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Outreach and Testimonies

South Sudan

Civil war has been ongoing in South Sudan for many years, however, efforts are being made to influence both sides of the conflict through the provision of God’s Word. The Society was asked by FLAME International to provide 500 New Testaments and Psalms into Juba. Initially, delivery was problematic, but, the RAF and Army stepped up to the plate and took the consignment. A later quantity, a gift from a clergyman’s widow, arrived in a nondescript shipping container not quite full of flat-packed furniture from a well known Swedish company! One helper in S. Sudan said, “Thank you for sending Bibles to Juba. We only had a few Bibles and over seventy chaplains had turned up to distribute them, so it was brilliant when the stacks of the camouflage cover New Testament and Psalms arrived”. The Rev Dr Joseph Bilal, the Episcopal Church Project Director in Juba said, “On behalf of the Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Commission and our Chaplains, we cannot find suitable words to express our gratitude and thanks for this great support. May God bless you”.  A further consignment of Bibles is due for delivery in November 2018.

Ghana

Recently, the Tsakos Shipping Company, supported by the Sailors’ Society, built the St Nicholas prep school in Tema, near Accra, Ghana. Following initial success in providing a place of education for disadvantaged children from the seafaring community of Tema a Sea Cadet Force was instigated to give the children some input beyond a basic education. In order to support the instilling of a Spiritual Resilience within those Cadets’, the Navy & Military Bible Society is preparing a consignment Bibles, New Testaments and other Christian resources, which will be delivered by the Sailors’ Society accompanied by our Advocacy Officer Carey Rivers.

Iraq

On his arrival in Basra, Army Padre Carlos Tome Da Silva sent the following e-mail, “Good to hear from you. I got the two boxes of Bibles, New Testaments and booklets you sent. On the first night we arrived here we were hit by a rocket, one tent was completely destroyed, but, thanks to God, no deaths, only two injured. Nest night a rocket ended three tents away from mine, hitting one tent – again no deaths. Thanks be to God. I go quite often to the hospital to visit lads injured, some from blasts, others from heat related illness and also some due to car accidents. It is amazing that they take the initiative to look for me and ask for Bibles and crosses. Thank you for your prayers. We need them”.

Morale

Lt Col Andy Smith, back home from Iraq with the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment, said how reading our booklet ‘The Moral Compass’ had effectively raised morale in individual soldiers. It was also reported from Basra that a senior Iraqi officer has sat in on an Alpha Course and taken a way a copy of this booklet. Padre John Ellis RAF (Now Chaplain-in-Chief (RAF)) when he returned from Basra, was asked if the troops were reading their Bibles and New Testaments. He replied that for a member of the Armed Forces on deployment to get out their Bible and read it in public no longer invited ridicule.

The Commando Training Centre, Lympstone

Rev Simon Springett, Chaplain at the Royal Marines Commando Training Centre (now NMBS Chairman of Trustees) wrote, “You will be very much encouraged to read this prayer, which was recently placed on the Communion Table in the Lympstone Chapel: DEAR GOD, I’m not really a religious person and this is probably the first time I’ve ever brought myself to a church. I’ve come here to think to myself about what lies ahead of me. I’m only 17 and am going to pass out this Thursday. I have found training really hard, that’s probably because I have the smallest legs in NATO. It’s such a relief to be at the END after 32 weeks of training and such a great feeling to be still with the same Troop. I can’t wait to see all of my family’s faces on Thursday when they see me. But something was bugging me that someone had helped me through training and I didn’t know who. I was packing all my kit when I came across my NMAFBS camouflage covered New Testament & Psalms that the Padre had presented me, so I flicked through it and it made me realise that it was God who made me stand here today. So, I wanted to write a note to God and say thank you for getting me this far. I promise I will be the most professional soldier I can be for the rest of my career as a thank you for getting me through this nightmare. THANK YOU – A Marine of The Kings Squad”.

Family Connections

Before he was sent to the front in the First World War, The Naval & Military Bible Society presented a 1916 Active Service New Testament to the great, great, grand-father of a soldier now serving in Afghanistan. It was passed to the soldier’s great grandfather when he served in the Second World War and then to his grand-father who never spoke of his capture and being held prisoner in Korea but, through it all, it stayed with him and gave him some degree of comfort and hope, despite the horrors he endured. His uncle also served and took the Bible with him to Northern Ireland. This Bible has brought words of comfort, promise
and hope across the globe for nearly a century, shaping the lives of its present owner, deployed in Afghanistan, and his forbears. The soldier now has a new NIV Bible from NMBS, presented to him by his Padre, Robin Richardson, who asked us to give thanks for the soldier’s family and others who have lived out their life in the service of our nation.

16 Air Assualt Brigade

Padre Stuart Richards wrote thanking us for supplying 500 Bibles and 1,000 New Testaments to 16 Air Assault Brigade for their Afghanistan deployment in 2010. ‘From my experience in Iraq I can testify that Bibles are rather more in demand among soldiers than enthusiasts for a secular society might imagine. I would never visit a forward
18 operating base (FOB) without a few Bibles and booklets in hand. Christian literature offered freely at our base chapel needed to be replenished at least once a week.’

Away From Home

Seamen’s Christian Friend Society Port Chaplain in Pembroke Dock, Hugh Michael wrote: “I know you are interested in reports about the literature you send us. I was on board MT Overseas Aquamar at the Chevron refinery. After spending some time with the master, I went to the mess room. I spoke to the crew and handed out a couple of copies of the booklet Away from Home in the Filipino language, Tagalog. The ship was loading refined petroleum products before a voyage to New York. As the booklets were being passed around, all of a sudden there was a hubbub of excited voices as someone recognised a man in a photograph on page 14. It is always encouraging to see the ready acceptance of NMBS literature among the crews. At times ship visiting is ministering to the Lord’s people on board, but more often it is casting bread on many waters. Thanks for the continued supply of Gospel literature, so well produced and containing the message of Life.”