Looking back at 2019 – New Zealanders bringing the Bible to the world

Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  Luke 2:11 (NIV)

It’s almost Christmas, and we would like to let you know how much we have appreciated your support and prayers throughout 2019. Through the unfailing help and guidance of the Lord and your faithful partnership with us, we have achieved great things! So thank you!

We really believe you are a hero bringing the good news of Jesus Christ to people in many places around the world. This is particularly relevant in this, our 173rd year of mission in this country. In just under two years’ time (September 2nd, 2021), we will be celebrating an incredible milestone: 175 years of Bible mission in New Zealand!

Over the past year, many of you have supported the mission by giving, praying and volunteering. Here are just a few of the highlights you’ve helped achieve throughout the year, along with some words of thanks from Bible Societies across the world.


George Andrea holding an Arabic Bible

SYRIA

You responded wholeheartedly and without hesitation to our call to provide Bibles for Syria. George Andrea, head of the Bible Society in Syria, and his team are very grateful for your generous support. Here is a message from George.

“No words can describe our true joy of being involved with the work that God’s given us to do in our homeland, Syria, but we keep on reminding ourselves what the Lord said in the Gospel of Luke: ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few!’ (Luke 10:2)

“It warms our hearts to know that your country is so much behind our efforts! Thanks yet again! We will continue praying for you and your great work for the Kingdom!”

Meanwhile, the work in Syria continues apace. This year, Bible Society provided Sunday school teachers’ training to 110 new teachers, and it trained 60 people in Bible-based trauma healing.

In July, they ran their first Bible conference in Kessab, northern Syria. At this conference Bible teachers taught volunteers, who are important links to the churches, how to make the Bible come alive for others.


An Iraqi woman with a Bible

IRAQ

The sensitivity of the mission in some countries, such as Iraq, means that it is sometimes difficult for us to report back to you without compromising the safety of people in those countries. Yet, despite such difficult situations for these Bible Societies, the work of distributing Bibles and changing lives goes on…

“After I read the Bible, I realised that all I had heard about Christianity before was wrong and nonsense as there is no right outside what is written in the Bible and there’s no peace except with Jesus.

“This book has changed my life, saved me and moved me from the darkness into the light. The Bible has revealed to me the truth that I did not know except by reading His Word. May God bless you and everyone who seeks to spread His Word and I thank Bible Society for publishing the Word of God.” Iraqi Bible recipient


Children from the West Bank praying

HOLY LAND

Over the Christmas period, our thoughts turn to the Holy Land where Jesus was born. This year, you helped support three Bible Societies in that region: Bible Society in Israel, the Arab-Israeli Bible Society and the Palestinian Bible Society.

In Israel, you helped reach people including Jews, Arabs, refugees, migrants and tourists with Bibles and Scriptures, including one hundred people at outreach events in Ramat Gan and Tel Aviv.

“I would like to thank all of you who have been supporting our work, especially the people who come from New Zealand. We appreciate every support you provide for us in order to be a blessing for the people in the Holy Land and for the Kingdom of God.” Dina Katanacho, Director, Arab-Israeli Bible Society

“This is an amazing opportunity for me to thank you for your support helping reach out to many children through a programme called the Child of Bethlehem.

“We bless the Palestinian kids starting from Bethlehem the birthplace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and from Bethlehem all through the country, including this summer with forty summer camps that we are engaged in. We are going to the remote villages and towns of the biblical sites and running summer camps: teaching them good values, teaching them biblical stories and enriching their knowledge.

“Thank you for making this possible. Thank you for taking the Word of God back to the land of the Bible. Thank you for engaging with us and making a difference to the Palestinian people in the Holy Land. Thank you and may the Lord richly bless you.” Nashat Filmon, General Secretary, Palestinian Bible Society


Rwandan street children

RWANDA

Rwanda was also very much on your hearts as you reached out to people there with Bibles to help heal them from the trauma they experienced during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. You also helped provide Bibles for youth in detention centres and refugee camps.

“I want to thank Bible Society New Zealand. They really have supported us. Youth in children’s prisons don’t have hope. The Bible brings them the comfort of the Word. God loves these young people even though they have done wrong things.

“The staff at the Juvenile prison are so happy Bible Society can come in with the Word of God to educate these vulnerable youth.” Therese Mukamakuza, General Secretary


A Kiwi family checking out The Seriously Surprising Story

NEW ZEALAND AND THE SOUTH PACIFIC

But it’s not only people in other countries who have benefitted from your gifts for Bible mission. Here at home, we have had a busy year distributing Bibles and Bible resources to people through chaplains in prisons, hospitals and the Defence Force.

And then there’s the tens of thousands of Kiwi kids who have received our Easter and Christmas storybooks, many of whom have never heard about Jesus before.

“I wish to thank you for your kindness shown by providing a copy of The Seriously Surprising Story to me. I will send this copy to my sons aged seven and four.” A New Zealand prisoner

“Dear Encouragers and Partners, We would like to take the opportunity to thank you for your wonderful support of Waikato DHB Chaplaincy through your Bible grants to provide Bibles for those patients of the Waikato Hospital who request them; your work is both an Encouragement and a supportive partnership, thank you.” Julian Perkins, Lead Chaplain

Finally, there is a big thank you from forty school children on the island of Kiribati in the South Pacific, who received copies of our Kiwi-made Bible storybook for kids, The Big Little Bible. It was all thanks to the initiative of Brother Damian, who lives on the island, who recognised that there was an urgent need for English Bibles for students at St Louis High School in Tarawa, Kiribati.

In January 2019, the Bible storybooks were dispatched from Auckland. Two months later after a journey of 4,500 kilometres, they were finally in the hands of the eagerly awaiting school children.

“The kids have, till now, been sharing limited numbers of a big, local-language Bible that is heavy in more ways than one: no pictures, old adult text, heavy on their hearts and minds,” explained Brother Damian. “Now they have their own copy on their desk!”

“Please do not underestimate the value of these Bibles to us,” said Brother Damian. “Truly, a Godsend.”


Bible Society New Zealand CEO Neels Janse van Rensburg

THANK YOU!

Through your gifts you are helping bring Bibles to people in many different places, changing lives and bringing hope. Will you prayerfully consider partnering with us again this Christmas by making a gift to support the mission?

From all of us here at Bible Society, we wish you, your families and loved ones a very happy, safe and blessed Christmas and New Year season.

Donate to our 2019 Christmas appeal