Jesus All About Life Distribution Initiative Touches Lives in Fiji

In  an effort to share the message of Easter and bring joy to the lives of orphaned children, children in communities and the elderly, the Jesus All About Life Easter Distribution initiative took place in the Rewa Province and orphanages in the Nausori-Lami Corridor of Fiji. This collaborative  effort, made possible through partnerships with local authorities and Bible Society Australia, aimed to provide Easter storybooks for communities and the same for the orphanages but with the inclusion of food vouchers to help in their day to day operations. The initiative’s impact surpassed expectations, leaving a lasting impression on the lives of those involved.

Objective and Execution:

The primary objective of the Jesus All About Life Easter Distribution initiative was twofold: to spread the message of Easter by providing the much-needed educational and recreational resources to children in the 37 villages in the Rewa province and orphanages in the Nausori-Lami Corridor, with food vouchers to help in the day to day operations. Meticulous planning, including visits to the Rewa Provincial Council and obtaining approvals from the Department of Social Services, laid the groundwork for a successful execution. Collaborations with Bible Society Australia ensured access to Easter Storybooks.

Over a span of five days, the dedicated team embarked on a journey, visiting 37 villages across the Rewa Province and 7 Homes in the Nausori-Lami Corridor. The distribution process was carefully organized, ensuring that the storybooks and food vouchers reached the intended recipients in a timely and efficient manner.

Outcomes and Impact:

The Easter Storybooks Distribution initiative yielded amazing outcomes, touching the lives of countless children and elderly individuals in the communities visited:

Extended Reach: By distributing materials to village headmen, the initiative successfully reached a broader demographic of children, transcending denominational boundaries. The involvement of orphanages and Homes catering to the needs of disabled children and the elderly ensured that the initiative brought joy and knowledge to those who needed it the most.

Positive Impact: Feedback from the staff of orphanages and aged-care facilities was overwhelmingly positive. The provision of Easter storybooks uplifted the spirits of these communities, empowering them with tools for growth and learning.

Awareness and Collaboration: The initiative created greater awareness about the season of Easter and the work of Bible Society of the South Pacific and its partners.

Challenges and Lessons Learned:

Throughout the initiative, the team encountered various challenges, including logistical constraints and accessibility to remote villages. These hurdles served as valuable lessons, emphasizing the importance of flexibility, adaptability, and cultural sensitivity in community-driven activities. . Such challenges also shed light on the need for continued support and sustainable solutions to address the needs of these affected communities.



The Jesus All About Life Easter Distribution initiative in the Rewa Province and the Nausori-Lami Corridor of Fiji illustrated the transformative power of collaboration, compassion, and a shared vision. By extending the reach of the initiative, the team successfully touched the lives of orphaned children and the elderly, and children in the communities by spreading joy and knowledge throughout the region. This initiative not only left a lasting impact on the recipients but also paved the way for future activities aimed at promoting literacy, empathy, and inclusivity in Fiji. Through such collective efforts, we can continue to make a positive difference in the lives of those who need it the most

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An Unorthodox Contribution to My Spirituality.

Tanya is a University of the South Pacific student awaiting her graduation later this year, 2022. She accompanied the Bible Society of the South Pacific team as a volunteer. This article is her contribution to Bible Society’s work and these are her personal opinions and experiences.

I was asked to recount my experience accompanying the BSSP Christmas distribution team across Viti Levu in the form of a blog. I must admit that my years of academic writing in university have gnarled my drive at creative writing and story-telling. So, the idea of a blog has never been attempted and totally new but nevertheless I welcomed the challenge.


It was on Saturday, 11th December that I had received a call from my elder sister – Teps, asking me to accompany her on their Bible Society 2021 Christmas Distribution tour across Viti Levu. Dazed mid-nap from the previous night’s wedding celebrations I agreed groggily and without hesitation before resuming my cozy nap. Chaos ensued Sunday night as my sister and I rummaged through our clothing looking for suitable stuff to pack for the five-day distribution, all the while the realisation of what I had agreed to unnerved me. In all honesty, amidst my indecisiveness of whether being spiritually apt to go on this trip (a thought quickly trampled by my sister), I more eagerly anticipated my chance of sight-seeing than what the initial attempt of the trip was.

After a prayer at the Pacific Energy bowser located by the Sawani-Serea road junction, we started off our long journey at around 6am towards Vunidawa. The team consisted of Talatala, Bis, Teps and myself. Of course, after Sunday’s post-church grog match, I did what I had recently mastered effortlessly, catching some sleep along the way. Falling in and out of slumber, the journey was still long but I was in for a surprise because right after departing Nawaqabena we met a group of Naqali kids supposedly either on their way to or from the farm. Their enthusiasm on receiving their books and having their picture taken perhaps became all too overwhelming as they collectively agreed to discard their cane knives for that quality picture, however they were reassuringly encouraged by the team to keep it in instead.

Children of Naqali, Naitasiri on their way to their farms received their Christmas storybooks from the Bible Society team.

Thus, they posed for this terrific picture which suddenly became a fan favourite. Unexpectedly, I began anticipating meeting kids along the way, just to see the joy and enthusiasm on their faces as they received their books and got their picture taken. I noticed the further we moved from civilisation, the more grateful and excited people were at receiving their Christmas package. This is in no way a demeaning strike at our urban centres and suburbs but the sheer appreciation and genuine gratefulness was what I noticed firsthand amongst my fellow highlanders and for me, that was satisfying enough. Additionally, these people were sincerely appreciative and at times surprised that such a team made an effort to bring the WORD in its various forms to them, to reach grassroots. Gradually, sight-seeing had become secondary and I eagerly became more involved with the team, as amateur as I was I offered to be a photographer whenever they needed. My excitement was met when we encountered kids in the most unusual places. Driving past Naluwai we met a few teenagers who had just received their COVID-19 vaccine jabs from the Vunidawa Health Centre and were on their way home.

Teenagers returning from Vunidawa Health Center for their COVID-19 vaccinations to walk right to Naterumai village, Naitasiri.

We continued onto Serea village before encountering these kids again at the Serea-Laselevu junction. It was saddening to see them slowly striving on-home in the scorching heat and for us helplessly having no room in the car. Considering we spent close to an hour at Serea, you would’ve been sad too if you saw these kids try and cover 3-4 miles of distance in such unbearable heat. It was half a day and getting the hang of mission work, as I was now calling this trip, I knew that we were far from done and we still had a long way to go before reaching Wailoa power station. Upon day two, even as we travelled up arduously on the road’s mountainous terrain towards the Hydro dam and leaving the Naqelewai junction we still caught sight of kids in the most unusual places.

These siblings from Naqelewai were alone at their roadside farmhouse with their parents probably out in the plantation and they received us enthusiastically; and of course we also met a mom with her two boys along the road just past the Monasavu dam and still a long way off from Nadrau, which was proving to be more surprising as it was enlightening.

There is great emphasis on both the former and the latter because in the middle of what was theoretically (or so I thought) uncivilised untainted lands, Fijians have somehow still managed to settle it.


Recovering from Sunday’s post-church grogginess on day one, I prayed and playfully confessed to my sister that I was craving for some fish even though we were travelling up in-land (colo) and in the indigenous community we all knew that you only eat fish from the coastal regions and outer islands but nonetheless I craved longingly. As a kai-wai, some yummy fish served with chilles and moli (lemon/lime) would knowingly cure my unbearable grogginess. On day one there were plans to have lunch with our family at Nabena, Matailobau and when lunch was served (malea vakalolo with rourou) my prayers were answered and I was more thankful than I was surprised because of course, God delivered even in something as minute as this. The size of the Malea’s (Tilapia) and the tasty Boka’s (Dalo/taro) we had demonstrated the fishing skill of my Momo (uncle), a skill that could most probably rival that of any fisherman from the islands.

Our accommodation for day one was our EFL family at Wailoa power station who provided us with a quaint little ‘A house’ to rest in for the night before giving our tyre’s a good pump prior to continuing on for day two. Now, of course the gist of all of this is the inexplicable Fijian hospitality and to further accentuate the truth of this, was the floods of invitation we received along the way to take shelter, get some rest or have a hot meal. As late as we were from coming down the Nadrau-Tavua route, there still was a delicious meal waiting for us at our host’s in Tavua town (‘the lateness’ I will dive into later). Similar implications apply to our gracious hosts from Vatukoula my Tovata’s from Saqani, our YWAM-BSN family of Adam Street, Lautoka and of course our Nalebaleba family at Sigatoka Special School. I cannot overlook the instances of not only invitations of tea but the offering of it throughout our distribution such as Vatukoula’s AOG church and Wasewase Lautoka’s juice, tea and pastries. As well as being grateful to our Nalebaleba family in hosting us for grog. Certainly, the term ‘Fijian hospitality’ has been a recurring theme for Fiji Tourism and these! These exemplary instances are something I, as a Fijian am stupendously proud of.   

MISSION-WORK- an unorthodox contribution to my spirituality.

Avisai inspecting our flat tyre at Lutu. Wainimala.

Assuredly, I still have a few words left to share and this trip if described with one word, would be ‘enlightening’. I say this as a person who has always had a wayward outlook on spirituality and God especially. My enlightenment came from seeing the work and faith of the Christmas distribution team during my five days with them. If you have carried out mission work, then you’d know that mission work isn’t always smooth-sailing, ‘God always keeps you on your toes’. Obviously, I’ve saved the juiciest bit for last and it starts on day one. I remember us trying to chase sunlight after departing Serea and we were delighted to reach Lutu (Wainimala) around 3 or maybe 4pm in the afternoon. Our delightment was short-lived when on our bid to make it onto Matainasau was disrupted by a flat tyre. There, a few short metres from the entryway into the village, we sat. To further dampen our situation, our spare tyre was less useful than the flat one. I gravely panicked and almost failed miserably at composing myself but the team wasn’t openly panicking just yet. Instead the two men, ‘Bis’ and ‘Talatala’ walked back to the village to get help while Teps and I sat there expectantly. There wasn’t any luck in the village and we struggled with the available tools we found in the car. My anxiety peaked as my mind raced of where we could sleep if we were to stick around Lutu? Who would take us in? What would we eat? After some time, exasperated from all our attempts, a white fielder turned into the village and made its way toward us. The team were hopefully and almost sure that this was God-sent, I however, braced for disappointment as I’ve so often done before. Alas, I was proven wrong when this man offered us a TOTAL TOOLS auto air compressor 12V (if that’s the proper term for it- I also later Googled it out of mere fascination), a brand that I’ve highly undervalued and believed to be a knock-off because they were simply sold at Rups Big Bear enterprises. An enterprise where you could find kitchenware, clothing and hardware all compacted under one roof. Dumbfounded, I was first in front of the audience to witness this tool work its magic and the sincerity of its owner in helping us. While I knew God was using everything incredulous to aid us I still shakily refused to acknowledge it. The man who helped us later introduced himself as a talatala of a denomination that we had just distributed Christmas booklets to. After having both the spare and flat tyre’s pumped, we thanked the man immensely before cautiously proceeding onto Matainasau. Although this meant that we had just a village left to reach before Wailoa, the road was too narrow, meandering and becoming more treacherous. Just past Matainasau we assessed the treacherous route ahead and decided to change our tyres, from the flat to the spare one.

Our amateur mechanics having a go at the spare tyre after Matainasau.

Realising that the two men, Talatala and Bis had no vehicle mechanical knowledge profounded me more. My anxiety peaked as the sun swiftly sank but to my surprise the men continued working and my sister unbothered, reassured me to have more faith, before taking pictures of nature amidst handing tools to the men. As I silently questioned their calmness, one or two of them would occasionally say as if to reminisce that this is/was what mission work was. Diligently the men completed their work and we left for Wailoa at around 7pm knowing full well that we were only alive and moving because of God’s grace. Reaching Wailoa that night, the two men more exhausted than ever, especially after successfully mastering the art of changing and pumping tyres, something they confessed to never having done before. Although, with crisis averted I still went to bed agitated and the events of the next day would grant me the reasons why. We had successfully made it past the Monasavu dam and Nadrala and as excited as we were at seeing Navai, we failed to reach it as our spare tyre blew.

With Navai in sight we sat there, the men set to repeat their new-found skills as amateur mechanics while Teps and I, set about calming ourselves away from a second’s panic. Well more so, myself than Teps, my sister’s faith disallowed her from deranging like a lunatic in the midst of chaos. A trait I’ve come to admire over the years, especially since it grew with her years at Bible Society. This was a trait, the men also possessed. I don’t know if it was an organisational policy or just already spiritually armoured persons choosing to associate themselves with the organisation. Whatever it was, it was becoming more interesting and even appealing the more I observed it. The two men successfully removed both tyres, the flat and the spare one, after a distress call to Tavua. Our cavalry was to come, take our spare tyre back to Tavua for a new one and then return, as per our agreement. Being marooned at around 8-ish that morning, we waited for our cavalry. Morning turned into noon and help arrived at around 2, and thankfully with the driver’s resourcefulness to use his spare tyre instead, saved everyone the hassle of wasting daylight.

The two vehicles trailed each other towards Tavua after 3 in the afternoon, our rescuers four-wheel drive patiently ensuing ours as we struggled to continue distribution with what little daylight we had left. We accomplished work in 3 villages before reaching Tavua. The team never lost their energy, as they kept reiterating, “Qo gona na mission”, literally translating, ‘this (trials/hardship) was what mission was about and it wouldn’t be as such without hardships along the way’. The rest of the trip along Ba, Lautoka, Nadi and Sigatoka was as easy and uncomplicated as urban centres are meant to be. Knowing the ‘nooks and crannies’ of Viti Levu’s coastal highways, we knew the storm had passed and I had now understood that this was what mission-work was, as unconventional as this one may have been.

Nowadays, I’ve learnt to be more trusting in God and let him control the situations I so often cannot. I cannot say that I’ve been completely transformed but I’ve had added new perspectives on ‘walking with God’ throughout this trip. The BSSP team did such amazing work and I’m forever grateful for the invite. Keep with excellence and Godspeed BSSP!

Christmas distribution team 2021
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Scripture Translations for 707 Million

Scripture translations for 707 million people completed by Bible Societies amidst pandemic

In Tanzania, brother and sister Gidufana Gafufen (left) and Udagayda Mudinangi celebrate the launch of the first Bible in their language, Datooga.

Amidst the challenges and disruption caused by COVID-19 in 2020, Bible Societies around the world completed Scripture translations in 66 languages used by 707 million people.

These include first Scripture translations in 46 languages, with a potential reach of 13 million people. Six language groups received the full Bible for the first time – five in Africa and the other in the USA, where the Deaf community celebrated the completion of the American Sign Language Bible.

American Sign Language, which is the language of around 408,000 people, is the only one of the world’s estimated 400 sign languages to have the full Bible. The dedication service was held online due to COVID-19 restrictions. (The American Sign Language Bible was translated by Deaf Missions with the support of various partner agencies, including American Bible Society.)

First New Testaments in another 11 languages used by four million people were also completed. Two of these – the Epie and Ogbia New Testaments – were launched by the Bible Society of Nigeria.

“As I receive this [Epie New Testament] today, I am the happiest person,” smiled Elder Iwo Samson Famous, an Epie speaker in Nigeria. “For a long time we have been struggling with the English Bible. We can now read and understand.”

“This New Testament in our mother tongue will aid literacy and encourage our youth and others to understand the Word of God,” said Ogbia speaker John Okolubo. “Without it, it was like we lacked God’s presence, but with it we have reached the promised land.”

In Vanuatu, one of the few countries almost untouched by the global pandemic, Hano-speakers on Pentecost Island welcomed the long-awaited first New Testament in their language with traditional songs and dances. (See video below.)

Translation work began four decades ago but was disrupted numerous times by cyclones, which destroyed homes, livelihoods and, on some occasions, parts of the translation work. In the wake of Cyclone Pam in 2015, the translators had to live in tents for months, but the translation manuscript was safe, having been secured in a plastic container just before the cyclone hit.

(See further down for more information about Scriptures launched in 2020 and the growth of the Digital Bible Library®.)

Reaching a milestone in global Bible translation

In August, the number of languages with the full Bible topped 700 for the first time; it was a significant milestone for global Bible translation that provided a rare moment of celebration during a difficult year.

At the start of 2021, the full Bible is now available in 704 languages used by 5.7 billion people. More than 70% of these full Bible translations have been provided by United Bible Societies.

Another 825 million people have the New Testament in their language, and 450 million people have some portions of Scripture.

The Bible translation landscape looked very different 75 years ago, when United Bible Societies was first formed in the wake of World War II, in 1946. According to ProgressBible, which compiles data from Bible translation agencies across the world, fewer than 200 languages had the full Bible, just over 230 had the New Testament, and 620 had Scripture portions. The number of languages with some Scripture has more than tripled since then.

And yet, today, despite this progress, more than half of the world’s 7,359 languages have no Scripture at all. All together, 1.5 billion people still do not have the full Bible in their language.

“As we look back at more than two centuries of Bible Society work and 75 years of working together as United Bible Societies, we give thanks to God for blessing our common mission of making the Bible available to everyone,” says UBS Director General Michael Perreau. “Each completed Scripture translation makes it possible for more people to access the hope and peace in God’s Word, which is especially needed at this time of global turmoil.

“Yet more than a billion people still do not have the Bible in their own language. They are without the comfort of Scripture as they navigate the storms of life. That is why the task of Bible translation is so urgent.”

The Bible Translation Roadmap: an ambitious vision

To reduce Bible poverty, Bible Societies are continuing to push forward with the Bible Translation Roadmap – a 20-year vision to complete 1,200 translations to make Scripture available in the languages of 600 million people for the first time. It builds on the increasing momentum in Bible translation, brought about by closer collaboration between Bible translation agencies, the generous support of donors and developments in technology.

Three years in, 80 translations have been completed, 312 are in progress, and another 808 are yet to begin. Around $30 million is needed each year to achieve the goals of the roadmap but less than half of that funding has been made available so far.

“Translating the Bible takes years of dedication and generosity, and is the first step in a community getting life-changing access to God’s Word,” says UBS Executive Director of Global Bible Translation Alexander M. Schweitzer. “The availability of mother tongue Scripture makes it possible to develop Bible ministry programs to meet the needs of the community, such as literacy or trauma healing.

“Bible translation transforms lives – that’s why we are committed to fulfilling the ambitious vision of the roadmap.”

Greater access through new and revised translations

Languages evolve over time, and it can be difficult for younger generations to understand outdated Scripture translations. Last year, Bible Societies published new or revised translations in 21 languages used by 694 million people, including nine full Bibles.

Among these were new Bibles translations in two of South Africa’s 11 official languages – isiZulu, spoken by 12 million people, and Afrikaans, spoken by more than seven million people. These two major publications formed part of the Bible Society of South Africa’s year-long activities to mark its 200th anniversary.

“The words contained in this book, when they enter the heart, are self-evidently true across any culture and language,” said Prince Dr Mangosuthu Buthelezi, 92, who represented Zulu monarch King Goodwill Zwelithini at the dedication service of the new isiZulu Bible.

The Bible has been available in isiZulu since 1883 but the most widely-used version today was published in 1959. Dr Buthelezi, who played a key role in the government of national unity led by Nelson Mandela, said that he felt blessed to have been able to read God’s Word in his own language throughout his life. He thanked the Bible Society for the new translation which, he said, would help more people “come to know the Scriptures and be led by faith.”

Study editions

To help people deepen their knowledge of Scripture, Bible Societies also published study editions in three languages – Chinese, Haitian Creole and Thai.

Socio-political turmoil and violence had delayed the Haitian Bible Society’s plans to launch the first Haitian Creole Study Bible in late 2019. Instead, the celebration took place in February 2020, just two weeks before COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic.

“We Haitians are a traumatised people,” said Haitian Bible Society General Secretary Magda Victor. “We need healing and are searching for a response to all the pain we have experienced. That’s why there’s a church on nearly every street corner. But very often, church leaders don’t really understand the biblical text very well. We feel confident that this Study Bible will support them in their ministry.”

Sign language translations open God’s Word for Deaf communities

“The completion last year of the very first Bible in a sign language – American Sign Language – after nearly four decades of work was a great encouragement to sign language translators and Deaf communities in other countries,” says United Bible Societies Deaf Ministry Coordinator Chris Dale. “After many years of being misunderstood, there is now new energy and urgency behind the task of opening up the Bible for over 400 sign languages.

“Despite serious challenges caused by the pandemic, Deaf translators found new ways to co-operate, supported by the very timely development of new software tools, which allowed them to make progress.”

As a result, 16 sign languages used by 2.1 million Deaf people received first or additional Scripture portions in 2020.

Can’t read or write

Like 99% of Deaf Mongolians, Javzaa can’t read or write and was frustrated at only being able to experience the Bible through the sign language interpreter at the Deaf church she attends. She is delighted to be part of the Mongolian Sign Language translation team, which completed five chapters of Matthew last year.

“There are many souls in need. The one help they need most is the Word of God in sign language,” signs Javzaa.

In December, the Paraguayan Sign Language translation team completed video translations of the story of Jesus’ birth and shared them on social media just before Christmas. The videos attracted great excitement among the Deaf community and were shared by many people.

Increasing Scripture access for People with Visual Disabilities

While COVID-19 hindered Braille Scripture distribution and engagement work in many countries, 2020 saw unprecedented progress in making the full Braille Bible available in more languages.

Five languages received the full Braille Bible, three of them for the first time, and Braille portions were published in another two. A total of 48 languages now have the full Bible in Braille.

“It has been amazing to see how technical developments with new Braille transcription software and a new Braille file archive in the Digital Bible Library® have resulted in a high number of new complete Braille Bibles published in one year. In former years this process would normally have taken five to 10 years!” comments Ingrid Felber-Bischof, who coordinates UBS’s global service for People with Visual Disabilities.

Saikhantsetseg, 19, who lost her sight as a child, has benefited from the new process, which enabled the Mongolian Union Bible Society to make the full Braille Bible available in Mongolian in record time. She read from the new Bible at the dedication ceremony and explained that although she enjoys listening to the audio Bible, being able to read the Bible for herself makes it “more interesting and alive”.

Digital Bible Library® puts Scripture at people’s fingertips

The Digital Bible Library® (DBL), which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, is central to the goal of making the Bible available and accessible to everyone. It serves as a repository for Scripture translations in different formats completed by UBS and other Bible translation agencies, and enables the efficient sharing of Scripture through websites and apps, such as YouVersion.

By the start of 2021, the DBL® contained 2,696 texts in 1,721 languages used by six billion people, including 1,112 Bibles in 590 languages. 70% of the full Bibles in the DBL® are provided by Bible Societies.

Also stored in the DBL® are audio Scriptures in the languages of 5.6 billion people, and video translations of Scripture in 13 sign languages used by 1.8 million people.

In 2020, the first Braille Scripture files were added to DBL®, following the development of new Braille transcription software. The new software and the ability to store the files in the DBL® have made it much quicker and easier for Bible Societies to produce Braille Scripture in languages which have translations available. The DBL® now houses 53 Braille files in 41 languages, including 33 full Bibles in 27 languages.

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Visiting & Reaching Cyclone Ravaged Islands Through Trauma Healing Program

Visiting & Reaching Cyclone Ravaged Island in Fiji Through Trauma Healing Program

Corrugated Iron VS Coconut tree during Cyclone Harold’s Impact in Kadavu.
Bible Society Mission team after visiting Kadavu Island for 3 weeks in November, 2020.
After a Trauma Healing Workshop in Nukuvou, Nakasaleka, Kadavu (Fiji Islands).
Distributing Proclaimer Bibles in Kadavu, Fiji.

As the whole world closed its boarders and practiced social distancing, Fiji experienced one of the worst cyclones to hit the islands. Fijians flee to their islands due to corona virus and job losses from urban areas but were met by Cyclone Harold. It was a rude awakening for some as they interpreted the disaster as a punishment from God for their sins, but for Bible Society Fiji Mission, this was an opportune time to bring awareness of the WORD of GOD to them and also conduct Trauma Healing workshops.

The team visited Vatulele island in October 2020. The island is a flat archipelago 40mins away from Coral Coast, Sigatoka. Vatulele has one primary school and Methodism as the only Christian denomination.  It has four villages, Ekubu, Taunovo, Lomanikaya and Bouwaqa, with four teams conducting workshops and free distribution of scriptural materials. The islands main source of income, masi (tapa), was badly damaged from the cyclone.

In the same month of October, Beqa island was visited too. A little bigger than Vatulele, Beqa has eight villages and four schools (three primary schools & one secondary school). Three teams serviced the islands and visited its schools.

Mid November till the first week of December has the Mission team visiting the fourth largest island in Fiji, Kadavu. The island has seventy-five villages and the mission team was divided into five groups. Four teams travelled Kadavu while one team worked on Ono island. Teams spent twenty-four days teaching and ministering in Kadavu and was met with great reception from all the Christian churches on the island.

The teams main workshop were the Trauma Healing workshop and the Bible Society awareness session. They also conducted a number of workshops that is needed like the Translation workshop, the Sunday School Teachers training, the Hermeneutics seminar and staffs that were trained with YWAM, utilized the YWAM BELT material for kids when the need arise.

The trauma healing session was very helpful to most villagers as some carried a lot of hurt and trauma even before the cyclone. The practical exercise on drawing your trauma helped so many in expressing some of the hurt they’ve been carrying for years. Creating a safe space for everyone to speak in was new to most as tradition restricts certain people from public speaking. In some villages, the participatory way of learning challenges the culture of having a traditional spokesperson who speaks for the village.

The Translation workshop is an awareness session about translation work in Fiji and highlighting the Fijian New Version bible. In some places, most people still prefer the old version because they do not know much about the new version. So this prompt us to make awareness on the Fijian New Version bible and highlighting the slight changes on the translation as this will help make clear the gist of what the Word of God is.

Despite the closure of boarders around the whole world and social distancing becoming a new norm, Bible Society is in full swing with missions. People are hungry for the Word in this trying time.

As the year 2020 comes to an end, we are grateful for lessons learnt in visiting and seeing local communities and how they recuperate, months after Cyclone Harold. Even with their circumstances they were still willing to share their food and homes to our mission teams and this is where we can see God’s hands working in the lives of his people and how blessed we are, to do His will.

Special mention to our prayer partners and donors for the support throughout 2020 and we hope and pray that 2021 will allow us to reach those in need in the Pacific.

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FIJI: Ba Translation Project Update

In all my trips to Ba, I planned and travelled on Sunday afternoons. This is to allow me to spend Sunday nights in Ba or near, so that we can start the review sessions on Monday mornings. I treat the review work just like my regular 8.00am – 4.30pm work in the office. So we work with this many hours every day to cover and finish my targeted seven chapters of any book that is to be reviewed on a single trip. For example, Mathew with its 28 chapters was reviewed with 4 trips, Mark with 16 chapters, was reviewed with 2 trips, and John with 21 chapters was reviewed on 3 trips.

Our next book is Romans. With its 16 chapters will be covered in 2 trips.

My February trip took place on February 16 – 18. My target was John chapter 8 to 14. Our venue for this review work was the Ba Mission Assemblies of God church in Yalalevu, Ba. We were hosted in this church by its Senior Pastor Rev. Jone Lesu.

Rev Jone Lesu is a longtime friend and supporter of Bible Society. He has a big church with a good size congregation. Until this project started, the frequency of our interaction has grown due to frequent request from us to use his church – as the venue for our work. Both our February and March reviews was carried out from his church.

On the February trip, I worked with only 2 reviewers. While it still went well, we all felt the need for one or two more people to be added. This was solved when I called and asked Rev Nakeke’s help. Rev Nakeke got back to me in no time with the names and phone numbers of two gentlemen. So by my March trip, I worked with a four member review team.

My March trip took place on March 15- 18. We covered John chapters 15-21 and thus completed the book. The new additions to the team were good and fit in well. They were quick learners and good contributors too.
We finish the book of John before the first Corona virus infected person was announced for Fiji. We are looking forward to our next book which is Romans, which according to our review work plan should be reviewed in the next quarter.

The Four reviewers are:
1. Meli Naivalu (Nailaga, Ba)
2. Mosese Soro (Varavu, Ba)
3. Savenaca Naliva (Sorokoba, Ba)
4. Vatukilagi Ratu (Natalacake, Ba)

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TONGA: Bible Work in Tonga

Translation work on the Tongan Contemporary Old Testament began with a translators workshop in October 2014 conducted by Dr Daud Soesilo. Seventeen translators were involved. In April 2015, the project was officially launched. The translators were given the “Book of the Twelve” to begin with. By the end of 2016, the first draft of the OT had already finished. Currently, we are up to stage 2 reviewing this project while also reviewing the New Testament to be combined with the OT, as the Tongan Contemporary Bible. The work is ambitiously projected to be completed at 2023.

The Launching of the Book of the Twelve
In line with the working objectives of UBS that once some part of a translation project has been completed then it can be launched as a way of informing the church, we had aimed to do the launching of the Book of the Twelve during the Annual Conference of the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga. This is because, the Free Wesleyan is the mainline denomination in Tonga.

The Conference lasted from Monday the 24th of June to Monday the 1st of July, 2019. Prior communication with the church leaders and the local Bible Translation Committee in Tonga resulted in the leaders of the Free Wesleyan Conference agreeing to launch the Book of the Twelve on the opening night of the Conference by presenting it to the King of Tonga, His Majesty King Tubou VI. This was considered a great privilege for the project. The organization of the launching was for the chairperson of the Bible Translation Committee in Tonga, Lord Matoto, to present the work to the King but he was not available. So, I was asked to present the Book of the Twelve to the King on the opening of the Conference.

BSSP had printed 500 copies of the The Book of the Twelve. We are dividing it up between the denominations that are taking part in the translation of this project – Roman Catholics, Wesleyans, Free Church of Tonga, Constitutional Church of Tonga, Tokaikolo Fellowship and the Anglicans. The aim is to get copies of this part of the project to church members to read and if possible to give us feedback for the reviewing stages 3 and 4 of the Tongan Contemporary OT.

The Director Translation BSSP Rev. Apenisa Lewatoro visited the Tongan Translation Projects from February 25th – March 2nd, 2020. Rev. Lewatoro expressed his appreciation to Mr. Viliami Falekaono for organizing the meetings and also to the Catholic Church in Tonga for the provision of their facilities for BSSP programs since the beginning of the project.

Rev. Lewatoro carried out various activities involving discussions on the status of the Tongan Contemporary OT project, the installations of Paratext 8 for a couple of translators, a one-on one Paratext Training, the checking of the Tongan Bible (West) “Word List’ and Book of Psalm spot checking. The team are currently working on the translation of the Tongan Contemporary Old Testament and the proofreading of the scanned text of the Tonga Bible (West).

The Bible Society thanked God for the support from all the Churches in Tonga and individuals who are involved in the two projects. BSSP also thanked the UBS and donors of the project.


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FIJI: Final Proof-reading of the Fijian Study Bible

When I came into BSSP 2005 as a volunteer, the Fijian Study Bible Cyclopedic index review was already an ongoing task carried out twice a week by a team of reviewers. How far back the work started and those involved in translating the encyclopedic index, I do not know. But work on this material continues down the years till this year. They were some untranslated pages and some missing pages that had to be translated or retranslated by the late Pastor Mosese Waseiyaroi and retired school teacher Tevita Lala.

Plans to final proofread both the bible text and the study materials that will make this bible a study bible took place at Coral coast Christian camp on the 19th of November to the 22nd, 2019. Thirty five readers from different age groups, denominations, and backgrounds took part in this 3 days & 3 nights of proof reading camp.


We proofread the whole bible text and finished about 84 per cent of the study materials. The 35 participants of this exercise expressed great joy and enthusiasm participating in this part of the process and talked about the how fortunate they were and how beneficial the exercise was to their own understanding and spiritual life.

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NIUE: Church Supports the Digitization of their Bible

The Ekelesia Kelisiano Niue is very supportive of the idea of putting their Bible under the United Bible Societies’ Digital Bible Library program so that the Word of God in the Niue language can be easily available and accessible through the people’s smart phones, tablets, and computers wherever they are located. Once the Bible is made available electronically, this opens the door to the development of further scripture products such as the Scripture-Audio Bible and Bible products in different formats (compact, large print, pulpit-size, etc.).

The digitization process begins with the scanning of the Niue Bible and followed by the proofreading of the scanned Bible by the Church to remove any typo error that might be on the scanned version. This partnership with the Bible Society was reconfirmed by the EKN Executives led by the Church President Rev’d Vili Viviani and Church Secretary Rev’d Holo Tafea after their meeting with the BSSP Translation Advisor Rev’d Apenisa Lewatoro during his visit to Alofi between 8-12 July of this year. Former BSSP General Secretary Mr Solomone Duru has made the last visit to Niue in 2017. Work on the proofreading is ongoing under the supervision of the Deputy President Rev’d Nukanuka Tauevihi and his wife Rev’d Taimond Talagi Tauevihi.

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NAURU: Bible Society Re-establishes Contact with Nauru

A five-day courteous visit to Nauru by the BSSP Translation Advisor at the end of September has given rise to some renewed contacts with the Churches in Nauru. The key objective of this visit was to discuss the proofreading of the scanned Nauru Bible for its entry into the Digital Bible Library with the Nauru Congregational Church Council. This would result in the Nauru Bible to be freely available and accessible through smart phones, tablets, and computers for the community in Nauru and abroad. Through the leadership of the NCC Council led by the Secretary, Rev’d Dennet Roger Mwareow, the Council then reported at the last day of meeting that the Church still feels that it needed more time to process this move by the Bible Society on their Nauru Bible. However, the visit helped to reconnect BSSP back to the local Churches in Nauru. Rev Apenisa Lewatoro has recommended that BSSP continues to work together with NCC Council and other Churches in Nauru in the lead up to BSSP’s future Bible Advocacy and Engagement programs in the Pacific region. The Nauru Congregational Church was very supportive and hospitable to their BSSP guest throughout. A return trip is highly possible once the NCC Council affirms their decision to go ahead with the digitalization of the Nauru Bible. A visit to express support to the newly elected President of Nauru, Mr Lionel Aingimea, was also arranged but took place the following Sunday after Rev Lewatoro had left the republic on the first day of October.
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