Bible creates excitement at Kenepuru hospital

“I would take millions of these Bibles! I have never seen people so excited about a Bible before,” says Rev. Amy Finiki, chaplain at Porirua’s Forensic Mental Health hospital.

The award-winning comic strip Action Bible has both patients and staff lining up to read it.

Rev. Amy, who hunted out the Bible for patients with reading difficulties, has been both amazed and delighted at the reaction. “Everyone on this campus is trying to read this Bible. Everyone knows about it – even patients in other units.”

There are about 20 units in all at the Hospital with a total of around 200 beds including Kenepuru Hospital. Rev. Amy works primarily with youth (13-18 years) in three units including Acute Adolescent Mental Health, Intellectual Disabilities Youth Mental Health, and the National Forensic Youth Mental Health Unit. Porirua is home to the country’s first national forensic mental health youth unit opened in 2016, for young people who are involved with the justice system.

Rev. Amy commented patients are saying things like, “Have you see it? It’s amazing. It’s like a comic.” She believes its popularity is due to its accessibility and readability.

“It doesn’t look like a normal Bible, there’s colour and reality to it, even ethnically it’s pretty correct, it’s really well done. It makes people feel like they want to read the Bible and if they can’t read well they can at least see the pictures and follow the story.”

Rev. Amy said the under 18-year-olds loved it and even devised time slots to make sure everyone could have a turn reading it.

“That’s unbelievable to me- it’s a Bible! I love the Bible, don’t get me wrong, but I’m a realist.”

And now patients have started coming to the on-site chapel. “The Word they are reading is not so harsh. It’s more loving. And the world isn’t grey and black – it’s more colourful,” she said. She was spurred into looking for a Bible with a difference when she realised her patients weren’t reading the usual pocket-sized New Testament and Psalms she hands out. “What I found was they couldn’t read well and some Bible words can be difficult.”

“I went off looking for a Bible for teenagers with reading difficulties and came up with nothing. All I could find were little kid’s Bibles which I thought would be very demeaning to them.”

Finally her research turned up the Action Bible and within a week of giving it to the youth there were bookmarks all the way through. But it was both the staff members and the kids who were reading it.

“The kids were passing it around to one another and then the staff members were reading it while it was in the nurses unit. And I just thought this is amazing.”

There are also three schools on campus, one for each of the main units, and the Bible started getting passed between these schools. Now the teachers, nurses, occupational therapists and the kids were reading it. Then just before Christmas Rev. Amy had a delegation visit her asking “ how can we get hold of a copy of this Bible. We need more of these!”

 “There are many patients who find just having the Bible with them brings them comfort. Others find peace in reading it and exploring it.  It is a wonderful tool to have in our hospital,” she said.

Since writing this story Bible Society has granted the hospital another box of Action Bibles and Rev. Amy and the team want to say a big “thank you!”


Bringing hope to prisoners and patients this Easter

This Easter, many New Zealanders will be celebrating this important Christian event in hospital or in prison.

They may be alone and in bleak circumstances away from friends and family.

But there is one thing that can make a real difference in their life – the Bible.

For many years, thanks to our supporters, we’ve been able to supply Bibles and Bible resources to chaplains to reach those in need.

Easter is about the beginning of all things being made new and the hope of life forever (Colossians 1:18 – 20). It’s about a crucified and resurrected Lord Jesus. For people currently in hospital or prison this hope can be life-changing.

One area of hospital chaplaincy where Bibles are increasingly important is mental health.

Currently there is a need for more Bibles in te Reo Māori, according to Chaplain Rev. Wyatt Butcher, who says Māori have a strong spirituality, structured largely around the Christian faith. “There is a growing trend for these patients to request the Scriptures in Māori. They treat these as taonga [a treasure],” he says.

“One such patient, who recently received the Word of God in Māori, settled in to read it and was quickly able to be integrated into the unit from an isolation room. Meeting this need sped up his recovery.”

 

“Our palm-sized Little Book of Hope is still our most popular Scripture leaflet with hospital patients. Chaplains like it because it’s small and fits in their pockets and contains key Bible verses on relevant topics like hope, strength, unity and peace. I love being able to present chaplains with this wonderful resource.”
James Williamson – Bible Society Mission Partner

The need for hospital chaplains to have a continuous supply of Bibles is nationwide.

Rev. Amail Habib, Chaplain at Whanganui Hospital, says Bibles are always in demand. “Many patients ask for them. They also appreciate it when we can give them free Bibles.”

Echoing these thoughts is Hospital Chaplain Noel Tiano, Te Korowai-Whariki, Central Region Forensic Mental Health and Rehabilitation Services. “Without a doubt, the forensic and mental health clients and staff here are very appreciative of the Bibles, especially the newer modern English translations. It’s especially valuable when I conduct spiritual reflections with clients so that we can read passages together and explore its application in their life situation. I prefer to select themes that deal with their recovery, for example – assurance, forgiveness, self-esteem, hope, faithfulness, compassion, confidence, nonviolence, mindfulness – and relate these to their faith journey.”

And the need for Bibles in chaplaincy continues in prisons throughout New Zealand too.

Graham Lapslie, Chaplain at Auckland South Corrections Facility says, “Hardly a day goes by without a request for a Bible or New Testament of some description. We feel that your ministry is a critical component to the ministry of chaplaincy in this prison.”

“The Bible is their treasured Word, their hope, and their future; the eyes of the women that we give them to (the Bible), fill with light, love and often tears too,” said Mrs Nina Haines, Assistant Chaplain at Auckland Regional Women’s Correction Facility.

Mark Sims, Assistant Chaplain at a North Island prison agrees.

“The bottom line is God’s Word shared and read brings results, as the one who inspired the book breaks through men’s hearts to bring life. We can trust the Bible to do its job.”

Mark also shared about Raymond, who had been brought up in a Methodist church and had a belief in God. “I met him whilst looking for another prisoner and after introducing myself he immediately agreed to have a Bible study.

“Raymond had the seed of God’s Word in him from childhood. He had some knowledge about Jesus but no understanding about how his death and resurrection could bring him the gift of eternal life. As we talked he grabbed my hand, bowed his head and asked Jesus to save him.”

In 2017, we aim to grant 4,000 Bibles, New Testaments, and Scripture portions to hospitals, hospices and prisons in New Zealand.

Will you help us continue to supply chaplains with Bibles so they can get them to even more prisoners and patients?