The Bible Society of Malawi held its Annual General Meeting on 27 May 2016. Forty-one members of Bible Society attended the meeting which took place at Monarchy Square in Blantyre.
The AGM received the Audited Accounts from the Auditors (Graham Carr), the Chairman’s Report and the Executive Director’s Annual Report.
Presenting his report, the Chairman, Mr. Dasford Kamkwamba said that the year 2015 was a very difficult year for Malawi because of devastating floods which brought food shortages and the Malawi Kwacha lost value. This made prices of imported products to go up and the Bible Society was affected by these price increases resulting in rising operating costs.
The Chairman also reported to the members the support from received the British and Foreign Bible Societies in the Stepping Stone Project where a number of BSM projects will be funded by BFBS for the next five years (up to 2020).
On his part, the Mr Clapperton Mayuni, the Executive Director, outlined the projects and
Pastor Clive Mwalwanda
translation programs being undertaken. The Society is keen to reach out to the youth and has therefore recruited a Youth Officer to implement the youth programs.
As for translation, the translation of Ellomwe Bible is now at 84% and is expected to completed in 2017. The Lambya New Testament was launched on 23 April 2016 and the Old Testament work is still in progress. The Society hopes to publish the New Testament of the Chichewa Study Bible by the end of 2016.
Mrs Lovely Kamanga
“We shall remain thankful in 2016,” said Mr Mayuni, “For the great things the Lord does through us, with us, for us and indeed even in spite of us.”
The meeting announced the retirement from the BSM Board of Pastor Clive Mwalwanda and Mrs Lovely Kamanga who have served the board for three terms (9 years) and also the election of Dr James Kumwenda and Mr Garry Jumbe as new board members.
The AGM also witnessed the launch of the new Bible Society of Malawi Website which has been developed under the UBS Global Digital Project. The new website will help improve BSM’s online presence and be able to respond to a changing world, now and in the future.
Buku Lopatulika ndilo Mau a Mulungu is the first Bible to be translated among all Malawian languages. The translation work of this Bible took over 20 years, from about 1900 to 1922. The translation work was done at a place called Kaso, Mvera in Dowa District. This work was done by missionaries from Dutch Reformed Church Mission and Church of Scotland Mission, with the help of some Malawians.
Small revisions were done in 1936 and in 1966 to include cross references and section headings. Since then, no major revision was carried out.
Some of the Chichewa words and terms used when the translation was first done, are very old and difficult to be understood by most Chichewa readers and speakers today. For this reason, it was imperative that a revision be made to make Buku Lopatulika more understood by its users.
The revision work was enormous and took about two years to be completed. The revision included the following:
Adopting the current orthography rules, eg. Pfuko=fuko; bvuto=vuto; ciyambi=chiyambi
Consistency in writing and translation of words and key-terms has been improved. Eg. Sanctuary, linen
Archaic words have been replaced with current words, eg makumbi=makonde, likole=chipinda; cholowera, chitole, maguta=makoma
Ambiguous translations have been improved, eg. James 2:1
English (RSV):My brethren, show no partiality as you hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ
Buku Lopatulika:Abale anga, musakhale nacho chikhulupiriro cha Ambuye wathu Yesu Kristu
Revised Buku Lopatulika:Abale anga, pakuti muli nacho chikhulupiriro cha Ambuye wathu Yesu Khristu
Textual problems have been explained, eg Mat. 17:21; Mrk 7:16
Large paragraphs/sections have been split into shorter sections eg. Mat. 18:15 & 18:21
Words that have changed meaning have been replaced, eg. Mat.4:5
Buku Lopatulika – namuika Iye pamwamba pa chimbudzi cha Kachisi
Revised Buku Lopatulika – namuika Iye pamwamba penipeni pa Kachisi
Wordlist (glossary) to explain difficult terms has been added
Table of weights has been added to understand measurements
Parallel references have been added to refer to other passages with the same story
Book Introductions have been added to each book to explain the theme and outline of the book
Apostle Timothy Khoviwa handing over the Ciyawo Audio Bible to Mr Herbert Momba
On 20th February, 2016, the Bible Society in conjunction with Davar Partnership International, launched the Yawo Audio Bible in Mangochi. 40 Church leaders and missionaries working in Mangochi attended the launch which was graced by the Presidential Advisor to the president on Religious Affairs, Apostle Timothy Khoviwa.
Mr Johan Louw who represented Davar Partnership International from South Africa, outlined the process taken to arrive at the recording of Yawo Bible. Davar Partnership has trained two Malawians who will undertake the implementation of the use of the audio Bible in Malawi.
On 21st February, the launch for Chichewa – Buku Lopatulika Audio Bible took place at Fishers, Trainers and Senders (FTS) facility in Lilongwe. Thirty-
five church and parachurch organization leaders were attended the event, and the Board Chairman of Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) Rev. Dr. Chatha Msangaambe, was in attendance as guest of honour.
Speakers at the two events emphasized the importance of God’s Word, that those who do not know how to read, may have the opportunity of listening to the Word of God.
Bike for Bibles (B4B) is an annual event that brings cycling enthusiasts of all ages and walks of life together for a time of fellowship on the road – with one purpose in mind – to help raise funds for Bible distribution and translation projects of the Canadian Bible Society.
In 1984, Australian businessman Bob Forrest was invited by his son and his friend to drive a support car for them as they rode from Sydney to Melbourne. It occurred to Bob that something like this could be used as a fundraising project. He phoned the Bible Society office and found out about a project involving literacy development in India which needed $2,000. Bob, who hadn’t ridden a bicycle in 35 years, decided he would rather cycle than sit in the car. He found someone else to do that. The three riders succeeded in their trip and in raising the necessary funds.
Word spread and the following year six riders raised $10,000. In 1986, 42 cyclists rode 2,700 kilometres from Adelaide to Brisbane and raised $55,000. Bike for Bibles was born. The wheels kept on turning; in 1989, 560 cyclists raised $565,000 for Bible distribution in Africa.
In 1991, Bob Forrest was travelling through Canada when he was introduced to Darrell Young, Minister of Youth at First Alliance Church in Calgary. Darrell was just about to do a solo ride from Calgary to the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. Bob introduced Darrell to Martyn Thomas, Secretary for the Southern Alberta District of the Canadian Bible Society. Darrell was not able to arrange his trip as a fund-raiser but had plenty of time out on the highway to imagine what a future Bike for Bibles Canada ride would be like. When Darrell was back in Calgary, he and Martyn began working together, planning and pulling people into a steering committee.
The first ride took place on August 11th – 20th 1992. The trip began in Revelstoke and ended at Golden, BC. On the way, the team visited Nakusp, Kaslo, Creston, Cranbrook, Kimberley and Invermere. A day of white-water rafting on the Kicking Horse River was thrown in for more excitement.
Our Canadian cyclists experienced the privilege of having Bob Forrest come, along with three other cyclists, one roadie and two film crew members from the Land Down Under. In all, the team was able to raise over $17,000 for Bible distribution in Russia and the Ukraine.
Today, Bike for Bibles is a global event attracting thousands of riders, all with a vision to change the world one person at a time. Join us this year in 1-day, 2-day or even week-long rides all across Canada. Cyclists raise funds to bring God’s word to people of all ages, walks of life, and denominations, while getting fit, having fun and enjoying fellowship.
As public debate rages about how to deal with the thousands of refugees trying to enter Europe each year, many of them drowning in the attempt, the Austrian Bible Society and its partners have been working for years to help care for those who end up in Austria.
“The situation of these people saddens me deeply,” says Father Albert Pongo, who regularly visits refugees in detention centres and prisons. He is originally from Ghana and gives the refugees Bibles in their own languages, supplied by the Bible Society.
“I know from personal experience how hard it is to leave your own country, how much energy and effort it takes. Those who do manage to arrive often have to go back to their home country and face the stigma of failure.
“If I could, I would give them the necessary documents, so that they can stay here in Austria. But I can’t. What I can do is to listen to them and to talk to them about their lives and their problems. We read and discuss the Bible together.”
Father Pongo helps the refugees, some of whom aren’t familiar with the Bible, read passages that comfort and strengthen them.
The story of Job, for instance, who lost all his wealth but kept his faith. When the detainees read about him, they see that everything will end well.
“Often we read the psalms together,” he comments. “Psalm 121, for instance, encourages many people. Some people read the whole Bible by themselves, but for others I recommend passages I find very helpful myself. The story of Job, for instance, who lost all his wealth but kept his faith. When the detainees read about him, they see that everything will end well.”
Father Pongo says that the refugees greatly value the Bibles they are given.
“I can see how excited they are when they get their Bible,” he smiles. “They immediately start to flip through and read. I am very happy that the Bible Society provides these Bibles.
“I’d like to ask all supporters of Bible work to pray for all refugees. We all need to do what we can to raise awareness of their situation and to offer as much support as we can.”
The Austrian Bible Society provides thousands of Scriptures in many different languages for free distribution among refugees each year. Please pray for funding for this vital work.
Solomon Islands is a country of great linguistic diversity but with little or no literature available in many of its 70 living languages. That’s why adults and children alike are delighted at the arrival of the first Bible Comics in 14 languages.The comics, which tell the story of Abraham, are available in the lingua franca, Pijin, spoken by around 332,000 Solomon Islanders, as well as in Arosi, Bilua, Bughotu, Cheke Holo, Gela, Gao, Kwaio, Lengo, Roviana, Sa’a, Simbo, Ulawa and Zabana.
“It has been wonderful to see children of different languages enjoying the comics,” notes Ledua Turaganivalu of the Bible Society in the South Pacific. “They told our team that although they thought their language was important, they couldn’t read it very well because they’ve had nothing to practise with. These comics will help them get familiar with the written form of their own languages.
Not just children
“And it’s not just children who are happy with the comics – the adults in the villages are also enjoying them. It is helping them to realise that God loves them and that their language is important.”
The comics are being distributed on various different islands by churches and other partners. SIL has been actively involved in distributing the comics alongside relief materials in the wake ofthe worst flooding in the country’s history in April. Twenty-two people died, and the homes and livelihoods of around 50,000 were destroyed. Thousands of people are still in emergency shelters.
“Arosi was very badly affected, so we sent rice and supplies in the first week after the floods hit,” notes Debbie Conwell of SIL. “We included a batch of Bible Comics in the Arosi language. Many other areas, including Bilua and Gao have also been very badly affected and there is going to be a food shortage for some time.”
Please pray for the people of Solomon Islands as they recover from the flooding, and that these Bible Comics will bless them.
The Bible Comics were translated and published as a joint project by the Bible Society in the South Pacific, the Bible Translation and Literacy Partnership and the Solomon Island Translation Advisory Group.
Say the word ‘Caribbean’ and many people think of wide sandy beaches, palm trees and holidays – a kind of paradise. But for a growing number of women there, life is anything but paradise, blighted by the violence they experience at home. That’s why Bible Societies in the region are using the Bible to tackle this increasing scourge, with encouraging results.
*Mary had been trapped in a violent relationship for many years, with her partner’s attacks landing her in hospital several times. She was desperate for help but had no idea what to do. When the Bible Society began equipping churches to assist victims of domestic violence, Mary finally received the help she needed and is starting to turn her life around.
“If only this help had been available earlier, I wouldn’t have spent so many years of my life being victimised,” she says wistfully.
Mary lives in Jamaica but her story is chillingly common across the Caribbean. Although it’s hard to get accurate statistics for each country, the incidence of domestic violence in the region is significant and growing: around 33% of women in Jamaica and27% of women in Barbados, for instance, are victims of some form of domestic violence. It accounts for a large percentage of the region’s crime statistics, too – about 25% of all murders are committed in the home. Nearly all the victims are women.
As Christians we must stand up and let every man, woman and child know that God condemns violence.
“The rise in violence against women seems unstoppable, despite the efforts of many women’s organisations,” comments Erny Van Axel of the Suriname Bible Society. “As Christians we must stand up and let every man, woman and child know that God condemns violence. We need to help them know what the Bible says – that all people are made in God’s image and have the right to be treated with love, respect and dignity.”
This is what Bible Societies across the Caribbean have started doing in recent years, with a particular focus on equipping churches to do this work.
“Quite often the church is the first port of call for women suffering domestic violence,” comments Rev Courtney Stewart of the Bible Society in the West Indies. “But our church leaders aren’t taught about domestic violence at seminary, so they don’t really know how to deal with it. That’s why so many pastors, Sunday School teachers and community leaders are now requesting the training we and our partners are carrying out.”
Hundreds of people across the Caribbean have already been trained in how to spot the signs of domestic violence and offer sensitive and effective counselling and advice, using two Bible-based booklets – ‘Stop the Violence’ for adults and ‘I love my body’ for children.
13-year-old Gabbie* in Haiti who was sexually abused while living in a tent city after the 2010 earthquake says that the counselling she received from a church leader who had received domestic violence training has really helped her.
“It has helped me to understand that if I keep quiet about what happened there is no way to stop the violence,” she said. “I’ve also learned that I don’t have to be ashamed.”
Haiti has a staggeringly high rate of violence against women – around 80% of women are thought to suffer some kind of abuse – but that figure has increased since the earthquake.
“The earthquake brought about so much anger and frustration,” explains Magda Victor of the Haitian Bible Society. “It destroyed people’s homes and livelihoods and led to greater promiscuity. All this has resulted in even more domestic violence.”
Since 2012, the Haitian Bible Society has been tackling this issue by running domestic violence workshops and airing a radio program to help raise awareness about the issue. The Suriname Bible Society has also been using the radio to spread its message about domestic violence. Listening to the program changed Kleia Emanuels-Mijnsen’s life.
“I was sitting with friends listening to a Gospel radio program when a counselling session on domestic abuse started. As I listened, I knew I had to call the number for help because what they were describing had happened to me. I had been raped and abused by a family friend and had never told anyone or dealt with the pain. It had completely destroyed my relationship with my mother and I mistrusted all men.
“It took months of counselling before I could let go of the bitterness I felt. But I’m now happily married with two sons and am counselling other women.”
The Bible Society of the West Indies is planning to start running the program in the Bahamas in the next few months, where domestic violence is growing, too.
“Please pray as we seek to reap a harvest of rescuing women and children, and the men, too, who are usually the perpetrators of domestic violence,” says Mr Stewart.
Please join us in praying for the people of Nepal at this time of national tragedy. Nepal’s Prime Minister says that the death toll from the earthquake on 25 April could be as high as 10,000. Our Bible Society there, which works closely with local churches across the country, is planning to assist the relief effort and provide replacement Bibles and New Testaments for Christians who have lost everything. They are also hoping to distribute Scripture leaflets containing Bible verses that can help people affected by trauma.