Support struggling Bible Societies

Bible Societies are working in challenging countries such as Iraq, Turkey, and Algeria to bring Bibles to people there. All Muslim-majority countries, the Christian population in these places stands at one per cent or less. For those who are tasked with carrying out Bible mission in these countries, it can be an arduous and delicate balancing act to continue the mission with many hurdles and obstacles to overcome.

In order to remain operational, these Bible Societies rely on Bible Societies like ours from around the world to enable them to continue functioning. If these Bible Societies should ever close down, it is very unlikely they would be able to reopen again.

Will you prayerfully consider supporting this work?

Here is the impact your gift will have:

  • This year, with your faithful support, we hope to continue our journey in helping the Bible Societies of Iraq, Turkey, and Algeria. Your giving helps us in our endeavours to address Bible Poverty and encourage Bible Engagement in these countries bringing people the Hope of the Bible.

Yes, I would like to help struggling Bible Societies in Iraq, Turkey, and Algeria.

CP2022 pages

Iraq

A Bible Society staff member distributing aid to Iraqi Christian children.

Once known as ancient Mesopotamia, modern-Iraq was the location of significant Old-Testament history. In modern times, Mosul, Qaraqosh, and other towns in the Nineveh Plain in northern Iraq were the home of 1.5 million Christians. These ancient communities dated back to the first centuries of Christianity and included Chaldean, Syriac, Assyrian, and Armenian churches.

Today, only about 300,000 Christians remain. Two decades of back-to-back conflict beginning with the 2003 U.S.- led invasion of Iraq, which had the aim of toppling dictator Saddam Hussein, followed by the 2014 Islamic State (ISIS) invasion of the Nineveh Plain, have left these communities scattered and in ruins. Many Christians fled to the neighbouring autonomous region of Kurdistan, which became a steppingstone to other countries.

Sana, a Christian woman from Qaraqosh remembers well the night that ISIS arrived in her town. ISIS fighters divided the townspeople into men and women and loaded them onto buses. This was the last time Sana saw her husband and her two young sons alive.

“People like Sana need the full support of the Church,” says local pastor, Father Ammar. Partnering with local churches, the Bible Society of Iraq is training facilitators to run trauma healing programmes to bring healing to traumatised Christians, like Sana, in northern Iraq. The programme will also include Yazidis, another persecuted minority group.

In order to carry out this work the Bible Society of Iraq needs to remain operational. Its unique context means they need to maintain two offices, one in Erbil and one in Baghdad. They have to carry the cost of high rents and operational expenses for both premises along with dealing to other challenges, such as electricity supply which is only available for two hours a day with the remainder coming from generators.

Turkey

A Turkish woman reading a Bible in a Bible Society shop.

Meanwhile in Turkey, Bible Society is working to bring Bibles to people in a country where Christians account for less than 0.1 per cent (100,000) out of a population of 83 million. The Bible Society of Turkey is reaching people through its Bible shops and through stalls at secular bookfairs.

Its first shop is in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city. Founded in 1820, Bible Society has had a bookstore in this city since 1909. At first, the shop sold New Testaments in different languages. Today, it sells Bibles, New Testaments, children’s books, and other Christian books. On average 45 – 50 people from many different faith backgrounds and walks of life visit the store daily with half buying Scriptures and half seeking information.

In February 2022, Bible Society celebrated the opening of its second bookstore in the coastal city of Izmir. This shop is a collaboration between local churches and Bible Society. In biblical times Izmir was known as Smyrna and it is one of the seven churches in the book of Revelation.

These days, Bible Society’s shops provide a friendly and welcoming environment for Turkish people for whom it is often their encounter with a Christian. One man went into the shop in Izmir. He was curious about Christianity but said he had never found a way to learn more about it. He was glad to find a Christian he could talk to.

Another man went into a shop to look at a Bible dictionary. He was studying mythology and philosophy. The conversation got onto the difficulties Christians are facing and the challenges of living in a religious society. He went away happy promising to bring his wife back with him next time.

Two local municipal workers came in. One had already started reading the Old Testament, and he had many questions. A staff member explained to him how the promises in the Old Testament are fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The other did not believe in God but he was happy to have a conversation. They wanted to visit a church and the staff guided them on that. They went away satisfied.

It’s these types of encounters that are at the heart and soul of the Bible Society of Turkey’s ministry. But they need our support to continue this work.

Algeria

Worshippers at a church service in Tizi-Ouzo, Kabylie.

Likewise in Algeria, Christians make up less than one per cent out of a population of 44 million. At the beginning of the 1980s there were around 2,000 Christians in Algeria. In 1980, there was a period of political and civil activism known as the Berber Spring in which the Berbers claimed recognition of the Berber identity and language. Although ultimately suppressed by the authorities, this allowed the translation of the first Bible books and the Jesus Film into Berber/Kabyle in the mid-1980s.

In July 1981, members of the Algiers Church organised a camp in a village in the mountains in Kabylie. The villagers listened to Christians singing and speaking about their faith. They played football matches together. At the end of the camp thirty-one villagers became Christians. Immediately after, all missionaries were expelled from Algeria. This was the beginning of revival in Algeria!

Today, the number of Christians in Algeria is around 200,000 although it may be more as many people hide their faith. And revival is continuing! Thanks to Christian TV channels, many people are coming to Christ. At the end of the programmes people are given the Bible Society phone number to contact. Usually, it is women who take this step. From here, they are given a Bible and put in contact with a local church.

One woman who did so is “A”. “My husband hated the Christian TV channels, so I decided to see why he hated them so much,” said “A”. Over the years, whenever her husband was out “A” would watch Christian TV channels. She was touched by the Christian message, “God is love”. She downloaded some audio recordings of the Bible from Bible Society’s website.

Finally, she called the phone number that always appears on the screen. Five minutes later someone rang her back. It was her first contact with an Algerian Christian. Today, “A” is in a house church. “I cannot even tell you how happy I am. It took me fourteen years from the first time I heard the Gospel, but finally, I am here. Now, I want to be baptised,” said A.

Just use your preferred giving option below to enable these Bible Societies to remain operational and to continue Bible mission in their countries.


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