In the lead up to Christmas, it can be useful to reflect back on the year that has passed. Often it’s through this process that we see God’s faithfulness, protection and provision in our lives. And as we look back over Bible Society’s year, we certainly can see how God has continued to be faithful, generous and gracious in enabling us to help make the Bible, New Testament and Scripture portions available to people all over the world.
We want to say ‘thank you’ because through your partnership you’ve helped share God’s love and the hope of the Bible with thousands of children, young people and adults in many different countries, including here in New Zealand.
So, as we approach the end of another year of Bible mission, we want to share with you again some of the stories, projects and people that have been impacted for good through your prayers and generosity. There’s drug addict Zhang Tao living in China, whose life was in crisis. He said, “Without the Bible, my life would not be transformed at all and I would still be living in my past pain and struggles.”
Daniel Ramirez from Uruguay, who was lonely and grieving, was seeking solace. “I only find comfort and company from reading the Bible,” he told staff at the Uruguay Bible Society upon receiving his free Bible.
And then there’s Ruth (one of eight million orphans in India), who, through the prayer of a missionary, gained a place in an orphanage a few years ago and received her first Bible from the Bible Society in India. Today she likes to study and read the Bible, and wants to be a nurse.
Here are some of our highlights from the year…
HOPE FOR NEW ZEALAND PRISONERS
“Much of this work (prison chaplaincy) would not be solid without the imperishable Word of God being placed in these men’s hands. We would be building on a foundation close to wood, hay and rubble. Please accept our heartfelt thanks and appreciation for your generosity. It is without a doubt changing their lives.” Rev. Viliame Tuisoso, Prison Chaplaincy Service of Aotearoa New Zealand
Thanks to your support, more than 3,300 Bibles, New Testaments and portions have been distributed to prisoners in New Zealand (figures from January to September 2017). This year a ‘new reader’ programme was developed for prisoners, to help them understand more about Jesus through the Gospel of Luke. This special edition of the Gospel of Luke includes the story of Tārore as written by Joy Cowley. An accompanying study booklet helps prisoners dig deeper into Luke’s Gospel and draws on themes from the Tārore story such as forgiveness and reconciliation. This programme has been successfully trialed in three prisons so far.
BIBLE MONTH – HELPING
ORPHANS IN INDIA
During Bible Month (July), you generously provided funds for children’s projects in India. Thanks to your support, $57,500 was made available to bring the hope of the Bible to children there.
Your gift provides children’s Bibles and other items (shoes and school books) for children in Christian orphanages,
and it gives children the tools they need to engage with the Bible. Through this work, many young lives will be impacted with a first-time introduction to Jesus through the Bible.
SHARING THE EASTER STORY WITH YOUTH
Your ongoing support has enabled Easter Camps to receive free custom made Bible resources since 2011. This support continued in 2017 with a special new edition of the Gospel of Luke. The 2017 Easter Camp edition features chapter summaries to help youth understand what they’ve just read, reflection sections to encourage Scripture meditation and prayer, and also study questions for youth groups. You enabled us to give away more than 10,000 copies of the Gospel of Luke to Easter camps nationwide.
Our year is not quite over – this Christmas we’re again making available resources to help people and churches pass on the real Christmas story to as many young New Zealanders as possible. We’ve enclosed for you a copy of a new Christmas leaflet for young children – some 80,000 will be provided without cost to churches and other organisations. Feel free to share this leaflet with a child in your life.
As you can see, God has done great things through your generous support of Bible Society. I invite you to continue to journey with us on what is shaping up to be a very exciting 2018! We have some great plans and look forward to sharing those with you soon. In the meantime, would you consider making a gift to help bring the Bible to Kiwis and others around the world this Christmas?
From all of us at Bible Society New Zealand – have a wonderful Christmas and a blessed and special time with your family and loved ones.
BIBLICAL RESOURCES FOR CHILDREN IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC
Children and adults alike from Kiribati and Tuvalu in the South Pacific are delighted to have Bible comic story books in their own language for the very first time. The Abraham Bible story comics are part of Bible Society’s ongoing mission to reach people in the South Pacific with the Bible in their heart language.
This happy group from Kiribati have received Bible story comics. Also, thanks to your generosity this year, 1,000 Fijian New Testaments, 1,000 Niue Bibles and 10,000 Good News Bibles were distributed to people in seven Pacific countries, including
communities still affected by the devastation of Cyclone Pam.