Outreach and Testimonies
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.
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.
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”.
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”.
16 Air Assualt Brigade
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.’