In response to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, Bible Societies around the world are finding new ways to reach out to people.
Here are a few of their stories.
The Bible Society of Ukraine is providing New Testaments to go with emergency food parcels provided by churches. These will be distributed to elderly people living alone, or to disadvantaged families. It’s been running a daily Gospel video on its Facebook page, which thousands of people have been tuning into under lockdown, with many subsequent enquires about purchasing Bibles.
The Bible Society of Peru transformed its Bread of Life programme, which provides a daily meal and Scripture engagement for children from poor families, to delivering food packages and Scriptures to families in poor areas. “I used to sell things in the street, but I no longer can. I had no food for my children,” one mother said. “Thank you for the help, and the Bible stories!” So far, nearly 1,000 families have received assistance.
The Bible Society of Kenya has been reaching out to street people and youth, providing them with meals, screening the Jesus film and initiating Scripture listening groups. Usually, the street people eat leftovers discarded by hotels and restaurants, but under lockdown this source of food is no longer available.
The Bible Society in Syria had to close its Bible Houses in Aleppo and Damascus, the first time this has happened during the civil war in Syria. However, at Easter they were able to distribute Scripture materials that were stored in their warehouse to 28,000 children in different cities and towns across the country.
The Bible Society of Guatemala has been providing blind people, like Lucía, with food packages and other assistance where needed. Lucía, who normally earns a small income by playing her accordion in the street, is a member of Bible Society’s Braille Book Reading Club. During lockdown she has been encouraged by reading the Braille Book of Job on the phone, along with volunteers and other members of the club. “Even though I’m in a depression I know that God loves me,” she says.
The Bible Society in Moldova partnered with a local church to provide food baskets and Bibles to people in two villages, who were under lockdown with high rates of Covid-19 infections and a police guard. The mayor of one village was so grateful he fell down on his knees and with tears in his eyes said, “Thank you very much!”
The Bible Society of Burkina Faso and its partners provided graduates of its Braille Centre with food hampers, containing rice, oil and soap, to take back home to their families. The graduates have completed six months of learning Braille and vocational skills at the Centre. However, it’s an anxious time for many of them as they return home because many of their families are struggling due to the pandemic.
The Mary Jones story has had a modern-day make-over in Thailand! Ten-year-old Nattiya, pictured, saved up her money to buy her own Bible, but due to the Covid-19 lockdown she couldn’t go to a shop to buy it. Fortunately, a pastor was able to help her buy a Bible online.
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Guatemala, Thailand, Myanmar, Tanzania, Cuba, Mexico, China and Fiji. These countries all have something in common – they desperately need more Bibles.
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