Covid-19 brings new challenges to mission

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.

UKRAINE

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.

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Bible for Police launch

The special-edition Bible for the Police, which many of you helped to fund, was launched at Bible House in Wellington on 29th July 2020. 

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Supporter’s update – Covid-19 season

Message from the CEO

Tēnā koutou Friends,

Wherever you may find yourself today, let’s give thanks to our Lord for His undeserved grace and favour we experience. I want to encourage you to find and celebrate just one thing each day that you’re thankful for and celebrate that in giving Him the glory.

Here at Bible Society, we want to take this opportunity to thank you, our partners in mission, for your faithfulness in helping us realise our mission of helping make the Bible accessible to everyone and encouraging interaction with it.

Although we can’t be with you in person to thank you directly, I’d like to take this opportunity to invite you to watch the short video below; so that I can extend my gratitude to you and share how your support allowed the Bible Society mission to continue throughout the Covid-19 season.

Know that we also remember you in our prayers, trusting God to lead us all through and out of this season.

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Reflections on the promises of God

Our free gift to you

As representatives of God’s Word in Aotearoa New Zealand, during the Covid-19 lockdown, Bible Society New Zealand took an active role to alleviate the growing sense of fear and anxiety many were experiencing across the country.

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Volunteers at work

National Volunteer Week 2020

National Volunteer Week celebrates the collective contribution of
over 1 million volunteers who enrich Aotearoa, New Zealand. National
Volunteer Week 2020 runs from June 21-27. This year’s theme is ‘Te Hua o te Mahi Tahi – The benefit of working together’. Communities are stronger when they work together.

We feel it is only fitting to take this time to join the rest of New Zealand in celebrating this special group of people since their contribution plays a vital role in enriching communities around the country.

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The Bible Translation Roadmap

An ambitious translation plan

Every journey needs a road map and a Bible translation journey, which is often fraught with pitfalls, is no exception. That’s why the United Bible Societies (UBS), of which Bible Society New Zealand is a member, has launched an ambitious new plan called the Bible Translation Roadmap.

Even though the Bible is now available in more languages and forms than ever before, there are still one billion people who don’t have access to the Bible in their own language!

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Special lockdown message of hope from Tak Bhana

Take the lockdown one day at a time

Tak Bhana – President of Bible Society New Zealand

Lockdown and self-isolation for 28 days. When I first heard the announcement, my mind went into overdrive trying to work out what this all meant and how I and others would handle it. For many people it is very daunting challenging and for some even frightening.

I’m grateful to God that I was drawn to a wonderful passage of scripture found of all places in the book of Lamentations chapter 3: 22-23 through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning, Great is Your faithfulness.

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A season to dwell deeply in the Scripture

Bishop Ellie Sanderson

God’s people have always had to navigate challenging times and try to make sense of them in their relationship with God.

As we adjust to this unprecedented season, how can we do this well with Jesus?

I want to really encourage us all to set patterns of prayer and Scripture reading. In the Anglican tradition, that I am part of, our daily offices of prayer come with regular readings of Scripture. Many of you may choose to use other daily Scripture devotionals. God is present to us in the scriptures and this is a time when we can really choose to dwell deeply in them with God.

I want to offer us one potential anchor from Scripture to help guide us as we come to the Bible in this season. This comes from the culminating passage in Paul’s great hymn to love in 1 Corinthians:

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)

As we come to our daily readings of Scripture, I want to encourage us to ask. “where do I see faith in this reading?”, “Where do I see hope in this reading?”, “where do I see love in this reading?”. These are helpful questions to guide us into the world of the scriptures. Then, take time to ask the Holy Spirit what faith, what hope, what love God wants to gift to us for our days and our lives now. Then, ask the Holy Spirit what ways we can be bearers of faith, of hope and of love to others. In a season when we can easily become overwhelmed, I want to offer this practice as a way of taking simple, small but significant steps with our God every day.

Let us come to times of Scripture reading with a conscious choice to believe in God’s deep unconditional love for us and an expectation that we can grow in that love ourselves. My prayer is that we will all grow in faith, in hope and in love during this season. Choosing to dwell even more deeply in the scriptures will help us to do this, particularly when we come to them with a confidence in God’s love for us and for the world.

May the peace of Christ rule in your hearts and the treasures of Scripture be a rich and fruitful feast for you, your households and for your neighbours.

Bishop Ellie Sanderson is the Vice President of Bible Society New Zealand


Special lockdown message of hope from Bishop Kito

A reflection for Easter

Rt Rev’d Te Kitohi Pikaahu

E te iwi, e te hoa ma, tena koutou katoa.

Friends, I greet you this Holy Week in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

We are, as a people, been facing an uncertain future in our country, and indeed around the world. We are bracing ourselves for this uncertainty where we learn to adjust to these challenges, the scale of which, I would never ever have imagined possible in our modern world.

The reality of being in lockdown as a nation occurred in the Lenten season. It has been perhaps the right time for us to consider deeply the trials that lay ahead of us as human beings, and as Christians.

Through Lent, and now in the holiest week in the Christian calendar, we journey with Jesus after his temptation and entry into Jerusalem, into his passion and death. We walk with him to his betrayal, his arrest and trial, subjected to the humiliation of being flogged, condemned and put to death on the cross. Even on the cross, Jesus could not escape being taunted by those next to him.

The horror and brutality of the cross causes us to bare our humanity to each other, and before God. In doing so we trust implicitly in God alone to save and deliver us.

A major disruption has transpired on God’s earth. That disruption has caused death around the world, and it has caused economies and institutions to crash. That in turn has had a massive impact on the health and well-being of the whole of humanity.

To date, there has just been the one single death as a result of COVID-19 in New Zealand. That one life seems to have sent a shock wave through our land and has awakened in us the reality of what we are facing. Everyone is taking seriously our collective responsibility to preserve all life, not just our own, but every life on earth.

We are to trust in God’s goodness and mercy during this time. We are to show Jesus’s love to our neighbour, especially those in need. Keeping this in mind and before us at all times, we know that we are never alone in our suffering.

When we come out the other side of COVID 19, we will be presented with an opportunity to push the start button, where we can build a world and a society based on the values of the kingdom of God to give us total security. Those values speak of the love of God: the extraordinary love of God, the unconditional love of God, and the extravagant love of God. God’s love is the one and only foundation for our world.

The kingdom is one which relies utterly on God to keep us: that is God’s love, God’s mercy, God’s grace and God’s peace which we know to be true and right in Jesus Christ our Saviour, the King of Kings, whose kingdom is on earth, and in heaven, where he reigns supreme now and forever.

Kia hora te marino.
Kia whakapapa pounamu te moana.
Kia tere te karohirohi i mua i o koutou huarahi.

May peace be widespread.
May the sea glisten like the greenstone.
May the shimmer of light dance before your path.

And to add the words of the Psalmist: My God bless your coming in and your going out from this day and forever more. Amen.

The Rt Rev’d Te Kitohi Pikaahu, Anglican Bishop of Tai Tokerau


Special lockdown message of hope from pastor Greg Crawford

Pastor Greg Crawford

Dear friend,

When you find yourself plunged into new territory like the lockdown we are in today as a result of covid-19, we still remain with choices in our hands. As a family we faced a pretty big storm “hurricane odile” a few years ago whilst in Mexico. When we as a family found ourselves plunged into darkness with very little food, no power, no water to flush toilets, no phone coverage, no internet, no contact with the outside world… in other words completely alone! We quickly made a choice as a family… let’s get creative, and let’s find ways to support each other, and others instead of sitting here in misery!

“Life with God is not immunity from difficulties, but peace in the midst of difficulties”. — C.S. Lewis

Thank you CS Lewis, you are 100% right, and Romans 8:6 reminds us it starts with taking control of our thoughts “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”

So in the midst of our current storm, here’s a few simple things that we decided as a family that we pray will help you…

  1. Walk in Love – Be selfless, giving, and put the need of others before your own. Love kicks into action when you don’t feel like it, feelings don’t dictate its choices. When you walk with God, you have a bottomless source of His Love to draw from in the middle of a storm!
  1. Wear a smile, it looks good on your face 😂 joy is a choice we make that no circumstance can steel from you. It’s doesn’t mean we are always in a “good mood” but it does mean we can live in an place of unexplainable contentment. Joy doesn’t allow sadness, or despair to rule thoughts or guide actions.
  1. Take a deep breath and exhale – Peace comes from a deep confidence that God is who He is, and will do what He says He will do. Peace comes from trusting the promises of God in the middle of your storm. You know when you have, and it will rest upon you if you just reach out to God and ask for it… and today is a good day to ask 😇🙏
  1. Exercise Patience – It is still possible to be calm in stressful situations. Like cutting your family a little slack when they are not doing things to your standard. Our homes will be a much nicer place when we daily make decisions to not become easily annoyed. So pause, take a breathe and resist the urge to bite 😜
  1. Be Constantly Kind – find unique ways to celebrate others and serve them when there is a need. That could be as simple as making someone a cup of coffee without being asked… novel I know, but it still builds the right momentum you are after in your family. It looks out for the well-being of others and shows compassion, and benevolence to anyone… even those neighbours at their 2 metre distance 👍
  1. Emanate Goodness – There are still going to be ways to help others in the next few weeks, so let’s remain creative. Goodness does the right thing and inspires your family to do the same. It is honest, honourable, and full of integrity. Good people don’t just do the right thing… they make things right!

Big love from the Crawford’s to you & your family!

Pastor Greg Crawford is the Campus Pastor for City Impact Church at North Shore, Auckland