The Bible is bringing hope to South East Asian Christians

The Philippines, Malaysia and Cambodia all have in one thing in common. They all have a desperate need for the Bible and the hope it brings.

In Cambodia, it’s an urgent need for help with growing literacy rates so people can read the Bible. In Malaysia, where floods of migrants and refugees wait, it’s providing the hope that the Bible brings. And in the Philippines, it’s Scripture access for the 2.2 million visually impaired people.

Cambodia – learning through listening

Literacy is key to the growth of the Christian church in Cambodia. It enables people to have access to the Word of God and move from darkness into light. Cambodia’s education system is underfunded and many of the teachers, particularly those in rural areas, are so lowly paid they have to take multiple jobs just to survive.

Bible Society Cambodia is offering 600 literacy classes to both disadvantaged Christians and non-Christians through a Scripture-based literacy programme called Learning Through Listening. Students who finish the course receive New Testaments and New Reader Scripture portions. To date it’s proving to be transformational!

“The social impact of the literacy programme is very apparent. Wherever the project is implemented, there is less domestic violence and crime. The relationship between children and their parents also improves.” said Bible Society Cambodia CEO Pisit Heng. For example, Ty Pisen, who is 13 years old, has been attending the literacy classes and church services for a month. Ty’s attitude has changed. He is working harder and has become gentle and respectful. He invited his parents to go to church with him and now the whole family have become regular worshippers, actively involved in church life.

Pastor Chreuk Somneang

Pastor Chreuk Somneang (pictured right with his wife) has been running the Bible Society’s literacy programme since February 2018. He oversees 20 classes in different districts in Battambang province and other nearby areas, such as Bontheay Meanchey. “Since we started teaching Learning through Listening, I have been so happy. This programme is a success,” he said.

“We are overjoyed to help our church members and other children who live in our community. Seeing them able to read books, especially the Bible on their own, encourages us to move forward. Now our students from the literacy classes are reading the Bible in church. I thank the Lord Bible Society Cambodia has given us the programme,” he continued.

South of Cambodia lies the country of Malaysia. Bible Society in Malaysia (BSM) is also working to reach people living in difficult circumstances.

Pastor Chreuk Somneang and his wife

Malaysia – being the hands and feet of God

Young people at the Malaysia International Korea School

Malaysia attracts migrants and refugees from all over Asia including Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan. The Rev. Dr Luke Choi and Pastor Michael Moey are both partnering with Bible Society Malaysia (BSM) to distribute Bibles and biblical material in their humanitarian programmes.

A trained medical doctor, Dr Choi founded a free school called The Malaysia International Korea School in Ampang for 260 refugees from 14 countries. The school has now grown to five centres reaching 400 students from kindergarten to high school level. The Bible is shared in the syllabus throughout the day starting with devotions in the morning. The students are taught in English, and BSM distributes Bibles in English, Myanmar and Urdu, as well as Bible story comic books to the younger children.

Dr Choi also offers free medical services to refugees. Twice a month he visits other migrant communities outside the Klang Valley with a team of four doctors and volunteers to do medical checks and donate medical supplies. He distributes Bibles to medical camp patients. Pastor Michael Moey is a trained lawyer who started a vocational training school called Ruth. Ruth equips and empowers students to go back and serve in their communities. Many of his students are already serving as English teachers and holding after-church classes with parents who want to learn English.

“We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to Bible Society New Zealand partners for their generous support of this project.

We are able to provide Bibles for many refugees and migrants, who are going through tough times and need to hear the Word of God.

The Bible gives them comfort and joy. Without you it wouldn’t be possible to serve God in this task. Thank you for your partnership and may God Bless you.”

From the Bible Society Malaysia team

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Philippines – then they could see!

“I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.” This line from the popular hymn Amazing Grace is a picture of the old life for many visually impaired Filipinos. However, thanks to the aid of digital audio Bibles they now have access to the Bible, and for them it’s like they can see!

The audio Bible is helping transform the lives of the visually impaired in the Philippines, where 2.2 million visually impaired Filipinos live. Unfortunately, 95 percent of them are unable to use Braille, but the audio Bible has given them new hope! The entire Bible is now on a small player that is compact, durable and portable. This year, Bible Society in the Philippines aims to distribute 3,000 of them. “We want to give visually impaired Filipinos access to the Scriptures in the major dialects of the Philippines through audio Bibles,” said Bible Society CEO Dr Nora Lucero.

Assisting a visually impaired person to use an audio Bible.

Lench Ann Perilla

“I am visually impaired and I can say the Lord has been good to me because even from the start we had access to his Word. When I received the audio Bible, I felt very happy. It is very convenient. I can bring it with me everywhere and I can easily find the book, chapters and verses.”

Jayrick Dubria

“As a Bible study leader, having the audio Bible is really a big help for me. This audio Bible is a blessing not just for me but for my students. I have pupils who can memorise the books of the Bible. There are those who can even imitate the voice of the one reading the audio Bible!”

Carla Ajele Pendon

“I praise and thank the Lord for this new digital audio format. I pray more visually impaired people like me will be reached through this project. Before getting this Bible I used to have to get my mum or other sighted family members to read me just one verse at a time.”

I am always greatly encouraged when I hear stories like these that illustrate how God is working through Bible Society teams around the world. The Bible is bringing hope, freedom and the life changing news of Jesus to refugees, migrants, the visually impaired and many others in need in Cambodia, Malaysia and the Philippines. I believe, as I know you do too, that all these people and their individual situations can be transformed with one thing – a Bible.

But thousands in these countries are still waiting to receive God’s Word and to receive the good news. So, we’ve pledged more funds to these Bible Societies to continue their work and reach even more people with the Word of God. You can share your love of the Bible by supporting these projects. Would you prayerfully consider making a gift today? You can do so by clicking the donate button below.

Bible Society New Zealand CEO Neels Janse van Rensburg

Thank you once again for your treasured support and prayers for Bible Society’s life changing work.

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