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Distribution of Bibles and Materials in Maumi, Tailevu

Distribution of Bibles and Materials in Maumi, Tailevu

 

 

The Bible Society of the South Pacific are looking for volunteers who can:

• buy and distribute Scriptures,

• helping to raise money in church, school, community, etc.

• helping in _______________________

 

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WHY SHOULD I READ THE BIBLE?

Why should I read the Bible?

Because God’s written words have life. They have power.
The Bible tells us all about God, what He’s like, how He treats us, what He wants us to be like and how He wants us to live in the world. When you spend time reading the Bible and praying, you’re putting yourself before God and asking Him to change you and make you into the person He wants you to be.

It’s all about transformation.

The Bible is a book that God uses to speak to you. When you read the Bible with an open heart and mind, you’re putting yourself in a position for God to speak to you.

Bible reading and prayer are a crucial part of your journey with God. So, if you want the Bible to be an important part of your journey, it’s important to develop a regular reading habit. Some people find having a Bible reading plan helps keep them on track.

Do you understand the overall Bible story?

The Bible is not an easy read and some of us struggle to make sense of it. That’s partly because it’s hard to read such a big book in small chunks over time, and still understand the overall story. We’ve created some short summaries that capture the overall story of the Bible to help you understand how it all fits together.

How do I read the Bible?

The Bible is a complex and very detailed book. Its story is grand and compelling, yet also emotional and personal. This is a book that God uses to speak to us.

When you read the Bible, do these things:

1.Talk to God

Thank God for the Bible and ask God to help you understand what you’re about to read.

2.Read and Listen

Read the passage slowly and thoughtfully. Listen to what God might be saying to you through it. Read it again if you need to.

3.Think

Think about what you’ve read. Ask yourself these questions:
• What is the main point of the passage?
• What does the reading say about God? His character? His plans?
• What insight is there for me to apply to my life situation?
• Is there an example or a warning? Is God giving me a promise?
• How does God want me to respond in my thoughts, words or actions?

4.Respond

Turn things you’ve read into prayers. Ask God for His help in applying what you’ve learned to your life. Pray for others.

Try these ways to read your Bible

If you find a way of reading that suits you, you’ll find it easier to read more regularly. Here’s some different things you could try…

Quiet time reading

Select a passage or chapter, read and reflect on it (see above).

Chunk reading

Read several chapters or even a whole book in one sitting. This allows you to better grasp the outline of a book and eventually the whole Bible story.

Verse memorisation

Memorising scripture has many benefits. It helps us reflect on scripture even when we don’t have a Bible handy and it ensures that it is planted in our minds, shaping our thinking and our actions.

In-depth study

This helps you understand the original meaning of scripture through the use of resources such as a Bible dictionary, comprehensive commentary or a study Bible.

Bible meditation

This helps us get scripture deeply into our hearts. Read a passage slowly, out loud if possible. Imagine yourself in the story, a part of the scene. Re-read it and meditate on what you’ve read. Allow God to speak to you.

Character study

This approach focuses on study of a particular individual in the Bible. Find all the passages that a character appears in (some may be in many, so choose some that reflect a certain period of the character’s life or event). Use a concordance or word search to do this. Focus on this character’s relationship with God. What can you learn about God through them?

 

Refugee-Bible


Literacy

Being illiterate was like being blind. Now I feel like I have come out of the darkness and into the light!


Being able to read and write is something many of us take for granted. But the joy expressed by this 56-year-old woman who learnt to read through a Pakistan Bible Society literacy class says it all: for someone who has never had the opportunity of an education, literacy opens the door to a whole new world. It’s about dignity, independence and wholeness. And yet so many people – one fifth of humanity – are deprived of the basic human right of literacy (see the infographic below.)

We believe that everyone should have the chance to learn to read and write and to enjoy ‘life in all its fulness’, which Jesus offers.  And we know that reading the Bible can transform lives. That’s why we are running hundreds of literacy classes for hundreds of thousands of people across the world.

Our work has been officially recognised by UNESCO, with whom we are in consultative partnership. And we are expanding our plans: by 2015, we hope to carry out literacy projects in 50 languages spoken by more than one million people. Around half a million people will directly benefit from these projects. Please pray for our literacy work.

To find out more about our global literacy work, contact Julian Sundersingh: jsundersingh@biblesocieties.org

Global literacy


Bibles and friendship for refugees in Austria

As public debate rages about how to deal with the thousands of refugees trying to enter Europe each year, many of them drowning in the attempt, the Austrian Bible Society and its partners have been working for years to help care for those who end up in Austria.

“The situation of these people saddens me deeply,” says Father Albert Pongo, who regularly visits refugees in detention centres and prisons. He is originally from Ghana and gives the refugees Bibles in their own languages, supplied by the Bible Society.

Father Albert Pongo.
Father Albert Pongo.

“I know from personal experience how hard it is to leave your own country, how much energy and effort it takes. Those who do manage to arrive often have to go back to their home country and face the stigma of failure.

“If I could, I would give them the necessary documents, so that they can stay here in Austria. But I can’t. What I can do is to listen to them and to talk to them about their lives and their problems. We read and discuss the Bible together.”

Father Pongo helps the refugees, some of whom aren’t familiar with the Bible, read passages that comfort and strengthen them.

The story of Job, for instance, who lost all his wealth but kept his faith. When the detainees read about him, they see that everything will end well.

“Often we read the psalms together,” he comments. “Psalm 121, for instance, encourages many people. Some people read the whole Bible by themselves, but for others I recommend passages I find very helpful myself. The story of Job, for instance, who lost all his wealth but kept his faith. When the detainees read about him, they see that everything will end well.”

Father Pongo says that the refugees greatly value the Bibles they are given.

“I can see how excited they are when they get their Bible,” he smiles. “They immediately start to flip through and read. I am very happy that the Bible Society provides these Bibles.

“I’d like to ask all supporters of Bible work to pray for all refugees.  We all need to do what we can to raise awareness of their situation and to offer as much support as we can.”

The Austrian Bible Society provides thousands of Scriptures in many different languages for free distribution among refugees each year. Please pray for funding for this vital work.


Bible program tackles domestic violence in the Caribbean

March 4, 2015 / Author:
Bible program tackles domestic violence in the Caribbean

 

Marking International Women’s Day, March 8

Say the word ‘Caribbean’ and many people think of wide sandy beaches, palm trees and holidays – a kind of paradise. But for a growing number of women there, life is anything but paradise, blighted by the violence they experience at home. That’s why Bible Societies in the region are using the Bible to tackle this increasing scourge, with encouraging results.

*Mary had been trapped in a violent relationship for many years, with her partner’s attacks landing her in hospital several times. She was desperate for help but had no idea what to do. When the Bible Society began equipping churches to assist victims of domestic violence, Mary finally received the help she needed and is starting to turn her life around.

“If only this help had been available earlier, I wouldn’t have spent so many years of my life being victimised,” she says wistfully.

Mary lives in Jamaica but her story is chillingly common across the Caribbean. Although it’s hard to get accurate statistics for each country, the incidence of domestic violence in the region is significant and growing: around 33% of women in Jamaica and27% of women in Barbados, for instance, are victims of some form of domestic violence. It accounts for a large percentage of the region’s crime statistics, too – about 25% of all murders are committed in the home. Nearly all the victims are women.

As Christians we must stand up and let every man, woman and child know that God condemns violence.

“The rise in violence against women seems unstoppable, despite the efforts of many women’s organisations,” comments Erny Van Axel of the Suriname Bible Society. “As Christians we must stand up and let every man, woman and child know that God condemns violence. We need to help them know what the Bible says – that all people are made in God’s image and have the right to be treated with love, respect and dignity.”

This is what Bible Societies across the Caribbean have started doing in recent years, with a particular focus on equipping churches to do this work.

“Quite often the church is the first port of call for women suffering domestic violence,” comments Rev Courtney Stewart of the Bible Society in the West Indies. “But our church leaders aren’t taught about domestic violence at seminary, so they don’t really know how to deal with it. That’s why so many pastors, Sunday School teachers and community leaders are now requesting the training we and our partners are carrying out.”

A 'Stop the Violence' workshop for church members in Haiti, where domestic violence has reached pandemic levels.

A ‘Stop the Violence’ workshop for church members in Haiti, where domestic violence has reached pandemic levels.

Hundreds of people across the Caribbean have already been trained in how to spot the signs of domestic violence and offer sensitive and effective counselling and advice, using two Bible-based booklets – ‘Stop the Violence’ for adults and ‘I love my body’ for children.

13-year-old Gabbie* in Haiti who was sexually abused while living in a tent city after the 2010 earthquake says that the counselling she received from a church leader who had received domestic violence training has really helped her.

“It has helped me to understand that if I keep quiet about what happened there is no way to stop the violence,” she said. “I’ve also learned that I don’t have to be ashamed.”

Haiti has a staggeringly high rate of violence against women – around 80% of women are thought to suffer some kind of abuse – but that figure has increased since the earthquake.

“The earthquake brought about so much anger and frustration,” explains Magda Victor of the Haitian Bible Society. “It destroyed people’s homes and livelihoods and led to greater promiscuity. All this has resulted in even more domestic violence.”

Since 2012, the Haitian Bible Society has been tackling this issue by running domestic violence workshops and airing a radio program to help raise awareness about the issue. The Suriname Bible Society has also been using the radio to spread its message about domestic violence. Listening to the program changed Kleia Emanuels-Mijnsen’s life.

Kleia Emanuels-Mijnsen

Kleia Emanuels-Mijnsen

“I was sitting with friends listening to a Gospel radio program when a counselling session on domestic abuse started. As I listened, I knew I had to call the number for help because what they were describing had happened to me. I had been raped and abused by a family friend and had never told anyone or dealt with the pain. It had completely destroyed my relationship with my mother and I mistrusted all men.

“It took months of counselling before I could let go of the bitterness I felt. But I’m now happily married with two sons and am counselling other women.”

The Bible Society of the West Indies is planning to start running the program in the Bahamas in the next few months, where domestic violence is growing, too.

“Please pray as we seek to reap a harvest of rescuing women and children, and the men, too, who are usually the perpetrators of domestic violence,” says Mr Stewart.

* Names changed to protect identity.