New Bible Lands Team announced
During the recent conflict between Gaza and Israel, the Bible Society in Israel, the Palestinian Bible Society and the Arab Israeli Bible Society united to bring Bibles and peace to those affected by the war in a project called Standing in the Gap.
Following the success of this initiative, the Directors of the 3 Bible Societies have formed the Bible Lands Team (BLT).
Although each Bible Society will continue to work autonomously in its own area, they will also seek opportunities to work together. They aim to show that Christian unity exists between believers in this part of the world.
One initiative, already under way, is a daily devotional called My Brother’s Keeper, written by Palestinian, Jewish and Arab believers. It is hoped this will help to bring about reconciliation between believers in these three groups. Once published, the devotional will be distributed through churches and bookshops.
Your gift today will contribute towards this project.
Partner with us to support this programme by giving online.
The miracle of Living Stones
Bible Society’s Living Stones Student Centre is located in the university town of Bir Zeit on the West Bank.
The Centre was established in 1999. In 2000, a war broke out between opposing forces, which lasted for 5 years. In spite of the fighting that was taking place throughout the town, the staff kept the Centre open every night.
The Centre has also experienced arson attacks and one staff member has received death threats. But Bible Society was determined that its vision of creating a safe haven where students could feel accepted would continue.
When students – both Muslim and Christian - come into Living Stones they find a welcoming atmosphere. There is a small Christian library and staff provide a faithful Christian witness to them.
This work is now beginning to bear fruit. One Muslim religious leader said recently, “We thank God for Living Stones and what it is doing for our youth.”
Over the years thousands of Scriptures have been given away. This year the Centre hopes to offer 1,600 Bibles to students at the Centre and through the Christian group at the university. Your gift today will contribute towards this work.
Love thy neighbour
In recent years, Israel has experienced a significant influx of refugees, many of whom are fleeing conflicts in Sudan and Eritrea and who enter the country illegally. They often end up living on the streets and in the parks in south Tel Aviv.
Bible Society is providing Scriptures in their heart languages for these refugees. It is also providing food aid to those in greatest need, in conjunction with the churches. Many of these include single mothers, and children who are alone and without their parents.
Bible Society has opened a small distribution centre in Tel Aviv where the refugees can come to receive guidance and prayer, as well as Scriptures and food parcels.
This year Bible Society will distribute 15,000 Scriptures and 6,000 food parcels. Your gift today will contribute towards this work.
New Bible Society for Galilee Region
In July 2009, representatives from Bible Society and local churches attended the inauguration of the Arab Israeli Bible Society, which will be based in Nazareth and will serve the Galilee region.
Mrs Dina Katanacho was installed as its new Director.
The advent of the Arab Israeli Bible Society represents a new phase for Bible work in the Bible Lands. There are now three offices serving three separate communities: Palestinian, Jewish and Arab Israeli. The latter are of Palestinian heritage, but have had Israeli citizenship since 1948.
Many Arab Israelis live in the Galilee area and Bible Society believes this area could serve as an important platform for developing Arab ministries, which it is not possible to do in surrounding countries.
Bible sites bring Bible to life
In an outreach to women and families, the newly established Arab Israeli Bible Society recently took 37 abused Muslim women and their children on a trip to Jericho and to Qumran.
During the trip, the women were told two Bible stories - the story of Zacchaeus the tax collector (Luke 19:1-10), and the story of Jesus healing the blind beggar (Luke 18:35-43) – both of which took place in Jericho. Then they heard about the love of Jesus and how He is the only pathway to salvation. For many of the women it was the first time they had heard the message of the Gospel.
By the end of the day, some of the women were beginning to open up about their life experiences. One woman began to talk about how she had tried to commit suicide. Another woman began to cry as she realised that there is a God who loves her.
Everyday miracles in Israel
Through its Bible shops in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Bible Society is reaching out to many people.
Bibles are available in 50 languages and movies about the Gospel are shown in many languages at the Media Centre in Jerusalem.
As well, a permanent Bible Exhibit showing the history of the Bible is proving a useful tool to allow people to engage with the Bible.
Take the case of the young ultra Orthodox Jew, who entered the shop in Jerusalem. “Both my religion and yours look equally false to me,” he said to a staff member. “But how can we rely upon the New Testament? Someone may have written it centuries after the real events took place.”
The staff member was able to show him fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, containing text very similar to that found in the Gospel of Mark and dated to before the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD to prove the authenticity of the Bible.
The next morning the man came back and the staff member continued the conversation explaining how nobody can enter into the kingdom of heaven except through the blood of Jesus.
“It’s not about facts and figures. It’s about knowing Him personally,” the staff member said.
“With that,” he replied, “I cannot argue.”
Partner with us to support these programmes by giving online.
These articles are from The Word at Work – Summer 2010.
As a little girl, Mrs Bala wanted to learn to read and write, but owing to her family’s poverty she was unable to. Now, at the age of 75 she has been attending Bible Society literacy classes at the Chourkhuli Church of Bangladesh in Kotalipara in southwestern Bangladesh.