It’s 6 o’clock. You shuffle into the house, not even bothering to take off your shoes before plopping down on the couch. Is it too early to go to sleep? you ask yourself. By Jennica Stevens But then you remember all the things you still have to do, and you groan. There are a million text messages to respond to. You have to prepare lunch for tomorrow. The kids have dance practice. The thought of doing even one more thing—whether it’s cooking, cleaning, or taking the dog for a walk—is just too much. All you want to do is sit and do nothing.
What would make you very happy? Even beaming with great joy? For Catholics in rural areas of Shandong province, it was receiving Bibles donated by overseas believers. In Pingyin, there are 15 churches and 5,000 Catholics. According to Father Wang Jian, who has been shepherding in Pingyin for the past two years, there had been Catholics in this area since the Ming Dynasty in the 15th century. In the early 17th century, the Jesuit missionaries moved to Shandong to share the faith; they later handed over to the Franciscan missionaries who continued with the good work.
“Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.” John 6:68 Is there a particular Bible verse that has had a huge impact on your life? For Bible Society President, Cardinal John Dew, it was something Jesus said to Peter in John 6 that had a profound impact on him. Watch the video to hear Cardinal Dew talking about the impact of this passage and the Scriptures have had on his life.
Many Chinese Christians don’t have a Bible and can’t afford one. Every year, Bible Society’s around the world raise funds to distribute Bibles throughout China. This is Liu’s story. In Oct 2015, the Bible Society China Partnership met Liu Fengqing, a Catholic from Shandong Province. Liu bought Bibles to bless those who couldn’t afford them. Three years later, a generous donor decided to donate Bibles through the Bible Society’s China Partnership to Liu’s home church after reading about her story. Upon receiving the 112 Catholic Bibles, Liu’s priest commissioned her to distribute them to the needy. The Bible Society team visited Liu again in November 2018. By then she had distributed more than 60 Bibles to needy families – many of who were elderly, sick or disabled. They are all her friends whom she has come to know through her home visit ministry. Together with a few volunteers, she has been visiting more than 10 villages for over 10 years. Liu and her team clean up homes and buy food for needy families. Some of them do not have family members to take care of them. Through her acts of service, some of those she ministered to have come to accept the Catholic faith. One of the recipients of a new Bible is 39 year-old Zhang Pengpeng. Zhang has suffered from rheumatism since he was 18. He is paralysed, unable to move his legs or his left arm. Zhang lives with his elderly parents who are poor. Together, they had a New Testament, but not a full Bible. This is their first. Zhang reads the Bible every day. He says that his overall impression of the Bible is God’s message to care for the poor. Despite his condition, Zhang always smiles. He is so thankful to Liu for the Bible.
Daily reading of Scripture is an important part of the Christian faith journey. So why is it so difficult? Maybe it’s because we are so consumed by daily life – the busy-ness of business, family, church and myriad of other things. Maybe it’s because we get distracted by TV, phones, gaming, shopping or eating? Maybe it’s because we’d simply rather do something else. In fact all of these are true. Bible Society’s research shows that these three things are the biggest barrier to Bible reading; “I’m too busy”, “I get distracted by other things,” and “It’s not a priority for me”. If you’re nodding your head when you read this, know that you’re not alone! But committing to a daily pattern of reading the Bible, as hard as that can be, can be one of the most rewarding and fruitful things you will ever do. Check out the video of Catholic leaders sharing why daily Scripture reflection is so important to them.
Bible Society has just launched its brand new comprehensive small groups resource – LYFE. And it’s FREE! Whether your group meets at a café, club, church or in your home, Bible Society has just launched a brilliant new small group Bible resource that is perfect for digging deeper into the Bible with your friends. It’s called LYFE, and is designed to help groups connect the ancient writings of Scripture to life in 21st century New Zealand. LYFE is a 36 session Bible study resource based around six key spiritual formation themes including prayer, justice and the Holy Spirit. Each study features a short video of a New Zealand Christian leader sharing their thoughts on the topic.
Bible Society New Zealand has just given 5,000 specially designed Bibles to the chaplaincy service of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF). For the first time ever, the Bibles were individually tailored to members of New Zealand’s Airforce, Navy and Army. Each of the three different editions of the NZDF Bible includes messages from the Governor General and the Principal Defence Force Chaplain Ants Hawes, along with NZDF photographs, the National Anthem and the relevant prayer for each of the Forces. The majority of the Bibles will be given to new NZDF recruits who can choose to attest on the Bible at their swearing in ceremony. “They are then asked if they would like to keep the Bible,” Ants Hawes says.