Keep hope alive in the Middle East

Help fund the Bible Societies of Iraq, Turkey and Israel.

These Bible Societies in the Middle East are currently struggling to maintain their operational costs and are in danger of closing their offices.

That would be tragic because they remain the vital link to delivering the Word of God to their communities and the hope and transformation it brings.

Their financial hardship is due to Christianity being a minority religion in the region and their inability to do any local fundraising because of this. Although they’ve always relied on assistance from other Bible Societies such as New Zealand’s to continue their Bible mission, the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has made the situation even more challenging.

Will you partner with us as together we support the mission in these countries?

Want to read the full appeal PDF publication? See it here.

BIBLE MISSION UPDATES

IRAQ

In Iraq, the situation continues to be challenging. Due to Covid-19, no one was allowed to go to work for six weeks and the border between Kurdistan and the rest of the country was closed from mid-February 2020. The country has had 185,000 confirmed cases and over 6,000 deaths.

For Christians, the situation remains bleak. Few have returned to Mosul even though it was liberated from ISIS in 2017. However, 50 percent of refugees have returned to the Nineveh Plain. Many Christians have taken refuge in the city of Erbil in the Kurdistan region, a relative safe haven for them.

This is where Bible Society maintains one of its two offices, with the other being based in Baghdad to serve the southern part of the country. Theirs is a unique context where they have to maintain two offices, so incurring two high rents and twice the normal operating expenses.

Yet, in spite of these challenges Bible Society is always there in times of crisis for people in Iraq, something which was acknowledged by
Mother Albertine of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, who invited all of the staff to attend a half day retreat at their monastery in Baghdad to encourage and refresh them.

Click here for Ayman's story

Three years ago Ayman* received a Bible from the Bible Society of Iraq. He became a Christian and began attending a house church. Ayman was eager for others to know Jesus and so he became a Bible Society volunteer helping to distribute Bibles and food packages.

When the Covid-19 pandemic struck and the need grew even greater, Ayman insisted on continuing to assist people in this way. However, even though the Bible Society of Iraq supplies its volunteers with masks, gloves and hygiene items, as the pandemic became worse Ayman contracted the virus while visiting another city.

Unfortunately, Ayman’s condition quickly worsened and because the hospitals were already overwhelmed, he couldn’t be admitted to one. Sadly, in spite of the prayers of Bible Society staff in Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan he passed away. His wife, son and daughter are now in mourning and in need of your prayers. But they are not alone because Bible Society’s trauma healing team is helping them through this difficult time.

This story which, although sad, highlights the situation that many Bible Societies in the Middle East are currently facing.

That’s why the three Bible Societies in the Middle East we’ve pledged to support this year require our assistance now more than ever.

*Name changed for security reasons

TURKEY

In Turkey, Christians make up only 0.1 percent (100,000) out of a Muslim-majority population of 82 million. The Bible Society of Turkey has always relied on Bible Societies from around the world for financial support. During the pandemic, which has seen the country record 252,000 cases and suffer from over 6,000 deaths, it also lost its income from its Bible shop, which had covered some of its daily office expenses.

Fortunately, they already had an online shop, which now really proved its worth with orders coming in online and via the phone, email and social media.

Many of these were from enquirers, who also received some additional gifts with their order to help them engage with the Bible.

One of these was a young woman who had first encountered Bible Society at its stand at the Izmir book fair in 2019. “I came to your stand at the Izmir book fair last year, crying and searching. I was quite emotional when I spoke to your staff member on the stand,” she said.

Click here to read more

“I’m a writer, too. I gave them my book and they gave me a New Testament! I read it and my world has changed! In November of last year, I came to your stand at the Istanbul book fair. This time I wasn’t crying. I was laughing and I took photos with my friends.

“During lockdown I ordered a Bible through your website. I am trying to deepen my knowledge about Christianity. I want to thank you for the two gifts I received. I am attending a church and I am looking forward to being baptised. I am very happy.”

Will you partner with us today to help the Turkey Bible Society remain operational during this unprecedented and challenging time?

ISRAEL

In northern Israel, the Arab Israeli Bible Society has also had to adapt its ministry in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. The country has experienced over 138,720 cases and 1,050 deaths with varying levels of restrictions and lockdowns depending on the number of cases in local cities.

Based in Nazareth, where Christians are a minority amongst a Muslim-majority, Head of the Bible Society, Dina Katanacho, has seen the pandemic as both a challenge and an opportunity. “His plans are not like ours,” says Dina, adding that she and her team prayed together and sought God’s voice during the crisis.

They began doing workshops on Zoom. Aware of the fact that many families are struggling with fear and anxiety, they ran workshops on the importance of play for children and demonstrating love to help them overcome these issues. The sessions included biblical, psychological and social material. For families that are unable to get to church, they have encouraged engagement with the Word at home.

Click here to read more

This work builds on programmes they provided earlier in the year, which included holding conferences for families and pastors, running workshops in schools on bullying, and the effect of electronic games, and organising a Bible quiz for families.

“The Bible quiz helped me to open the Bible at my house and read it after many years of leaving it closed on the shelf. I regret those years of not reading it. Now I am so thankful for this opportunity to make the Word of God alive again in my heart,’ said Ghada, a participant.

Covid-19 update from Arab Israeli Bible Society

Can you help keep Bible Societies in the Middle East operating by donating below?

In Iraq, Turkey and Israel, where the mission is already unable to remain operational without the assistance of other Bible Societies from around the world, they are now struggling to deal with the crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Your gift will enable these Bible Societies to be able to continue to provide the Word of God to people in their communities and support them during this time.


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If you’d like to do a bank transfer to Bible Society, our account number is 03 0558 0245656 02.
Please include your name in the reference field and IRAQ20 in the particulars. We’ll send you an acknowledgment of your gift by post.

Donations of $5 or more are eligible for a tax credit.

In the event that an appeal becomes oversubscribed, funds will be distributed where most needed.