’s life words, re-imagined for a digital age.
© ZEKE DU PLESSIS
“I know it’s not easy to follow Jesus’ road. People mock believers. But that’s ok, because when you follow Jesus you know your sins are forgiven, that you have righteousness, and that you’ll go to heaven.” Pilgrim* lives in Niger. He is Fulani, one of the largest and most widely spread ethnic Muslim groups in West Africa. He meets with others in his community to learn about the Bible and discover more about Jesus. He speaks Fulfulde and he is able to read the Bible in his own language thanks to a copy of SGM Lifewords’ Jesus Saviour of the World given to him by Ruth*, a Canadian missionary. Ruth lives and works with the Fulani people, serving the
community and building relationships. She offers the Bible to those she ministers to so that they can read and understand God’s Word in their own language. As well as the booklet she gave to Pilgrim she also has copies of Jesus Christ: Saviour of the World in Ajami, a language that uses the Arabic alphabet. “These booklets are particularly of interest to those who can read the Arabic alphabet because they have studied at the mosque,” she says. “They may or may not have understanding of the Arabic language, but can read it phonetically. They start reading the Jesus Christ: Saviour of the World booklet not expecting to understand it and are surprised to find that it is their own
language in letters they can read.” Reading or hearing the Bible in your own heart language (mother tongue) is not a luxury, it is an experience that carries with it the profound message that everyone is included in God’s kingdom. God speaks your language.
A Fulani herdsman © ZEKE DU PLESSIS
MAKING THE BIBLE ACCESSIBLE Ruth and other on-the-ground missionaries are able to offer the Bible to minority language speakers all over the world thanks to SGM Lifewords’ extensive archive database which allows for reprints of titles in many languages. In the 129 years since the founding of Scripture Gift Mission (now SGM Lifewords), thousands of different titles have been printed in a huge variety of languages. The majority of those booklets are stored in an archive of physical copies. In 2016 – thanks to your generous support – we completed the long and painstaking task of creating an archive database. This makes our language and reprinting data much more accessible, and new possibilities have already emerged – Jesus Christ: Saviour of the World in Fulfulde was published in partnership with Serving in Mission (SIM) and now Ruth is sharing it afresh with the Fulani people in Niger. The archive database holds a vast array of treasures – over 22,000 items. SGM Lifewords printed the first ever Scriptures in over 200 languages, in partnership with organisations such as Wycliffe/SIL. Some of those languages had never been written down until Bible translators did their work, which means that our archive
Translation reviewers work to make sure the text sounds natural in Fulfulde.
holds examples of the first ever publications in that language – items of historic significance. But the archive and database hold much more than texts of historical importance. They hold the key to people all over the world being able to read and understand the Bible in their own language – and therefore know and experience the love of Jesus for themselves.
“Our archive holds examples of the first ever publications in that language”
A 1930s Albanian Bible resource from the archive
“As Scripture is translated into ‘new’ languages, our resources can provide people with a way in to the Bible” Charlotte Nanou
freedom was not officially restored until 1990. We were delighted to be able to locate and scan in some booklets from the time, a small contribution to this reconstruction of the Albanian church’s legacy. Another key partnership is with Wycliffe/SIL with whom we’ve worked – and still work – to make Bible booklets available in minority languages to lowliteracy communities through our Power to Save series. In 2013 we helped publish 400 copies of Jesus Christ Has Power to Save – which features verses from Mark’s Gospel – in Mpumpong for SIL Cameroon. Charlotte Nanou, working with Wycliffe, took the booklets to Yokadouma in south-east Cameroon to share with Mpumpong communities. SGM Lifewords remains committed to new language partnerships, as translators continue to take forward the task of making the Bible available to every tribe and tongue. As Scripture is translated into “new” languages, our resources can provide people with a way in to the Bible for the first time. Romania © SØREN KJELDGAARD
Thank you for your support that makes it possible to provide so many diverse ways in to the Bible’s life words! We are always in need of your prayer and giving. You can find out about languages and titles that are waiting for funding, or join in with projects like VerseFirst at www.sgmlifewords.com, or by calling your local SGM Lifewords office. Thank you.
WORKING TOGETHER Some of those archived titles are reaching new audiences, including our older titles in Romani languages. There are several dozen Romani languages and dialects spoken across Western Europe, and they are often highly localised. None of them have a translation of the full Bible, but various missionaries and Bible agencies have translated different stories or key passages in the past, SGM Lifewords among them. In partnership with the (British and Foreign) Bible Society, we have been able to scan in our Romani booklets, some of them dating back to the 1910s, and make them available through the YouVersion app – a free Bible app for phones, tablets and computers. The Romani may not have a full translation yet, but everything that has been done in the past is being drawn together in one place and made much more accessible. Another recent enquiry has come from the Albanian Bible Society. Uniquely, Albania declared itself to be an atheist state during the Soviet era. This pushed the church underground, and the country’s Christian heritage was suppressed. Today Albanian Christians are rediscovering the story of the church in Albania, and historians and linguists are filling in the gaps in the history books. SGM Lifewords’ part in that story comes in 1937, when the mission recognised that the door was about to close in Albania and made the country a priority. Tens of thousands of booklets were shipped, including Sunday school materials. A year later, missionaries were forced to leave the country and religious
“We are excited about what comes next, as we think about how we continue to offer people ways in to the life-transforming words of the Bible”
PRAY WITH US DIGITAL FUTURE The digitalisation and archiving of booklets and translations ready for printing is just part of the treasure we thank God for. The archive that we’re building also looks to the future as we research and produce new projects, and disseminate the Bible through digital formats such as Life Changing Words and VerseFirst. This year is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, where the arrival of the printing press allowed many more people to read the Bible. Now, in a digital age we have more and more opportunities to help people access and share the Bible. Last year we were able to partner with translators working in a “closed” country, to make the Life Changing Words app available there, in a local language. In a context where distributing physical copies of the Bible is difficult, this daily Scripture tool gives local believers a new way to encounter life words, and share them safely with others.
LANGUAGE OF THE HEART For the almost 20,000 young people reading VerseFirst each day in their social media feed, and deepening their experience of the Bible through VerseFirst blogs and web content, experiencing the Bible in their “heart language” is about more than the literal language in which they read. In a postliterate culture, images, words, and cultural form combine to communicate truth and meaning for this new generation. We are excited about what comes next, as we think about how we continue to offer people ways in to the life-transforming words of the Bible, and its message of love and salvation through Jesus. Whether in print, via “live” programmes, or through digital resources, our passion is that everyone, everywhere should have the chance to read, hear, and experience the good news of the Bible.
Give thanks for 129 years of SGM Lifewords. Praise God for the extensive archive of resources – a reflection of people all over the world reading the Bible in their own language.
Praise God for partnerships with organisations such as SIM and Wycliffe/SIL. Give thanks for their knowledge and expertise, and pray for more opportunities to produce Bible resources for the people groups they’re reaching.
Pray for the future of making the Bible accessible all over the world. Whether in "live", print, or digital formats, pray that God would speak to people through his Word for generations to come.
*Names have been changed.
Stories from India At the end of last year SGM Lifewords in the UK invited supporters to join them in praying for and resourcing work in India. The Stories from India campaign asked for your help to bring about change in India where pastors, evangelists and others are seeking to share the gospel, and work against oppression. Alongside this the ♯12Prays campaign encouraged us to pray together between 1st and 12th December for our Christian brothers and sisters in India who have been facing persecution. Pastor Suresh, who plants churches in Karnataka, explains: “It's not so easy to share the gospel here. Sometimes we are kicked out of villages, beaten up or even held prisoner. Despite that, we witness many miracles.” The campaign saw people coming together to host curry evenings, learn more about India, and pray together. Over £22,000 was raised which will go towards SGM Lifewords’ work in India, including the sponsorship of a number of Pavement Project green bags. NEW BENGALI BOOKLETS Alongside this focus on India, new Bengali resources were finished and are now available for use. In 2016 we asked for your support to print these resources together with booklets in other languages that were lacking in our range. Thanks to your generosity we raised £24,000! Pastor Boulos who wrote to us requesting resources in Bengali now has copies of An Invitation and Way to Life he can share in his local community. These are the first Bengali resources SGM Lifewords has printed this century and work is also underway on producing Way to Life in Tamil, and An Invitation in Urdu. AND FINALLY … In other booklet news, Gordon – a long-time SGM Lifewords supporter – and his church have sponsored 1,000 copies of Finding Hope to be translated in Telugu. These will be sent to church partners in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, where most of the 75 million people who speak Telugu live. Thank you for all your support for the printing of booklets, and through prayer and giving to resource SGM Lifewords’ work in India – we are grateful for all that God is doing, and look forward to more and more stories from India as God’s Word is shared.
Bible Resources Director, Jarek, with the new app
The Bible at your fingertips “It is thoroughly biblical, Christ-centred, challenging, and draws my heart to love and worship my loving Saviour each day. I look forward to reading and meditating on it as part of my morning quiet time.” This is what one person said about Life Changing Words – our daily email, Facebook, and app service that offers subscribers a short daily passage from the Bible to read and share with others. In December 2016 alone, there were 2,368 “shares” of verses via text message, email, or social media. Now the LCWords smartphone app allows users to engage further with the Bible through a new interactive feature. The LCWords app has been updated and is available for Android, iOS and Windows (both desktop and mobile). The app enables users to read the Bible in 12 languages and share the daily verses straight from their devices. The Bible passages are short and offer the user the chance to respond to what they’re reading. Zbigniew Szalbot, Bible Resources Co-ordinator, explains: “In order to increase users’ engagement with each verse they can now select one of four options: Inspiring, Life-changing, Interesting, Difficult. We find that to select a category, the user must think for a while about the verse they see on the screen. We hope that this new tool will encourage more and more people to respond to God’s Word.”
Last December Frontline Community Church in Ramstein, Germany invited refugees to a Christmas party and offered copies of SGM Lifewords booklets as a gift. Many of the people at Frontline Community Church are ministers to the American military community in Germany, and several teach German language classes to refugees to aid social integration. Knowing that many of their students would be alone at Christmas the church organised a party including festive activities, gift bags and copies of An Invitation in German, Arabic and Persian. More than 50 guests – mainly from Afghanistan and Syria – came along, and most were from a Muslim background. “Our new friends loved the party,” said Gary, a member of the church. “They were smiling the entire time and had the opportunity to form new friendships. They loved the gift bags but they were particularly intrigued by their copies of An Invitation.” This event was the beginning of a new outreach for Frontline Community Church. They have now started a special ministry for refugees and immigrants in Germany. Please pray for them as they build relationships with these new communities.
© Lou Moreno
For Times Like These Danielle Welch reports on a critical opportunity to offer hope and healing to refugee children in Lebanon, through SGM Lifewords’ Pavement Project programme.
“If we had to sum up the effects of our Pavement Project counselling programme … ‘HOPE’ would be the word we would write across the sky”
In 2016, the European Commission estimated the number of refugees hosted by Lebanon had reached over 1.5 million. The largest number are from Syria. Other sources estimate that a quarter of the population of Lebanon are Syrian refugees – and three quarters of these are living below the poverty line. Hundreds of thousands are children and teenagers – some in families, some unaccompanied. The war in Syria has been raging for almost six years. For some children, conflict, flight, and uncertainty are all they have ever known. Kezia M’Clelland is Viva’s Children in Emergencies Programme Specialist. She has visited camps in Lebanon, and witnessed the work that local churches are doing to support families. Not all refugees are in the vast organised camps that are familiar to us from news coverage.
Kezia writes, “In my last visit to Lebanon, we worked with one church situated in an area away from the main towns and cities of the Bekaa Valley, not far from the Syrian border. Here, small clusters of tents represent communities of refugees, unreached by other service providers or humanitarian organisations … Sometimes what we heard and saw felt hopeless; almost all children over 11 seemed to be working and out of school, and children also faced many physical risks to their safety in their living environment.” HOPE IS KEY As Kezia and others working with at-risk and traumatised communities will testify, hope is one of the most precious commodities for human survival and recovery; and as Kezia describes, hope is in short supply for many refugee children.
There is no possibility of return home, and very little clarity about the future. If we had to sum up the effects of our Pavement Project counselling programme, which has been used with children-at-risk around the world for 16 years now, “HOPE” would be the word we would write across the sky. Through Pavement Project, we have seen time and again how hope and healing take root, when children and young people are able to re-frame their stories in the light of Jesus’ love and care for them. FOR TIMES LIKE THESE Unsurprisingly perhaps, throughout the current crisis, we have been praying for ways to make Pavement Project resources available for refugee communities. We already have a small group of trained workers using the Pavement Project green bag in Egypt. But we were delighted when we were approached by a partner organisation last year, keen to train workers who would be going to help relief efforts in Lebanon. Quietly – because the work and the context is sensitive – we trained a small
pilot group at the end of 2016. The partner organisation has now put together a plan to host “play tents” for children living in camps. Pavement Project counselling will be at the heart of this strategy. Pavement Project really was made for times like these. The specialist resources were designed to help children tell their story, discharge the trauma, and find healing for their – often very frightening or overwhelming – feelings. Stories of Jesus are used to help children understand God, who can hold all their experiences and feelings, and responds with love and protection. The process was designed by experts in child trauma, and has a proven 90% success rate – in all kinds of situations. The green bag uses picture cards, games, and colouring-in activities, also helping children be children again, and experience fun and joy. Exactly what is needed in times like these. Quotes from Kezia M’Clelland used with permission. Find out more about Viva’s work with children around the world at www.viva.org.
GET INVOLVED If you would like to be a part of bringing hope and healing to refugee children, then please pray with us for this project, and please consider making a gift to the work of Pavement Project. We still need to raise final funds for more Arabic language bags for Lebanon and Egypt, and for training resources that will allow our first trainees (in both countries) to equip others to use Pavement Project – spreading the reach and impact of the Bible’s life words.
PRAY WITH US n Give thanks for the
power of the Bible to bring hope to traumatised children through Pavement Project. Praise God for the impact this has already had in the lives of young people across the globe. n Praise God for this
opportunity to minister to refugees in Lebanon. Pray for the “play tent” initiative that God would resource it with money, people, and that by his Spirit lives would be changed. n Pray for the children
who find themselves frightened, confused and away from home. Ask God to give them shelter, sanctuary and hope for the future. 11
The Next Chapter A renewed SGM Lifewords presence in New Zealand is breathing new life into a great legacy of ministry. Dan Hardie, SGM Lifewords Australia Director, reports.
"People write to us with stories and testimonies of God working in people’s lives through SGM Lifewords resources”
These last 12 months have been a busy time for New Zealand’s new SGM Lifewords co-ordinator, Dave Giesbers. Since his appointment in May 2016 SGM Lifewords’ ministry in the country has seen fresh focus and vision with an impetus on making God’s Word accessible to everyone, from those who don’t usually read the Bible, to unreached people groups in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. For many years, thendirector John Knowles led a great work in New Zealand and throughout the Asia Pacific region. His passion to spread the gospel far and wide led to some incredible opportunities in the Pacific Islands, Papua New Guinea, and into Asia. Upon his retirement, the New Zealand post was closed and our work in the region was managed from Australia. We still continued to ship resources to specific
ministries and mission outposts, but many Christians lost track of our special Bible mission and we began to fade from memory. A SOLID FOUNDATION In recent years, a number of legacy donations have shown that the impact of the work of John Knowles continues. People still write to us with stories and testimonies of God working in people’s lives through SGM Lifewords resources, and there seems to be a resurgence of interest in sharing the Bible through creative and engaging booklets like ours. So, we’re excited about the appointment of Dave and all he brings to the role. He is involved in the Church Planting network, Multiply, and as a staff member at the EV Church in Auckland. Dave loves to network and help people experience transformation through
“We want the Bible to be accessible and understood by everyday people who don’t usually experience it”
Scripture. He brings passion, motivation and a love for people to the role. PART OF THE TEAM The New Zealand office works closely with SGM Lifewords Australia which also oversees the work in Indonesia. Dave recently joined the team in Indonesia to see how SGM Lifewords is making a difference in other locations. Part of Dave’s time there was spent with students who are studying at Pelita Dunia Theological Seminary, one of our partners in Indonesia. They did a day of training with 35 new students from the college, equipping them with Bible booklets and storytelling resources. These events bring a huge boost in confidence and boldness for students, as they are often quite timid and find it difficult to raise a Godcentred conversation with anyone in their mission areas. Dave brought a word of encouragement, and shared with the students the power of God’s Word. “I was so encouraged to join the students,” says Dave. “Many of these students come from poor villages spread across Indonesia’s 922 inhabited
islands, and arrived in Jakarta not knowing how they would pay for their study. It was a real delight to see their enthusiasm in singing, studying the Scriptures, and learning how to share the message of Jesus in a context where many are illiterate.” MOVING FORWARD Over the next few years the New Zealand ministry will have three areas of focus. Firstly, to advocate for greater Bible engagement and transformation – we want the Bible to be accessible and understood by everyday people who don’t usually experience it. Secondly, to offer the Bible to unreached people – we’re already working with dozens of partners within New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. And finally, to develop new opportunities for sharing Scripture – we want to do more to share the Bible through digital platforms and to develop strategies for new language groups and rural communities. And alongside all this we continue to be committed to equipping the church with greater Bible engagement tools.
PRAY WITH US n
Give thanks for the legacy of SGM Lifewords ministry in New Zealand and for the appointment of Dave. Pray for him as he seeks to shape this new chapter of ministry.
Give thanks for a committed group of supporters in New Zealand. Please pray that more and more people would catch the vision and get involved with sharing the Bible in this part of the world.
Praise God for the ministry in Indonesia and ask for inspiration for Dave and SGM Lifewords supporters in New Zealand to be part of this growing work with the poor and needy.
Dave Giesbers listening to a leprosy sufferer
… things about Life Changing Words Our LCWords email and app send a daily Bible verse to thousands of people across the world, here’s what some of them are saying:
It helps me every day to read the Word of God. I look forward to receiving a Bible verse to start my day, then the word comes first … before everything else gets crazy.
It is accessible and sometimes I feel like I get just what I need for that day. A real blessing!
I look forward to reading the Scripture quote every day. It gets me in the right mood.
The words are always very beautiful and give me a feeling of peace and safety.
Short, simple and concise, providing daily words of wisdom to keep me on the right path.
I use it to encourage others on a daily basis.
I have it sent to my work inbox and try to make it the first email I open at work.
I like the immediacy of it and the anticipation of what word God is going to speak to me for that day. So often it's just the word I need to hear. It's relevant and a daily reminder of how God answers prayer and speaks to us.
CONTACT US Have you got a story to share of the Bible’s life words at work? Get in touch with the SGM Lifewords global family. Find us on the web at www.sgmlifewords.com, or contact your local office. Australia: +61 437 705 947
Canada: +1 683 6482
Indonesia: +62 816 714 983
Kenya: +254 20 2730100
India: +91-80-2529 6587
UK (International office):
+44 (0)20 7730 2155 email@example.com
RESOURCES IN ACTION
A closer look at our Bible resources and how they make a difference
“All through the centuries, different teachers and religions have explored ways of getting to God. The Bible tells a different story – the story of the God who came to us.” The Way to Life and Words for the Journey are two evangelistic resources to help you share the gospel and introduce people to the Bible. The Way to Life takes the reader through the core elements of the gospel message using easy-to-understand Bible passages that reflect on creation, sin, and the salvation offered in Jesus. Available in 14 languages this booklet is perfect for those who want to share God’s love with others, whether you’re a frontline missionary or reaching out to your friends and colleagues.
Words for the Journey is an evangelistic and pastoral booklet with Bible readings for every day of the month. Intended to introduce people to the Bible, each daily reading offers wisdom, prayers and key elements of the gospel message. Words for the Journey is available in five languages (English, Polish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Spanish and Ukrainian) and is one of our most popular titles.
“I'm very happy with the booklets. They are very good quality. These materials go a long way to start a conversation.” Aloisio from Brazil, using The Way to Life in hospitals
“Each year our church organises a Christmas gift event. It is carried out among the poorest families in Raciborz. In their Christmas parcel each family will receive a Words for the Journey booklet.” Katarzyna from Poland To order The Way to Life and Words for the Journey, and to browse our range of global resources for sharing, please visit www.sgmlifewords.com. 15
De pr es si on is a bu bb le I am tr ap pe d in si de w hi le th e w or ld co nt in ue s ar ou nd m e I am al on e I ca nn ot ge t aw ay fr om it, no m at te r ho w ha rd I tr y 1 in 4 people will suffer from a mental health disorder at some point in their lives. Little Book of Chaos focuses on issues surrounding depression, anxiety, self-worth, and the hard times that life can bring. Written especially with young people in mind, it features Bible verses and real life quotes from other young adults, reminding us that God is with us through it all. The good, the bad and the ugly. Donâ€™t go it alone! Order your copy from www.sgmlifewords.com