International Update Summer 2013

This church in China has five services each weekend and still does not have enough room for parishioners.” Photo by Andrew Hood.

Training Tomorrow's Church

In China, many churches lack enough trained staff to meet the rapid growth of Christianity. On Sunday mornings, Pastor Xiaoli Liu, who serves at a church in Nanjing, China, is so busy that that there's not a spare moment to sit down. The church where Pastor Liu serves has five services each weekend, but the congregation still spills over from the sanctuary into an adjacent overflow building.

That's why American Bible Society works with United Bible Societies China Partnership to support local churches in equipping pastors and lay leaders to meet the rapid growth of the church. By supporting the local church to provide training and materials to current and future pastors, ABS is investing in the future of the church in China.

Sending Scripture to Siberia

The Bible Society of Russia has worked with churches and ministry organizations to distribute more than 18,000 Bibles and Scripture resources to residents in Siberia at affordable costs. In Siberia, many people face economic instability, crime, a harsh climate and underdeveloped infrastructure.

Siberian residents are largely secular, but some ethnic groups practice indigenous religions. This Bible distribution project, which receives support from American Bible Society, brings the life-changing message of the Gospel to people who sorely need to hear it.

Proclaiming the Words of Life

In Ethiopia, 120 children and teenagers in a small orphanage regularly gather to listen to God's Word spoken aloud through a Proclaimer™, a small black box that contains an audio recording of the Bible. The listening group in the orphanage is part of a larger Faith Comes By Hearing™ project supported by American Bible Society. The program brings God's Word to hundreds of people throughout Ethiopia in their own heart language. “I learned about God here,” said Firegenet, one of the orphans in the listening group. “My life has changed through knowing Jesus,” she added.

No More Violence

The Haitian Bible Society (HBS) is implementing a Scripture-based campaign to stop domestic violence in Haiti. Through trainings with church leaders, educational sessions for school students and family workshops, HBS plans to help families recognize and prevent domestic violence. So far, more than 3,500 men and women are participating in a Bible study on domestic violence.

The program has already made a lasting change in the life of 13-year-old Gabbie*, who was sexually abused by a man when she was living in a tent city after the 2010 earthquake. When Gabbie told her story to a church leader who had received training through the HBS domestic violence program, the leader gave Gabbie a Stop the Violence booklet and connected her with a social worker.

Gabbie explains that the book helped her understand how to respond to her experience. “If I don't talk and keep it to myself, there is no way to stop the violence,” Gabbie said. “I don't have to be ashamed.”

“The fact that people are open and want to talk is already important,” explained HBS administrator and project manager Mirette St. Louis. “Before this project, people were very afraid to talk about violence from a husband, partner, mother or another family member. With this project, they are finding a space to tell their problem to someone.”

*Name has been changed.

Hope and Healing for Children with Cancer

In Nicaragua, the poorest country in Central America, leukemia is a leading cause of death for children ages 10 to 19. The Bible Society of Nicaragua worked with the only pediatric hospital in the country to serve patients and their families with Scripture, spiritual care, food and transportation. The project targeted 42,390 people, but reached more than 102,000 beneficiaries.

Mariluz Suarez, mother of 4-year-old Keyrin, explained that she could have never imagined or prepared for her daughter's battle with cancer. “Despite everything we have gone through in the hospital, we have been blessed through your project,” Suarez told Bible Society staff. “I thank each and every one of you for your visits, prayers and the Bible that you gave my daughter. You all do an important job by sharing with us the Word of God. I have learned many Bible stories that have given me strength and encouragement,” she said.

417 Texts and Counting
Every Tribe Every Nation

The largest Bible agencies in the world have combined efforts to create the Digital Bible Library (DBL), a centralized repository of Bible texts that will significantly speed the translation and distribution of Scripture around the world. United Bible Societies/American Bible Society, Wycliffe and Biblica created the DBL as part of the Every Tribe Every Nation® project. Currently, these organizations have uploaded 417 texts and project that 1,050 texts will be available by 2015. The DBL is a critical step toward providing Scripture to the 1.2 billion people who are still waiting to receive the Bible in their own heart language.

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