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SGM Lifewords — Freely sharing the Bible’s life words since 1888
One-to-One Sharing the Bible with others
Issue 2 2012
Out of the Ashes Rebuilding a community in mourning
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One–to–One Sharing the Bible with others
Celebrating 125 Years One supporter’s story through the decades
News The latest news from the SGM Lifewords global family
10 Out of the Ashes Rebuilding a community in mourning
13 On the Road Taking the Pavement Project message to UK churches
14 Interactive Interact Issue 52 / 2 - 2012 Editorial team: Jess Bee, Danielle Welch, Steve Bassett Cover Photo: Sammy Kamore, SGM Lifewords Design: S2 design and advertising Print: Yeomans Creative Interact is published in the UK by SGM Lifewords Ltd, CN. 05908817 Registered office: The Oasis Centre, 75 Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7HS Interact is free, available three times a year from your nearest member of the SGM Lifewords global family of organisations (see page 14)
Partnering together: your stories
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How can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?
Romans 10:14 (NLT)
Danielle Welch General Director SGM Lifewords
Perhaps we could continue that train of thought from Romans with: “And how will they know God’s Word unless someone shares it with them? Commends it to them? Takes the initiative and passes on the Bible’s life-changing words?” That’s what this issue of Interact is about – ordinary people making God known, as they share the Bible’s life words with others. On pages 4-6 you’ll read about how people are using SGM Lifewords resources to share the Bible in a one-to-one way, in all walks of life. We hope you’ll be inspired as you read, and challenged reserved for “someone else”. It’s for us – we are the one, the “someone” who tells! And sharing the Bible’s life words is one way we can make the message of salvation known. If you haven’t done so in a while, do take a look at our Bible resources (in print and online) and pray for an opportunity this week to share God’s Word with someone who has yet to hear it. Thank you for your partnership with us.
too. Telling others about the good news of Christ is not
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One-to-One Since 1888 SGM Lifewords has been helping Christians freely share God’s Word all around the world. Now, nearly 125 years later, Jess Bee reports on what one-to-one literature ministry looks like in 2012. Helping Hands, Athens
“I always feel excited when I unpack a parcel from Lifewords. I suppose it is a bit like handing fireworks – power ready to be unleashed!” Rosemary Nash, SGM Lifewords supporter
“It’s the commitment of individuals to giving these life words to others that’s often the important link that enables those who don’t know Jesus to meet him for the first time”
Last year SGM Lifewords supporters ordered nearly one million Bible resources through their local office or the new Global Resources website to share with others. The Word of God is powerful – softening hearts, opening eyes, transforming thinking, and it’s the commitment of individuals to giving these life words to others that’s often the important link that enables those who don’t know Jesus to meet him for the first time. Our mission is to provide the resources that allow you to be that link. Whether it’s through creating,
translating and printing booklets like You Matter and Jesus: An Introduction; developing programmes like Pavement Project, Choose Life and The Visible Story; or working with partners like Wycliffe Bible Translators and Light in the East. From churches using our Easter and Christmas resources in their seasonal evangelism, to individuals reaching out to someone at the bus stop, to community projects showing the love of God in practical ways, people all over the world are introducing others to the words that transform, heal and save. The gift of God’s Word through one-to-one relationship makes an impact, and every year we hear many stories from those who are taking on the challenge to freely share the Bible with those they interact with. Here are just three of those stories to inspire you today.
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Pastor James Ronald, Tamil Nadu Pastor James Ronald and his team do outreach in the locality of Tamil Nadu, India. Their evangelism reaches far and wide: from markets and factories, to schools and colleges, to prisons and hospitals, to railway and bus stations, to beaches and remote rural villages.
Pastor James uses SGM Lifewords booklets wherever he goes. Whether it’s visiting street traders or going door-todoor in the villages, he always carries literature to give to people as he shares the gospel. Thanks to the Global Resource website people like Pastor James are able to get hold of the tools to help them in their ministry, free of charge.
And we, as SGM Lifewords, are able to reach into places that we haven’t been able to before. For Pastor James being able to order and receive Bible booklets is a great help to his work. “Thank you for the Tamil booklets – the parcel arrived safely,” he writes. “Once more we are saying our hearty full thanks to you.”
Brett Sanner, Helping Hands, Athens Helping Hands is a partnership between local Greek churches and International Teams (a mission agency) that’s been working with refugees in Athens for 20 years. As a continental crossroads, Greece plays host to hundreds of thousands of migrants from central and south Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Helping Hands shares the gospel through preaching, Bible classes and discipleship, and demonstrates the love of Jesus by offering food, clothing and showers to refugees living on the streets. One initiative, The Tea House, serves food to hungry refugees in an informal
atmosphere where they can play games, watch videos, and build relationships. Brett Sanner, from Helping Hands, talks about the work they do: “We seek to share and show the love of Jesus in the refugee community here; currently we're seeing many Afghans and Iranians.” Helping Hands plan to use the new Persian translation of Jesus: An Introduction with the Iranian people they meet. “Many refugees have questions about Jesus (since they don't have the freedom to explore Jesus and the Bible in their home countries),” says Brett, “so we'll use the booklet to share the truth about Jesus with Farsi-speaking refugees.”
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“People all over the world are introducing others to the words that transform, heal and save”
WHAT CAN YOU DO? When did you last share the Bible with someone in a oneto-one way? For nearly 125 years SGM Lifewords has been resourcing God’s people to share his Word with others, and you can be part of this too. We want to resource you in your ministry to those you are called to serve: your friends and family, your neighbours and community, the groups and individuals God has led you to. To keep up-to-date, tell your story, and be part of our mission to share the Bible with others visit www.sgmlifewords.com and join our Facebook group, www.facebook.com/ SGMLifewords. 6
Paul Cave, Lighthouse Seafarers Mission, Tilbury Paul Cave works for the Lighthouse Seafarers Mission (part of London City Mission) based at Tilbury docks. His ministry involves visiting the ships that berth on the Thames and north Medway. “The crews are mainly from developing countries: Philippines, China, India and the eastern European block,” says Paul, “and the ships vary from large containers and tankers to smaller coastal vessels. We visit these ships in order to serve seafarers who are away from home for up to nine months a year. In serving we are able to share the gospel.”
Paul distributes SGM Lifewords booklets in English, but also in the various languages represented by the crews of the ships – Slovak, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Tagalog. Each year, over Christmas, the mission distributes parcels to the seafarers. “These parcels are made up from items donated by our supporters and friends. They include woolly hats, scarves, gloves and toiletries,” says Paul. Last Christmas each parcel also included a copy of The Christmas Story. “We have had the joy of seeing a number of seafarers accept Christ,” says Paul, “and SGM Lifewords literature has played a role in this. One recent case was of an Iranian officer who through reading extracts from the Bible and viewing a gospel video committed his life to Christ.”
PRAY WITH US n
Praise God for 125 years of SGM Lifewords – give thanks for all the support that’s enabled us to print and give away countless numbers of Bible booklets.
Thank God for everyone who has taken up the challenge to reach out to those who don’t know Jesus, and to share with them the Bible’s life words. Pray that more and more people would find ways to share God’s Word with others.
Remember the people who have become Christians after reading the Bible. Pray that we would hear many more stories of individuals who have responded to God’s Word and put their faith in Jesus.
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Celebrating 125 Years In the last issue of Interact we reported on our 125th anniversary that’s taking place in 2013. As we approach this special celebration, Jess Bee heard from one supporter about her relationship with SGM Lifewords.
A stack of photos and an archive of booklets build a picture of a wonderful history, but it’s the stories from the people sharing the Bible with others that bring it all to life. As we’ve asked you for memories to mark our 125th anniversary we’ve been thrilled to hear from many people who’ve been using SGM Lifewords resources for 40 years and more. Jan Wilkinson is one of them. Jan trained as a state-registered nurse from 1963 to 1966. In 1964, she became a Christian, and subsequently an active member of the Nurses’ Christian Fellowship. She says: “I used to give Daily Strength and Words of Comfort to my patients, and these were always gratefully received.” Then she worked as a nursing sister and midwife for VSO at a mission hospital in Zambia. “I wrote to the SGM office in London,” she says, “and received several copies of The Way of Salvation in Lozi, the language of the people where I lived and worked. I used to give these to my patients and members of the hospital staff.” Jan now lives in Wigan with her husband John, where she still uses SGM Lifewords booklets, this time with the young people in the youth and children’s clubs at church and in the community. “You Matter has been particularly popular,” she says. “We have also made contact with the homeless on the streets of Manchester and have been able to talk to these people, pray with them and give them portions of Scripture contained in your marvellous publications.”
What’s your SGM Lifewords story? Thank you to Jan for writing and sharing with us. Our aim is to build a collection of your stories. So, if you have an SGM Lifewords story to share, we would love to hear from you – please write, email, or telephone us (contact details are on page 14).
PRAY WITH US n
Praise God for nearly 125 years of SGM Lifewords and for all those who have been involved along the way.
Thank God for Jan and countless others like her, who have been faithfully sharing the Bible with others using SGM Lifewords resources.
Ask God to continue providing for us, and to inspire us for the future as we celebrate the 125th anniversary of the mission 7
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Making a Difference in Mexico
Coming to a Screen Near You? Bible booklet Jesus Christ is Saviour of the World has been adapted to video to be distributed via mobile phones and the internet. The booklet is part of the Power to Save series, subject of a longrunning partnership between SGM Lifewords and SIL International to make the gospel available in minority and pioneer languages. Now SIL has taken the booklet to a new level, combining images and a dramatic recording of the Bible verses in Surjapuri to make a short film. Jesus Christ is Saviour of the World uses extracts of Luke's gospel with simple black and white drawings. The aim of the Power to Save series was to create Bible resources that were easily translatable, often in languages that had no Bible material available at all. David Phillips, from SIL’s Asia Area Scripture Engagement team, reports: “SIL has been assisting a cluster of six Indian languages with the translation of the gospel of Luke and has produced this video for two of them. However, the templates could potentially be used by any language that has translated Jesus Christ is Saviour of the World.” There are also further possibilities to make the templates available to others. “We are partnering with JAARS [a charity that provides technical support services to advance Bible translation and literacy programs worldwide]. They have agreed to make the templates available internally to our partners in Wycliffe and SIL. We hope that through them many other languages will be able to take advantage of this opportunity.” To watch the Surjapuri film visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqCy-eEUlHI For more information about obtaining the template, contact Scripture_Engagement_ Communications@sil.org or VMS_Sales_Jaars @jaars.org.
Last November seven new workers from Mexico and Honduras received Pavement Project training and resources. Cleisse Andrade, Pavement Project Co-ordinator in Latin America, told us how God is already speaking into children’s lives in Mexico through this work: “Bianca* is a nine-yearold girl who suffered physical abuse in her family. She told the trainee worker that she felt very sad when she remembered her father beating her mother, and described herself as an ‘unlit lamp’. She heard that Jesus loves her and has the power to heal her sadness. She asked Jesus to take away her sorrow and anxiety. Now she says she is no longer an unlit lamp, but 'a lamp that is lit and that can really shiné.” After the training course, one of the new workers said: “I wanted to help the children before, but now I feel I have what is needed. I have a gift in the [green] bag to give every child: the Word of God that is personal to each one. I can offer stories that will help them heal and grow.”
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Christmas Appeal Funds New Resources This Christmas we told supporters in the UK about the need for new language resources for use around the world. We were amazed by the very generous response: we received over £27,000 from hundreds of gifts. Some of this money is being put towards our ever-growing list of titles being translated and printed, the replenishing of stock, and the creation of new Bible resources – and we already have some good news to report. Zbigniew Szalbot from Lifewords in Poland says, “We thank God for nine new Bible resources that were printed in January: Day By Day (Russian, Vietnamese), Jesus: An Introduction (Russian, Bahasa Indonesia, Vietnamese, Romanian and Persian), Perfect Peace (English) and Suppose (English). We also have four new titles ready for print. These include the new You Matter (Polish), as well as two booklets in Arabic – the evangelistic Jesus: An Introduction and the pastoral Daily Strength.” Daily Strength in Arabic was partly funded by gifts given in memory of Norman Brown, so we are especially pleased that this booklet is ready. We are so grateful for all the money we receive that enables us to carry on resourcing others to share the Bible in a one-to-one way. So, thank you again, and please pray for the impact of God’s Word as it is read and received.
Picking Up the Pieces in Rio de Janeiro Lifewords in Brazil continues to be part of the rehabilitation of the flood-affected region of Rio de Janeiro as people suffer due to more heavy rain and flooding. We’ve been providing Bible resources to use with the victims in floodaffected regions since January last year. A team from Junta de Missões Nacionais (a Lifewords partner) has been helping 350 homeless people who are living in a school in Jamapará, near to Sapucaia in Rio de Janeiro. There are families who have lost everything, so the team are bringing words of comfort using Who Cares About Me and Picking Up the Pieces. Jonathan Paula Aguiar from JMN says, “The booklets had a visible impact on people’s lives when they read them. We saw clearly the look of avid hope in a time of such great pain.” Gustavo C Martins, another worker, talks about the effectiveness of the resources: “[They] allow people to find hope in the holy Scriptures, to renew their dreams, catch their breath and find in God the strength to continue walking … the literature will allow them to always remember that God is still there”
Residents and volunteers clear flood damaged homes and streets.
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Out of the Ashes When a petrol fire hit the Nairobi slum of Sinai, over 150 people died and thousands lost their homes. But, as Sammy Kamore, Programme Manager for Lifewords in Kenya, reports – the Bible is bringing hope and order in the midst of the chaos and despair.
On Monday 12th September 2011 a large volume of purified petrol began spilling downstream from an oil company located on the outskirts of Nairobi East District. Over the next few hours the petrol found its way into a closed sewer line that cuts through the heart of the slum known as Sinai. Eyewitnesses and survivors tell how more and more people gathered to siphon off the petrol, as this precious commodity continued to flow freely through the sewer trenches. People congregated around the mouth of the sewer, passing buckets to one another, undeterred by the suffocating smell of the fuel. Then a thunderous sound, like a huge bomb explosion, filled the air. Tens of men and women emerged from the fast spreading billows of smoke and flames. Confusion and panic engulfed the slum as they ran in all directions, everyone in total dismay and disbelief. In the
course of two hours, a hundred houses were on fire with over a thousand people caught up in the terrifying chaos. Over 150 people died in Sinai that day. DEVASTATING LOSS Mucheke, who lost his father in the tragedy, talks of how large areas of the slum were completely obliterated by the fire. “Many people were stuck in the river, dead,” he says. “Some families had been wiped out completely. There were many tiny remains of what used to be our friends’ bodies, some burnt beyond recognition.” The effects of the tragedy were felt far and wide with virtually each resident losing at least one relative. In addition to the loss of lives and homes, there is a deep sense of trauma, fear and hopelessness among the survivors. Agnes is a 23-year-old single mother who was caught in the fire and suffered severe burns to her back. Her three children escaped unhurt and
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were cared for by friends while she spent over a month recovering in hospital. “I thank God my three children survived and escaped death,” she said. However, they have not escaped the trauma of the fire – her oneyear-old boy is finding it hard to bond with her because of her burns; and her other son, who is 6 years old, is scared to return to the slum. In the midst of this pain and grief the local church has been instrumental in offering humanitarian aid and support to the affected. Initially this came in the form of providing practical help for so many left homeless. However, as people began to return to “normal” life it was clear that there was a need for ongoing support.
CHURCH SUPPORT SGM Lifewords has been working with the Sinai local churches to help minister to the needs of the people in their community, especially to the children and young people. Local pastors asked for anything that could help their community rebuild, consider how to live together well, and receive comfort and instruction from God’s Word. In October, the Lifewords team ran a Choose Life training workshop, which was attended by 78 people: a mix of Sunday school teachers, Bible study leaders and pastors from over 40 different churches. The trainees were issued with a total of 55 teacher’s manuals and 1,000 Choose Others booklets – for the first of the
“A thunderous sound, like a huge bomb explosion, filled the air. Tens of men and women emerged from the fast spreading billows of smoke and flames”
SINAI Located in Nairobi’s industrial area, Sinai has a population of over 2,000 households. The majority of the slum dwellers have lived there all their lives, making a living through small-scale trade and casual labour. The slum experiences a mix of challenges: poverty, joblessness, teenage pregnancies, poor sanitation, and large families in small spaces.
Clockwise from top left: Agnes; fire damaged possessions; Mucheke; ashes and debris show where two houses once stood. 11
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Ashes show the extent of fire damage (top); survivors (middle); petrol flows through a ditch (bottom).
“The curriculum is helping the children find hope in a situation that looks bare and devastating” five programme modules. Pastor Maurice from Sinai attended the training and has since been using the material with children in the area. In January 2012 he reported that, together with others working with him, he had already reached more than 70 children with the Choose Life material, and was finding it easier to help them – not only in school, but also in church: “It’s a transformative and easy-touse programme,” he says. Pastor Mwangi has been ministering to young people in Sinai. “The curriculum is helping the children find hope in a situation that looks bare and devastating,” he says. He continues, saying that the children are
recognising the need to make good life choices: “Choose Life is beginning to have a healing effect on the traumatised boys and girls, with some saying that had the people chosen life, and not gone to get the petrol, they would have been alive today.” The inferno in Sinai left a trail of deaths, incurable wounds, bitter memories and a deep sense of devastation. But in the midst of the despair and trauma, there is life and hope. The Choose Life material introduces the children to right values and life skills, and it shows that God loves them and that they have a chance to engage with him despite their situation.
PRAY WITH US
Pray for all those affected by the fire in Sinai – for those grieving the loss of loved ones and those who are rebuilding their lives after losing their homes and possessions.
Thank God for the local churches who are able to offer practical support and for the Choose Life programme that is helping young people in the aftermath of the fire.
Ask God to guide those who have been trained to use Choose Life. Pray that the children would continue to make the right choices and engage with their Father through the material.
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On the Road Last October and November we rounded off our Pavement Project 10 year birthday celebrations with a mini-tour of UK churches who have been involved with Pavement Project in a special way. Jess Bee spoke to Clenir dos Santos, Pavement Project Director, who flew over from Brazil to share stories and encourage supporters to look to the future.
This was a truly global event as Clenir and others from SGM Lifewords were hosted by different groups of people involved with Pavement Project. “At Rayners Lane Baptist the Tamil congregation gave us a warm welcome and at New Park Road Baptist in Streatham we were joined by members of the Congolese congregation,” says Clenir. “At Farnham Baptist it was great to see several people who’ve been to see Pavement Project in action in Brazil.” Above Bar Church in Southampton, who have supported Pavement Project from the very beginning, helped Clenir and the team celebrate with a birthday cake. They were joined by Bryan Stonehouse, former SGM Lifewords Director, who helped develop Pavement Project. Clenir talked with enthusiasm about her time in the UK: “I really enjoyed re-visiting some churches and updating them on the work we’ve been doing with children-at-risk around the world. It was so good to tell stories of children who have changed after an encounter with Jesus through counselling experiences, and through hearing the Bible applied directly to their situation. I felt like I was bringing their happy smiles and grateful hearts closer to the Christians who have been helping us make a difference in Brazil, Kenya, Uganda, India, Congo, Mexico and Colombia.” As well as visiting churches, Clenir spoke to the Baptist Times, UCB and Premier Radio. This was a great opportunity to introduce Pavement Project to new audiences. You can read and listen to what she said on the UK website at www.sgmlifewords.com. “I came back home more encouraged and more determined to help churches and individuals offer children-at-risk a shelter in the desert,” says Clenir. “Their support has helped Pavement Project resources be the arrow that hits the target!” It was great to be able to celebrate Pavement Project with so many faithful supporters, and we’d like to thank all the churches and groups who welcomed us.
“It was so good to tell stories of children who have changed after an encounter with Jesus through hearing the Bible”
GET INVOLVED We’d love more churches to get involved with Pavement Project. Could you invite us to speak at your church, or to your mission group? Could you talk about Pavement Project’s work, at your church? For more information please get in touch or visit the Pavement Project section at www.sgmlifewords.com
PRAY WITH US n
Praise God for the work of Pavement Project, from initial idea to over 20,000 children counselled.
Thank God for those who support Pavement Project – individuals and churches. Pray that more and more people would hear about Pavement Project, want to find out more and get involved.
Pray for the next 10 years of Pavement Project – ask God to provide more partners and workers to reach out to more children-at-risk. 13
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Outreach Success Nora Evans from Hitchin, sent a letter thanking us for the Bible resources that we sent for visitors to their King James Bible Exhibition. She said: “Your contribution made all the difference. A lot of the booklets were taken by visitors to the exhibition, so this was a real outreach success.”
The Father’s Welcome God at Work An India World Vision manager reported back on his experience of using Pavement Project: “There is something very special about this [Pavement Project] green bag. I believe it is because it is God who is working while counselling with the green bag, and not us. The Bible stories have a special power that no one can imagine.”
Rev V Henderson wrote to us: “Thank you so much for reprinting You Matter. So many patients identify with the prodigal son and are amazed to rediscover the welcome arms of their Father in heaven.”
A Prayer of Blessing Jonathan Harris, from Operation Mobilisation, works in Cardiff and south-east Wales. He wrote and told us this story: “Some Indian men who run an ice-cream shop in the centre of Cardiff asked if I would go and pray a blessing on their business. I agreed to do this and in preparation ordered some Telegu (their language) booklets from SGM Lifewords. I was able to go to the shop, pray with one of the owners and leave the literature with him to read.”
Birthday Gifts Instead of gifts for her 70th birthday, Mrs Ann Lewis from Dorset asked for donations to be made to Pavement Project. She wrote: “I have followed this project since the start and it is something very dear to my heart to see how the Lord is blessing this work. Thank you for all that you do in making the project possible.”
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: +1 705 325 1002
Indonesia: +62 21 310 1350
Kenya: +254 20 2730100
+44 20 7730 2155
Life Changing Words
UK (International office):
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