Strategic Bibles Ministry

63-Year Prayer Answered!


Saw Kho Phaw

63-Year Prayer Answered!

A man in Myanmar receives his first Bible

Dear Friends,

I received an email from one of our Heaven’s Family partners in Myanmar that I think will encourage you as it did me. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16)…words that couldn’t be more true for this man from the Karen tribe.

My name is Mr. Saw Kho Phaw and I am 81 years old. I was born…to a devout Buddhist family. When I was 12 years old my parents were killed by the Burmese Army, and I was devastated. I didn’t know how to go forward in life. But I was invited by a Karen pastor to stay with his family, and so I did.

When I was 18 years old (in 1952) I accepted Christ. From that time I am very happy and I have joy in Christ. I always attended church services…but in our church there were no Bibles. Only the pastor had a Bible. I had never touched a Bible, because it’s really precious and I thought that only pastors could buy and own a Bible. So I asked the pastor, “When I get old can I own a Bible?” The pastor said, “Even now you can buy and own it if you have money.” From that time I earnestly prayed to God to get my own Bible. So when I had enough money I tried to buy a Bible, but there were no Bibles for sale. Since then I have been continually praying for a Bible, but I was never able to own one.

After 63 years of continuing to pray for a Bible, God answered my prayer through you…last November! I tried to give money for the Bible, but I was told, “It is free.” I really thank you for this free Karen Bible with hymnal. God never forgot my prayer.

Thank you for participating in this ministry!

Blessings,

Peter Wray
Director, Strategic Bibles Ministry

I am the First One…


Sita receiving her very own Bible from Heaven’s Family staff member Stephen Servant

I am the First One…

Getting Bibles into the hands of those who’ve never owned the Word of God before

Dear Friends,

Like me, you’ve probably found that one of the best ways to know God better is by reading your Bible in private. A special woman named Sita (pictured above), expressed her gratitude to Heaven’s Family—and especially to you who’ve given to the Strategic Bibles Ministry—after receiving her own Bible:

I live in a village called Wandra in North India. I was brought up in a Hindu family and our family were very devoted. Two years after my marriage, I did not know what happened to me and I was possessed with some evil spirits. I used to get angry and…was completely controlled by the spirit. My family life was very much disturbed and my husband took me to some temples and other religious places where they did some witchcraft over me. But I was going through same situation.

Later one of my relatives told my husband about the pastor who lives about 10 kilometers away from my village who pray for the people. So we went there. The Pastor shared us about Jesus and prayed over me. All the evil spirits manifested and I was completely delivered. Jesus gave me a new life. Now I and my husband believe in Jesus and started coming to the church. I really wanted to know more about Jesus who healed me and transformed my life. This was the first time we heard about this God. We feel so joy and peace in our family.

Today I got this Bible. I am very much happy to have this Bible. I am the first one who receives this Bible in my village. I am very much excited to have this gift and I will read it every day. Thank you.

Thank you for your love and compassion for Sita and others like her who do not have access to a Bible. Your gifts really are changing lives for Jesus Christ!

Blessings,

Peter Wray
Director, Strategic Bibles Ministry

In My Words

A video report of how the Strategic Bibles Ministry served the Lord, the “least of these,” and you in 2015

Dear Friends,

In January, each of Heaven’s Family’s 21 Focused Ministry Directors gave a short, 10-minute presentation about their accomplishments in 2015 and their upcoming goals for 2016. We’re excited about what the Lord has done, and what He has in store for the remainder of this year!

You can watch my short 2015 progress report at this link: https://youtu.be/uR9Xkf-ua6M

I hope and pray you’re encouraged by my report. I greatly value your partnership with the Strategic Bibles Ministry!

Thank you,

Peter Wray
Director, Strategic Bibles Ministry

Better than English?


Sister Monica Wabwire, at left, with her sister and brothers in the Lord

Better than English?

When the local language trumps lingua franca

Dear Friends,

I’m excited to announce that members of a house church in Uganda are now reading their own Bibles in their native language—thanks to your gifts to the Strategic Bibles Ministry. The following correspondence, which I received from a Heaven’s Family partner who distributed the Bibles on our behalf, reveals one sister’s gratitude:

Thank you Pastor Kenneth for giving me this Bible in my language. I did not study well to the level of understanding Bibles that are written in English. All my life of salvation I had entirely depended on what I hear others tell me about the Word of God. A preacher preaches in English as another one translates.

I attended a seminar which was to last for 3 days but because I could not understand English yet and there was no translator, I decided to come back home…. Now that the Bible has been translated in our language and are being supplied to us including the church leaders, we do hope that all pastors will now preach in the language that we all understand well to enable us understand what God expects of us.

This Bible is a great blessing to me and all of us in my family. The words are big enough to be read. Each evening after work during my resting time after working in the garden, I get my Bible and start to read and at most cases with my entire family of 7 people. I have since then seen 2 of my children committing their lives to Christ. Thank you Pastor Kenneth. I will continue to read till I get to know well the ways of God

— Sister Monica Wabwire, Nakivamba House Church


Ugandan believers discovering the truth from their own language Bibles

Your support for this ministry provides immeasurable blessing to other believers. Thank you!

Blessings,

Peter Wray
Director, Strategic Bibles Ministry


Iraqi Christian refugees

Two Kinds of Bread for Refugees

Meeting the pressing needs of Iraqi Christians fleeing ISIS

Dear Friends,

Just over a year ago, Qaraqosh was home to almost 60,000 people and Iraq’s largest Christian population. But when ISIS stormed through the city’s defensive line, a mass exodus began. Fearful, many fled during the night with only the clothes on their backs. Their entire lives were left behind in Qaraqosh, and into the hands of ISIS.

Now these people live in cramped, uncomfortable conditions. Every dwelling holds 3 to 4 families—men, women, and children spilling into every room. Recent rains and the winter season have made their small living quarters cold, damp and littered with mud-caked shoes and wet clothes. To make matters worse, many of the adults are unable to find jobs to provide for their families. They have literally been at the mercy of strangers for food, supplies—everything.

Our partners in the region have been distributing critical aid and supplies to this community. “If it weren’t for you we’d have died,” a refugee named Katcho told one of our workers. “We’d have starved. You fed us. You kept us alive,” he added.

But these believers have another need just as significant as food or water—the need for the Word of God. When the Christians fled Qaraqosh, they had to leave their Bibles behind, too. Imagine not being able to read God’s promises during such times.

Thanks to your kind donations, we provided 300 Arabic-language Bibles to these Christian brothers and sisters in October.


Children often respond to the gospel sooner than their parents

Thank you for the blessing of your partnership in the work of the Strategic Bibles Ministry.

Grateful,

Peter Wray
Director, Strategic Bibles Ministry


Marry Hkaung

“I Never Thought It Would Happen”

What would a 13-year-old girl from Myanmar want for Christmas?

Dear Friends,

Marry Hkaung lives in the predominantly Buddhist nation of Myanmar among other Christians who have been displaced by ongoing conflicts between the government and rebel tribes. Until recently, her only access to God’s Word was a Bible printed in a language she barely understands. But through a recent project supported by Heaven’s Family, Marry has received her own copy of a Bible in her native tongue.

Marry writes (through our translator)…

My name is Miss Marry Hkaung and I am 13 years old. I was born into an unequally yoked family. All our family members except my father are Christians. We are still praying for my father. He is a Buddhist. When my father and mother are arguing with each other we are very sad. They argue because of misunderstandings between their two different religions.

I got saved because of my mother’s teaching about Jesus. After I was born again my life was changed and my selfishness was driven away. I used to be afraid of the dark, but after accepting Christ that fear left. Also, my mother is blessed of God, because when we were sick my mother always prayed for us. Then we recovered. This is the blessing of God for our family.

I am really happy to get the Bible freely in our language. I never thought it would happen. I have a Jingpaw Bible, but I cannot understand it fully. But this Bible is so clear and easy to understand. I hope that God will bless me to grow in the knowledge of Christ and His grace through reading this Bible. Thank you.

Marry’s testimony is typical of those I’ve received in 2015, all made possible by generous contributions to Heaven’s Family’s Strategic Bibles Ministry.

Thank you for joining me as together we communicate life and “life abundantly” through the Scriptures to many persecuted Christians like Marry.

Blessings,

Peter Wray
Director, Strategic Bibles Ministry

Selling Bibles to Muslims


Nafees, at right, transacting a Bible deal

Selling Bibles to Muslims

Using marketplace strategies to spread the gospel

Dear Friends,

Nafees is an evangelist in Punjab, Pakistan. One of the ways he reaches out to Muslims is by selling the Muslim Outreach Bible (a New Testament). Bibles are typically destroyed by zealous Muslims, but this version is “camouflaged” with a gold-leafed cover and flowery text to resemble Islamic holy books, without compromising the truth.

Here is a testimony I received from Nafees…

At the start and end of every school year, different book selling companies and local book stores organize a book fair for the students and book readers. The book fair takes place in the Public Park and lasts for four days. In this fair all kind of school and college textbooks, cultural books, folk books, history books and religious books can be found.

I went to the book fair to see if I could sell some [Muslim Outreach] Bibles. (We cannot give them away for free, because it makes the Muslims think it has no value, and they doubt its authenticity.) I stopped at one book stall that was selling Islamic books. As I was looking at the books, the bookstall keeper asked if I needed any help. I asked him if he had the Injil Sharif of Isa [“New Testament of Jesus,” the name of the Bibles I sell]. He said; “No we don’t have it,” but his employee who was helping him said that yesterday there was another customer asking for it. I asked them if they would be willing to sell the Injil Sharif if I supplied them with some copies, and they said, “Yes we will!”

The next day [after I gave them copies to sell] I visited them, and they told me they had sold 5 copies of the book, and now they needed 10 more! I asked them who bought these books, and they told me some students and teachers.


Nafees’s face is pixilated to protect his identity

Nafees stamps his contact information inside the cover of each Bible he sells. We are praying now that the students and teachers will contact him so that he can share with them more about Jesus!

Thanks for your gifts to the Strategic Bibles Ministry that made this outreach possible.

Blessings,

Peter Wray
Director, Strategic Bibles Ministry

Somu’s Salvation


Somu receives baptism

Somu’s Salvation

How you changed a life in India

Dear Friends,

I recently received the following testimony from Somu, a young man from a Hindu family. His life was forever changed after receiving a copy of the Scriptures thanks to gifts to the Strategic Bibles Ministry.

I never knew about Jesus until recently. My very close friend Rajeev gave me a Bible and told me, “This book changed my entire life and it will surely change you too.”

As we are from a rural village in Haryana state, North India, we never had Christian people in our place. It was my first time learning about Raveev and his new faith. So with much anxiety I started reading from the middle of the book (Psalms) and I felt so good. Then my friend led me to read from Matthew. As I was reading about Jesus it began to touch my heart and I developed a love and affection to Jesus. Moreover I felt so sad when I read about the crucifixion.

Rejeev took me along with him to the village church and introduced me to the pastor there. He explained me well why Jesus died on the cross. Then I kept on reading the book and it began to speak to me every day. My life too changed. Last month I gave my life to Jesus and thank God I took baptism last week. I am so happy that I found the true God.

Thanks for your partnership in the Great Commission!

Blessings

Peter Wray
Director, Strategic Bibles Ministry

Feet of Gold


Javier handing a New Testament to a young street girl from the town of Oaxaca. She now lives at a missional, agricultural community where they live out the book of Acts, “having all things in common,” started by HF-missionaries Jason and Nicole Fitzpatrick.

Feet of Gold

How a transformed sinner in Mexico is transforming the lives of many others with the Word of God

Dear Friends,

Can you remember when you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior? I was a high school sophomore at a retreat in Oglebay Park, West Virginia. My Young Life leader opened the Word of God to me in a way no one had before. To him I am forever grateful.

Javier Galindo Salgado, a Heaven’s Family-supported national missionary, evangelizes and disciples in some of the most remote, extremely poor areas of Mexico. Like my Young Life leader of yore, he is “bringing good news,” to many spiritually impoverished. Himself radically delivered from a lifestyle of womanizing and wife abuse to one of serving the Lord Jesus Christ, Javier now often walks 7-8 hours a day—sometimes in scorching heat or torrential rain—to evangelize and disciple new believers.

This man of God is firmly convinced of the need to get Bibles into the hands of new believers. In his own words he states, “Hearing a good testimony or sermon is very good and edifying, but nothing compares to being able to study the Scripture for one’s self. Reading and going over the Bible enables one to analyze and see for one’s self that it is necessary to change and live accordingly. To think and act.”

Javier’s ministry exemplifies Heaven’s Family’s efforts to distribute Bibles: We don’t just throw a bunch of Bibles at the “wall” of the world and hope “some stick,” but instead put them into the hands of missionaries who teach believers how to use and value the Word of God. Discipleship like this is possible because of your generous contributions to the Bibles for Believers Fund. Thank you!

Isaiah says that those who bring the Good News have “beautiful feet” (Is 52:7). So I can’t help thinking that, from Heaven’s point of view, Javier has some pretty awesome-looking feet—maybe they look like gold!

Blessings,

Peter Wray
Director, Bibles for Believers Fund

Truth Comes in Telegu, Too


Prasanna (center, in red), with grateful leprosy patients who just received their own Bibles, thanks to Heaven’s Family

Truth Comes in Telegu, Too

Heaven’s Family’s leprosy ministry creates hungry hearts

Dear Friend,

I just want to take a moment to let you know that your compassionate gifts to the Bibles for Believers Fund have recently provided Bibles for leprosy victims in Hyderabad, India.

Carole Collins, who directs the Leprosy Ministry Fund, told me a few months ago about a request she received from 2 women, Sarah and her mother Prasanna (both wound-care nurses caring for those afflicted with leprosy), for Bibles in the Telegu language to give to their patients. These women travel throughout the Hyderabad area treating the terrible wounds common to leprosy patients, making rounds to 17 communities each week.

As Sarah and Prasanna care for patient wounds they also distribute food and share God’s Word with them. Over time this has created a hunger to hear more, and requests for their own copies of the Bible.


Carole with several children—all of whom have sponsors that enable them to attend school—happy to have their own Bibles

Bibles have also been distributed to the children of parents who have leprosy. Free from leprosy themselves, these children face ostracism due to social stigmas. Heaven’s Family is providing Christian education sponsorships for an increasing number of these children, and the Bibles help reinforce what they’re learning in the classroom.

Thank you for providing “food” for these hungry hearts, both young and old!

Blessings,

Peter Wray
Director, Bibles for Believers Fund

“What Did He Say?”


Visual presentations are effectively used in some parts of the world to bridge language barriers with children, such as here in Southeast Asia, as well as with illiterate adults

“What Did He Say?”

Communicating the gospel in an understanding way

Dear Friends,

How we communicate the Scriptures to believers and unbelievers is as important as providing Scriptures to them. Many “tried and true” efforts used to effectively spread the gospel in Western nations, for example, do not work elsewhere in the world. Also, the gospel is easily rejected if it is not spoken in a dialect that the local people can understand clearly.

In North Korea, where access to the Scriptures is difficult and dangerous, many believers still use Bibles written in a 60-year-old, pre-Korean-War dialect that was heavy influenced by Japanese and Chinese languages. That’s almost 2 generations of North Koreans today that have never read or spoken that obsolete version of the language. The new Saenuri Bible, written in pure Korean, is gradually making its way into the country—and the underground church is so grateful because they now understand many more passages of Scripture.

A similar experience is occurring in Iran with their New Millennium version of the Bible. And in Pakistan and Afghanistan, a new Muslim Outreach Bible, which uses more formal and flowery text like the Koran, is effectively communicating the gospel without compromise.


A New Millennium Bible is presented to wife of Iranian martyr

As we passionately seek to communicate the gospel, many more barriers will come down. Thank you so much for helping to tear them down, and for providing the Bibles that will transform the hearts of people—and their cultures—around the world.

Blessings,

Peter Wray
Director, Bibles for Believers Fund

A Doomed Mission


North Korean followers of Jesus give “digging into the Word” a whole new meaning because they must bury their Bibles when not in use to keep authorities from finding them

A Doomed Mission

Tortured and imprisoned for owning an iPad?

Dear Friends,

The cold of the prison cell quickly penetrated Joseph’s thin clothes, chilling him to the bone. His body ached from the beating he had just received. His internal organs felt deeply bruised and his knee was broken—probably beyond repair. He wondered if this was the end of his life.

Joseph had been arrested for possession of a digital media player. Digital devices such as tablets or smart phones are illegal to own for the average citizen, so why would Joseph own one? A better question might be, Why was Joseph beaten to within an inch of his life for owning one? Answer: Because North Korean border officials found a digital copy of the Bible and other Christian resources on his device.

Joseph had acquired the media player during a covert visit to a Heaven’s Family-supported safe house in neighboring China. A joint project between the Bibles for Believers Fund and the North Korean Christians Fund provides emergency aid, discipleship, and digital Bibles to North Korea believers who seek temporary refuge at the safe house before risking the return back across the closed borders of their country to help bring food and other vital supplies to their families and other believers.

Joseph knew he risked his life by taking the media player back inside North Korea, but he also knew that many in his underground church network desperately needed the hope it contained. On the floor of the prison cell, he had questioned his actions. But with each thought of doubt, the Holy Spirit brought reassurance that his sacrifice was not in vain.

Great News is that, through God’s incredible provision, partners within North Korea were able to secure Joseph’s release from a prison sentence that likely, over time, would have ended in his death. Although badly shaken, he is now recovering and wants us to know that he remains firm in his faith.

And More Great News is that the Digital Bible Project has infiltrated the closed North Korean borders with God’s word though the hands of others besides Joseph. Even now, many underground churches are secretly using these incredible tools to grow in their faith—despite threats of severe persecution. Thank you for supporting the Bibles for Believers Fund. You are sending light where it is needed most!

Blessings,

Peter Wray
Director, Bibles for Believers Fund